Google has now confirmed that it’s testing a new feature in the search results. On the off chance that they don’t have content (or enough content, maybe?) for a query, it may ask searchers to submit a more detailed question directly to the company – in the search results box. The box reads:
“Get the answer that you’re looking for added to the web” and feeds the information directly to Google. In exchange, Google says they may pass the question along to content creators, who may then be able to publish articles to their websites that will better answer the questions.
We caught wind of this news via a screenshot posted in an online forum and learned from Google that right now it is a small-scale experiment. Ultimately, Google wants to create more content that it can index and return to searchers, to help more searchers find what they are looking for.
A Google spokesperson has said this small-scale experiment is designed to continue finding high-quality content and relevant results for users by “supporting a healthy content ecosystem.” The box will pop up when Google thinks the searcher isn’t able to find what they are looking for.
Then, Google will “experiment with ways to highlight these questions to content creators who may be able to publish articles on their properties to better answer these questions.”
The “goal is to enrich the entire web ecosystem and thereby improve search results for users who may search for the same question in the future. Google doesn’t plan to create the content or pay people to develop the content. When it shares the data with third-parties to assist in the creation of better content, it will only share the actual text of the question typed by the user into the provided box.
Once the user submits their question, they see a thank you message, and the box closes automatically.
Thanks to Search Engine Land for breaking this story. We’ll be interested to see how this plays out for us in here America using Google.com. And, in the meantime, that’s all the more reason to make sure the content on your website thoroughly answers as many questions as you believe those in your target audience may ask.
If you happen to see this feature in any of your searches, please let us know!
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