Google Outlines New Algorithm Improvements to Improve the Accuracy of its Displayed Search Results
By improving contextual data matching for Search Snippets and adding more supplemental information within Search results, Google is attempting to add more context to its Search results, thereby reducing the spread of false information and assisting users in determining which results are the most accurate.
The immediate answer results that Google presents in Search searches, known as Search snippets, have first improved thanks to Google’s algorithms.
As explained by Google:
“By using our latest AI model, Multitask Unified Model (MUM), our systems can now understand the notion of consensus, which is when multiple high-quality sources on the web all agree on the same fact. Our systems can check snippet callouts (the word or words called out above the featured snippet in a larger font) against other high-quality sources on the web, to see if there’s a general consensus for that callout, even if sources use different words or concepts to describe the same thing. We’ve found that this consensus-based technique has meaningfully improved the quality and helpfulness of featured snippet callouts.”
To put it another way, the system can now verify claimed facts and statements before using them in snippets, which should assist to increase the accuracy of the results that are shown.
Additionally, Google claims that its computers are becoming more adept at recognizing when a highlighted snippet lacks pertinent context.
“This is particularly helpful for questions where there is no answer: for example, a recent search for “when did snoopy assassinate Abraham Lincoln” provided a snippet highlighting an accurate date and information about Lincoln’s assassination, but this clearly isn’t the most helpful way to display this result.”
In these situations, Google claims to have lowered the visibility of highlighted snippets by 40%, improving instant replies and halting the propagation of incorrect or misleading information.
However, that probably isn’t of much use to site owners who want to increase Google traffic. Snippets give searchers quick answers, but they also lessen the need for users to visit the actual website; therefore, while this may be a good thing for Google’s user interface, it’s not great for web managers and those who depend on Search referrals (i.e., everyone) to drive traffic to their content.
So, good for Google, bad for the rest of us. Perhaps keep an eye on your SEO analytics to see any potential drops as a result (though good luck identifying this as the cause).
Along with expanding the content inside its “About this result” feature, Google is attempting to assist searchers understand more about why specific results are presented.
As you can see in this illustration, the upgrade will also feature new information on a source’s level of distribution, online testimonials for the source or business, and site ownership details. That may contribute to giving the material supplied important context, which may affect how the searchers perceive the veracity of the stated information.
Google is also broadening the scope of its “Content Advisory” alerts on search results when its algorithm has low confidence in the overall caliber of the outcomes.
This just gives extra context about the entire collection of results on the page, according to Google, and does not suggest that there is no useful information available or that a single result is of low quality.
In today’s world, when individuals are more dependent on the internet for information, information accuracy is crucial. Social media platforms are frequently cited as a major barrier in this regard since they enable anybody to broadcast anything on any topic, real or false, and this is one of the factors that has contributed to a general fall in confidence in online media sources.
In fact, a recent poll conducted by Google and YouGov revealed that 62% of internet users now think they encounter inaccurate or misleading material on a weekly basis.
Fact-checking is more difficult than ever, which is why updates like these are crucial for maintaining consumer confidence in Google’s products and keeping Search—a crucial platform for all types of research—as accurate and beneficial as possible for all users.
Nobody wants to encourage the dissemination of false information, but at the same time, nobody wants to prevent individuals from expressing their opinions. By including contextual matching into Google’s Search results, these new improvements aim to achieve a balance between these factors and improve alignment with the general consensus from reliable sources.