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Google trusts its algorithms to answer straightforward questions

Google local search

Google trusts its algorithms to answer straightforward questions

If you’ve ever searched for a simple question online and had to wade through a huge, rambling article to find the answer – if indeed there is an answer at all – you’ll be pleased to hear that Google appears to be getting sick of this sort of clickbait too.

Previously, Googling questions like “when is Easter this year?” or “what time does the Champions League final kick off?” may have directed you to a selection of thin-content sites that have been padded out with loose information about the subject, before answering the question at the end or burying it in a paragraph. Even trusted UK media sources like The Telegraph and The Mirror have been accused of this practice, and in some cases – like film or album release dates – the question might not even have a confirmed answer.

Before last weekend’s Grand National at Aintree, PressGazette.co.uk noticed that a search for “Grand National 2023 time” simply displayed the answer “Sat, Apr. 15, 2023 5:15 PM”, sparing searchers the ordeal of scouring content of little value (and no doubt being confronted with advertising and cookie notifications along the way) in order to find out the time of the race.

Polemic Digital’s Barry Adams says of this function:

“It’s not new but it has got better and smarter.”

Today, a search for a variety of questions about upcoming events returns a quick response above the search results, including:

• When is the Coronation?
• When is Father’s Day 2023?
• When is Eid 2023
• What time does Eurovision start?

In some cases, these questions are answered as you are typing them, meaning there’s no need to even perform a search.

This is yet another nail in the coffin of the idea that pages have to be a default length in order to rank. Obviously, a question like “what time does the Grand National start?” does not require a 500-word response, so any article of that length is not going to represent helpful content.

If you want your website to be found when people are searching for an exact answer to a question, remember that the “right length” for your page is however long it needs to be to answer the question fully and accurately, but also concisely. If you need help with blog writing and search engine optimisation (SEO), why not arrange a no-obligation discovery call with Engage Web today?

John Murray
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