Google Drops Zero Search Results Experiment

Many SEOs were alarmed when Google began showing answer boxes in the search results without showing any additional search results.  The experiment, which began last week, was to serve searchers the answer up to half a second faster, especially since most searchers didn’t actually click through to any search results, as the answer box showed the answer most wanted.

Danny Sullivan, Search Liason at Google, announced that they have ended the zero serp experiment.

He also added that it did save a half second, which was Google’s main motivation for making the change originally.

One of the other issues with this test that SEOs had is that Google was sometimes showing both Google AdWords and Google Product Listing Ads (aka Shopping Ads) along with these answer boxes, without any other search results.  As I questioned on Twitter, it is unclear why Google didn’t simply prevent ads from being shown on search results pages that were only showing this answer box without any regular search results.

Nathan Johns from Google said these were edge cases, which Sullivan also confirmed as examples where Google should not have displayed any ads.

It sounds as though Google may relaunch this after some kind of a revamp, based on Sullivan’s comment:

The team will look at improving when and how it appears.

But it is unclear what that could be.  Simply launching it on mobile where speed is a bigger issue than desktop where they were already running it?  Or looking at displaying it in a different format?

The following two tabs change content below.

My Twitter profileMy Facebook profileMy Google+ profileMy LinkedIn profileMy Twitter profileMy Facebook profileMy Google+ profileMy LinkedIn profile