Google doesn’t want you to leave Google. And we are not talking only about its ecosystem, but also about its search engine. The product core of Alphabet throughout its history had historically been a distribution center across the web. A platform through which portals, media, and companies from around the world capture traffic through the SEO wars, trying to get their results to be rewarded with the first positions returned by the search engine.
However, for a few years, Google has been cutting the number of searches that result in a click outside its own interface. In 2020, that race to turn your seeker into a rabbit hole showed its highest peak. It only takes one piece of information to exemplify it: during the past year only 1 third of searches by any user-generated a click, and therefore a visit, on another website outside of the search engine itself.
We knew the data a few days ago thanks to a survey by SimilarWeb, one of the leading portals in digital analytics, which has been sifted by analyst Rand Fishkin, one of the most reputable names in the SEO world.
In data, the number of searches that did not generate a click outside of Google has gone from around 50% in 2019 to 65.82% in 2020.
But what is Google after with this? Behind this trend there are several causes that in the end often result in a better response to the user, but it has also ruined the business of many websites and online companies.
The ‘0 position’, the calculator or the ‘Weather’ widget. Or how Google wants us to leave less of its search engine every time
Google has been adding to the results that shows featured modules for several years now, which in most cases solve the query itself . In some cases they are the so-called ‘0 positions’, in which the search engine highlights a fragment of a website that directly solves the question, without therefore giving the need to click on the website from which the information is extracted.
Then came the weather widgets or modules, which drastically reduced the traffic of the weather forecast websites. Calculators, definitions, and now, even modules to find airline tickets. The road has been unstoppable.
“This trend started as early as 2013 when Google introduced the first featured fragments and modules in one of the updates to its algorithm. Since then they have been testing more and more different modules. Some of the temporary forms and others have remained until now forever ”.
“Many websites have seen their traffic drop after updates of this type. But what Google really cares about is the mass of users, and not so much the companies. For this reason, every time a new results module appears, it shields itself from the fact that, if it manages to make users stay in the search engine and solve their searches without leaving it, it is offering a faster and more satisfactory answer ”,
From annoying small websites to disrupting large ones
Until now, however, Google had focused on informational search, but since last year and it seems that going forward it is enabling new functionalities that could disrupt important sectors.
If last year Google incorporated a flight module in its results , for 2021 it is preparing Google Travel, in which agencies and hotels will be able to include their offer for free. If this is also added to the search modules, the hit to reference websites such as Booking.com could be important.