Earlier this year, Google began offering much more detailed answers in the top Knowledge Graph box.
Shortly after that was introduced, Google also began expanding those answers into a bulleted list format. We’ve been seeing these bulleted lists, especially in “how-to” like queries for months now and here are some interesting examples.
In the example above, notice how the first result is not being used for the answer here. Google is making an effort to give the publisher a nice big link, but the truth is the user really has no need to click through to the publisher’s site to get the answer. Which goes back to the major concern over the Knowledge Graph and publisher’s traffic.
Above is another example, now with 6 steps, a description and a link to the publisher’s site. Again, the first organic result is not being used for the answer here.
In this final example, we have Google only listing 3 steps but adding a note that there are “3 more items” in the list and they should click through to the publishers site to read more. A publisher would likely prefer this over listing all their content on the page, but a searcher probably would not want to have to click through to get the full answer.
We’ve asked Google for more details about how these work and how publishers may control them? We have yet to hear back.
Postscript: A Google spokesperson told us:
We started experimenting with this in early June. We hope it draws attention to webpages that provide a useful series of steps to help people complete their task. In these cases we focus attention on the snippet because it’s likely to be more helpful for deciding whether the webpage is going to be the most useful for the task.