Here at Branded3, we track thousands of keywords for our clients on a daily basis and we regularly see Google making many changes, not only to the algorithm that produces the search results, but also to the search results themselves.
We find that Google will tweak results, alter portions of their algorithm, and change the look and feel of the results pages to try and make the user experience as good as possible. In that way, you as users continue to return to them and use their search engine in preference over the other available options.
Recently for example, we have seen that Google has slightly changed the layout of the search results so that the URL has become slightly more prominent. This change may or may not stay long term but shows that Google are suggesting that the URL and brand is becoming more important to the people using the search results.
In this particular search result you can see that the green URL is above the description of the webpage. Normally this would be below so users would read descriptions before the URL. Now, perhaps, Google is trying to allow the user to see the name of the website they may be about to visit, a bit more clearly to help make an informed choice as to what they are going to be clicking on.
We always advise clients to try and use URLs that look good from a user point of view. If the URL is easy to understand then people can see where they are going, and if you have a brand which people can recognise then they are going to be even more likely to click on the result. Using multiple level sub-categories, product ID numbers, and other random URLs can make it hard for a user to know where they are going. If you are using URLs that contain something like:
Why not use:
This makes life easier for your users and also for search engines to understand where they are on your site. Users become more likely to click, and search engines are more likely to return your result higher in the results as you have the key terms within the URL.
With Google making changes on a daily – if not hourly – basis, it is important that clients can keep up to date with our recommendations. The graph below shows how the top twenty websites for a particularly competitive keyword have moved in the search results over the last six months. We term this as “search velocity” and it is an indicator as to how often Google is likely to be making changes and improvements to the search results.
From the graph you can see that recently there has been a lot of activity within the search results with very few days without any change in the top positions. Although this is not all attributable to Google, as websites make changes themselves, Google still keeps altering the results to reflect both changes within Google and changes to the websites ranking.
Most clients are aware of the big Google changes such as the recent Panda update, but what is hard to get across is that Google and other search engines are constantly making smaller adjustments that can have dramatic effects not only on the visibility of their website in the search results, but also on the traffic you are getting to the website. If, for example, you are one day ranking in position 1 and Google then tweaks something, you might drop to position 3 and loose up to 30% of the traffic you have had for this term in the past.
Natural SEO is an ever-changing business and only by using best practises and keeping up with how the search engines are changing, can you maintain good search positions. Here at Branded3 we are always on the lookout for ways to help our clients achieve top rankings so if you think your site is not performing as well as it could be, get in touch now for some advice from one of our SEO experts.