Search Engines Serving up Answers to Questions

Last week, at Assertive Media, we read the article on Search Engine Land published on 2nd September by Amy Gesenhues, “Google Search For “Fun Facts” Serves Up Random Q&As Via Dynamic Answer Box” which ultimately outlines how Google’s dynamic answer box answers a large variety of questions.

The article got us thinking about how Google, and other search engines, have become a source of factual information. So, we decided to have a bit of fun, and experiment with search, asking three (very) random questions to three of the most popular search engines.

Let’s put Google, Bing and Yahoo to the test:

Question 1: What is the disease found in rivers due to rat wee?

Google
Google’s dynamic answer box provides a clear, definite answer and also makes some relevant, useful news apparent too.



Bing

Bing’s Search results are, arguably, a bit less direct and precise. We see a description box about rats on the right hand side (which is general information related to the question), and a Wikipedia result is at the top of the SERPs. Although, we do get the correct information, it comes with more time, clicks and effort than Google’s answer.



Yahoo

Yahoo, similarly to Bing, has a Wikipedia answer at the top of the SERPs.

Question 2: Who are the highest paid athletes?

The answer we found on all three of the search engines was Floyd Mayweather. Google’s answer was particularly impressive though, without even having to make another click, we find out that Floyd Mayweather is the highest paid athlete and that his sport is boxing. In addition, we are provided with the next three top paid athletes, without having to leave our screen.

Question 3: What is the key to success?

When typing into the search bar, what is the key to success? Yahoo and bing show the same top three answers from keytosuccess.education.gov.uk, pickthebrain.com and brainyquote.com. 
Google’s top 3 answers are, again, slightly different in that, the top search result is not keytosuccess.education.gov.uk. Instead, the top result is pickthebrain.com followed by brainyquote.com. The third search result is from entrepreneur.com. 
Perhaps, Google does not have keytosuccess.education.gov.uk at the top of the SERPs because it requires a personal login to use the site.

Conclusion

With the three random questions we put to the search engines, Google seems to show slightly different results to bing and yahoo. Google’s answers are, perhaps, more convenient, as you do not always have to do a further click. There is the argument here though that a website is less likely to be clicked on when searched through google, as the answer to our question is clearly displayed at the top of the page. That said, people may indeed click this top answer to find out more information.
Would you like to find out more information about search engines, SEO or online marketing, contact Assertive Media on 0845 299 7642 or 0208 720 7288.

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