Google Polling Searchers On Usefulness Of Longer Answers

Feb 12, 2014 • 8:09 am | comments (18) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine

A couple weeks ago, we reported how Google is showing longer answers for queries in the top of the search results. Now, it seems Google is asking their searchers if they find those longer answers useful.

Here is a picture from John Dietrich who posted this on Google+.

Google Answers Poll

The user is shown the top answer, and then asked if they fine the answer "not useful," "useful," or "awesome."

I guess this is Google's way of testing to see if these results are something searchers like. Truth is, webmasters hate them because there is no need for the user to click from Google to get the answer. Google just scraps the answer off the site and sticks it right in their search results, of course in this case, with citation. But still.

For a searcher, yea, this is likely very useful and saves a click. For the webmaster, this can be devastating.

Forum discussion at Google+.

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02/12/2014 01:16 pm

Where is the option "stinky pile of excrement" for them long answers ?

Jeremy Niedt

02/12/2014 01:33 pm

This is the state present after the Feedback button to the bottom right of the listing is clicked. I think they've been around since the new oneboxes started, I remember almost making a non-awesome answer awesome.

Ben Heligman

02/12/2014 01:38 pm

However, any site that can be summed up in a short snippet alone is pretty weak in my eyes. The truly interested reader still has the option to dig deeper and snippets are a chance to feature their site on the top of the listings. I like it.

Alexander Hemedinger

02/12/2014 02:22 pm

Well if Google answers everything, then what's the point of creating Q&A sites etc.

Pooh Pooh To You

02/12/2014 03:59 pm

I thought their algos were so smart they knew what we had for breakfast before we even got the packet out the cupboard. Looks like they are just the same as any old shitty marketing company .... no idea what people want unless they ask.


02/12/2014 04:28 pm

Google is constantly running tests to improve their various platforms. Do you really think this is the only way they are collecting data to act on? Are you really throwing snark their way because they need data to feed analytical models?

Pooh Pooh To You

02/12/2014 04:36 pm

No, I´m bored. When I´m bored I like to slag off google. I like to watch all the little slugs and fanboys come out flag waving. This is how I pass my time. I call it nerd baiting. Do you feel baited?

Stuart David

02/12/2014 04:52 pm

Don't let hate consume you, flip it around and have a good day.

Stuart David

02/12/2014 04:54 pm

People want fast answers though, that will never change, to the most complex question, your average joe wants a fast two word answer even if the question isn't ever going to yield that

Pooh Pooh To You

02/12/2014 06:42 pm

Watch them come out with their little flags raised high. Oh, its so much fun. Are you having fun too Stuart?.


02/12/2014 08:24 pm

soon we will need to disallow googlebot from indexing of our sites. google = anarchy and penalization, corruption and monopoly.

Durant Imboden

02/12/2014 11:18 pm

Sometimes they want fast answers, and sometimes they don't. On our travel-planning site, 30 percent of the PVs come from readers who look at 20+ pages, and 20 percent are from readers who stay on the site for half an hour or more. Also, "fast answer" is a relative term. If I want to know the current temperature in Dallas or the status of Delta Flight 150, some text or maybe a flight map in a box is all I need. But if I want to know about pre-papal life of Pope Francis or how to get from Glasgow to Bilbao by train and ferry, I'm going to need a lot more than Google can squeeze into a Knowledge Graph box. A "fast two-word answer" won't make me happy even if I am a slow reader who suffers from ADD and is about to run for the bus.

Stuart David

02/13/2014 02:29 am

You neglected the average joe premise.

Ben Guest

02/13/2014 02:17 pm

I don't know if it's because you are bored or if you are really a sadist. Nerd baiting? That's cute.

Durant Imboden

02/13/2014 03:04 pm

No, but I may have neglected the "below-average Joe" premise.

Stuart David

02/13/2014 03:08 pm

That's what my piece was based on though so your rant wasn't relative to what I was saying

Durant Imboden

02/13/2014 03:45 pm

First of all, you said "People want fast answers." ("People," not "average Joes.") You then went on to add that the "average Joe wants a two-word answer." In making that statement, you clearly underestimated the "average Joe." Average Joes may not read treatises on international politics in FOREIGN POLICY or DIE ZEIT, but that doesn't mean they're interested only in "two-word answers" when they're searching for information on things that interest them--whether those topics are sports, cars, or how to apply sheetrock. If the average Joe or Jo searches on "How can I remove mold from tile grout?", the answer "oxygen bleach" in a Google Knowledge Graph box will be a teaser, not a definitive answer. And the word "teaser," in this context, means "free direct-responsive advertising."


02/13/2014 07:59 pm

This is what I would call duplicated content generated from scraped (stolen) content. Google, Webmasters can't use content from other sites because you penalize them, but this is exactly what you are doing with this fast answers, hypocrites.

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