Today, I’m going to walk you through the search engine results for the keyword “Christmas” to help you better understand what search engines are doing when you make an ambiguous search.
A beautiful sight.
We’re searching tonight.
Walking through a search engine wonderland!
What could someone possibly be looking for by searching “Christmas”?
Search engines intimately understand the ambiguity of a one-word query.
They look at that query in the context of the 4,302,859 different ways that people search that include the word “Christmas” in the query and ask, “what do you want?”
So, the search engine results make a little more sense. At the top you’ve got:
The date of the next Christmas Day.
The Wikipedia page (probably the best resource on all things Christmas with its detail, trust, and many links to related Christmas topics within).
People also ask – You see this feature high up in the results page when Google isn’t quite sure what you’re looking for. So they help you help them find you a better result (reread that bolded statement if you’re as exhausted by it as I am).
Relevancy & Trust
Continuing down the search engine results page, you’ll see a beautiful sight: Christmas of old and Christmas of new!
History.com is the next organic position after Wikipedia. They are even showing you two different pages on their site, hinting that even though they aren’t sure what you are looking for, you may find it here because they’ve covered the topic well. Plus, it’s a well-trusted brand name.
Top stories show relevancy in time. Sure Christmas has been around since AD 336 (I Googled the date rather than sifting through the History.com article), but Christmas is also happening in just a few days all around the world.
While we stroll along the SERP results, you’ll see different media options.
A lot of people don’t want to read articles. They want to watch videos.
Google clearly seems to believe that most people want Christmas music when they search “Christmas” (and that’s probably because music videos tend to have millions of views).