Google Structured Snippets: Why Bother Clicking On The Results?

Sep 23, 2014 - 8:45 am 12 by

Yesterday, Google announced a feature they've been testing for a few weeks, Structured Snippets.

Structured Snippets is a form of knowledge graph that incorporates facts into individual result snippets in Web search results. It looks like this:

click for full size

Pierre Far from Google added on Google+:

It's not structured data ( driven! Instead, it's powered by algos that try to find interesting tables within webpages to extract the key facts related to the topic of the page. This deeper understanding of the contents, plus some quality checks, gives us a new kind of snippet.

Yes, cool and useful for the searcher. But why would people click into the search result listing to the publishers site. Google keeps taking the click incentive away!

Here is how it works:

The WebTables research team has been working to extract and understand tabular data on the Web with the intent to surface particularly relevant data to users. Our data is already used in the Research Tool found in Google Docs and Slides; Structured Snippets is the latest collaboration between Google Research and the Web Search team employing that data to seamlessly provide the most relevant information to the user. We use machine learning techniques to distinguish data tables on the Web from uninteresting tables, e.g., tables used for formatting web pages. We also have additional algorithms to determine quality and relevance that we use to display up to four highly ranked facts from those data tables.

One webmaster wasn't too happy with the news saying:

Formerly, Google really distinguished itself from all other well-known properties on the web by being "the best place, bar none to find websites."

If Google continues to transition from that paramount search engine to being merely "one of several places to find knowledge about nearly everything" then it becomes more like Wikipedia, Freebase, Wolfram etc.

And that means there will be less reason to visit Google, not more.

Forum discussion at Google+ & WebmasterWorld.


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