Whether you’re an early adopter of the internet and have had your website for a long time or only been involved for a few years, you most likely have noticed the tightening grasp of Google’s algorithm around search results for almost every search.
In the beginning search was all organic. Everything that Google returned for a search was what is commonly referred to as the FREE results. Of course in the beginning Google didn’t make any money. In October of 2003 Google launched what became their very successful AdWords platform. Now Searchers had to jump over the hurdle of the ads to arrive at the FREE organic results.
2005 Google merges their Google Maps program with their local business program. They begin to show local listings in a different format that contains more information than just a link to the actual businesses websites. Name, address, phone, number, reviews and a map. All neatly displayed. No need to visit the website and have to hunt for any of this information which may be all many searchers need. Some websites lost traffic, if not sales.
In 2012 Google launched their Carousel feature returning images representing local businesses for some searches in a horizontal bar at the top of their results. This feature provides a visual interactive user experience users. Potentially beneficial to the searcher, perhaps not so much for the businesses.
What all of these new features have in common is content. Content directly on Google search results pages (SERPs). Content that keeps searchers on Google for a longer period of time. The longer a Searcher is on Google, the more likely they are to click on one of Google’s ads and voila, Google generates income.
You may have noticed when using voice search from cellular devices that Google will often reply with an audio response. Very convenient, not to mention much safer if you can just say “OK Google” “Make my search” and Google will respond with out you ever having to take your eyes off of what you’re doing to look at your screen. Not so convenient for the organic search results.
This week on Moz.om, Dr. J Myers published the article “Zero-Result SERPs: Welcome to the Future We Should’ve Known Was Coming”. The article details what is likely the next step in Google advancing their search platform. if or rather when the day comes that this new feature is implemented across all searches it will be a dark day for organic search results and many small businesses.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t maximize the effort in trying to get the best rankings and generating the most traffic to your website. It does however bring to mind the saying “the best consumer is an informed consumer”. Want to learn more about how One Sky Media can help you generate more traffic to your website? Please contact us.