Lately, I've seen hyperlinks inserted in answers (example here) that suggest a Google Search query to a user. While I think there is some value in providing the terminology a novice should use to find their answers, it strikes me as going against the idea of Stack Exchange in general, to be the first source of knowledge when people search Google and avoiding link rot.

Should I take any sort of action when encountering these?

  • Note that the same search query doesn't give the same results for everyone - Google tailors your results based on lots of info they have stored on you. Therefore search queries aren't even reliable to start with. Commented Aug 19, 2017 at 6:23

3 Answers 3


While what Vincent said about StackExchange wanting to be the reference that shows up on Google is true, I disagree with the sentiment that any answer that references a search query should be a comment.

I think if an answer is primarily a reference to a search query (Google or otherwise), then it is better suited as a comment. However, if the answer is useful in its own right and then provides a search query in addition that the OP/viewers may not have searched, I think that is valid and should stay in answers. Often times I will include a search query in my answers, especially when dealing with terminology and style identification requests. Three I found very quickly are these: 1, 2, 3.

In the answer linked in the question, the query included isn't all that useful so I wouldn't mind it being omitted or edited out, but in general including a search query shouldn't be banned.

  • Can you provide an instance of what you mean by a useful Google search query so the reader can make a better distinction? (and maybe make me change my mind about this) :-)
    – curious Mod
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 0:21
  • @Emilie I added the first 3 I found very quickly to my answer Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 3:32
  • 1
    Definitely limit it to answers that are primarily a search query link. I've got a few answers that incorporate search links and I think in one of those cases it has improved the SEO (based on the question getting tons of views).
    – Dom
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 14:46

It is Stack Exchange's aim to be the link that pops up when you Google a question. Google links in answers would become a strange loop in this case. Mathematically and philosophically interesting, but not a desirable effect in practice.

I'd prefer to see these as comments, so I'd say flag them to be converted to a comment when you see them.

  • 1
    I agree with Zach. Leaving this answer here for reference.
    – Vincent
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 12:34

I am against this because you come to a specific website to get opinions from it's members not from everywhere.

That being said, there is a reasonably good chance you came from Google in the first place.

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