The latest change to the Google search engine has come into force.

Now if you ask Google a question it is now only presenting you with the answer instead of the answer and a whole page of search results for your question.

For example, if you asked Google what 86 x 60 is it used to give you the answer but also show a full page of results for various mathematical websites and blogs relating to that sum or even multiplication.

Now, Google will simply show the searcher the answer and hide the search results that used to show. The searcher can still access the search results but they will have to click on a button to load the search results.

Why has Google done this?

Google states that they are experimenting with this ‘condensed’ view to help speed up the loading time for the simple queries that they get.

At the moment this change is limited to searches with specific answers, these include:

  • Mathematical sums
  • Dates and times
  • Conversions of units/measurements

99% of the time those who make these types of queries will simply be looking for an answer and not a full break down of all time zones or units of measurements. Due to this kind of behaviour the latest change makes a lot of sense.

Will this change be implement to other simple queries?

There are a lot of questions being asked as to whether this change will be implemented for other simple queries made by searchers.

Queries such as…

  • When is Easter 2018?
  • When is X celebrity’s birthday?
  • What is the capital of Y country?

To answer your question – we simply don’t know. If they did, then it is another one of Google’s hidden UX changes.

It wouldn’t be unreasonable to believe that these kinds of changes will come into force in the near future, after all people want to search and gain a quick answer.

Update 21/03/2017: Latest searches show this simplified view appearing for branded product searches. Below is an example search for 'Lagavulin 16'.

Lagavulin 16 Google Search - March 2018

How does this affect my Website?

The good news is that this change and possible changes going forward shouldn’t affect most websites and businesses.

Most websites don’t provide answers to these types of simple questions but it does highlight the need to ensure that your key information, such as phone numbers, are clearly stated to allow Google to pick up on these as answers to simple questions.

For those websites who do operate as fact websites, and often have answers to simple questions asked by searchers, efforts should be made to ensure that all of your facts and answers are marked up for easy selection by Google.

Update 21/03/2018: Based on the search findings for 'Lagavulin 16', as shown above, if you are selling branded products then you may need to ensure that your website is strong enough to be shown in these types of results. This also highlights the need to appear for long tail keywords relating to the brand searched for. Unfortunately we don't yet know if these new search results will continue to be implemented.

Published: 14th Mar 2018

« Back