In the beginning of June 2019, Google SearchLiason announced that the company was launching a “site diversity change” designed to expand the variety of websites featured in the top results of Google’s search engine results page (SERP). The SearchLiason team assured users that they would now rarely see more than two results from the same domain in the top 10 search results. This change may come as a relief to many verticals, where particular domains have especially dominated the top results—think of sites like Yelp, Amazon, and others in their respective industries.
So, then, why was this modification to search engine results termed a “change” as opposed to an “update”? After all, the launch of the site diversity change over the course of June 4-6 fell within the same week as a Google core search algorithm update released from June 3-8. Though both of these alterations have a real effect on search results, Google makes the distinction that the site diversity change does not qualify as an “update” because it did not include an update to the ranking algorithm.
Since Google released the site diversity change, it has markedly expanded the variety of domains featured in top search results. In an analysis by Stephen Bench-Capon published three weeks after Google’s SERP change, he found that there has been 4.4% increase (from 47.9% to 52.3%) in informational and transactional searches that “return ten different domains in the top 10 rankings.” For navigational keywords in which the user’s search intent is focused on finding a company or brand’s site, however, Google’s search engine results page will still be dominated by the business in the search term. This can be seen in the example search “amazon prime login” below.
The analysis also notes that the site diversity change has, so far, most acutely affected transactional keywords—search terms that have the intent to purchase a product or service. This type of search has experienced the greatest difference in top search results, “meaning a domain has lost (at least) one of its three top 10 rankings.” Due to this increase in variety, a potential longer-term impact could be an increase in paid advertising by large companies to make up for their resulting loss in organic market share.
At its core, the site diversity change now allows “smaller or niche sites” to have a greater chance in reaching the top 10 search results for many keywords that more monopolistic companies have traditionally dominated. This means that businesses across a variety of industries have a new opportunity to expand their share and boost their position in organic search results with the proven services of a technical SEO agency like Radd Interactive. Our company’s SEO strategy is designed to give small-to-medium-sized companies a competitive edge in an ever-changing online environment. Learn more about how Radd Interactive’s strategic SEO services can help your business succeed today.