3 min

SEO & Content Marketing Trends: 3/12

Amanda Schack

Signs Of A March 1st Google Algorithm Update

  • Traditionally, the Google search results page has displayed 10 organic results. However, as Google evolved and introduced elements such as Top Stories and expanded site links, the total count of page one search results has increased.
  • On Friday, March 1, 2019, individuals observed a historical high of 19 results on page one.
  • Experts observed that within traditional results, Google coupled several in-depth articles to take the place of a single organic position.
    • “We also saw a large spike in SERP ‘real-estate’ shares for major publications, like the New York Times, which typically dominate in-depth articles. Something definitely happened around March 1st.”
  • There was a reversal of these results the next day, accompanied by other signals of change on the page.
  • Based on overall observations, it is unclear whether this is a sign of future intent for Google or a glitch in an update.
    • “If you’re a traditional publisher or someone who generally benefits from in-depth articles, I’d recommend keeping your eyes open. This could be a sign of future intent by Google, or it could simply be a mistake. For the rest of us, we’ll have to wait and see. Fortunately, these results appeared mostly at the end of page one, so top rankings were less impacted, but a 19-result page one would certainly shake-up our assumptions about organic positioning and CTR.”

Search Engine Optimization vs. Answer Engine Optimization

  • Beginning in the late 2000s, there has been a shift in the devices used for search. As the devices changed, overall search behavior did as well.
  • When desktop was the primary device, ranking on page one was considered a success. Once mobile became the dominant device, ranking in the top 3 spots was considered a success. Now, as search evolves from “search engines to answer engines,” ranking #1 is considered a success.
  • The “success” is based on SERP visibility.
    • “In 2005, the first place gave 30% of market share.
    • In 2017, the first place gave 40% of market share.
    • In 2022, the first place will give 60% of market share.
    • In 2026, first place will give 80% of market share.”
  • Why does this matter? As position 1 and even position 0 (featured snippets and answer boxes) become more important for SERP visibility, it is crucial that brands ensure that Google understands their site and considers it credible. Most critically, brands need to convince Google that their brand is the most credible option. Achieving position 1 will not be an easy task, yet it is crucial in order to remain a prominent figure in search.



Google Search Console Received Another Update

  • Google Search Console launched Domain Properties. This feature allows you to combine multiple properties within Google Search Console to get an aggregate view of the data.
  • This feature provides the ability to segment data and organize your respective domains into a list. The HTTP, HTTPS, m-dot can all be combined into one view.
  • If you already have DNS verification, Google will automatically create new domain properties for you over the next few weeks.
  • Why does this matter? This will reduce some of the manual work currently required in deciphering the data. The domain properties will shift the focus from a single URL view to aggregated content for the whole domain and thus, allow users to more easily analyze the bigger picture.
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