Google has been providing “Snippets” for quite some time – providing additional, instant information that is easily digestible and perfect for voice search results. However, there have been any number of issues brought forth due to it. We have seen a number of complaints arise from the ‘service’ due to a large number of them serving up opinions rather than facts when sourced from third party sites.
Google is looking to update this feature by providing multiple boxes in the future in order to better represent a “diverse” range of opposing views through fear that it may be presenting views weighted towards any single opinion. Some people have even gone so far as to state the Google is currently spreading lies.
What Does this Mean for Google Snippets in Search Marketing?
In the world of Search Marketing, the snippets have been a double-edged sword. There has been a race among many marketing teams to ensure that their clients show up for these snippets (heck, we have celebrated any time we have succeeded in getting our clients to show up in these snippets), but at the same time it gives customers less of a reason to visit any of the websites if the answer that they are looking for is in the search results leading to fewer opportunities for marketing to that potential customer on their website and also Remarketing to them through delicious cookies.
The introduction of additional snippets will certainly help to ensure that differing points of view will be represented, however it could cause additional problems. For example, just because a viewpoint can be found which opposes another, that doesn’t mean that it is reasonable to present it as a valid alternative. People don’t believe in gravity and flat-earthers are getting more screen time than they have ever deserved, that doesn’t mean that the view should be presented on a level playing field alongside those of Isaac Newton.
However, that isn’t to say that Google shouldn’t try. With the advent of voice search, there isn’t as much of an opportunity for people to take in alternative views, instead just single snippets are put forward as though they are fact. As Google snippets become more influential, there is no doubt that more needs to be done to improve the quality of the information.
We have also seen what Google has created in the form of the Perspective API, It’s very easy to see how this, or similar, technology could begin to weed out opinion in the Google Snippets and really cleanse the information for those few nuggets of truth. Something which we, as Search Marketers, will need to be increasingly aware of.