What is typically a positive search feature for someone querying information on Google might also be good for Google because it brings people to the search engine, but it’s not always helpful for the brand.
Google on Monday launched the “about this result” feature that gives more information about the topic in the search results, giving the person searching much more information before they click through to the website.
Sometimes that’s no longer necessary to click on through to the website. The person searching can find the answer in the snippet on the results page. The feature initially will roll out in English in the U.S. on desktop and mobile web.
While Google, with this move, tries to increase trust in the content served in its search results, Marcus Pentzek, chief SEO consultant at Searchmetrics, believes it may not be beneficial for retailers, brands or website owners.
“One effect will be that some brands will see less traffic from these types of searches as searchers use the additional information Google provides to be more selective about which results they click on,” Pentzek wrote. “The fallout may be bigger on some smaller or newer brands that don’t already have a Wikipedia page or that Google knows less about.”
Pentzek believes Google wants to train its search algorithms to learn which websites are best able to serve the search results intended for certain topics, such as health and finance. It also wants to learn more about the types of websites people don’t trust to do this.
The fact that Google collects this data and trains its algorithms could mean that Google is preparing another major update that is intended to improve its search results based on information about the sites that people don’t click on after seeing the additional "about this result" information.
Brands need to ensure they have an accurate and updated Wikipedia entry that is linked to their website, for starters, he explains.
“They should ensure their digital marketing teams create an even better and credible Title and Description in the underlying HTML of their pages related to YMYL topics, to catch the searchers’ attention as this information is often displayed in snippets on Google search results pages (a well-designed and credible snippet might make searchers less skeptical).”