So, if you hadn’t noticed, Google changed the way you see your search results. Google is now providing “blended results” – search results that combine pages, news, local locations, images, book results and videos. Previously, Google had what they called “one boxes,” a small box at the top of the search results that was an attempt to guess at what results you wanted to see. These one-boxes have now been integrated into the search results, which now makes it possible to have more than ten result links on a page.
The biggest visible change is the new integrated search options column along the left side. It’s been described as “colorful” and that’s probably on purpose. With it, Google has introduced a wide array of filters and new search options. Click more for a complete how-to on the new way to search from Google.
The integrated column is a graphical set of shortcuts to filter your results for only the type of search category on which you click. For example, if you only want video results, you can click “Videos” and the results will change without leaving the search page. Using this new column of links, you can quickly switch back and forth between various categories. While these categories always existed, Google is now accentuating them and trying to help the searcher better utilize (and notice!) their existence.
Google has packed a variety of new filters and tools, too. First the filters. You can now sort by date by only selecting pages that were added or updated in the past 24 hours, week, month, year or other custom date range you specify. For example, if you were looking for information oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, but didn’t want to wade through links about BP’s Deepwater Horizon spill, you could limit the date range by setting the “To” field to April 19, 2010. This would prevent articles prior to the BP oil rig explosion.
Google will use your IP address to determine what city or geographic location you are in and filter search results to what is nearby to you. This is similar to the “local search” option that once existed. Google’s local search later morphed into the Google Maps search. Now you can filter your results. This provides very similar results to mobile local search results that use your cell phone signal or GPS location to filter local search results.
If you have a Google account and if you are logged into it, Google has a custom filter for you. The filter limits your results to “your social circle.” If you have added “friends” to your Google account (or if you had Google Buzz do it for you), this will limit the search results to those in your social circle who have posted something related to your search.
Gid Rid of Those – I Don’t Want Those…
One of the more useful filters allow you to look for specific types of sites. For example, you can look for image sites; that could be Google images, Wikipedia, a photoblog or simply a collection of sites’ image results. Images not your thing? There’s a filter to allow you to choose to see fewer – or more – shopping sites. Perhaps you’re trying to compare features between two HD TVs, but don’t want to see the price war yet. You can choose “Fewer shopping sites” in hopes of getting more reviews. Once you’ve decided and you’re ready to buy, you can choose the “More shopping sites” filter and let the price wars begin!
The Wonder Wheel
What is it? I can only describe it as a Google Suggest Tool on steroids. It has to be experienced for the full effect. I see this as a great tool for search engine marketers who need to find the long tail of their keyword research.
The tool will take your search results and show you related search phrases others have searched upon. Each click will give you more specific searches in a web-like graphical manner and show results for the current phrase on the right.