Is Google’s Algorithm Populating Answer Boxes with Its Own Independent Research?

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Is Google’s Algorithm Populating Answer Boxes with Its Own Independent Research?

If you search “Best games to play for YouTube” you’ll receive an answer containing H2s from my article, The 23 Best Games for YouTube in 2016. This is what the above the fold SERP looks like:

The above the fold SERP for 'best games to play for youtube' query

Here’s where it gets interesting. Google is leaving out answers and providing only the games it views as most appropriate.

A screenshot of my article "The 23 Best Games to Play for YouTube in 2016"

Here are all the games from my article, in the order in which they appear. Google’s chosen games are colored in green:

  • Battlefield 1
  • Bloodborne
  • GTA V
  • FiFA 16
  • TrackMania Turbo
  • Garry’s Mod
  • League of Legends
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops III
  • Tom Clancy’s The Division
  • Overwatch
  • Just Cause 3
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  • Brawlhalla
  • Rocket League
  • Dark Souls III
  • Unravel
  • Firewatch
  • GoldenEye 007 (this was put in as a joke, but coded as an H2 nonetheless)
  • Destiny
  • Dead by Daylight
  • Fallout 4
  • Undertale
  • No Man’s Sky
  • Minecraft

My Crazy Egg data suggests that these were not picked by click volume (as each of these H2s are hyperlinked), which means Google must be using some other popularity metric, such as its own search volume data or external sales data.

Regardless, it’s using data external from the article to choose which answers to show to its searchers.

Update: I did some more research and found that the games Google is pulling are the top games (with the exception of Counter-Strike from this top ranking article mostly about the same thingGoogle is cross referencing H2s with other top articles in the same format- indeed a version of independent research.

Edward Sturm

Edward Sturm is an SEO and video and image producer.