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RetailX Brand Index 2019

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Google is giving SME retailers a better chance against Amazon, keyword search research discovers

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Searching out SMEs: is Google now making it easier to discover smaller businesses?
Searching out SMEs: is Google now making it easier to discover smaller businesses?
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Google algo changes give SMEs a fighting chance of discovery against Amazon, finds Searchmetrics study

New research reveals that Google is now giving smaller retailers a greater chance of appearing in organic search results that used to be dominated by big brands such as Amazon.

 

The study by search and content optimisation platform Searchmetrics analysed the impact of Google’s recent diversity update that was designed to reduce the instances of the same brand appearing multiple times¹ in the top organic search results.

 

Comparing Google results from before and after the diversity update – which happened in early June – the analysis suggests that you are now around half as likely to see the same brand/website appearing three times in the first ten ranking positions. Three listings from the same website now appear for just 3.5% of searches, a drop of almost half from 6.7%.

 

Keywords that trigger more than three appearances from the same website in the top ten results are now effectively zero, down from 1.8%.

 

Overall, the data indicates that transactional searches – those where the searcher’s intention is to make a purchase – are most likely to have been affected by the Google diversity update. So Google is now offering shoppers more choices on the first search results page.

 

This could mean that big brands such as Amazon may now put a little more emphasis on paid listings, suggests Searchmetrics on its blog: “If the big brands are now restricted to fewer unpaid (maximum of two) organic results on the first page of Google, then one way to ensure more top-of-SERP presence will be investment in AdWords or Product Listing Ads, which Google obviously won’t mind at all.”

 

Interestingly, Google stated that the diversity update only impacts traditional organic search results (the blue links). SERP Features, such as maps, images and video carousels which Google now regularly integrates into search results aren’t affected.

 

So affected websites that find they now only have two organic listings in the top search results can try and target SERP Features such as images and videos to increase their visibility.

 

In its blog post, Searchmetrics quotes an example of how the diversity update has impacted Amazon’s search visibility for the term “nut crackers”. Since the update, Google is now showing only two organic results from amazon.com on the first page, compared with three before. But the search engine is now displaying an image box above the third -placed organic result – and Amazon owns three of these images.

 

Video carousels are even more interesting according to Searchmetrics. The vast majority of results in video carousels belong to YouTube.com, meaning that YouTube is uniquely placed to maintain its presence in the Google SERPs. While other big brand domains have often lost their third (organic) ranking in the search results, YouTube’s video rankings are not affected.

 

The Searchmetrics study analysed the top ten search results for 10,000 keywords on Google.com before and after the diversity update (comparing results from March 31, 2019 against June 23, 2019).

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