Google is preparing one of the biggest-ever revamps of its dominant search engine to include direct answers in its search results rather than just links to other websites, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The change is designed to help the search engine giant as it attempts to maintain its leading position in web queries. The new system would also help Google fend off a growing challenge from Apple, whose mobile digital assistant Siri provides answers and information to users’ spoken questions, enabling them to bypass Google in their mobile web searches.

The new search architecture will be built on a database that Google has been amassing for several years that now contains hundreds of millions of entries, the report said.

Providing direct answers to queries in a so-called “semantic search” environment would enable Google to keep users on its own site for longer periods of time, and thus sell more search-related ads.

Currently Google’s results almost always concentrate on links to external sites.

The change is expected to be introduced starting in the coming months, but the transition to the next generation of search “is a years-long process,” Google executive Amit Singhal told the paper.

Keywords: GoogleSEO