How Google Balances Query Results In Search

Searchmetrics has conducted research that analyzes the impact of a recent change designed to limit the number of times the same brand appears in the top organic search results.

Google calls it site diversity, which the company announced June 6.

The research aims to determine how frequent search results become flooded with organic rankings from one domain.

Searchmetrics compared the search results for thousands of keywords from March 2019, a few months before the update, with June 2019, just after the diversity update was announced by Google.

For each keyword, Searchmetrics measured the diversity of the search results according to the maximum number of URLs in the top 10 that belong to one domain. Keywords returning more than three URLs from one domain in the top 10 were at zero, down from 1.8%, the research found. 

Three URLs from one domain now appear for just 3.5% of keywords, down from 6.7%.

The proportion of keywords that return two URLs from one domain are displayed rose from 43.6% before the update to 44.2% following the update. The drop in keywords returning multiple URLs for one domain has meant that now 52.3% of searches -- up from 47.9% -- return ten different domains in the top 10 rankings.



The research also looks at transactional and informational searches, which Searchmetrics suggests are more competitive, with numerous domains competing for positions on the first search results page.

These are keywords that previously had three or more URLs for one domain, but no longer have them because of the impact of the diversity update. However, keywords that previously had three or more URLs for one domain, and still do, did not have an impact.

Searchmetrics goes into detail on the changes from the update, but says it’s important to note that the change allows smaller sites to have a better chance to rank for keywords that were once dominated by sites like Amazon.

And since the diversity criteria is only applied to organic results, search engine results pages are given increased weighting. If marketers can only rank with maximum two organic results, then the boost from an additional featured snippet, image or video rankings becomes more valuable.

Read the entire report here.

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