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Google SERP Shows Amazon Ranked 9 out of 10 Spots. Danny Sullivan Says Google Not Broken

Google's Danny Sullivan shown a SERP with Amazon ranking 9 out of 10 positions. Why does this happen?

Google SERP Shows Amazon Ranked 9 out of 10 Spots. Danny Sullivan Says Google Not Broken

Google’s Danny Sullivan answered a question on Twitter Amazon dominating 9 out of ten search results for a query. It gives the appearance that Google has a domain diversity problem.

Someone posted a screenshot showing Amazon ranking nine web pages in ten search results for the query, 3 foot usb-c cables.

This is the tweet:

Google’s Danny Sullivan Says It’s Not Broken

Google’s Danny Sullivan answered that Google’s algorithm isn’t broken but promised to take it back to Google to review.

Maybe the Problem is Not Google

If you do a site search of tech supply site NewEgg.com for “usb-c cables 3ft” you get a search result like this:

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Screenshot of site search of NewEgg.com

Here is the NewEgg title tag:

USB 3.1 Type C Extension Cable (3ft), iXever Short USB-C (Gen 2 10Gbps, 20V 5A PD charging) Male to Female Extender Cord Compatible with Nintendo Switch, MacBook, Pro Pixel 3 2 XL – Newegg.com

That’s arguably their best page for the keyword phrase, “usb-c cables 3ft” and the title tag isn’t really optimized for that keyword phrase.

Here is a site search of Walmart.

The screenshot is of the top result, but all the other results from Walmart were similar to the top result in terms of optimizing for the keyword phrase, “usb-c cables 3ft”

Screenshot of site search of Walmart

Walmart has some of the best SEO of any online store.

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Yet even Walmart isn’t well optimized for the search phrase, “usb-c cables 3ft”

Is Amazon dominating because they have better SEO?

Not really.

What Does Bing Say?

When I am trying to diagnose an issue related to Google search rankings, I take a look at Bing for insights.

Sometimes Bing will show very different and better results. That can indicate that something is going wrong over at Google.

For the keyword phrase “usb-c cables 3ft” Bing shows six organic search results on the first page of the SERPs.

Out of those six organic search results, four of the positions belong to Amazon.

Oh wow! What is going on, right?

Screenshot of Bing search results showing Amazon dominating the results

Maybe It’s Not Domain Diversity

There’s a joke that goes like this:

“Let’s stop talking about you and let’s talk about me.”

Similarly, when we talk about Google’s SERPs, we sometimes tend to become Google-centered and forget to consider that maybe the problem isn’t Google, that maybe the problem is outside of Google.

In this case, the real problem wasn’t Google, the problem appeared to be that web pages were not optimized for the search term.

Is that because Amazon has better SEO?

Probably not.

The USB-C spec is relatively new. There are more devices using regular USB cables than use the USB-C type.

Less People Use USB-C than Use Regular USB Cables

Screenshot showing less people use usb-c

 

There are significantly more people using Apple Lightning Cables than are using USB-C Cables.

But more importantly, nobody really searches for usb-c cables 3ft.

No Search Volume for USB-C Cables 3ft

Screenshot of Google Trends showing lack of keyword inventoryThis screenshot shows that there is very little keyword volume for the search phrase that triggers SERPs that show Amazon dominating the top ten results.

But a lot of people search for USB-C Cables

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Screenshot of Google Trends showing a lot of keyword usage

And if you search Google for USB-C Cables, you will find there are nine organic search results and out of those nine, only one result belongs to Amazon.

The reason why is probably because a lack of data. Google needs data in order to understand search queries.

So if nobody’s using a search query, then it becomes harder to understand what is meant. As you can see, both Bing and Google defaulted to Amazon.

Google’s Not Broken. It’s an Oddball Search Query

Obviously, no search result should have nine search results from the same domain name.

Yet, when confronted with a search query nobody uses, this is the kind of thing that happens.

It’s super important to keep an open mind when diagnosing the search results. Otherwise the real reason a site does not rank will be elusive.

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This “problem” of a Google problem with domain diversity could very well be simply an issue related to the keyword phase used to trigger this kind of result.

Sure it’s a bug, but this one phrase is not evidence of a widespread problem with Google’s SERPs and domain diversity.

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Roger Montti

Roger Montti is a search marketer with 20 years experience. He provides site audits, phone consultations and content and link ... [Read full bio]

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