Google has implemented a lot of changes this year to the mobile search result format through its ‘mobilegeddeon’ update. All these updates have caused chaos to the retailers.
There are also mobile paid placements which have a strong impact on the organic search performance for the retailers, mainly those which had established brands. These changes suggest that Google is working on a major mobile transition.
This blog covers the details of showing you where Google is and what it has to do:
What are Rich Answers?
The Google SERPs have started to display rich answers between Dec 2014 and July 2015 both for its desktop and mobile searches. The percentage has increased from the 22.6 in Dec to 31.2 in July. What actually is a rich answer?
Well, a rich answer is Google’s attempt to answer the searcher’s query in the search results without having them to click through a site.
Google Local Pack
Google is busy grouping the Maps listings into a single block of results for some time. However, during the summers of 2015, it has reduced the visible result number from 7 to 3. What happened was that the sites ranking in the top 3 maps resulted in the local pack. However, the changes didn’t stop there.
Google made a shift in its placement shortly. What happens now is that for the mobile searchers, the local pack is placed right above the organic listings, between the paid search ads and the organic listings to be exact.
This switches the position between two elements which have got a profound impact on the organic search sessions, even for the sites that were ranking at #1 in the organic search listings.
Google’s Graph of Knowledge
Just like the local pack, it has also modified the “Knowledge Box” above the organic search listings on the mobile. This happened in August 2015.
This also doesn’t happen to be a universal change as there are a lot of brand which do not generate the knowledge box results. For the retailers, which have got brick and mortar presence along with the substantial online presence, these results generate quite frequently.
Another shuffle by Google is the increasing presence of the Google “Answers.” Those who are unaware of the Google answers can think of it as the organic search result appearing to directly answer a question posted to Google. The results show the most often on queries starting with “with” and “how,” suggesting that the query itself is a definite answer.
Answers also sometimes come from a trusted partner source and sometimes pulled from the third party sites through the featured snippets. Also, as the Google users continue to adapt to the natural language queries, the boxes are expected to show up with the increase in frequency.
Beyond this, Google would adapt to its own self-view, looking at it as the information provider instead of just a traditional search engine. With a poor internet and WiFi connection, the rich answers are not shown, as these are much heavier than the list of 10 text search results.
Google is always choosing the best customer experience path for speeding up the fancy results.
Adjustments to the Paid Channel
The changes are not coming from the rich answers influx. Some of the changes are made to the paid placements:
The Paid Search Sitelinks
The sitelinks which were paid were a question of concern for a lot of SEOs before 2015 and it has taken even higher level after Google altered the standard paid sitelink format.
The default sitelink format before August was to include up to 2 to 3 sitelinks columns. The new format includes a single column stretching up to the four sitelinks. This reduces the total number of sitelinks, significantly changing the vertical space which the paid ad uses.
How it has impacted the Organic Results?
You can also say that these changes have had a profound impact on the search performance’s organic listings for a lot of retailers. Due to the brand-heavy intent to the majority of such queries, the brand searches are hit the hardest.
Even when one of all such changes is present, the organic results are changed. In case of the presence of multiple elements such as sitelinks and the knowledge box, the top links in the organic results fall behind below the fold on mobile devices regardless of their small or large displays.
In case the results are seen on the small phones such as iPhone 4, the top organic result would be more than a full screen scroll below the page 1 fold.
These changes have caused a lot of harm to the top links’ organic CTR and many retailers complained of the sharp drop in the CTR for their core brand terms. This drop is caused without a drop in the organic listings or rank of the actual site.
How to Deal with all of this?
Answering Through the Paid Listings
The main reaction of most of these changes is to counter it through the paid channels. Incase Google replaces the top organic results through the paid search ads, rich answers or PLAs, you can as a brand maintain your top paid listing against the branded queries.
How About optimize it for Rich Answers
Another way to deal with it is to craft the on page content that is optimized for Google Answers. This would help in the placement of your content as an answer to the common queries on Google search results.
You can do so by understanding what type of questions, your audience is searching for and providing the clearest, yet t most precise and simple to understand explanation, addressing their needs. The better a brand is when it comes to anticipating the search audience’s intent; the easier it would be to craft the content which Google is going to put in its rich answers box.
Switching to the Mobile App
Another way to deal with the changing trends of Google’s algorithm and the way it displays the SERPs, you need to focus on the updating and optimization of the apps for indexing on both the iOS and Android. Google indexes the Android mobile apps for some time and has announced its ability to index the content of iOS apps.
What this means is that the apps can target the specific content within the mobile apps via the organic and the paid searches. Applying the code equates to the certain app content with specific website pages, enabling the mobile devices to “deep link” to the app content.
This would help the users in being directed straight into the relevant content in the mobile app instead of the mobile web page in Chrome and Safari. This helps in improving the experience and mobile functionality as far as the chances of conversion are concerned.
Long story short, you can say that Google has introduced 5 major components of the various mobile search results layouts. All these changes contribute to the reduction of the organic results, continuing to pushing the organic results below the mobile devices fold.
As far as the SEO is concerned, it’s about adapting to the changes made by Google to its SERPs. The mobile technology has altered the ways, people interact with the searches. Google is also responding to the tailored mobile search layouts, making us question our approach to the way we would be approaching SEO in the future.
For any type of assistance, feel free to consult the Medialinkers SEO Services.