Google Still Needs Websites To Help It Answer Questions

By: Chris Crum - March 25, 2014

As Google’s Knowledge Graph continues to give users “quick answers” to their queries, it reduces the need to have to click over to another website.

Google has quietly been serving a new kind of Knowledge Graph-style result, however, which actually appears to rely on good old fashioned organic results to fill in the missing gaps in “knowledge”.

Dr. Peter J. Meyers at Moz.com, points out a few examples, and says they’ve been doing this since sometime in January.

Typically, answer boxes that appear at the top of search results pages come from information from the actual Knowledge Graph, but look at this one for “september’s birthstone”:

Knowledge Graph

Just a plain ol’ eBay product page, which appears as the 8th regular organic result. Meyers shows another example with an Overstock.com page.

He gives some other examples which point to more official sites like the American Gem Society, which makes a bit more sense than displaying an eBay result here (this was the case for “September birthstone”). One for “social security tax rate” displays an answer from IRS.gov. Again, that makes sense.

The bottom line is that the Knowledge Graph simply doesn’t have enough knowledge to answer every query it needs to, so somewhat ironically, Google has to turn to the organic results it was downplaying in favor of the Knowledge Graph in the first place.

Considering how often we’ve seen errors in the actual Knowledge Graph, you have to wonder what the potential for error in these newer types of answers is.

Image via Google

Chris Crum

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

View all posts by Chris Crum
  • NickWebmaster

    Google is working hard to make it less and less necessary to actually visit the web sites that feed Google in the first place, so that searchers are more likely to stay on the search page and click ads. With the way they tailor the search result snippets and populate the knowledge graph, I have many times not had to go to the actual site where people have worked hard to produce that content or knowledge. At what point does it become a duplication engine rather than a search engine? Clearly Google should compensate web sites for this.