What you need to know
- Google Search allows users to sharpen sentences with quotes.
- The company is improving the search function after user feedback.
- Google Search now displays where the quoted text is on a page, giving users more context.
One of the more useful tools in the Google Search arsenal is the ability to find exact words or phrases by placing quotes over them. It is useful for users who know exactly what they are looking for and need to find specific information. However, the feature isn’t perfect, so Google is updating it to improve results for users.
On Thursday, the search giant shared how it improved in quoted searches. Google software engineer Yonghao Jin explains that Search is more likely to include a page description, which may or may not be helpful to users. But with this new update, Search now shows exactly where the text appears in a result, while also bolding the keyword or phrase.
“In the past, we didn’t always do this because the quoted material sometimes appears in parts of a document that don’t lend themselves to making useful snippets,” explains Jin. “For example, a word or phrase may appear in the menu item of a page, where you navigate to different sections of the site. Creating a snippet around such sections may not provide an easily readable description.”
After receiving feedback from users, Google decided it was better to show where the text occurs in a quoted search to give the user more context about where the word or phrase occurs. This way, users can more easily decide whether a result is useful to them.
Jin points out that quoted searches are far from perfect and don’t always produce the results the user expects. This is because the quoted text can be in a page’s meta description or ALT text, but not on the page itself. Google may also show you an older version of a page instead of the most current version, so there may be differences in the actual result from what you see in the preview.
You can check out the full blog post to learn about the changes and limitations of quoted searches.