Users of Google have long complained that performing certain queries would sometimes display multiple listings from the same domain, in effect creating somewhat of an unfair playing field. Now, Google has announced they’ve changed the way the search results are displayed to be more “diverse”, effectively allowing for a greater mix of properties to be displayed in the organic search results.

Google stated the change means you typically won’t see more than two listings from the same site on the first page of results, but also added that wherever their systems determine it’s relevant, they’ll show more than two (such as when searching for brand names).

As for its impact on featured snippets and other search results, Google further confirmed this update is only in relation to the main web search listings and doesn’t affect things like featured snippets, answer boxes or map listings, which makes sense given they never really had the same issue.

Why Should We Care?

Whilst it is entirely possible you’ll still see the top 5+ spots being held by the same prominent domain name, it should now occur less often and be considered somewhat of a rarity.

If you have a site that’s typically owned lots of real estate on the first page, you may no longer have that stronghold and you could start to receive less traffic – even though you still rank highly for competitive terms. If you have a site that’s been strongarmed by the bigger players in your industry, this could be just the opportunity you needed to get up to where you’ve always wanted to be!

Update:Now that the update is fully rolled out, we’re still seeing results dominated by industry heavyweights. Take the query “buy an apartment” for example, where we see almost the entire first page of results held by Australian property powerhouse RealEstate.com.au. Not only does this provide the user with a lack of diversity and choice, it also makes it increasingly difficult for competitors to rank for the same terms. See before here and after here.

Now that the update is fully rolled out, we’re still seeing results dominated by industry heavyweights. Take the query “buy an apartment” for example, where we see almost the entire first page of results held by Australian property powerhouse RealEstate.com.au. Not only does this provide the user with a lack of diversity and choice, it also makes it increasingly difficult for competitors to rank for the same terms.

What Should We Do?

As with most Google updates, there are typically clear winners and losers, while some specific queries don’t change much at all.

The best practice for any website owners following such an update is to leave an annotation in Google Analytics and continue to monitor website traffic and other important KPIs to see if there are any major swings in performance.

If your site seems to have been impacted by the above update, the best practice would be to take a step back and monitor the major tenants that Google has been preaching recently: speed, user experience, mobile performance and content quality.

Let’s Talk

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