These related search links are part of Google's efforts at "query disambiguation" or you might call it "query expansion" - helping the user make a more precise choice on short queries where Google knows from their records that users often return for a more refined query. This kind of thing is usually seen only on high volume single keywords and some short phrases.
It's not all that new a feature, but it's not all that widepread either. It's an area that Google continues to work with, and it's not an easy problem for them. On some searches you'll notice that those related search items go into very different interpretations of the original query.
If I'm understanding your question correctly (and I may not be), you're talking about two different uses that Google makes of the word "related."
|I just noticed that my searches are coming up with links to related terms under the search results. Not all the listings had it, but it does have these same listings appearing at the top of the page. |
Searches related to:, which appears at the top or bottom of some serps pages, is Google's attempt to help searchers find more precise results. These appear at the top or bottom of some serps pages, and are suggestions for more precise searches. They're most probably based on Google's historical data of query refinements that searchers have made.
|Google Related Links under listing.... |
...The related links for the site above ours are totally different, but definitely targeted to their topic.
I'm assuming you see these when click the "Similar pages" links underneath each result on a serps page. These links bring up the related:domain operator results for the domain displayed. The last time I checked carefully, the related:domain results were domains that shared common inbound linking sources with the domain queried.
The Related Google Operator
The related:domain operator and Searches related to results are completely unrelated. ;)
Thanks for responding!
|I'm assuming you see these when click the "Similar pages" links underneath each result on a serps page. |
Actually no, they are listing about 3 search terms that relate to the specific site ( Related: widget ideas, more widgets,big ugly widgets).
It is the first time I've seen it, but tedster you are correct, I'm not seeing it with every term I search. Only certain sites seem to have it for now.
|search terms that relate to the specific site |
Are you talking about Google Sitelinks [webmasterworld.com]?
Now I get it - I havent seen this yet on any of my queries, but the news did hit the blogs today about this as a beta test. Several "related searches" are indeed showing right below each snippet in each position of the SERP.
We don't normally publish links to unofficial blogs, but in order to show the screenshot, I'm making an exception in this one case.
|Several "related searches" are indeed showing right below each snippet in each position of the SERP. |
I hadn't seen this before either. In the examples shown, the Related queries are in fact queries for which the pages displayed would rank. Obviously Google would have the data. They've been displaying some of it in a very general way in Google Trends for Websites...
Again, this makes reverse engineering a bit easier, which is a two-edged sword.
Initially, when I read the original question, apart from my not having seen this before, it didn't make sense to me that Google would do this. I'm not sure precisely what searcher utility it serves, in that you've already found the site. Now that I've seen it, though, I can imagine the arguements for doing it, though I'm not sure I'd agree with them.
From an SEO standpoint, these are probably very good terms to optimize on.
I did a search for "shoes" and got back a SERP with:
Related searches: prom shoes ¦ dress shoes ¦ designer shoes ¦ wedding shoes
Seems logical to create:
... as Google is in-effect telling you these are good terms to optimize for.
Yahoo has more expansive "Search Refinement" where they start helping you refine the search as you type... I have to think this is Google's attempt at the "same thing only different".
Danger, Will Robinson! Trying to optimize a page for all the related searches on a query where you are already ranking can cause a DROP IN RANKING, and not an improvement. This kind of action on established pages just screams "over optimization" to the present day Google algo, IMO. I've seen it happen several times.
The best way to rank for a variety of related queries is to offer genuine content about each one in an indivdual page or even a whole section of a website.
Also remember that these related searches are, at least in part, Google's attempt to address DIFFERENT user intentions, to disambiguate the query or to expand it. In fact, sometimes the related search terms really don't belong on the same website at all!
|rying to optimize a page for all the related searches on a query where you are already ranking can cause a DROP IN RANKING, and not an improvement. |
Boy Tedster -- you really read a lot into that post. What I was suggesting is IF you had a website and were trying to optimize for "shoes", AND IF you actually had content related to the "related searches" that it would probably be a good idea to organize your content onto pages with those terms in the urls AND publish content specific to those terms.
A "shoe seller" or someone who writes about fashion and shoes in particular, may not have thought to call "women's dress shoes" or "men's dress shoes" "wedding shoes", "prom shoes", etc.. even though they had described them as "shoes for formal occasions"...
And of course, I am not suggesting creating multiple pages of spam or MFA content solely to get traffic on those terms.
In-fact, this post and containing page probably would not rank for the generic term "shoes", but may now get found for "prom shoes" or "wedding shoes"...
Follow up ---- Wow!... a Google search for:
returns 1700+ results... Maybe Brett should sell shoes.
BTW - this thread is #2.
And there's one of many reasons why we normally ask members not to use specific keywords here, even as examples! I made an exception in this case, just for the sake of clarity.
I'm still not clear what the point is of this Google test. Why would a user click on one of these related links below a specific result - if that link goes to a whole different SERP and is not related to the URL that the link originally appeared under? Seems to me it undermines the value of whatever ranking that url was awarded.
My prediction - this particular test will never see full production. I think the idea is dead in the water.
These are at least a month old if not more - maybe my industry was one of the early ones they tested.
For us the links show competitors. For those same competitors it shows other competitors but not us so we can only lose traffic not gain any.
Yay for giving competitors what is essentially free bottom of the page adwords.
|Yay for giving competitors what is essentially free bottom of the page adwords. |
When you say "bottom of the page" it sounds like you're talking about ordinary related searches list - yes, they've been around for a while and are increasingly common.
However, these links that Google is now testing are under each individual snippet. See the link above to view a screen shot.