Are Google Search Results Actually Results, Or Something Else?
A recent article in the Jitbit blog states that less than 19% of the top of page 1 search results on Google are actually results of a search. This claim is intriguing, and it may catch some people’s attention because of the emphasis on achieving that page 1 position in organic search results. Let’s examine this claim a little more closely to see if there is some validity to this statement.
The author’s reasoning is based on the overall pixel amount on a screen with average resolution. If you know something about measurements, the concept is based on determining area in square inches. Based on his calculation, less than 20% of what appears on the screen is search results. The rest of paid ads, Google information, links, sign-ins, etc. Then the math seems to go haywire. Various numbers are thrown about based on clicking on actual search results, proportion of ads to search results, etc.
The result of this article? Lots of criticism from industry “experts” and Google engineers. There is debate on definition of terms and splitting hairs on semantics. But there is a grain of truth in this claim, because it’s clear that with Google the trend is away from organic search results. If you take a look at Google revenue alone, paid ads are apparently successful. If advertisers weren’t getting click-throughs they wouldn’t continue to pay for those ads. But it’s obvious that there is a balance here, Google claims to be doing what it believes to be in the best interests of its users, and earlier in the year Google adjusted its algorithm in response to a finding that users objected to too many ads in proportion to organic search results.
Of course people are going to line up on both sides of the aisle with opinions on this issue, but it appears to be just another indication that in the SEO world things are constantly changing, and if we’re going to succeed as online marketers we need to be able to adjust to current trends. Despite the claims in this Jitbit blog article, organic search results still seem to be important to users, so my advice is not to disregard them but don’t overemphasize them either. As with all things in life, there’s a balance, and the key to successful SEO work is to keep adjusting to stay in that balance.