Google aims to restrict top results from the same site with recent change
By Imran Hoque
Google have announced the release of the ‘Site Diversity Change’ update in June 2019. Google have listened to feedback from users and released the update with the aim of addressing the current lack of diversity across its results appearing for particular search queries. The update will aim to provide no more than two results from the same domain for a search query on the top results page, providing greater diversity and options for users to choose from. Interestingly, this update coincides with the release of the June Broad Core Algorithm Update, but they are in fact unrelated.
A key thing to note is the change will only impact core web results and not featured snippets, images, local listings amongst other search features.
Is the Site Diversity an update or a change?
Google have expressed this is not an ‘update’ but rather a ‘change’ to the display of search results, as the changes do not include an update to the ranking algorithm. However, the sceptics amongst us can argue that it is essentially an update as it will impact how search results are displayed, but this rather depends on your own interpretation. Most importantly, we know it will have an impact on how many times a website will appear on the top results page for a particular search query.
Purpose of the Site Diversity change?
The new change was launched by Google with the intention to provide users with a wider variety of results. Often search queries return results from the same domain and users are unable to discover alternative domains in the top results. This change will restrict the same domain from appearing more than twice in top results.
It has been advised the change is not going to affect how a website is ranked but ultimately reduce the number of pages the domain is showing for a particular search query in the results page.
Does that suggest a website will only appear a maximum of two times for a query?
Google have specified the Diversity Change will not affect all search results. If Google determines a site is the most relevant result for a particular search query and is highly beneficial to the user, then Google will potentially show that site more than twice in the listings for that particular query.
‘Relevancy’ will be established by how relevant web pages are to a particular search query. If users are satisfied with multiple web pages from the same site, then in Google’s eyes that will be seen as the most relevant result and Google will display the domain more than twice in the results page.
Subdomains and root domains are treated equally
Listings from subdomains and the root domain will all be considered from the same site and therefore treated equally. However, subdomains are treated as separate sites for diversity purposes when deemed relevant to do so.
Google have already made it clear this change is by no means perfect and they will continue to update it as and when necessary.
This change is not entirely new to the SEO community as Google have released similar updates previously without informing the public, and many SEO experts have provided examples where an update is not working in line with its intended purpose. Google’s Danny Sullivan announced that the company will keep working on the change to improve it over time.
To conclude, the theory behind the update is to restrict how many times a single domain can appear in top results, to provide a wider variety of domains appearing in top results page, leaving the searcher with a more diverse set of results to choose from. But if Google determines the domain to be highly relevant then it can appear more than twice in the listings.
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