Google has started showing Direct answers to questions related to SEO. That has made me wonder how much someone could learn about SEO at Google with those direct answers, and I wanted to see what terms Google was showing results from and which sources. I expect there to possibly be a log of churn in the answers Google shows results from.
I started off by asking about SEO itself:
I then wanted to look at some topics that might have questionable answers and advice, and asked about the next three topics to see if SEO myths were being promoted by Google Direct Answer. It seemed like they are given the following three answers about Reciprocal links, Keyword Density, and LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing):
Do not trust Google’s Answers to those, It needs to work on improving the correctness of results, maybe though a knowledge-based trust.
I then wanted to see how Google might describe some of it’ more recent upgrades – Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, Pigeon, and the recently announced Doorway pages update.
I wanted to try seeing if there were direct answers for other SEO-related terms, so I tried a few at random:
Setting up and taking advantage of the information provided at Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools can be very helpful
Semantic Search Topics seem to be covered well in Google’s Direct Answers, like this one on Named Entities:
Some specialized search results happen at Google when a query term triggers an answerbox result at Google as well.
Google may show query results that have specialized features that tend to be richer than most other search results, that use schema.org markup found on pages being indexed to use to display rich snippets, which may stand out from other results and led to more click throughs – search engines seem to like these because they make search results seem much more interesting, and display more data in those search results.
This was my first foray into exploring Google’s direct answers for SEO-related terms. I’m not surprised that a number of them were created from Wikipedia pages, or in some cases from Google help and support pages. There are some that seem to promulgate SEO myths, like the answers about Keyword Density and the one about LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing), but the ones related to the Semantic Web seem more up to date.
I’ll probably be revisiting many of these to see if the sources they use for answers change over time – I do expect some churn in those as people try to rewrite their pages to start showing up as Direct Answers.