Google is the predominate search engine in today’s marketplace. But to stay on top, they’re always adjusting and innovating to keep their service fresh. In an attempt to do this, they’re changing how results are displayed in search engine results. Instead of just a list of links with brief descriptions, there will be the inclusion of answers to questions and lists of facts at the top of results. But what will this do for your SEO efforts?
While the keyword-based queries and algorithms aren’t changing, they will be adding a new feature called semantic search that looks at more than just the relevancy of keywords and instead tries to parse their actual meaning. In this effort to create results that more directly answer people’s questions, it could have a direct impact on the amount of traffic sites receive. Especially, if they rely on search engine optimization or SEO to bring in visitors. If people find out the answer to their question at the top of the results before even clicking on a website, this could be problematic.
Certainly, at the moment when someone searches for a keyword, they have to just hope that a website will contain the information they’re looking for. Strategic SEO helps websites containing the information people want rank higher so that everyone is happy. With this new change to Google, people will be able to find what they’re looking for faster, which is good when you don’t want to have to scour through page after page of results to find what you need.
Even so, it’s hard not to contemplate the potential effects this will have on companies and sites that rely on to make a living. Will it cause their rankings to go down? Or, more appropriately, will it cause fewer people to click on their links in the search results?
This is a very real possibility, especially if a searcher’s questions are answered at the top of the results. Though Google will likely introduce more ads to complement these new features, it’s hard to say what the direct effect on small businesses will be until they go into effect. It could be a blessing or a curse, depending on how the general public reacts to it. Even so, now may be a good time to start looking over your current SEO practices and figuring out what you can do to optimize further. You’re going to need all the help you can get once these changes roll out.