Earlier this month, Barry Schwartz reported on Search Engine Land that Google was testing a new search feature that displayed knowledge graph data within search results snippets. Yesterday Google officially confirmed the new feature on their Research Blog. Google is is referring to this data as “structured snippets.”
While Google hopes that this additional information will be useful to users, the Google Research team said that “fact quality will vary across results based on page content,” and they will continue to improve the relevancy and accuracy of the information being displayed within the new structured snippets.
Here is what Google had to say about structured snippets:
Structured Snippets is the latest collaboration between Google Research and the Web Search team employing that data to seamlessly provide the most relevant information to the user. We use machine learning techniques to distinguish data tables on the Web from uninteresting tables, e.g., tables used for formatting web pages. We also have additional algorithms to determine quality and relevance that we use to display up to four highly ranked facts from those data tables.
Similar to when Google first introduced Knowledge Graph “cards,” many SEOs are concerned that by providing users with an answer to their query within search results would decrease click-through-rate. One thing to keep in mind is that structured snippets aren’t powered by Schema markup or any other type of structured data. Instead, Google uses it’s vast Knowledge Graph to extract “factual” data pertaining to a specific search query. What does this mean for the future of SEO? Look like we’ll have to wait and see.