As anyone who has targeted a heavily competitive keyword will tell you, often the number one spot is off-limits, leaving you to aim for the second or third position, which will also prove influential to your website’s traffic volumes. This mentality in SEO is very common, however following a number of changes that Google has made to the ‘search engine results page’ (SERP’s), these second and third positions no longer carry the same impact.
Newly introduced features such as real-time Twitter results, Google shopping results, news results and video results are leaving organic listings with reduced exposure. In addition to these factors, Google has also moved the shopping results box up, leaving the third listing out of sight initially on some product-orientated keywords. Google has also revamped the appearance of its sponsored listings, giving chosen adverts the ‘Google checkout’ listing, images or site links.
Lastly, Google has also increased the maximum amount of pages from any one website allowed to feature in listings to three, meaning that on some terms there are only 7 positions left, and that’s without the possibility of other websites also having multiple pages listed. These changes have not gone down well in the SEO world, with optimisers being forced to put all of their effort into reaching the number one spot for their desired term, as opposed to targeting multiple keywords.
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These changes have also put a bigger emphasis on PPC advertising, with some organisations considering it a more effective and efficient way of gaining exposure. The latest set of updates to the SERP’s from Google has left those who work in SEO questioning the sustainability of organic search, with Google clearly trying to provide a more diverse and varied offering to users.