Following its latest shake-up, which has had a huge impact on search-engine results, it may appear that Google is finally evening out the playing field between big players in each sector and start-ups or smaller counterparts that offer the very same thing.
Described as a ‘site diversity change’, Google’s Core Algorithm update was actually implemented in March, yet it’s only now that people are starting to see its true impact.
Essentially, Google has pledged that users will not see more than two listings from the same site following a search. This affects those companies that manage to find a plethora of phrases and search terms to describe one single product or service, in the hope of swamping Google’s results and pushing their competitors further down the listings.
SEO services, which typically engage in such practices, will no longer be the way to ‘get round Google’.
Isn’t this great news for smaller companies, the ones who likely can’t afford to spend thousands on SEO each month? As their bigger rivals see their number of appearances on Google drastically cut, their own listings can’t fail but rise up the ranks as a consequence. The user then benefits from more choice, diversity and variety in results.
Take a well-known entity like the magazine ‘Vanity Fair’. Google’s update has driven 44% less traffic to its site via SEO visibility. Ties.com (which, unsurprisingly, sells ties) has seen 47% less traffic to its website since the update, whilst necn.com news site has seen a 60% loss.
There will be a few exceptions; Google says it will still display numerous listings from the same company if it “determines it’s especially relevant to do so for a particular search”.
Whilst cynics amongst us may believe this latest update isn’t so much about giving voice to small and medium-sized businesses but pushing larger brands with plenty of marketing spend towards paid advertising/sponsored listings with Google, the outcome is still the same. Brands who may have previously been in no man’s land when it came to their visibility on Google may find their enquiries increase, which is no bad thing.
So, given that keyword-centred content no longer benefits a brand, how can companies improve their search engine rankings once Google’s effective ‘leg-up’ has taken hold?
We recommend strengthening your authenticity. Trying to appear bigger than you are and competing with your larger rivals won’t make much difference to the listings; what will help, however, is boosting the know, like, trust relationship with your customers. Virtual word of mouth is as strong as it’s ever been, and when Google knows yours is a site it can trust – because it genuinely helps its clients, and it provides unique content to Google – it will place you higher and higher in results.
You now have a chance to stand eye-to-eye with household names, so make sure you’re projecting the true values of your brand. Searches in 2019, especially voice searches, are not about key words as much as key sentences; AI now has the ability to find a particular answer to a question that’s been typed into Google rather than the odd word - so concentrate on answering what your target customers need to know.