Pete Meyers (aka Dr. Pete) from Moz posted on Twitter, Friday, that he has seen an increase in attribution links on Google knowledge panels over the past couple of days in the MozCast tool. The folks at RankRanger also have been tracking these for a while, and Mordy Obserstein from RankRanger told us Monday he has not seen an increase in these style of these “explore cards,” as they call them.

What they look like. First, let me show you what the panels look like. In short, they look like a hybrid of Google’s knowledge panels and featured snippets. They often are displayed in the knowledge panel location but appear to look like featured snippets. Here are screen shots of examples:

Two percent of search results. Moz says it sees these panels for two to three percent of the search results it is tracking. The folks at RankRanger have been tracking these types of knowledge panels for a while now, they document them as “Explore Cards,” and you can track them in the RankRanger feature tracking tool. In fact, these have been in Google since January 2018. That tool shows no significant change to how often these cards are showing up in Google, but it does show a two to three percent coverage.

The concern and debate. Meyers thought it was interesting to see a change here so recently because of Google’s recent bad press around not attributing content to lyrics sites or becoming an answer portal versus a search engine. But with RankRanger’s data showing no real change here and Mordy Obserstein from RankRanger confirming this data with us, maybe nothing really is going on here.

Google testing no attribution. I will add that this morning I saw Google testing a featured snippet on mobile without any attribution at all. Here is a screenshot showing a card for “Free Zone” with no attribution, provided by @Venkatramani.

Why we should care. Obviously, many of the projects we work on depend on Google linking to our content. If Google decided to either increase or decrease how they link and attribute credit to our content, that can have a serious impact on our traffic and potentially company profits.


About The Author

Barry Schwartz is Search Engine Land’s News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on SEM topics.

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