If search engine results pages (SERPs) are looking a little different lately, it’s not your imagination. After several months of testing, Google has officially rolled out indented search results on 40 percent of SERPs. These results are two or more listings from the same domain clustered together at the top of a SERP, taking up a huge chunk of valuable real estate.
It’s important to note that indented search results don’t replace extended sitelinks, which take people to specific pages on your site. Instead, they are a new addition, appearing for a much broader mix of results that don’t necessarily have to be brand-related but rather topic-related.
Moz has been hard at work tracking the early stages of the update for the past couple of weeks and has found that one domain can display up to three indented results. For anyone trying to dominate a SERP for a particular search term – and aren’t we all? – this is huge.
With one company being able to own a sizable chunk of a SERP, it will be easier than ever to push competitors down and “own” a keyword. Indented search results mean that main brands will take up significantly more visual space, gut-punching affiliate marketing campaigns. Also, more than one domain can have indented results on any given SERP, although, as Moz found, this appears to be rare.
So what do indented results mean for you? If you’ve been building out topic or keyword clusters, there isn’t much more you can do to score an indented result. Because these results group pages ranking for the same or similar keywords, all you have to do to benefit is create the right content. Also, a stellar internal linking strategy is more crucial than ever: Anecdotal evidence suggests that many of the pages scoring an indented search result are interlinked.
It’s worth the effort because although Google has yet to confirm it, it appears that indented search results may be elevated from lower in the rankings, resulting in an artificial boost. It all sounds pretty great, but we’re in the early stages. Moz is still collecting data on the full extent of the update, so we’ll be keeping an eye on what they find over the coming weeks and months.
More SEO News You Can Use
Microsoft and Yandex Introduce IndexNow, an Evolutionary Way for Search Engines To Discover Content: It’s not an exaggeration to say the search world could change forever – and not because of Google. Microsoft on Monday announced IndexNow, an open-source indexing protocol that alerts all participating search engines when content on a website is published, updated or deleted. This will dramatically reduce the time it takes a single search engine to index a page and rank it accordingly. IndexNow sharing will start next month with an initial limit of 10,000 URLs per day. The protocol is great news for publishers because it means they won’t need to wait the necessary days or even weeks for search engines to crawl and discover content. Instead, search engines will know about any updates right away and fetch the pages immediately. This is a major change to how search engines do indexing, and it will be interesting to see how many big names get on board. For the moment, it certainly seems like IndexNow could benefit site owners and search engines alike.
Opening Links in an Existing or New Window or Not Doesn’t Impact SEO Either Way: A Twitter user asked Google’s John Mueller something you may not have considered before: Is there an SEO benefit to your links opening in a new window or tab? How about if they open in the same window? Mueller, perhaps predictably, confirmed that this has no SEO impact. That’s settled then. But most SEOs would agree it’s still a user experience (UX) issue – and UX is an SEO consideration. So what’s best practice for UX? Most experts agree that users expect internal links to open in the same window. This is especially true from a mobile user’s standpoint, where it’s easy to move between the original page and the new one. Links should only open in a new tab when opening in the same window would interrupt a process such as viewing a video or filling out a form. Google may not care, but your users do.
Instagram Introduces New Demographic Data Insights for Engaged Users: Instagram for Business has introduced a helpful new way to learn more about users that have seen and engaged with your content, whether they are followers or not. Previously, demographic data was only available for followers of a particular account. But as of Tuesday, businesses on Instagram have access to information about all users that have been reached. Now, you have insights into the cities and countries where your engaged users reside, the top age range of your average follower and the top gender. You’ll also see a breakdown of followers vs. non-followers, making it easier for you to analyze the difference between people who choose to follow your brand after engaging with your content and people who don’t. This data is now located in Instagram Insights under Accounts Engaged and Accounts Reached, so be sure to check out who your engaged users are.
Here’s Why a Site Owner Lost Tons of Traffic and Thousands of Ranked Keywords: Halloween is around the corner, so let’s gather around the bonfire for an SEO horror story: Once upon a time, a digital marketer with a well-performing website realized 90 percent of his organic traffic had disappeared. *Screams* This nightmare is exactly what happened to a reader who submitted his conundrum to Search Engine Journal’s latest “Ask an SEO” series. The reader submitted his domain for evaluation, and SEO expert Adam Riemer did some digging. The huge drop in rankings came down to a few factors. For one, the original theme of the website’s content had changed drastically throughout the years, from travel blogs to office advice to nail art. There was also an overwhelming amount of ads – we’re talking 30-plus – on relatively short posts, killing Core Web Vitals scores. And clickbait titles and spammy links only added insult to injury. If anything, this case study serves as an excellent warning that SEO crimes will catch up to you, so make sure you’re on the right side of the law.
Semrush Proves That 2021 Has Been Highly Volatile for SERPs: There’s not much to be done about rankings volatility, but it’s also nice to know you’re not imagining that this has been a rough year for SEOs and site owners. Over the past few months, Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Roundtable has diligently reported on a seemingly endless stream of Google algorithm updates big and small – some confirmed but most not. Semrush’s Mordy Oberstein decided to find out whether or not these claims of volatility were accurate. And, if this Twitter thread is anything to go by, anyone who’s been hating on Google this year is perfectly within their right to do so. Semrush data indicates that Google’s SERPs have been 68 percent more volatile on desktop. And as for mobile? A whopping 85 percent. For both mobile and desktop search results, over 50 percent of the days in 2021 have shown higher-than-average levels of volatility. So even though this isn’t great, take solace in the fact that it’s not just you.
Editor’s Note: “SEO News You Can Use” is a weekly blog post posted every Monday morning only on SEOblog.com, rounding up all the top SEO news from around the world. Our goal is to make SEOblog.com a one-stop-shop for everyone looking for SEO news, education and for hiring an SEO expert with our comprehensive SEO agency directory.