Sign up for weekly recaps of the ever-changing search marketing landscape.
Meet The Google OneBox, Plus Box, Direct Answers & The 10-Pack
Google’s “normal” listings show the title of a web page, a description of it (also called a “snippet”) and the web page’s URL. However, Google also has other listings that appear within search results that are designed to give access to some of its specialized search tools (such as news search), to allow more information to be shown than a standard answer provides or to show answers directly within the search page. Here’s a short overview to these alternatives.
OneBox results are when Google shows information within a special unit, often with images associated with them. OneBox unit often appears to highlight news, shopping, image and other results that are blended into regular listings using Universal Search (see Google Universal Search for more about this)
In the example below, you can see three different OneBox units all mixed among regular results:
OneBox, by the way, gets its name from the idea that Google searchers should be able to use one single search box to access information from the various Google specialized search engines that exist.
Local OneBox Results — The “10-Pack”
For local results, Google does a special OneBox display that has a map on the left side of the OneBox and 10 local listings to the right. Here’s an example:
Those who track local search closely call this the “10-Pack” or “Ten Pack” display, because of the 10 local listings that are packed into such a small area.
Google “Plus Box” results are where Google shows a search listing with a little + symbol nearby that when selected “expands” the listing to show more information. For example, in the search on “dell” below, you can see a line that says “+ Show stock quote for DELL” like this:
Clicking on the + symbol displays a stock price chart and further information, like this:
For some popular queries, Google tries to show an exact answer to what you’re looking for right at the top of the search pages. For example, here’s a search on weather in Newport Beach:
See how the weather report is shown directly in the results? That’s a direct answer, and Google does this for everything from sports scores to flight tracking. Here’s a list from Google of just some examples of direct answers you can try.
For more about the features shown above, see the Google: OneBox, Plus Box & Direct Answers section of the Search Engine Land Library. Also see the Google: Search Customization and Google: User Interface sections for other ways Google customizes its search results.