Google marks up our web pages without asking

You might have come across a test which Google is running at the moment, whereby if you search for ‘blue widgets’, and click any of the links on the results page, when you get to the linked web page, the sentence or paragraph containing the term ‘blue widgets’ is highlighted in yellow like this. You may have seen the same thing after a search in web browsers and desktop applications such as certain PDF readers, but this still comes as a bit of a surprise.

As a website owner, I’m not sure I like it – why does Google think it’s OK to start marking up my website in this way? However, there’s not much we can do about it, so we need to consider the implications, and they may be significant. That’s because the visitor’s eye will immediately be drawn to the highlighted text, and that means they may skip over the message order you’ve carefully prepared for them. If you have a page which is attracting a lot of visitors from a specific search, it might be worth investigating what the page will now look like.