So, one of the big questions in SEO these days is why some queries end up triggering Answer Boxes in search results, and others don’t.
Answer box results appear above organic results for a query. They often can have additional content appearing with them such as images. They are often in response to queries that are questions. These answer box results are sometimes triggered by specific terms in a query, such as “weather.”
A Recent Bloomberg article explores how Google might use machine learning to answer questions, titled, Google’s New AI Can Answer Dumb IT Questions or Tell You the Meaning of Life. I came across the article after having read a patent application at Google that covered similar ground. The point behind the patent was to identify sources of answers to queries, that are in the shape of Answer Boxes, as seen in this search result:
Barbara and I have been looking at a lot of patents while preparing for the presentation, and one of the topic areas that we were going to discuss was Quality Scores, since one of the patents that mentions adding “Buy Now” buttons to paid search listings in search results, may do so only if the sites being considered to show buy now buttons have a high enough Quality Score associated with them.
While preparing, Barbara pointed out another patent to me that focuses upon low-quality scores. It describes how a site might lose traffic if ranking scores for links pointed to it are below a certain threshold, making them low quality sites.
Added 6-17-2015 – It’s not clear from the new patent filings, but from feedback I received on Twitter from Mathieu Janin, at https://twitter.com/Matt_Refeo, it appears that Google may be showing sitelinks for pages that aren’t just the home pages of a site. As Mathieu tweeted to me:
I performed this query again on the french version of Google, and it is showing sitelinks for an internal page on the site:
A couple of interesting patent applications surfaced at Google recently, involving the use of photography in Local Search, to identify whether or not businesses actually exist, or might be closed, or might be Web Spam.
The first of these looks at Street Views images, and is: