The team at Google were busy last week. The search giant announced two new algorithm updates that went into effect during the first week of June. Much of the attention was focused on the June 2019 Core Algorithm Update. The fact that the update was announced and launched suddenly captured the attention of the media, especially since Google was secretive about what had changed. However, Google announced another update during the week, and the results of this change can have a significant impact on the number of listings a domain will see in search results.
Though millions of web pages can be shown in the typical search results, the listings on the first few pages of search results matter the most. In most cases, if a person hasn’t found the information they want after the first few pages, they will refine their search terms. Because of this trend, it’s frustrating when websites don’t see their content in the search results, whereas another site has multiple pages that rank high for a particular keyword. To combat this issue, Google launched a domain diversity update.
With this recent change, a domain will only have up to two listings in the top spots of search results. This change will increase the number of different websites seen by people using Google Search.
Using their Google Liaison Twitter account, Google stated, “A new change now launching in Google Search is designed to provide more site diversity in our results… This site diversity change means that you usually won’t see more than two listings from the same site in our top results.”
For SEO marketers, this change could be helpful and harmful at the same time. If you managed to get four or five links for a single domain in high-ranking spots, you don’t want to see that advantage evaporate. And depending on the site’s SEO marketing strategy, the content may be different enough to warrant listing the same domain multiple times. Thankfully, Google isn’t adopting a one-size-fits-all approach.
In a follow-up reply to their Tweet, Google wrote, “However, we may still show more than two in cases where our systems determine it’s especially relevant to do so for a particular search.” For an obvious example, if someone searches for a specific domain, there will be more than two links for that domain in the search results.
And before anyone tries to game the system by setting up a bunch of sub-domains, Google explained that they would generally treat subdomains as part of the main domain. In another reply to their Tweet, Google wrote, “Site diversity will generally treat subdomains as part of a root domain. IE: listings from subdomains and the root domain will all be considered from the same single site. However, subdomains are treated as separate sites for diversity purposes when deemed relevant to do so.”
One thing to keep in mind that this only applies to core results and won’t affect other search products. In response to a question on Twitter, Danny Sullivan stated, “This only impacts the core results, not the additional search features such as top stories, video snippets, image carousels or other vertical search features listed among the other web results.”
This diversity algorithm will significantly affect SEO for many sites. For more news about updates and changes to Google, read this article on speed test reports created by Google.