The debate surrounding the existence of "10 blue links" on search engine results pages (SERPs) continues to stir discussions and diverse opinions within the SEO community.
While some argue that these traditional organic search results have become obsolete, others believe they are far from extinction.
An Ever-Evolving Search Landscape
Search engines are constantly evolving and adapting their algorithms, making long-term predictions nearly impossible.
As a content creator, I know that quality is the foundation of effective SEO.
Engaging, informative, and relevant content should always be the top priority, regardless of the ongoing shifts in the SEO landscape.
However, SEO encompasses more than just content quality, especially as organic search listings become less prominent.
So, let's walk through the current state of organic search results and the notion of "10 blue links."
Understanding "Blue Links"
"Blue links" refer to organic search results on SERPs, distinguishing them from paid listings.
Traditionally, a Google search would display ten of these blue links on the first page, allowing clear rankings for specific keywords.
Over time, search engines, including Google, began experimenting with alternative layouts featuring maps, images, and aggregated reviews.
Consequently, the SERP layout transformed significantly.
The State of Organic Search Today
The current Google SERP for a popular search term like 'Nike' showcases paid ads, news results, multiple site links, related searches, and some other integrations, leaving limited space for organic results.
Similar SERP enhancements are continually introduced, reinforcing the argument that "10 blue links" are fading away.
However, this isn't universally applicable.
Bing, for instance, adopted a "more than 10" approach to its SERPs, consistently offering more organic results than Google.
While Google's SERPs may appear dominated by paid ads, maps, and local search results, considering "authored" results alongside traditional organic links reveals that ten blue links still have a presence in Google's SERP.
Challenges and Variability
Search results can vary widely based on numerous factors, including location and user login status.
A web page's position in a SERP is far from guaranteed and can change from one search to another.
The Resilience of Organic Links
Recent surveys have shown that the concept of organic "10 blue links" remains relevant, particularly in Google's dynamic search environment.
A significant percentage of SERPs still display a majority of organic results, offering ample opportunities for small businesses and brands to feature in organic listings.
Nevertheless, the influx of paid ads is a growing challenge.
Over half of search results pages now contain nine or more paid ads, contributing to the saturation of the search landscape. These sponsored ads often face user "blindness," especially those in prominent positions.
The Role of SEO
As searchers increasingly favor organic results and search engines strive to provide more user-centric SERPs, SEO's importance continues to grow.
Effective SEO practices are essential to secure visibility in the evolving search landscape.
While the future of "10 blue links" remains uncertain and variable, a strong focus on content quality and effective SEO strategies will help brands and businesses adapt and thrive in the ever-changing world of search.