It’s been hard not to notice the steps that Google has been taking over the past few months as it’s ramped up its local search listings which in some cases now display 7 local results. Even if you are really bad at maths, this tells you there are only 3 spaces left for your hard earned organic listings.
So what’s going on here…? Is Google really moving away from being an innovative tech giant, pioneering its way through search? Is SEO dead in the water? Is Google really becoming just another platform, shoving paid-for advertisements down your throat? Has Google stopped doing what they set out to do – returning highly relevant results to it users in place of throwing the highest biding advert? Will we move to Bing? It’s a possibility, as if you have used Bing recently then you already know it’s really come on leaps and bounds and now resembles the Google I loved a couple of years back.
There’s a lot of questions to answer, but this is what I find myself asking each time Google tweaks its listings.
Google has been gearing up to this for a while; it’s only natural that the likes of Bing catch up slowly. Think about it, Google is getting inundated with approx. 20 million pages per day. With the ‘old’ Goole it was just impossible for them to keep up the influx, so they set about making moves to help them deal with it.
The May Day update was about getting rid of anything they saw as junk, freeing up space. The Caffeine update a couple of years back was about them building a bigger, stronger, faster Google to keep up with all the new sites, so webmasters in-turn tuned their sites to perform faster. Google Instant had them trying to increase the relevancy of searches and now we have places taking the limelight – which in essence gets back to what Google set out to do – it returns relevant results.
After all, what could be more relevant to a user that searches for ‘Personal Injury Solicitor’ than returning a result that offers 7 personal injury solicitors located around the corner from your house? True, this may make SEO a little more difficult, but SEO is not dead, it’s just changing as it’s always done. Google is not finished, it’s just evolving as it’s always done. Results are not changing; they are just becoming more relevant, as they have always done. And Bing? It’s playing catch up, just like it’s always done.