Google "Answer Highlighting" Upsets Webmasters

Jan 25, 2010 • 7:42 am | comments (5) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

Google announced two new features in their web results. First is called "Answer Highlighting" and the second is an enhancement to the Rich Snippets feature.

Answer Highlighting in short basically uses Google Squared technology to highlight in the search snippet the answer to your search query. For example, and I don't see this in the live Google results right now, if you search for [empire state height], in the past (current) you would have seen this:

Google Snippets via Google Square

With the enhancement, you would see the answer:

Google Snippets via Google Square

Getting the answer in the search results, is a goal of Google, but that means, or can mean, less click throughs from Google to your web site. Webmasters often live off traffic and conversions, so this can be a bit upsetting to many webmasters.

Brett Tabke said in a WebmasterWorld thread:

Taking another page out of the WolframAlpha play book, Google introduces Serps with answers. You may never need to visit any site again.

The other enhancement is allowing event data in rich snippets. How does that improve the feature? Just look at this snippet:

Google Rich Snippets for Events

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Previous story: Daily Search Forum Recap: January 22, 2010
 

Comments:

Robert

01/25/2010 01:14 pm

Personally I like it, as an end user it could save me the click through. But if Google return enough in their SERPS to not need a click through, wonder how they'll make money? ;)

eltecerhombre

01/25/2010 03:02 pm

If this ever becomes perfect (which I hope it never does), it will finally punch Google back on the long term, as webmasters won't be publishing just for the solely purpouse of making Google's live easier. At least not me. This is like the Rich snippets thing for review: I'm happy to the average rating + number of reviews on my SERPs description, but I'll never be happy if the reviews are directly displayed on SERPS. What's the point then of visiting my site?

Michael Martinez

01/25/2010 08:13 pm

This brings a whole new perspective to the evaluation of the expression "Google is the Web".

Clark Schultz

01/25/2010 10:30 pm

Sure it works for an "encyclopedic" answer like the height of the Empire State Building, but what about a query like "what is the best seafood in St. Louis?" Google is going to serve up a result with more Adwords advertisers and less organic search results...right?

Al

01/26/2010 01:32 pm

I guess the difference with introducing Google Squared is that they are actively trying to highlight the answer in the snippet. Before this change, there was a chance the answer may have been in the snippet but they weren't actively pursuing it - now they are. I can see why certain publishers might not like it but for certain terms that will trigger Google Squared to highlight the result, the consumer will. On the front of the event data within the snippet, I think that is fantastic. If they can deep link me to the event I'm looking for at my nearest concert venue and save me having to stumble my way through varying levels of crap navigation - fantastic!

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