Google confirmed it’s running a test which involves showing zero search results for queries when no relevant results are found.
Instead, Google returns a message stating “Hmm… the results for your search don’t seem very relevant.”
The message is followed by a prompt to “see results anyway.”
Multiple users have reported seeing this anomaly within the past 24 hours. It wasn’t until SEMRush tweeted about it that Google finally responded.
We've spotted the unusual way how #Google highlights that the search results may be irrelevant, has anyone seen this before?@rustybrick @sejournal @sengineland @TheSEMPost ❓
Interesting that there is still an ad result on the #SERP, but no organic results at all 🤔 pic.twitter.com/C0xDnsMJLh
— SEMrush (@semrush) May 7, 2019
In response, Google’s Danny Sullivan confirmed this is a limited experiment which happens to be “overtriggering” at the moment.
Sullivan also mentions it wasn’t Google’s intention for ads to be displayed on that screen.
“This is a narrow experiment focused on times when our systems detect there is little relevant content available on the web for the given query. It appears to be overtriggering. We will investigate and adjust, including ensuring ads don’t show by default. That wasn’t intended.”
It would be interesting to see a running list of queries that trigger this experiment. I can’t recall many times where I’ve searched for something and didn’t see at least one relevant result.
If you run into this experiment, perhaps you find a way to take advantage by creating relevant content for queries where there isn’t any.