Google enables users to search for exact words or phrases by putting quotation marks around them. It is quite a handy feature – users can search for specific things and get results accordingly without dealing with all the other unrequired and unnecessary jargon. However, Google recently announced that it’s updating the quoted searches feature, giving it a much-needed improvement.
As a result, Google will now create the small snippets below a search result based on where the quoted term appears on that page. Consequently, if the words from quoted searches appear in a page’s navigation menu or an image’s alt text, they will now appear in the result’s snippet. And alongside the bold quoted text, users will see a nearby sentence belonging to that page. Hence, giving them an idea of where to look for that quoted search on a page.
Google’s blog post announcing the change
In the blog post, Google also gave an example of searching for “Google Search.” According to the blog post, in the second search result, the quoted text appears on the page in the alt text of an image on that page. Thus, even if quoted searches do not appear in the standard text of a page, they will now appear in the snippet below the search results.
Moreover, previously, snippets under the search results for quoted searches did not show where they appear on a page. Yonghao Jin, a software engineer at Google, explained in the blog post the reason for that and why they made the change –
“In the past, we didn’t always do this because sometimes the quoted material appears in areas of a document that don’t lend themselves to creating helpful snippets. For example, a word or phrase might appear in the menu item of a page, where you’d navigate to different sections of the site. Creating a snippet around sections like that might not produce an easily readable description. We’ve heard feedback that people doing quoted searches value seeing where the quoted material occurs on a page rather than an overall page description. Our improvement is designed to help address this.”
Some tips to remember when searching a quoted text
Furthermore, the blog post also mentioned some caveats on how quoted searches work. For instance, they may match the content that isn’t readily visible on a page, like meta description. In addition, “quoted material might appear on a page when Google crawled it before, but it no longer exists on the current page.” Also, Google will not bold quoted searches appearing only in title links and URLs. Plus, they will not appear in web page snippets.
Additionally, “web page snippets might not show multiple quoted terms.” Lastly, the search engine will bold quoted content in webpage snippets only on the desktop. Thus, it will not work for mobile results, snippets for recipes or videos, and special modes such as image or news searches.