As Google continues to provide quick answers and knowledge graph data directly at the top of the search results, publisher concerns continue to rise. Publishers are worried that searchers will have less of a need and desire to click through from Google’s search results page to the publisher’s page, leaving the publishers with very little methods to monetize their content, thus reducing their ability to add more useful content to their site over time.
I asked Google recently, when and how do they decide to provide a “source” link in the search results when they show quick answers or knowledge graph data.
For example, a search for [what is SEO] returns a quick answer from Wikipedia with a link to Wikipedia:
But a search for [how old is obama] just gives the answer, without citing a source:
A Google spokesperson tells us that when the information is “basic factual information you can find many places (e.g., when Obama was born),” they will “just present it as is” without providing a source. But when the information is “not widely-known information” or when they “show relevant snippets from webpages,” Google will “typically show the source.” Google added that ins “some cases”, such as when they are “working directly with the source” they may not show the source.
This last example of not showing the source when working directly with the source is with the iPhone 6 answers that came up in Google last week.
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