One U.K. website has spotted a new type of Google result that offers direct answers to travel search queries on the results page. This may be connected to Google's purchase of travel software firm ITA. Online travel businesses may be worried about Google overshadowing their websites, but all marketers should be wondering how this “answer-on-the-results-page” approach to queries could foretell a new era in search.
U.K.-based SEO Gadget first noticed the travel results. A search for “flights to Barcelona” offers instant answers via the first organic result on the page. A non-linked headline indicates the result is a list of relevant flights, organized according to departing city and flight time, with links to airlines that service those flights.
Notably, the flight view pushes other organic results down below the fold, limiting the number of sites that gain visibility on the first page of results. SEO Gadget reports that expanding Google's list to “show all nonstop flights” virtually eliminates every other organic listing – and you can see this in the screenshot shared by SEO Gadget:
While this test doesn't seem to have hit the U.S. yet, marketers in the travel industry will still want to consider how they can keep their brands high in rankings to avoid being off of searchers' radars – especially because so many airline tickets are now purchased online.
Also, cross-industry brands will want to monitor this and other “answer-like” results pages, which suggest it is becoming increasingly important to offer content that is relevant to timely queries. As major search engines including Google and Bing seem to be moving toward a more visual search experience, the rich snippets that accompany results should demonstrate that site content can answer consumers' industry questions and position brands as thought leaders/