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Friday, October 22, 2021

Google Search notice warns searchers when results are new and possibly unreliable

Google is testing a new search feature that tells the searchers when the results for their query are new and thus possibly unreliable. The notice reads :

It looks like these results are changing quickly. If this topic is new, it can sometimes take time for results to be added by reliable sources.

“When anybody does a search on Google, we’re trying to show you the most relevant, reliable information we can, but we get a lot of things that are entirely new,” Danny Sullivan of Google told Vox when the publication first reported this. In situations like this, Google needs time to build reliable search results and more sites likely have not written reliable, trustworthy content.

Read more about expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness: Demonstrating E-A-T: Tactics to implement, and avoid, for greater search visibility

What it looks like. Here is a screenshot from Vox:

Similar features previously released. In April 2020, Google launched a feature to communicate to searchers when the search results didn’t provide any great results. The overall goal of both features is the same — to say that Google Search may not have the best answers for that specific query and Google is aware of it and you should be too.

More details. “Someone had gotten this police report video released out in Wales, and it’s had a little bit bit of press coverage. But there’s still not a lot about it,” Sullivan told Vox. “But people are probably searching for it, they may be going around on social media — so we can tell it’s starting to trend. And we can also tell that there’s not a lot of necessarily great stuff that’s out there [for searchers]. And we also think that maybe new stuff will come along.”

In sum, the warning indicates that the current index is missing what Google would consider reliable content on a search topic, and the results will be better when more information comes along.

Why we care. The in-SERP warning indicates that Google knows when its may not show the best search results. This warning is also helpful to searchers who may be looking for sensitive topics that are newer. Google could use this warning to prevent users from going to spammy, click-baity, or fake information websites.

The fact that the search engine can know these cases is pretty impressive. It just showcases how smart the search company can be, and when search fails, we often notice it in a big way.


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