As websites seeking traffic have learned to manipulate commonly requested search terms, their links have been appearing more frequently on the first page of Google’s results, even though they might not have the most relevant information. Google periodically tries to remove the rubbish by tweaking its ranking system, only to have websites figure out new ways to outfox the search formula.

If the Knowledge Graph works like it’s supposed to, it will give visitors less reason to leave Google’s website.

Although Google says that isn’t its main objective, anything that gives people a reason to hang around for longer periods, and perhaps enter more search requests, promises to help the company make more money. Google distributes ads all over the web, but it reaps its highest profit margins from commercial links that are clicked on its own website.

Anything that keeps people on Google longer is likely to amplify complaints that the company is more interested in promoting its own services than pointing visitors to other helpful internet destinations.

Singhal doesn’t see it that way. “As we answer more of our users’ questions, we save them time,” he said. “Time is the only quantity that we can’t make more of. When people save time, people search more. The web gets more traffic, and all boats rise.”

See also:

New web-search formulas have huge implications for students and society


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