Google Search Diversity Update

Google rolls out a second algorithm update in less than a month. This update is aimed at improving search result diversity and reducing the number of results shown by the same root domain.

What is a subdomain and what on earth is a root domain?

Let’s use www.islandmediamanagement.com as an example.

The root domain is islandmediamanagement.com.

A subdomain would be website.islandmediamanagement.com or blog.islandmediamanagement.com or help.islandmediamanagement.com.

google site diversity update, subdomain and root domain

Google Announcement

On the 6th of June 2019, Google announced a second update to its search algorithm. This update is called the site diversity change. As announced on Google’s public Twitter account “site diversity will generally treat subdomains as part of a root domain”.

Previously, subdomains were treated as separate sites from the root domain. This has meant that in some cases, multiple results from the same domain were appearing in search results. Google received feedback that users found this to be frustrating and have thus acted upon it.

Google did, however, say that while in general, subdomains will be treated as a part of the root domain, that it “may still show more than two (results) in cases where our systems determine it’s especially relevant to do so for a particular search".

How does this affect you and your SEO campaigns?

This update will mean that if you have subdomains on your site, in general, it is likely that Google will start to treat these as the same website and that a maximum of two listings per root domain will appear for a particular search term. This could have an impact on your organic traffic if you are currently ranking well for multiple subdomains on your properties, in that Google will likely only display the top two listings.

What is the SEO Community saying about this update?

Points out that this update is not aimed at Search Rankings, and rather at search listings (meaning the order of listings that appear). Based on this, it seems unlikely that this update would have much of an effect on Search Rankings, except for the fact that it provides more space for diverse results so websites that were previously not ranking well may now have an opportunity to climb if their competitors were previously showing multiple results from subdomains.

Conclusion

It is still too early to say with any certainty how much of an effect this update will have on websites with multiple subdomains or on websites in competition with sites who were previously ranking well with multiple subdomains. As always, we will keep monitoring this update and provide you with any new information when it becomes appropriate to do so.

If you have any concerns, get in touch with our talented team of SEO consultants for a consultation today!