Google has announced the formal rollout of a test that some searchers have been seeing for a few days now — a test that associates a Knowledge Graph popup with certain web pages in desktop search results.
The popup adds more information about certain search results, which sounds like it should be good for searchers. But, as I’ll show below, the implementation may not be great for site owners.
“You’ll see this extra information when a site is widely recognized as notable online, when there is enough information to show or when the content may be handy for you,” wrote Google’s Bart Niechwiej in today’s blog post.
Since it’s Knowledge Graph data, the popups rely heavily on Wikipedia. In my searching, I didn’t see a single example that didn’t have data from Wikipedia.
The data provides background on the website listed in the search result, and it appears in a small popup window that’s accessible from a clickable link on the second line of the result. Here’s a sample that I noticed on a recent search:
In that example, each boxed area — “Wikipedia,” “Toronto Sun” and “Canoe.ca” is clickable and shows the Knowledge Graph popup.
For site owners, this could be seen as a welcome addition because it adds extra information about the website and may encourage users to click the search result. There’s maybe also an element of accomplishment — i.e., “we’re important enough to get this special search result feature.”
On the other hand, as the screenshot above shows, the popup adds up to three extra links to the search result that don’t go to your website:
If this becomes a popular feature with searchers, it could lead some to click away from the actual web page that Google included in its search results.
In any case, Google says it expects to show more information about more websites as it expands the Knowledge Graph.