Google’s latest tests look set to annihilate whatever organic traffic exists beyond page one results by offering users alternative search terms at the bottom of the page.
It’s clearly still in development, because if you’ve searched for ‘stick vacuum cleaners’, you probably don’t need Dyson’s whole product line – including a hair dryer.
But this does present 3 interesting points about the potential future of SEO.
Google has always made its best efforts to persuade users from clicking onto page two by offering a comprehensive list of alternative searches. This essentially offers the same ability, but with a vastly improved user experience.
Recent studies have suggested that Google will serve more images in SERPs, due to their inherently high CTR.
Image courtesy of SEOClarity.
With that in mind, it makes sense that Google would modify their ‘related searches’ to cash in on this trend.
And as an added benefit to the UX, it offers users a glimpse into what that particular search term would return in results, and offers hope that changing search queries will lead to more relevant information.
If the user’s search intent indicates they’re interested in a particular category of products/services, and your structures and site map present content that matches this intent, there’s an opportunity to have your range presented in this space.
So if it wasn’t already an absolute necessity in SEO, site mapping and content structures could be what saves organic SEO from this invasion of featured snippets and paid results.
Perhaps ‘anti-organic’ is the wrong way to phrase it. Nevertheless, your typical text result (with a meta title, description and other structured data) is becoming an endangered species.
Consider the ‘stick vacuum cleaners’ example above. When you land on page 1 of Google (on desktop), you’re met with 9 product page tiles on the right of screen – a similar UX to what mobile would offer. From there, it’s into 4 paid ads and a single, lonely organic result. The last piece of the puzzle to beat the fold is Google’s rich answer boxes tackling common questions related to stick vacuums.
By the time 2 more paid ads and this updated ‘related search’ box appear, organic results have very limited real estate on page 1. That means that ranking in the top half-dozen positions for competitive keywords is almost essential to achieve any sort of organic traffic.
Only time will tell if this ‘related search’ change will become common practice on Google, and whether this will kill whatever page 2 traffic Google currently gets. But if there’s one certain takeaway, it’s that organic, text-based results could be under serious threat.
In the meantime, if you need advice on navigating the modern minefield of SEO, chat to the digital marketing experts at Search Factory today.