Google has announced two new features for US based and English language searchers, around helping those searchers evaluate information within Google Search and verify sources and claims of those listings. One is a feature to show a highly cited label in the Top Stories results and the other is improving the about this result feature for rapidly evolving topics.
Highly cited label. Google will soon launch in the US English search results a new highly cited label that will appear on Top Stories within Google’s mobile search results. This label will help searchers identify stories that have been frequently cited by other news organizations.
Google said this will help elevate original reporting that it first spoke about in 2019 as an area Google wanted to improve on. This label will give confidence to searchers that the story is cited by many other journalists and probably offers unique and valuable information that you can rely on. Google said this helps searchers find the “most helpful or relevant information for a news story.”
A Google spokesperson told us this label is building on the search company’s efforts for the fact check explorer.
How do you get this label? Google basically said it is about who is getting linked to across the web and which stories are the most cited.
About this result for rapidly evolving topics. Google is also using the about this result feature to help communicate to searchers about the potential issues with search results related to a topic or breaking news story that is rapidly evolving. Google will show the notice that the search results for a query may be changing because the topic itself is rapidly evolving. This adds to the about this result feature for rapidly evolving topics where Google would show a notice that reads “it looks like these results are changing quickly.”
Google then shows information on how to check the source of the result and also asks the searcher if they might want to come back later in a few hours as Google figures out what is best to rank for those queries. Here is a screenshot of this feature:
Here Google is providing information literacy tips, along with a link to a new resource page with best practices for checking the credibility of information. Plus Google is reminding the searcher that you can check whether a source is trusted on a topic, or come back later when there’s more information available.
Why we care. Both of these labels and features may impact how your site is displayed in the Google search results. A story with a “highly cited label” most likely will generate a higher click through rate than a story without the label. Also, if you are covering breaking news on a topic, there is a chance you might get less traffic if Google shows this notice to searchers that they should come back later.
The Google search interface changes can directly impact your site’s traffic, so keep an eye out for these features and how they may impact your site.