Now that the masses have access to Google's newly redesigned results pages, it's time to consider this in an SEO light if you have not already been considering it.
How do Google's New SERPs Affect SEO? Comment here.
Google has had its search options available for about a year, but they have not been in the face of the user like the newly redesigned SERP is. With this new design, users don't have any choice but to notice the options that are available. It's not too different from Bing or Yahoo in that respect (Danny Sullivan notes that Ask pioneered this design). The difference is that way more people search with Google on a regular basis (in fact, last month Google reportedly dominated the search market by even more than usual).
SEO Strategies and Increased Engagement from Searchers
The new SERPs may shake up SEO efforts, simply because users will start going to the different options Google provides them, taking them to different sets of results. Now that the options are in the limelight, users are more likely to use them.
Yahoo tells us when they added features to their left-hand navigation bar, engagement increased. "We've been steadily adding more filtering options and relevant search suggestions to our left-hand navigation bar...and have seen engagement and click-throughs for those features double over the past seven months." I can't imagine why Google wouldn't also see an engagement increase for certain features that are now more visible.
It's going to come down to evaluating the different options for any given query that you wish to rank for, and focusing efforts upon those. I'll refer back to the article I posted shortly after Google launched its search options in the first place you can find some tips in that. The same general thinking still applies, but it just got more important.
New SERPs Make Social Even More Important
The options in the left panel pull from "everything" - classic Google results (universal, organic, paid, etc.), blogs from Google Blog Search, Books from Google Books (which includes magazines), Images from Google Image Search, News from Google News, Maps from Google Maps, Shopping from Google Product Search, Videos from Google Video (which includes videos from YouTube and other sources), and Updates from Google's real-time search.
That last one is of particular note, because before users generally only saw Google's real-time search in action on select newsy queries unless they hunted them down. Real-time search for any query is now much more accessible, which makes real-time search a bigger deal for search marketing (here's some tips for getting found in real-time search). Here's how Google ranks tweets.
Social interactions are becoming more important. The new SERPs also place much more emphasis on social search results. The same goes for location. You'll notice "nearby" is one of the options. Discussions is another option. Google appears to draw from a variety of sources for this one, but it stands to reason that engaging in conversation throughout the web has some value to Google's results. There are definitely a lot of results from forums in these results - another reason forum participation can be a valuable use of your time. Forums and Q&A are actually a couple of sub-options, but I've seen blog posts in the discussions results too.
Emphasis on Diversification of Where You're Ranking in Google
What it boils down to is that ranking in all of Google's different search engines has become even more important for getting traffic from Google. Here are some tips for that. I expect traffic for sites listed in any of these to increase as a result of Google's New SERP. Keep in mind that Google has been testing this for a significant amount of time. If you think Yahoo was seeing increased engagement, imagine what Google will attract.
I would watch for Google to add more options to the left-panel at any given time. Though they have already experimented a great deal with this layout, I expect we'll see a lot more tweaking as time goes on.
Do you think Google's new SERPs will increase your traffic? Tell us what you think.