from the now-you-see-it-now-you-don't dept.
According to TorrentFreak, Google is downranking The Pirate Bay's website in its search results for a wide variety of queries, some of which are not linked to copyright-infringing content. Interestingly, the change mostly seems to affect TPB results via the Google.com domain, not other variants such as Google.ca and Google.co.uk.
It also seems that Google may only be downranking searches that are explicitly looking for copyright-infringing content, not searches that are simply looking for The Pirate Bay itself. It will be interesting to see whether this is a backhanded effort to appease the media companies, or a taste of things to come to all the Google domains.
A few months ago, back in August, the Web passed a milestone in that less than half of Google searches result in even a single click onwards. In other words, the majority of searchers never left Google after seeing the results. That could be a warning that Google is transitioning from a search engine to more of a walled-garden. Or it could mean that the results aren't good any more and people move on to other engines after only a quick glance. If the former, where searches are no longer resulting in click through, then what should be the proper response from the Web at large?
On desktop, things haven’t changed all that much in the last three years. Organic is down a few percent, paid and zero-click are up a bit, but June of 2019 isn’t far off January of 2016.
On mobile, where more than half of all searches take place, it’s a different story. Organic has fallen by almost 20%, while paid has nearly tripled and zero-click searches are up significantly. Even way back in January 2016, more than half of mobile searches ended without a click. Today’s, it’s almost 2/3rds.
Three trends are made clear by these numbers:
- The percent of searches available as organic traffic from Google is steadily declining, especially on mobile.
- Paid clicks tend to increase whenever Google makes changes to how those results are displayed, then slowly decline as searchers get more familiar with spotting and avoiding them.
- Google’s ongoing attempts to answer more searches without a click to any results OR a click to Google’s own properties are both proving successful. As a result, zero-click searches, and clicks that bring searchers to a Google-owned site keep rising.