When people use search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo to search for pages what they’re really searching for answers. To visually help searchers find what you’re looking for, Google currently bolds the keywords from the query in the links shown in the results. Google recently announced that they will also start bolding the answers to questions in the search results. Though it may seem like a small thing, Google’s plan to bold answers in search results has some marketing implications that business owners and website developers should keep in mind.
The change from Google was first noted by SEORoundTable earlier this week. It was noted that Google is now highlighting in bold the answers to questions put into search even if the answer itself was not one of the query terms.
One example that was shown was for a query about the average salary for a certain industry and the dollar amount was the portion that was highlighted in bold in the answer card.
This change can be very useful for content marketers. It was always a good idea to use content based on questions that people might put in the search. But this new change makes it so that even if the answer isn’t specifically mentioned in the query, the correct answer will still be bolted in search results.
To see how this would be useful, think of it this way: if a person types in a question into Google, and the results show five pages that list the same question and one page in a card at the top where the answer is in bold,the use is more likely to click on the page with the answers in bold because it’s known that page contains the information.
Unfortunately, it isn’t all good news. There is a very real possibility that people may not visit the site with the information if they can see the answer directly from the search results page. Even so, it’s worth the risk to get a spot even higher than the main search results.
This is another situation where Google changes are encouraging marketers to make changes they should have made already (such as their upcoming changes to mobile search happening in a couple of weeks). As was stated in the introduction, people searching for answers. This new move from Google encourages content marketers to create content that doesn’t just use the same questions that people do, but to provide accurate answers to those questions.
Bolding the answers to the questions may fit into a larger strategy from Google to make itself the search engine of choice for people seeking accurate answers. As was covered in another article on this site, Google has even experimented in laboratory testing with ranking pages based on the accuracy of verifiable facts within. At a time when the internet seems rife with inaccuracies, this strategy can work out well for Google (not that they really needed the help).
Bolding the answers to question is one of those small things Google can do that have a huge impact on the traffic to certain sites. For more information about changes to Google, read this article on Google’s change in policy involving press releases.