Is Google experimenting with Filter options on search result pages?
I was searching around the web for some search results for my company quill.com, and forgot to turn off my user agent when I noticed the left sidebar. It could be an older test since I didn’t even notice my results still had underlined search results.
It’s at the top of the fold and easily viewable by the users. It seems to be focused on search times, view history, and an exact natural search instead of synonym, or semantic search.
It seems like Google is testing another feature on their search results page. Here is a quick definition of each of the filter options that Google has. (The example search keyword I am using is office supplies – which is oh so exciting.)
Anytime is what naturally occurs when you search for something.
Ex. When I search for “office supplies” all of the results come up normally.
Past 24 hours
These are relatively self explanatory (results I’ve clicked on the past hour, 24 hours, week etc.) so I won’t waste your time on that. The interesting part to me is that I some of them seemed unfamiliar. Using the gallery below this post, the Past 24 hours search results showed bradsdeals which I don’t remember going to? Maybe I did and don’t remember or maybe that was just a bug in the system. That was all I found interesting from this point.
The rankings seem to match the mysterious Google algorithm, it just filters out links according to the option you chose.
Maybe I should ask if they want me to implement some faceted navigation :D. moving on…
All results is the normal search results that come up, filtered by the option you chose for timetables. Simple enough.
These are the pages you have previously visited
Not yet visited
These are pages you haven’t clicked through to
Exact search. No semantic search, no synonyms. The results are exactly what you typed in.
Back to the original results we go!
The most interesting filter option on there.
the Not yet visited
This is a little more interesting, especially for ecommerce. I say this because if shoppers come into the through search results and begin to normalize using these filter options.
Shoppers can begin to do greater research and possible find page 2, 3, even up to page 5 rankings.
How does this happen you ask?
Well, I know when I’m shop around online I always price check all competitors, check different reviews, try to find out as much information about product quality, and pricing between several different websites. Since I’ve seen users becoming more accustomed to shopping through navigation I find it interesting if they click this Not yet visited button, it would effectively eliminate any pages they’ve already seen and start bumping up second or third pages to the front of the results.
From that perspective it seems that Google could be on the verge of their own version of filtered navigation. Hm. Interesting.
Here is a gallery of the different results I saw for the keyword “office supplies”
So in conclusion, Google looks like they are testing some filter options. They seem to give searches the ability to filter by time, visit history, or exact keyword match. The most interesting part of these filter options is if searchers become used to using the Not yet visited option. It gives people the ability to do more in-depth research on a product, it gives lower ranked websites a better chance at converting customers. So let the conversion wars begin.