Last June, Google rolled out an update that will show a more diverse set of search results, known as the Diversity Update. This update created more opportunities for smaller players to gain SERP real estate with Google limiting sites from having more than two listings from the same domain name within the top search results.
Although the Diversity Update is nothing new, it has taken some time to understand the opportunities available to businesses. In addition, the impact appears to be relatively minor compared to other updates last year, such as the E-A-T algorithm update and BERT.
In 2020, Google will continue working towards providing smaller players the opportunity to compete against larger sites. So far, it appears that the update provides businesses an opportunity to compete for informational and transactional searches. To illustrate this point, Searchmetrics conducted a test study comparing the results for a set of thousands of keywords from March 2019 with results from June 2019.
In this period, they found that 52.3 percent of searches return unique domains for all page one positions. Assuming that Google continues making improvement in this area, there are three industries it should impact most in the coming year.
Amazon merchants have found it increasingly difficult to get traction and traffic to their websites when competing against the tech giant in organic results. Because Amazon has sophisticated search functionality within its website, merchants started to focus on optimizing there, instead of Google.
The Diversity Update means that merchants’ websites will now receive more opportunities to rank well for keywords on Google because there will be fewer Amazon listings showing up on page one. However, retailers need to be skeptical about the Diversity Update becoming a self-serving move for Google that encourages smaller sites and merchants to play within Google’s ecosystem.
For now, this should be seen as an opportunity for retailers to bypass Amazon altogether and make more sales directly on their websites. Retailers should focus on making their site as useful and user-friendly as possible in order to decrease their dependence from Amazon on sales.
Small-to-mid-size real estate agencies have historically struggled to compete with companies like Zillow because it owned several listings on the first page of Google. The Diversity Update will enable greater competition in the search results so that consumers are no longer steered towards aggregators.
While there’s no promise that Google won’t try to hijack the real estate market in the future, the real estate market should welcome the Diversity Update with open arms.
For the last few years, sites like Expedia and Orbitz have dominated the search engines, making it difficult for airlines and hotels to drive traffic to their website. As a result, these companies may have felt disincentivized to engage with Google.
In 2020, expect a more even playing field, allowing the travel industry to invest more in their own websites and content to take back some of that search traffic. Another potential benefit is that because the update only applies to organic results, travel companies can optimize for SERP Features such as Featured Snippets, People Also Ask questions and videos with great content.
This allows smaller players to jump ahead of the competition, even if they are ranked lower in the search results.
A more refined Diversity Update means new opportunities for local or niche businesses to win more difficult queries. But the only way to get there is with an SEO strategy that stands out from the competition. Are you ready to meet this year’s challenges?
Listen to our 2020 SEO Predictions webinar and prepare your organization to better meet this year’s SEO challenges.