At the moment it is only active for English-language searches on Google US for desktop, mobile and Android apps, but it is already making people talk (and discuss) a lot: let’s talk about the About This Result feature, that allows the user to view a small tab of information on the site present in SERP, to get some more details on its reliability before clicking on that result.

Google’s new feature to discover info on sites

This particular search results snippet is activated by clicking on the three vertical dots that appear to the right of the URL of the site placed: at this point, a new box opens that offers more information “about this result” (literary translation of the name of the function), which presents verified and updated news on the site, recovered from Wikipedia, and also indicates whether the connection is secure, whether it is an organic or paid ad and other details.

esempio del funzionamento della feature

Specifically, this new tab with additional information on the result allows you to read:

  • A brief description of the domain from Wikipedia (when available).
  • Use of the HTTPS protocol on the domain as a security feature.
  • Full URL of the search result.
  • Note on the type of result (if it is organic or an advertisement).

Moreover the tabs give users quick access to their privacy settings and a link to a video on how the search works.

What the feature is for

In the US company’s goals, About this result should help users learn more about the search result or search feature they are viewing and are interested in clicking on, without having to visit the site directly or having to launch another search to get this news.

As JK Kearns, Search Product Manager, writes, this feature can help “give context or tranquility, especially if the user is looking for something important, such as health or finance information”, especially if the result positioned is “a site you’ve never heard of”.

come funziona about this result di google

When looking for information on Google, in fact, “you probably often come across results from sources you know: large e-commerce sites, national newspapers and more”, but “there are also plenty of great information and services available from sites you may not have encountered before“. Knowing in advance the identity card of the site placed on Google could serve people to understand if that result is a reliable source of information and if it is relevant to their intentions.

Info from Wikipedia (and not only)

The most original aspect of this feature is the description of the site taken from Wikipedia, “which provides free and reliable information about tens of millions of sites on the web” and “is based on an open editing model and the work of thousands of global volunteers to add content,” Kearns recalls.

This additional tab will provide the most up-to-date and verified information available on Wikipedia on the site that Google has classified in SERP. The choice to depend on the famous encyclopedia somewhat levels the playing field, but inevitably excludes many smaller sites that do not have their own entries.

However, if a site does not have a page/description on Wikipedia, Google will still show some data to users, and to be precise “an additional context that might be available, for example the first time that Google indexed the site“.

esempio di elenchi di lavoro

For some special features provided by Google to organize different types of information – and in particular job listings or local business – users will see a description “how Google acquires this information from websites on the Web or from companies themselves and presents it in a useful format”.

What this feature means to sites

The feature debuted last February 1st in beta (and not yet globally) but, in fact, the testing work is going on even since October 2019; at the moment, however, it is impossible to determine its effect or determine whether it may be good or bad for the sites, also because much depends on the perspective.

On the user side, in fact, the About This Result feature gives users the ability to quickly make more informed decisions on the site they are about to click on; on the other hand, there may still be an impact impossible to predict on traffic.

Much in reality will also depend on the actual reception by people, who will have to not only use the feature concretely, but also find it useful: also for this reason Google invited users to provide feedback through the link at the bottom of the panel, so as to continue the development work also based on these answers.

The importance to be on Wikipedia

If the operation is successful, with so many people appreciating and using the feature, it would become even more important for a brand to have an entry on Wikipedia, a secure connection and accurate information to present in the “about this result” box.

But what happens if information is not correct? Google explained to Search Engine Land that “these descriptions are the same that appear in the knowledge panels of these entities”, remembering to accept “feedback on both information panels and on these new panels of results” and announcing the availability to remove “descriptions in accordance with our rules for information panels”.

However, Google cannot intervene to change any inaccurate descriptions that arise from site descriptions taken from Wikipedia, having chosen to “use Wikipedia data because we trust, we know it is regularly checked and updated by hundreds and even thousands of Wikipedia publishers worldwide”.

This means, in short, that if the information of a site that comes from Wikipedia is not correct, it will be necessary to intervene directly on the online encyclopedia to correct it.

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