Stone Temple Consulting has released an updated version of its study from earlier in the year, which looked at Google’s rich answers in search.
The firm has made the revisions due to the increase in growth of how often Google displays “knowledge boxes”, carousel results and rich snippet-based results.
Results that appear as part of search results that give a direct answer on the page mean that click-throughs can suffer because these type of notifications often appear at the top of a page.
The study highlights the unease amongst some web designers, website owners and marketers due to the increased use of this approach by Google. Referrals have long been the holy grail of SEO management, but Google is clear that its main concern is giving its users what they want in the most direct way possible.
The first version of Stone Temple Consulting’s research looked at more than 855,000 queries and worked out how many featured a rich answer box as part of the result. Now the revised study has revealed a 9% increase in the growth of these results since February.
Apples to apples
A spokesperson for Stone Temple Consulting commented: “From an apples to apples perspective, the numbers grew from 22% in February to 31% now, so the growth was substantial.”
Rich answers include simple ones that don’t feature titles or pictures and more complex versions with titles. There are also some with no attribution whatsoever, and it is this group that increased the most (32.5%).
The question of the reliability of the information contained in rich answers was also addressed by the study.
Stone Temple’s Eric Enge is quoted in the research as saying: “A lot of the times when you see these rich answer results in the SERPs, you see very high authority sites like Wikipedia.
“That leads many to believe that the Google algo for generating rich answers is based on authority. However, we took a close look at the authority of all the domains used in the rich answers in our data set.
“Not only are 54% of the domains used Moz Domain Authority (‘DA’) of 60 or less, you can actually see some sites with a DA less than 20 used by Google.”