Do Large Publishers Have an Unfair Advantage in Google Search?

Larger publishers appear to look extra usually in search outcomes, typically a number of instances in the response to a single question.

But is it an unfair benefit?

See how single firms carry out in opposition to giant publishing conglomerates as we speak.

Do Large Publishers Have an Unfair Advantage in Google Search?

A shopper requested just lately if we may report a competitor for double-serving in natural search outcomes.

(If you’re not accustomed to this Google Ads coverage, it prohibits an organization from attempting to achieve an unfair benefit in search outcomes by serving multiple advert in search outcomes.)

I informed the shopper no; that advertisements and natural search are like church and state at Google.

Google places a number of listings from the identical firm in natural search outcomes on a regular basis.

I forwarded them this nice 2016 article from Glenn Allsop, the place he reveals how 16 publishing conglomerates dominated Google search outcomes at the moment.

But I began to marvel if 5 years had modified this sport.


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Does Google have extra numerous outcomes now than in 2016?

Do they present a number of domains from a single firm much less usually?

And do they present fewer publishing conglomerates like Hearst and Conde Nast in search outcomes, enabling smaller websites with related data to compete?

To reply these questions, I went again to the 13 queries Allsop used to indicate that firms have been getting a number of listings in natural search outcomes, and pulled the identical information he did.

Comparing Publishing Enterprise vs Single Company Results in Google Search

The unhealthy information? Google’s natural search outcomes are nonetheless usually dominated by giant publishing conglomerates, and single publishing enterprises can nonetheless personal the whole search outcomes web page by creating related content material on a number of domains.

Change in rank over five years for queries used to determine publisher dominance in Google search.

This isn’t unhealthy information for these giant publishers, after all, nevertheless it does make it tougher for particular person publishers — even authoritative ones — to get on the primary web page of Google natural search.


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It additionally sends a complicated message to firms when a observe that’s banned in paid search is efficient in natural.

The excellent news for smaller publishers is that it’s getting higher. The overwhelming majority of those queries have shifted during the last 5 years to favor smaller rivals.

On common, of the 13 queries in query, 6% fewer are owned by one firm (28% in 2021 in comparison with 34% in 2016).

What’s extra, a whopping 23% fewer search outcomes (53% of search outcomes in 2021 in comparison with 77% in 2016) are owned by publishing firms.

Do Large Publishers Have an Unfair Advantage in Google Search?

Though a couple of of those have truly gotten worse since 2016, the good majority have gotten higher.

But is it acceptable that greater than half of those search outcomes are owned by a handful of huge publishers?

Does Google actually need to ship that message after they’re sending the other message in paid search?

That’s a bigger query for Google to reply however for now, there are a couple of clear takeaways for companies who compete with these giant publishers.

Smaller Blog and Individuals Can Still Compete in Search

If you may have related content material and a hyperlink profile that isn’t clearly unnatural, you’re extra prone to rank in Google for the 13 random queries that Allsop checked out in 2016, no matter who owns the location.

If you’re a meals blogger from Meridian, Idaho, standard knowledge says there’s no manner you’re going to beat out Food Network, NYTimes, and Delish for a key phrase that’s searched over 200,000 instances monthly.

And but that’s precisely what Natasha Kravchuk is doing with “Natasha’s Kitchen’s fish tacos recipe.”


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There’s no onerous and quick rule that claims you shouldn’t be capable to compete for top quantity queries as nicely, even in case you’re an unbiased blogger.

Choose Your Keywords Carefully

Some search outcomes in this pattern usually tend to be dominated by giant firms than others. Before you determine to optimize for a key phrase, know who you’re up in opposition to.

Independent journey bloggers are nonetheless going to have a tough time beating TripAdvisor for “things to do in London,” however they’re nonetheless there on web page one getting visitors from the question.

And huge alternatives can nonetheless be discovered on key phrases with much less quantity like [london itinerary]. For that one, there are nearly no huge journey websites on the primary web page of the search outcomes nevertheless it’s nonetheless a extremely related visitors supply.

Family journey blogs like are competing for each, rating #3 in the US for [things to do in london] and #1 in the US for [london itinerary].


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Optimize Multiple Sites to Dominate on Top Queries

In some instances, it’s not simply huge writer websites which have an alternative to “double-serve” in natural search outcomes.

In the case of above, the proprietor Dave Santorini is rating #3 with Earth Trekkers AND #7 with

If you keep a number of related websites, don’t assume you’re hurting your possibilities to rank with key phrase cannibalization simply since you’re not a large writer.

While most websites which can be owned by the identical firm in search outcomes appear to return from bigger publishers (since statistically, they personal extra websites), giant publishers don’t have a monopoly on getting a number of positions in search outcomes for a similar question.

It’s Still Possible to Own Much of the Top 10

If you’re trying to dominate search outcomes for one question by serving related content material on a number of websites, that’s nonetheless potential as of this writing in 2021.

Even although the averages look higher for smaller publishers after 5 years, virtually half of the question pattern obtained worse in the case of one firm rating.


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Who is aware of how lengthy Google will permit this for natural search? They clearly have a unique coverage in paid.

But for now, giant publishers can proceed to dominate search outcomes by optimizing a number of websites for a similar question, and dealing with (or shopping for) smaller associates that could possibly rank on these aggressive queries extra simply than they may in the previous.

“Double-serving” in natural search outcomes is a way more sophisticated query than in paid.

But it’s nonetheless potential for small and enormous websites. If you’re sensible about what key phrases and websites you compete on, you may get a number of placements in high Google Search outcomes.

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Image Credits

All screenshots taken by writer, May 2021

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