Google Still Needs Websites To Help It Answer Questions
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”:
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