Google has added a new contextual information block on selected search queries which aims to provide more relevant search matches based on commonalities.
As explained by Google:
“Imagine you’re remodeling your kitchen, and you want information about how quartz compares to granite for your new countertops. Sure, Google can tell you what quartz and granite are, but that’s perhaps not what you had in mind - chances are you’re hoping to learn more about the differences in cost, benefits, and durability of each, and may be looking for guidance on other subtopics to explore.”
As you can see in the example above, the new information panel provides a listing of common, related queries, helping users to get the information they need faster.
“Now when you search for something like [quartz vs. granite], you’ll see a panel with a set of relevant subtopics to explore. As another example, when you search [emergency fund], you'll get a quick view of information that relates to the recommended size, purpose, and importance of an emergency fund, and you can easily click the links to these relevant sources to learn more.”
The update has clear usage benefits, providing more, easy to access, answers to common queries. It also aligns with Google’s search improvements based on contextual data, while moving in line with increased mobile usage (and less typing).
But it could also reduce referral traffic. For each query, users can tap the drop-down and get a quick summary, which could mean they no longer need to click through. That still wouldn’t matter for shopping or transactional searches, as the searcher would still be looking for a product to buy, but it is worth considering.
The new contextual matches are essentially an expansion of Google’s Knowledge Panel listings, through which the search giant is providing more and more information on the one search screen. From a positive SEO perspective, they also provide more link options on the main page for such queries – now, there’ll be extra links displayed within these listings, giving you more ways to match your content to common searches, potentially boosting exposure.
The option will also give brands more insight into the most common, related searches around their offerings.