Google featured snippets now often followed by the “people also ask” box

Google has made a change to the featured snippets where often, right after the featured snippets are displayed in the search results it is followed by the people also ask box.
This started happening yesterday and it can be found for many of the queries that trigger a featured snippet. It does not show for all but it does show for many.
Here are two screen shots of how it looks with the people also ask directly after the featured snippets:

Here is an example of a featured snippet that currently doesn’t have the people also ask feature after it:

It is unclear if this change is a new search feature or a bug with the search results.
The post Google featured snippets now often followed by the “people also ask” box appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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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 https://t.co/ZLMqVwHpvc pic.twitter.com/GkE7n3kovb
— 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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Is Google showing fewer image boxes in its search results?

Google would show an image box for typically anywhere from 35 percent to 20 percent of the queries they return — at least this is based on tracking tools from Moz and RankRanger — but that seems to have dropped significantly yesterday by half.
Both Moz and RankRanger are showing about a 50-percent reduction in the frequency Google will show the image box in the web search results.
The box looks like this on desktop web search results:

Now, those boxes show up not as often, according to these tools. We did ask Google for a comment but have not yet heard back. We will update this story if we hear anything from them.
Here is the chart from Mozcast showing the reduction from about 30 percent to about 15 percent, a 50-percent drop:

Here is the RankRanger chart showing a drop from about 23 percent to 11 percent:

Anecdotally, I am also seeing webmasters confirm this. So it doesn’t seem to be

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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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What Time Is The Super Bowl? Google & Bing Are Confused

As Super Bowl 50 approaches, people will begin searching more and more for the starting time (kickoff is 3:30 p.m. PT on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016). But right now, both Google and Bing live in the past, depending on how you ask.
“What Time Is The Super Bowl?” Madness
So many people search for the start time of the Super Bowl each year that news publications have vied against each other for ages to rank tops for the query.
In 2014, Google tried to make it easier for searchers by introducing a direct answer box. Do a search for “when is the super bowl” on Google now, and you can see one of these appearing with the correct day and time for Super Bowl 50:

Last month, the box was getting the day wrong. That’s been fixed. But Google’s woes are back if you search for the Super Bowl 2016 start time in a different and popular way.
Google’s Living Like It’s 2015
On Google, a search right

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Powerball Numbers? You’ll Be Surprised Which Search Engines Knew Them

Millions of Americans waited anxiously Saturday night to find out if they’d won the latest Powerball lottery drawing. An estimated $950 million jackpot awaited the winner(s), and search activity skyrocketed as the drawing took place and players went looking for the winning numbers.
Google Trends shows a huge spike in U.S. search activity for the term “powerball” leading right up to and after the drawing at 7:59 pm PT:

So, how did the search engines do at responding to this spike? Let’s take a look.
Google
As I type this at almost 11:00 pm PT, almost three hours have passed, and Google isn’t answering that search activity with a direct answer showing the winning numbers. Instead, what’s showing is a Google News Onebox and the Twitter carousel that shows tweets matching my search term.

The snippet underneath the first result — that ABC News headline — appears like it cuts off at an inopportune point right before the winning numbers would show.

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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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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 http://bluepostdigital.com/ for sending this our way.
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Google To Double The Number Of Health Conditions In Search Results

Google announced they are more than doubling their health conditions database, so that when you search for health or medical topics in Google, you are more likely to find factual medical data on that condition.
Google launched medical content in search back in February with about 400 conditions. Over the next few weeks, you should see more than 900 conditions listed. Google also is adding downloadable PDFs and updating the overall design on both Web and mobile.
Here are the three large changes happening with Google’s medical search results:

Hundreds more health conditions (soon more than 900 total, more than double the number Google started with) with quick at-a-glance info on symptoms, treatments, prevalence and more
Visual design improvements and some more specific triggering so it’s quicker and easier to get the info you need (for example, you can now search for “pink eye symptoms,” and you’ll get straight to the symptoms tab)
A “Download PDF” link so you can easily print

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What Happened To Dinosaurs? Google’s Direct Answer Gives Non-Scientific Theory From Religious Site

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Wondering what happened to the dinosaurs? Probably best not to ask Google if you’re looking for an evolution-based answer.
Previously reported on Motherboard.com, a Google search for “what happened to dinosaurs” will deliver a direct answer with content pulled from a religiously-affiliated website offering up the following:
Dinosaurs are used more than almost anything else to indoctrinate children and adults in the idea of millions of years of earth history. However, the Bible gives us a framework for explaining dinosaurs in terms of thousands of years of history, including the mystery of when they lived and what happened to them.
According to the report on Motherboard, the query “what happened to the dinosaurs” delivered the questionable direct answer. Now, if you do the same search, the direct answer has been removed; but, if you do a slightly different version of the search – “what happened to dinosaurs” with the word ‘the’ removed – you still get the creationist-inspired

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