Google Home responding with featured snippets

Yesterday, Google announced the debut of Google Home with Google Assistant, an Amazon Echo competitor with really awesome hands-free search.
One of the neat and expected parts of Google Home is how it uses featured snippets, knowledge graph and structured data to answer your voice queries. Danny Sullivan was able to play with it in person, and he shared two videos of how Google Home answers more complex questions.
The first question was “How do you get wine stains out of a rug?” Google Home responds, “According to Patch, Mix one-quarter teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent with four cups of lukewarm water …” Here is the video snippet of this in action:

Google Home will use Featured Snippets for answers. Source credited but not like getting a click #MadeByGoogle
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) October 4, 2016

The second question Danny captured was “What’s the most valuable stamp in the world?” Google Home responds, “According to Mashable, ‘World’s Most Valuable Stamp’

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Don’t trust Google to structure your local data

I have been noticing a lot of Google Answer Boxes showing up for queries with local intent these days. My recent post, Are You Doing Local Answers SEO? pointed out this fantastic result HomeAdvisor is getting for “replace furnace” queries:

When clients get these local answer boxes, they often perform significantly better than regular #1 organic listings. In our opinion, these seem to be driven primarily by the following factors:

Domain/page authority
Text that appears to answer the query
Easy-to-understand page structures (broken up into sections that target specific queries, tables, prices and so on). Schema is not necessary here, but it helps.

For more of a deep dive on how these work, see Mark Traphagen’s excellent summary of last year’s SMX West panel on The Growth of Answers SEO.
But I am not here to talk about how great answer boxes are. I am here to talk about this result that recently popped up for “university of illinois apartments”:

At first glance, you might think this was

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Google Introduces Candidate Cards In Search For Presidential Election Season

Google is giving Republican and Democratic candidates a privileged place in search in 2016. The company has launched what it says is an experimental feature that will create a prominent placement for the candidates’ own messages and content in a horizontal carousel in search results.
This is not an ad unit. The structured results will appear basically in the way that Twitter posts currently appear for candidate-related queries. However, the module is more flexible:

Candidates will be able to publish text with lengths up to 14,400 characters.
Candidates will be able to add up to 10 images or videos per post.

Google said in a blog post about the upcoming Republican debate that “political search interest spikes 440 percent on average during live televised debates as people turn to the web to learn more about the candidates and their platforms.” The new candidate cards will allow candidates to speak directly to voters and control some of the content in search about

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Google’s Not Sure What Day Super Bowl 50 Is Happening In 2016

Wondering when the Super Bowl is being held next year? Don’t depend on Google. The search engine can’t seem to make up its mind.
For the record, Super Bowl 50 will be held on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. The exact time still seems not to have been set. But if you ask Google, it sometimes gives the right location (Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California) but the wrong date of Saturday, Feb. 6:

As you can see above, Google’s direct answer for “when is the super bowl” shows Super Bowl 50 happening on Feb. 6. Oddly, Google also bolds what it considers to be a match for that search in the description from the official NFL site for the Super Bowl. That bolded answer is the correct date, Feb. 7.
Google’s archrival Bing gets it right:

Occasionally, Google does appear to be getting the date correct. Some of our Search Engine Land editors see the right date, especially those on the East Coast.

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How Trust & Unique Identification Impact Semantic Search

There are many factors that are key to the notion of semantic search. Two that are critical to understand that have not been written about much from an SEO point of view are trust and unique identification.
These two factors lie at the core of the many changes we see happening in search today, alongside Google’s ever-growing knowledge graph and their move in the direction of semantic search.
The Semantic Web Stack
The notion of trust is a key component in the semantic web. Below is an illustration that depicts the semantic web stack, with trust sitting at the top.
Semantic Web Stack (Source:
Trust is achieved through ascertaining the reliability of data sources and using formal logic when deriving new information. Computers leverage or mimic this factor in human behavior in order to derive algorithms that provide relevant search results to users.
Search Result Ranking Based On Trust
Search Result Ranking Based on Trust is, in fact, the name of a Google patent filed in September 2012. The

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Meet RankBrain: The Artificial Intelligence That’s Now Processing Google Search Results

Move over, Google search algorithm hand-crafted by hard-working Google engineers. RankBrain has moved in, a machine-learning artificial intelligence that Google’s been using to process 15 percent of search results per day.
It’s not really a complete replacement of the Google search algorithm, also known as Hummingbird, however. The algorithm is the system that processes what people search for and combs through billions of pages to rank the ones believed to be best first.
RankBrain: New Way To Interpret Queries?
RankBrain, instead, seems to be about one part of that algorithm, interpreting what someone searches for and understanding how to submit that request in various ways.
For example, someone might search for “Barack.” In the past, Google and other search engines might find pages with only that exact word. But over the past few years — and especially since Hummingbird launched in 2013 — Google’s gotten better at understanding relationships between words. A search for “Barack” might bring back pages and information that also matches “US

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Google Now, Microsoft Cortana & The Predictive Search World: Recap From SMX East

What will you search for next? That’s what Google and Microsoft are trying to figure out with their Now and Cortana products and, with all the data becoming available, they may know before you do. As a marketer, you need to be aware of these developments so you can improve the chances of your brands and products being proactively presented to people before they even know they want them.
That topic — predictive search — was the focus of a session by Cindy Krum, founder and CEO of MobileMoxie, at last week’s SMX East conference in New York City.
Because of Google’s dominance in the data collection and aggregation field throughout its Googleverse, Krum focused chiefly on Google Now, with only a brief mention of Microsoft’s Cortana, the predictive search engine on Microsoft phones.
Her overall premise was that Google Now is attempting to present answers to people before they even think to ask/search for them. The way Google’s reach and

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Google Adds Site URL In Knowledge Graph Box

Google has added a hyperlink to the main brand site when Google displays the knowledge graph in the search results.
If you search for brands, such as [pbs], [bbc], [fox news], [yahoo] and so on, next to the site name, near the company description, you will see the clickable URL.
Here is a picture:

This may alleviate some of the concern publishers expressed over the knowledge graph.
Hat tip to Rahul Mistry from for sending this our way.
The post Google Adds Site URL In Knowledge Graph Box appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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A Guide To Schema Markup & Structured Data SEO Opportunities By Site Type

You have probably heard that leveraging schema markup (or other kinds of structured data) can help increase search engines’ understanding of your site’s content, as well as enhance search visibility via rich snippets, featured snippets and Knowledge Graph results. Structured data is a great way to create more search engine-friendly signals, which can indirectly impact search rankings.
Google’s John Mueller recently stated that the search engine giant may add structured data markup as a ranking factor. So it is definitely worth the effort to implement schema markup on your website, as this is becoming more important to Google.
However, it can be confusing at times to determine which schemas you should use on your website. There are many, and determining which ones to use can be difficult. Below, I have listed a breakdown of which schemas might be used by specific website types. Some can be used across all sites.
All Sites
The following schema markup types can and should be used across all different site types.

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Graphiq Search: FindTheBest Becomes Knowledge Graph Engine

The world’s most extensive “knowledge graph” may not be at Google. Vertical search site FindTheBest (FTB) has rebranded and relaunched as Graphiq, a data visualization or knowledge graph search engine.
Using a huge volume of data sources, automation and human editorial oversight, the company says that it has created “the world’s deepest and most interconnected Knowledge Graph, featuring 1,000 collections, 1 billion entities, 120 billion attributes, and 25 billion curated relationships.”
Founder Kevin O’Conner told me that FTB’s experience creating roughly 18 distinct search verticals loaded with structured data was the foundation for the new site. There’s considerable sophistication behind the scenes, enabling the new site to dynamically generate 10 billion data visualizations.
Here are a few examples:

While it’s difficult to determine, Graphiq may offer the widest selection of structured data (and associated visualizations) anywhere online. The data and graphics range from international GDP comparisons to healthcare stats to the historical popularity of US baby names and well beyond.
FTB’s original vertical search sites are not being promoted, but they can still be found in

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