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Google Onebox Answers Becomes Bigger



12:52 pm on Jan 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator goodroi is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Barry Schwartz posted over on Search Engine Land about Google's Onebox Answers becoming more robust. [searchengineland.com...]

These are not simple one sentence answers. These answers are a full paragraph with many details.

I have been looking into it and it seems like Wikipedia is the source for most of the ones I found. I have also seen these sites being used:
SearchEngineLand.com > Search for "What is SEO"
MRC.ac.uk > Search for "What is equality"
MattCutts.com > Search for "Who is Matt Cutts"
Wikipedia.org > Search for "What is google+"
BusinessInsider > Search for "Who has played batman"
Pubcon.com > Search for "What is pubcon"

These results are on google.com in USA. If you are not seeing them for samples listed above, try adding &gl=us to the address bar and repeating the search.

Mods Note: We are making a one time exception to the forum rule about not posting specific examples. The samples listed above should allow us to discuss this without needing to mention any other specifics.

Robert Charlton

10:48 pm on Jan 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I'm going to use mod's privilege here and depart slightly from goodroi's instructions, because I think there's also testing involved with this new feature, and the scope of the test appears to be wider than the types of queries initially reported. In general, though, let's try to stick to the examples we have (or variations akin to what I'm using)... and let's definitely stick to well-known entities

Based on some brief playing around, I'm seeing these answers as part of a widely coordinated set of tests returning different types of Knowledge Graph results based on query... and while changing geo location will sometimes change results, refreshing the serps page might do the same. Ditto with changing browsers, etc. So, within the time I've been able to give this, it was hard to isolate whether the changes are based on prior recent search history, or it's random testing. I'm not sure how much that matters to us, but I'm drawing some hints that these are geo-based tests and demographic factors might be involved. I may well be over-interpreting.

I think that Google is testing for language ambiguity, perhaps mostly with verbs, and it's using variables like the prominence of an entity (in combination with different verb forms) to test how a change in the likelihood of a query might affect meaning. This seems to be happening most commonly in queries where multiple individuals create verbal constructs that suggest ambiguity.

So, a search for...

[albert einstein] gives you Knowledge Graph plus organic results only.

[who is albert einstein] still gives you the Knowledge Graph, with an additional reference about why he's important, plus organic results.

On the other hand, Matt Cutts may not be known by searchers outside of the SEO field, but his name appears frequently enough in various articles that returning a Onebox Answer, as with a "define" or "definition" query, may be merited if it speeds up the general searcher's research. In my test searches, I haven't seen the Onebox Answer not appear for this query.

It appears that [who has played batman] is testing search intention, though, and I believe it's being tested against the Knowledge Graph Image Carousel.

Previously, actors-in-a-role results were rolled out with results for searches with this syntax...

[batman actors]
[james bond actors]

However... [who has played batman] is possibly a different kind of query. In my test searches, I also added...

[who has played james bond]

Both of the [who has played... ] queries give Onebox Answers that are appearing at least in large cities. The Batman answer box with the Ben Affleck answer is ironic, and I've noted that it doesn't appear often at all in a small midwest city I tried.

I'm also seeing the [who has played james bond] giving a Onebox Answer, quoting from the Hollywood Reporter. Straightford answer, not ironic. Not sure whether straightforward vs ironic is being factored in. I am seeing this one also in the midwest city I'm checking.

Am not seeing in any of my searches that [who has played batman] is giving a Knowledge Graph result with the Image Carousel. Ditto for james bond instead of batman.

I am seeing, though, that the Knowledge Graph Image Carousel is not always appearing for [batman actors] ...unusual enought that I'm thinking perhaps it's being tested.

Worth noting, though, that a search for [who were the beatles] is returning Knowledge Graph with Image Carousel results.

I'm sure there are many other ways they can slice and dice this, but these were some of the most obvious examples that I chose to pursue.

Robert Charlton

11:39 pm on Jan 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

PS: And now I have seen a results page returned without the Matt Cutts Onebox Answer... perhaps it was too promotional ;) ...so it appears that they're all being tested).


12:13 am on Jan 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Just did a "what is a..." search in my niche, returned a onebox answer populated from wikipedia and then the number 1 organic listing is still wikipedia with the snippet being exactly what is in the onebox answer. So, with the exception of the ads, everything about the fold and for about 200 pixels below the fold is duplicate content.

Robert Charlton

12:35 am on Jan 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Shepherd - That's a problem that I saw too with the Matt Cutts OneBox and his blog snippet.


2:05 am on Jan 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I have been playing with various phrases that were listed in goodroi's opening post as well as with searches listed on searchengineland the post is linking to and I have just seen seeing something I have not seen before (I am not sure whether this is new or I have just not spotted it).

I have searched for "Why is the sky blue" and apart from the OneBox at the top of the SERPs, I have noticed that for some results there is a grey link to the right of the green URL (to the right of the "Cached" link if there is one).

When this is clicked, OneBox pops up, with the short description of the Website (the description taken from Wikipedia).

Here is the screenshot of what I have seen with these links highlighted and with one of boxes popped up (link clicked upon).



10:53 am on Jan 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Just did another "what is a..." search and got a onebox with NO link to the source of the information.

Even worse/funnier, in true scrapper fashion, they forgot to remove the extra stuff in the text related to the site where it came from, for example:

"from an Indo-European root shared by do1."

They left the citation reference "1" after "do" but there is no citation list.


11:24 am on Feb 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I noticed unusual search result when looking for a song name. They list other songs from the same artist first, a video from Youtube, artist biography, and at the end "normal" search result.

[edited by: aakk9999 at 9:30 pm (utc) on Feb 1, 2014]
[edit reason] Changed link to go directly to the image [/edit]


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