First of all, you might be asking, "what's happening??"
Well, some of our colleagues have noticed that Google is playing with the placement of their Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) yet again. The search options have appeared on the left-hand side of the search results for quite some time now, and now Google has moved the top of the page under the search box. This shift to top navigation is a change that makes the traditional SERPs strongly resemble mobile results.
According to Google, all US-based searches would now feature the new format. Google is currently working to extend the change to search results outside of the United States as quickly as possible.
The few questions we have in mind:
- Why are they changing the format?
- What does it mean to Webmasters and SEO Specialists?
What are they changing the format?
At this point, no body really know, it’s all speculative, but many emarketing and SEO sites have some pretty sound theories about the change.
One of the suggestions was that Google might be making rooms for advertising (Adwords) on the LEFT HAND side, leaveing room for Google+ on the right panel.
This theory matches with Google's recent trend in adding more and more Adwords spaces to its SERPs. (They might have seen Baidu's latest financial reports) On the other hand, it is obvious that Google is spending more efforts and resources to make its social network a success. By making space for G+ (again, pure speculative), who knows, they could add some kind of interactive features to link the social network to their SERPs...
What does it mean to Webmasters and SEO Specialists?
Well, it seems there is a trend for Google to move the organic listings further and further down the page, for hightly competitve keywords, sometimes the organic listings do not even begin until the user scrolls down the page. Of course we don't know for sure whether the freed-up space will be used for AdWords, but if it is ture, that's yet another detrator from organic results.
So for all you Webmasters and SEO Specialists out there who rely heavily on Google for your traffic, be aware!! This is yet another reason why it is so important to take control of your web traffic. It allows you to retain full power over your website(s). As we know, even if your website(s) are doing great on Google now, you really don't know how the next algo change will affect you and you might ended up well below your current position.
That's why it is so so important to have contingency plans. Make user of social media, establish a good fan base. Run competitions, build up your email subscriber list, be creative...
Alfred Chan - BDM of InterBiztech Solutions.