Picture a Google Search Engine Results Page (SERPs). How many results does it have? If you’re like me, you automatically see 10 on every page. Makes sense, that’s the way it’s always been. But that may be changing.
Zero-Results SERPs: What it Means
In fact, you may see pages with ZERO results.
Don’t freak out. We’re going to dig into the why behind zero-results SERPs, and what people like us who are into SEO can do about it.
The first thing to know is that it’s still very rare. But we’re moving toward a future of fewer and fewer organic results showing up when people query Google.
Why is this happening?
- Google controls what is listed in its results.
- Fewer organic results = more influence and control for Google bots and algorithms
- As you can imagine, businesses who are getting wise to the decrease in organic search results are investing more in paid advertising and good ad placement.
- Better positioning for them = bigger teaching! for Google
- The reason Google results are so convenient and relevant is that Google algorithms and Google Ads are so finely tuned.
- Fewer results to sift through to find what you need = happier searchers
[Freaking out over SEO? Ask us your questions!]
So let’s say you do have fewer organic SERPs and shorter results pages. What shows up instead?
- Ads: Ads are Google’s main money-maker. And with Google Ads, Display Ads, and Google My Business under their belt, that’s not going to change.
- Improved Functionality: If you type in how many milliliters are in a cup, Google will instantly show you the answer, in a conversion calculator, to help you nail your recipe. That’s great if you’re baking at home, but tricky if you’re doing SEO for a bakery.
- Knowledge Graphs: If you’ve Googled Black Panther movie times, you’ve seen a knowledge graph. It pops up in the corner of your SERP, with an image, the times, cast and crew info, and more related details you might be looking for.
- Rich Answers: Similar to Knowledge Graphs, rich answers pull the answer to user queries directly from content (rather than Google archives).
While these changes will make SEO and visibility more challenging for businesses (and possibly confusing for searchers), they won’t be total or immediate. . . and nothing is impossible for a dedicated marketing team.
With smart content that answers your customers’ common questions, simply (and in the language they actually use) and savvy digital advertising, you can ride the changing waves of SERPs— and stay on top.