The concept I’m about to talk about that Google is testing is not something new, I read an article about them testing this some time ago. The difference however is that I’ve now seen it in action for the first time.
What Google are testing is testing the display of more pages from the same website when you conduct a branded search. See the example below for a search on “APT River Cruises”:
As you can see above, the first 9 out of 10 results on page 1 are taken up by aptouring.com.au. This is certainly a shift in the way Google has handled this previously. Typical results for a branded search (which you will see in most brand searches now) is the use of sitelinks for the branded domain. See below:
The difference, as I’m sure you can see, is that there’s still many positions available on the first page for your website to occupy. In this example, you can see how Clean Cruising and Cruiseabout are in a position to capitalise on searches for “Princess Cruises”.
Branded searches are a huge opportunity for websites to capitalise on, which I’m sure many currently do. Whether you’re in the travel, retail, vehicle sales, product reviews or a range of other industries, there’s a large volume of searches available to take advantage of for specific brand phrases. Think “mazda”, “princess cruises”, “dyson”, “prada”, these are the types of terms that could be affected by this change.
As a website owner or marketer, you should ask yourself the following questions:
By all means I’m not suggesting you completely abandon a strategy targeting brand searches. For all we know, Google might only stick to applying this to a limited number of searches, however it always pays to be aware of what could be coming and what’s happening around you. You’re better to have a potential loss from this change in the back of your mind than pretend it’s never a possibility and get hit hard if it does!
The key take away is to ensure you have a diverse strategy that doesn’t focus on a core set of terms that are going to make you the big bucks. Focus on SEO as a complete strategy for your website and you’ll be sure to see great results across a range of terms, meaning you won’t get hit by SERP or algorithm changes like your competitors could!