As someone who has been involved in the search industry for over a decade, one of the things that really bothers me is how Google is slowly but inevitably taking all of the “above the fold” organic search result space and giving it to paid results, Google web properties, and to the Google Knowledge graph.
Recently, I was looking for some information on Lodge Cast Iron Pans. I was completely overwhelmed with results that WERE NOT what I was looking for. See screen shot for [Lodge Cast Iron]
For me, this was a Navigational Search. If Google assumed this was any other kind of search, that was their mistake. And we all know what happens when you assume …
But back to the subject at hand: as organic space continues to erode, this means less and less traffic to publishers who don’t “pay to play” but more income to Google (via Adwords) and more traffic to Google via Knowledge graph.
Want some more examples? The term [Hotels in New York] has zero organic results above the fold.
The phrase [San Diego Italian Restaurants] has only one organic result above the fold.
Don’t be lured into thinking that the strip of image results will bring you any traffic, either, because the new image format killed image SEO. It keeps all of the traffic on Google and sends very little of it your way.
You may be thinking that you’re fine because your sector doesn’t have those image strips or knowledge graph boxes. After all, you’ve only got a few adwords results to contend with, right? Well you, my friend, are in denial. The “enhanced” image results and knowledge graph boxes are expanding into more and more areas of the web. There was a time when Google’s goal was to be as “slippery” as possible, keeping you on Google for as short a time span as possible and sending you on your way to the answer. But those days are gone. Now “Greed is Good” and the goals have changed. They want to keep you on Google for as long as possible, send you to other Google properties, and keep you in the Google ecosystem so you can be exposed to as many Google ads as possible, increasing the chances that you will click one.
Google is not your friend … it is barely your frenemy …