Google new update in June 2019 focused on its search results by promoting more domain diversity. Therefore, allowing no more than two rankings for domains to occupy in a particular SERP. The effect affected all the three types of search queries– navigational, informational and transactional. SEO Sydney will explain and delve into this topic to make it easier for you to understand.
a) More Diverse search results
Over the period of time, users along with SEOs have complained about search listings in top rankings belonging to the same domain name. This meant while searching for a specific query the top 1-5 search listing was from the same domain name or website.
With the update, Google aims to limit a particular domain to 2 results in a single SERP, providing users with a more variety of domains and websites to reach out to, explore and vice versa.
b) Impact of Domain Diversity on SERPs
Site Diversity update was initiated in June, resulting in a few changes. Searchmetrics, therefore, conducted research and analyzed whether the update ended up working or not as promised.
The following was discovered:
- The rate of keywords providing 3 URLs from one domain in the top results effectively dropped from 1.8% to zero.
- For just 3.5% of keywords, three URLs from one domain now exist, a fall of nearly half from 6.7%.
- Rise in the proportion of keywords due to which two URLs from a single domain appear from 43.6% before update to 44.2%.
- s Due to drop in keywords returns multiple URLs from one domain led to 52.3% of results returning different domains for all positions.
c) Effect on search user intents
Searchmetrics for analyzing the impact on search results mainly used a set of keywords’ focusing on informational and transactional search terms. Therefore, excluding navigational as users use google as a means for reaching out to their desired website instead of typing the URL themselves.
- Impact of Diversity Update – Keywords that previously had 3 or more URLs for one domain, but don’t anymore.
- No Impact – Keywords that previously had 3 or more URLs for one domain, and still do
It is easy to conclude from the charts presented there is a shift in transactional searches amidst the keywords which have been affected by the diversity update. Leading to domains losing out on (at least) one of its top 3 rankings out of 10.
Therefore, the transition of impacted keywords in transactional shows Google’s update is effective and is offering more domains to customers to shop from.
Informational – Relevance (Google’s – main priority)
Meanwhile, due to the impact on transactional, more informational searches were not impacted. Google reserved the right to present more than two URLs of the same domain only if google finds the content appropriate. Google wrote, “However, we may still show more than two in cases where our systems determine it’s especially relevant to do so for a particular search”. Also, it will be found while the search for a particular brand such as Amazon.com.
The study proves google still prioritizes the relevance of content over forced domain diversity. If your website still provides relevant content matching up to user intent, has a strong technical optimization and shows Googlebot exactly what you are presenting by utilizing structured data mark-up, you will still have opportunities to rank higher and dominate the top of the SERPs. This will particularly be beneficial in the case of recipes.
When you search for a navigational keyword such as “Twitter login” into Google search you choose only 1 domain to visit, but still, Google shows more results from the same domain, ranked according to the relevance. In addition to diversity update, we see Google making an exception in navigational keywords by still including multiple results from 1 domain. For example – “Mac lipsticks Target” shows.
Limited Domain Diversity – Navigational Searches
Usually, navigational searches include the name of the website. However, this isn’t always the case. In a few sections, some websites are built up in such a way they dominate the market, for example – while searching for videos YouTube doesn’t require a specific separate mention. Similarly, is in the case of GIFs, where giphy.com still dominates the top 3 rankings with more than 3 different organic URLs.
d) Opportunity For Domain
Searchmetrics mentioned diversity update is a big step for smaller websites that now have more opportunities now to rank for keywords that were earlier dominated by sites like Amazon.
We only focused on the effect of the top 10 organic searches which google stated, while SERP also features maps and videos. It is evident while others have lost their organic (third) ranking, YouTube hasn’t been affected by the update and still dominates the top 3 rankings in the case of videos.
Conclusion: Domain Diversity – Opportunity or Challenge
Google believes in providing its best to users. Domain diversity update is an opportunity for smaller websites to rank higher for keywords and not get overshadowed by big websites such as Amazon. With the update higher weightage is given to SERP features.
With this change, the consequence may rise of the shift from top organic ranking to paid listings for bigger companies. Now they can only have two unpaid results which drive them towards investing in AdWords or product listing Ads which are going to benefit google as well as will ensure them being at the top in the SERP.
From all the research we can conclude the biggest impact the update had on transactional searches, which shifts the focus from Amazon being in the top 3 organic rankings to Google shopping. There is no doubt Google will monitor the update, looking at how users react and make changes if required. If you want to remain updated with Google’s changes or want to explore similar topics, check out SEO Sydney – the experts in all things SEO!