A study by Searchmetrics this year has shown a decrease in numbers of organic links shown on a search engine results page (SERP). The report highlights an average of 8.5 results being shown on a page, thus make SEO even harder, especially for smaller business that are resource challenged.
Google’s update to its Penguin (spam like) filter recently has seen some volatility in terms of rankings with it becoming more common to see the same website rank in numerous positions for different pages. Additionally, penalties can now be applied at page level – as opposed to just site level, meaning the penalisation of one page / mistake won’t necessarily ‘bring down’ your whole site.
Add the above to the fact that organic results are now somewhat buried below potentially four paid search ads, there seems to be an ongoing shift in SERPs, which seems to favour rich data, e.g. local listings, snippets, etc. and, of course, paid search. As such, many marketers and business owners, tend to question whether or not they should bother with SEO. As in the blog post, everyone should do the basic regardless, but investing in it requires time (e.g. content, outreach, social, etc.) – which many are not fortunate to have on their side. However, you should spend time looking after the things that matter most, such as the layout of pages, bounce rates and user journey, which although is aimed at boosting conversion, will also help with SEO (ensuring pages are user friendly) – as well as local search, shown below.
As Google continue to hunt what the perfect results pages look like (across all devices), there’s no doubt things will continue to change – and be tested, so keep your eyes out. As always, I’d recommend doing searches incognito (e.g. cookie free) to ensure you see what others are potentially seeing (as opposed to seeing your last visit date and Google potentially reordering to show you what it thinks you want to see).