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SEO Continues to Evolve as Google Shrinks the SERPs

3 MINUTE READ | September 12, 2012

SEO Continues to Evolve as Google Shrinks the SERPs

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Kerry Dean

Kerry Dean has written this article. More details coming soon.

There is no doubt that SEO in 2012 is not the same as SEO from just a couple of years ago. Panda and Penguin have turned everything on its side and then punched it in the face. The concept of inbound marketing is taking the SEO world by storm. And ‘big data’ is the buzziest of all buzz words in our industry (which is kind of ironic, seeing as Google and Firefox continue to take more and more data away from us with their ‘not provided’ and HTTPS bullsh, respectively). Old school SEO…man, that ship has sailed. And it’s getting more and more evident as the days go by.

(/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/the-matrix-the-architect-neo.jpg ""The first Google I designed was quite naturally perfect. It was a work of art. Flawless. Sublime. A triumph only equaled by its monumental failure." - The Architect, top Google engineer")

The  most recent trend that I have noticed is the change in the layout of the SERPs. Since the beginning of SEO time, we have grown accustomed to search results grouped in batches of 10. Page 1 of the SERPs is results 1-10. Page 2 is 11-20. Page 3 is 21-30. Etc… NOT ANY MORE! Check out these SERPs for ‘pictures of goldens’:

Google Search Results: 'pictures of goldens'

How about that? A gigantic section of image results (18 pictures total) followed by 6 organic results. Yeah. This is now a thing.

On one hand, when I see a SERPs page with 6 organic results, I feel like someone is telling me 2+2=5. It just doesn’t compute. But I’m starting to get used to it.

How does this affect us as SEOs? Well, first and foremost, you could rank #7 for a keyword and not be on Page 1 of the Google SERPs. Yikes!

Granted, this is not happening for all keywords. From what I can tell, it is not affecting very many searches. However, there is another trend that is affecting a lot of keywords, primarily searches for brands. It’s a SERPs page with only 7 results. Here is an example for ‘new egg’:

Google Search Results: 'new egg'

What does all of this mean for us as SEOs? I’m not sure. I wish I had all the answers. What I love about SEO is the constant chase, the relentless pursuit of those answers. And this recent change to the SERPs makes it even more exciting. Furthermore, I think Google is only going to continue making changes that challenge and change the definitions of ‘SEO’.

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As Neo said in The Matrix: “I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin.” This is a new beginning in the world of SEO, and we just have to go forward and do our best SEO work ever. So get out there and do it already!

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