How does google decide what appears in the answer box?

4 replies
  • SEO
  • |
I don't know what it's like for you guys, but google does not always provide an accurate answer in the box on page one during my searches. Furthermore, I've attempted to provide accurate answers with articles, as I'm sure others have as well, but they don't tend to make the cut.

I did have one article chosen and displayed under the first question for a specific place during the course of a few weeks. However, it was recently removed and replaced with a Trip Advisor review which does not adequately answer the question. In fact, half the Trip Advisor reviews in the answer boxes (I have seen) do not correctly answer the questions people ask.

I suspect it's typically based on popularity or domain authority. Which is unfortunate because google does not know how to answer a question and simply relies on popularity. I've tried adjusting titles, headings and adding specific pieces of content, but haven't seen any success for other topics.

If I answer a question with an entire article, why does google display topics which do not adequately answer the question ahead of a personal experience?

I understand it is probably not the best thing to have your site show up in the answer box because most people probably get their answer without looking at the site itself. That's another discussion. I prefer actual details myself and that is the type of information I share.

In the year 2020, why can't google display more accurate answers in its answer box? Requiring website owners to get more back links and popularity is not acceptable. Do they need more time to sift through the information?? I don't get it.
#answer #appears #box #decide #google
Avatar of Unregistered
  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    If I put my Cynical hat on, I say:
    Google exists to make money.
    It makes money when people click on ads.
    People click on ads when they do not find their answer in the organic part of Google. They do that more if it does not look like Google is manipulating them into doing it.

    So Google has to make it look like it's trying damn hard to give them the best answers while making sure it is not.

    How do you like my Cynical hat?
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11599155].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Dave Earley
      Originally Posted by DABK View Post

      If I put my Cynical hat on, I say:
      Google exists to make money.
      It makes money when people click on ads.
      People click on ads when they do not find their answer in the organic part of Google. They do that more if it does not look like Google is manipulating them into doing it.

      So Google has to make it look like it's trying damn hard to give them the best answers while making sure it is not.

      How do you like my Cynical hat?
      While your hat may have no proof to support its weight, I cannot deny it may exist.

      Of course, I don't use ads so according to your hat my posts may never show up on the first page. I think it more likely has something to do with popularity, which is sad. Perhaps google tests out answers in the box to see how they do (based on clicks?) because obviously google doesn't know the answer.

      I noticed people ask if their are mountains in my city and state. I answered this in a post because no one had, and google thought the best answer was an actual mountain in another state, which makes no sense ( except for the fact the name of that mountain is a city name) at all. While my post easily made it to page one due to lack of competition, it does not make the answer box. Hmmm, confusing. Google still thinks a mountain in another state is a better answer even though there are no mountains near me. Even more confusing, the top post is a list of parks near me (where there are no mountains) but they did use the phrase "mountain biking" in their article.

      I find it difficult to believe google cannot be programmed to be more accurate. I notice the meta description is used a lot to pull info. Sometimes headers are used, and once in awhile a small part of the body is pulled. However, other times it does not pull body content when it is more relevant than posts which are ranked higher.

      I guess I enjoy trying to figure out the impossible...
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11599207].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author DABK
        Your answer makes me think that my Cynical hat deserves a different name: Realist Hat.


        You'd think with all those billions in their back pocket they'd be able to tell states apart, right?



        Originally Posted by Dave Earley View Post

        While your hat may have no proof to support its weight, I cannot deny it may exist.

        Of course, I don't use ads so according to your hat my posts may never show up on the first page. I think it more likely has something to do with popularity, which is sad. Perhaps google tests out answers in the box to see how they do (based on clicks?) because obviously google doesn't know the answer.

        I noticed people ask if their are mountains in my city and state. I answered this in a post because no one had, and google thought the best answer was an actual mountain in another state, which makes no sense ( except for the fact the name of that mountain is a city name) at all. While my post easily made it to page one due to lack of competition, it does not make the answer box. Hmmm, confusing. Google still thinks a mountain in another state is a better answer even though there are no mountains near me. Even more confusing, the top post is a list of parks near me (where there are no mountains) but they did use the phrase "mountain biking" in their article.

        I find it difficult to believe google cannot be programmed to be more accurate. I notice the meta description is used a lot to pull info. Sometimes headers are used, and once in awhile a small part of the body is pulled. However, other times it does not pull body content when it is more relevant than posts which are ranked higher.

        I guess I enjoy trying to figure out the impossible...
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11599258].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author Dave Earley
          Originally Posted by DABK View Post

          Your answer makes me think that my Cynical hat deserves a different name: Realist Hat.


          You'd think with all those billions in their back pocket they'd be able to tell states apart, right?
          Yes, I definitely would, but they are mixing posts about a large city with a mountain which takes that cities name, yet is over 500 miles away. Moreover, it's not as if people are simply typing in the name of the mountain, they are asking if ANY mountains exist in a city. Furthermore, if I write "there are zero mountains but thousands of hills" in an H2 header, I would expect that info to be pulled as an answer to the question. Perhaps they need more time? Maybe someone has to click on my post first? Maybe they don't want my site to be in more than one answer box, I have no idea.

          In any event, my other post was placed back in the answer box over the Trip Advisor one which doesn't quite answer the question being asked. To my knowledge I did not do anything. I didn't make any changes or gain any backlinks. Trip Advisor DA is way over mine and they have a lot more social interaction. The adjustments may be strictly coming from the serps - possibly by people clicking back to get further information?
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11599536].message }}
Avatar of Unregistered

Trending Topics