Monday, October 15, 2012

Query Highlighting on Google Search Results – SEO RESEARCH SERIES PART 3


In order to search information on Google, we need to type a query into the query box. The entered query is then interpreted by Google applying various relevancy factors and the best results are presented before you within a few microseconds. However, the searched query is always highlighted in bold, which gives you an idea about the kind of information you are searching on Google and where has Google found those words in the web document in order to determine the relevancy of the fetched results. It is better to mention that the returned results are based on several other rankingfactors (over 200).

Research gives benefits (Image credit:- research.drexel.edu)

How a query gets highlighted in Google?


Suppose, we are searching for the term “paradise lost”, the results that are returned are explained below:-

Searching on the title tag

If the query is found on the title tag, it gets displayed in bold. For example a search for the query “human mind” returns documents having the phrase in the title tag.

Searching on the description tag

If the query is found the description tag, it gets displayed in bold. For example a search for the query “human mind” returns documents having the phrase in the description tag.

Searching on the web document

If the query is displayed on any part of the web document, it gets displayed in bold. For example a search for the query “human mind” returns documents having the phrase anywhere in the web document.

Other variations

Same order

If the query appears in the same order as of search phrase then highlighting occurs only once. This happens in most of the cases. In some cases, it may be highlighted more than once.

Distributed order

If the query appears in distributed or scattered order then separate search terms present on the query gets highlighted.

Ignoring the tenses

In some queries, the tenses get ignored and the tense variations of the main query get displayed. For example if you are searching for “get to know” then Google might also search for “getting to know” ignoring the tense. This happens with most of the queries. The search terms “getting to know” is highlighted even if you are searching for “get to know”. In another case, searching for the phrase “he is innocent” returns results having the words “he was innocent”, thus ignoring the tense.

Ignoring the stop words

Google ignores the stop words while searching for exact match of the query in the web documents. For example, search for “what is the height of Eiffel Tower” returns web documents where only “Height” + “Eiffel” + “Tower” gets highlighted. This does not happens in all the cases, documents having all the words in the same order as of the search query also get highlighted. But the point is, Google ignores the stop words while searching for web documents and might not highlight your main query words in the same number. In another example, for the query “Rabbit and Jack”, “and” gets ignored as a stop word and results with “Jack Rabbit” gets displayed.

Includes Synonyms

A search for the query “Japanese food” returns results containing words “Japanese cuisine”. This means Google includes the synonyms and highlights it in the search results page.


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