Google has recently introduced a change to its core search algorithm that not only expands the search engines functionality but also makes the ‘related search’ feature a lot more user friendly with better search relevance.
Until now Google offered a list of suggestions to the search query by giving results based on various combinations of the keywords entered, but now Google will show you a collection of top referenced items related to the search query.
For example, if you search for ‘American English Authors’ you will see a section named “Top References” at the bottom of Google search result pages. If you click one of these links, the collection of links moves to the top of the results page, and results for the author you clicked on are shown below. Further results are displayed based on the links you click next.
These suggestions will display on the search result page automatically, even if you don’t ask for it, because Google thinks that sometimes a list of related search results are helpful to you when you are searching for something specific.
Google Product Manager, John Provine explained the new search feature in a recent post:
To better understand and answer your searches for a list, we use a variety of signals to assess what the web collectively thinks are the most significant items associated with your search keywords.
This improvement to related searches reflects our continued efforts to help our algorithms better understand content on the web in the complex ways that humans do, and use that understanding to help you as you search.
A few things about Related Search worth noting are:
- The “Top References” suggestions are displayed only for very popular queries
- This feature works best with one or two word (short keywords) search queries
- If you search for an individual item you will not get a list of related search results. However if you search for a bigger group you are more likely to see a list of similar/related items. For example , if you search for Mark Twain, you won’t see names of other authors in the references list. Instead, you have to search for “American authors” and the references suggestion should appear.
The related feature is currently appearing only in English on google.com but one can expect it to be available in other languages very soon.