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Is Google Getting It Wrong?

direct anwser snippet
26 Jan 2017

If you have ever performed a Google search for a quick snippet of information, like how old a celebrity is or how to make a certain recipe, then you have likely seen Google’s Direct Answer feature in play. Displayed prominently at the top of the results, these Direct Answer snippets are assumed to be accurate and fact-checked, but, unfortunately, that is not always the case.

There have been several instances where blatantly inaccurate information has been shown in the Direct Answer box, leaving many users understandably upset. This information is displayed as fact, while it is clearly anything but. So why does this happen? And what is Google doing to stop it?

How Google Chooses the Direct Answer Snippet

Essentially, Google simply shows the top-ranking website for the query in the Direct Answer box. So really, all that means is whatever website has done the most effective organic SEO work will be the one shown. Google has deemed them the most relevant based on their long list of ranking factors, and that is that. Since there is no actual person reviewing the Direct Answers to confirm they are factual, there is clearly ample room for error.

What Google Is Doing to Fix the Problem

As incorrect, or downright inappropriate, results are appearing on the Direct Answer feature, Google is working harder to improve their algorithm. While their algorithm changes are top secret, we would suspect they are improving their algorithm to better identify quality sites versus the ones that are simply run by SEO scammers. Some experts also argue that Google is making manual changes if an inappropriate or incorrect website shows up in the Direct Answer box, but at this point, that is 100% speculation.

How You Can Help

While it is absolutely Google’s responsibility to come up with a comprehensive algorithm that can better identify the websites publishing incorrect information, there are a few things we, as users, can do to help out:

  • Counteract the false information with truthful information. Use the same keywords, but publish them with the right information so your site can rank instead of the incorrect one.
  • Never link back to the sites with the false information. While it is okay to report about it and inform your audience, if you link to the site, you are only helping their cause by giving them more link juice. If you feel like a link is necessary, make sure to use the no-follow attribute.

If you have noticed false information regarding your industry taking the top spot in Google, and therefore earning the valuable Direct Answer snippet, some patience and positive SEO work is necessary. If there is an incorrect Direct Answer in one of your popular keyword queries, contact Zero Gravity Marketing now.