Google Answers Questions Directly in Results and Hangs on to Your Traffic
Google is hoping to keep users on their site longer by giving them the answers to the questions they're asking directly on the search results page. They're doing this with what they've named - the Knowledge Graph. This change seems slightly minor but when you step back and look at the bigger pictures you quickly see that this will also change the way that Google actually views search.
Going forward, instead of looking at each inquiry as a combination of key words, it will have to also be able to see the keywords as an entity in itself (person, place, or thing). Only then will it be able to effectively answer your question.
The Knowledge Graph contains information about more than 500 million entities in the world, and more than 3.5 billion facts and relationships between those entities. This means that Google will understand when you search for Taj Mahal that you mean one of three well known entities, not just the two words that make up the phrase. As Google states it: "Things, not strings".
When you search for one of these entities, Google will display relevant information about it in panels on the right side of the search results. As part of the list of facts you'll see about each query, Google also wants to have facts that will answer your next question. Google does this by showing queries other people have searched for that are related in a section titled, People also searched for.
Every one of the links listed within these panels links out to another Google Search. They are completely focused on keeping you on Google and being sure that you get what you need without clicking through to another site until you actually have to. A normal experience when searching for information about a person, place or other popular fact is getting a #1 listing by Wikipedia. This shift in how search works will obviously allow Google to take (or keep) some of that traffic for themselves.
This next search for Janis Joplin includes links on some of her songs. Instead of letting you listen to them right there, those links take you to another s...