The SEO diversity update that's disrupting Google's results pages

On the 6th of June 2019, Google announced that they will change the outlook of the search results page by removing multiple instances of the same site appearing within the top results for a query. 

This has been coined the ‘Site Diversity Change’, as Google aims to show a more diverse set of search results for sought-after generic phrases.

What does this mean?

Whenever you search for a top-level phrase followed by any word containing job e.g. Digital Marketing Jobs, the search results page are usually dominated by the big job boards, such as; Indeed, Total Jobs, CV-Library etc. 

With the new update, it will be interesting to see if there has been any immediate impact on the major job boards’ keyword visibility within the first month. Below, are screenshots from two of the biggest job boards and their organic keyword performance.

Monster

Monster Keyword Visibility

3% decrease in keyword performance between May and June.

Indeed

Indeed Keyword Visibility

 4% decrease in keyword performance between May and June.

Although there has been a slight drop in organic performance when compared month on month, the search results appearance speaks for itself.

For example, when you search for a generic phrase such as “Networking and Infosec Jobs”, you are presented with a broader range of websites compared to what the search results would have looked like only a month ago - see the example below.

Organic Search Results

  • The Red box is Google for Jobs.
  • The Orange indicates some similar queries users are searching for.
  • The Green section is the Organic search results, and as we can see Google is already starting to remove multiple results from the same website and push them further down.
  • Blue shows other related and relevant search queries.

 What to expect from this update?

  1. More Diverse Google Results - As mentioned above, the focus of the update is to provide greater diversity regarding the range of different sites appearing within an organic search. This update now shifts the search paradigm and creates an even playing field for other sites to compete for the sought-after generic phrases.
  2.  Sub-domains – Site diversity will generally treat subdomains as part of a root domain. This means listings from subdomains will be considered as part of the same single site.
  3. Core Updates – The site diversity launch is separate from the June 2019 core update, these are two different unconnected releases.
  4. Only affects web search listings – If your site currently appears for any featured snippets, map listings or any other display outside of the normal remit, then rest assured that they won’t be affected.
  5. Rankings – Although Google has stated that this doesn’t directly affect rankings, we at Venn firmly believe it does. For example, if your site had four different listings within the first page of Google search results, that’s a lot of organic search real estate you owned. However, after this diversity update, your site may only have two organic search results, halving your organic search real estate and increasing the number of competitors within the organic search results.

How should you respond?

The old adage goes; ‘Every action deserves a reaction’. However, we don’t think this is the case with this update. If your site is optimised from a technical and content perspective, then it shouldn’t be affected by the diversity changes and could even grow organically.

However, as a precaution, you should actively monitor your site’s organic traffic, keyword visibility and site impressions over the coming weeks. This should allow you to fully understand if your site has been affected by the site diversity change.

At Venn, we are constantly monitoring the search updates and how this may potentially affect your site. If you’d like to discuss the site diversity change or any other SEO related topic in more detail, please get in contact us here.  

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