Is Google’s New SERP Interface A Threat to SEO?

Is Google’s New SERP Interface A Threat to SEO?

As Google continues to test a range of interfaces for its search engine result pages (SERP), I couldn’t help but wonder what the future of SEO would be in the next few years. This is mostly because, like it or not, the number one search engine in the world has been mostly influential in the recent growth of digital marketing particularly search engine optimisation. So, what happens when they decide to make life more difficult for those who rely predominantly on organic or natural traffic?

The image below provides an insight into why I have suddenly started to think about this.

Click to expand image
Click to expand the image

Implications

Simply named ‘Card-style search results‘ by Search Engine Land,  the new interface displays search results in individual rectangular boxes which make it even more difficult to differentiate paid from organic search results. What should be even more worrisome is the complete removal of sidebar ads. Consequently, as the image illustration shows, more ads will be displayed above the fold thereby pushing what used to be known as the #1 organic ranking position further down the line. The result? A potential reduction in click-through rates (CTR)

What should be even more worrisome is the complete removal of sidebar ads. Consequently, as the image illustration shows, more ads will be displayed above the fold thereby pushing what used to be known as the #1 organic ranking position further down the line. The result? A potential reduction in click-through rates (CTR)

The result? Longer SERP pages that require more scrolling for users which will potentially result in a reduction in the click-through rates (CTR) of highest natural ranking pages. The wider implication being that SEOs will no longer be able to completely satisfy their customers.

Conclusion

As Google reinvents itself and probably tries to save its advertising businesses by making it more prominent to the detriment of organic results, it is perhaps time for SEO to take a hint and do exactly the same and evolve.

5 thoughts on “Is Google’s New SERP Interface A Threat to SEO?

  1. Yup, I see what Google is trying to do there: they are trying to make their ads more attractive and to downplay the importance of organic traffic. It’s a sly and dirty tactic, but they are the ones calling the shots, it’s their business after all. Like you said, SEOs will have to adapt and quickly.

  2. Well, there you have it. If there are still any people out there that think that Google cares about its users, I bet they’ll have a hard time keeping on believing that once that update rolls out. Google is a business and the only thing it cares about is profit, so they decided to screw over the users in order to “push” their ads. Call me cynical, but I am not at all surprised.

  3. For top of the funnel queries, SEO is still the dominant force. So, if you are looking to increase brand awareness and funnel visitors closer to convert, SEO is the way to do it!

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