Commexis Cast Daily – Feb. 21, 2018: Are Google Search Results Too Crowded?

Today’s Commexis Cast discusses publishers’ worry that Google search results are too front-loaded, causing overcrowding on pages and lowering potential referral traffic. Digiday’s Lucia Moses reported that while publishers have been warming to Google due to their recent changes AMP, ending first-click-free, and the willingness to work with publishers more than Facebook has, there are still some points of contention.

No, the problem isn’t Google’s Chrome AdBlocker. Instead, some publishers worry that the amount of information being displayed to consumers is hurting referral traffic. Google has doubled the number of characters allowed in website descriptions to 320, a significant increase in space. You might also remember our show explaining Google’s guide to featured snippets. Well, these take up a lot of space, as well, especially on mobile where they can dominate the screen. Mix those changes with the other features such as built-in move time showings, maps listings, Google shopping sidebars, and ads, and there’s not a lot of real estate left.

The main issue for publishers, however, are featured snippets which often answer a question in one or two sentences and discourage further scrolling. Moses spoke with Investopedia CEO David Siegel, whose site gets 60% of it’s traffic from Google. But, Moses writes, “[a]ccording to SEMRush, 14 percent of keywords that Investopedia ranks for now contain a featured snippet.” Google has claimed in the past that having a site be listed with a featured snippet does lead to click-throughs for more information. But if your site isn’t listed, you’re out of luck.

How bad is this clout for consumers? And is this something your brand has to worry about? Watch above to hear our thoughts.

Today’s cast: Len Ward (Commexis President), Phillip Brooks (Commexis Lead Strategist), and Matthew McGrorty (Commexis Videographer/Podcaster).

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