Before we get into why I think the 10 blue links will die a timely death, let’s better understand what the organic listings on the Google SERP are. I don’t mean in the sense of what they look like, how they work, and what they accomplish. I think we’re all aware of that. For our purposes here, I’m far more interested in what the “blue links” say about Google, users, and Search as a concept. (Also, I want to be clear at the onset, I am not proposing Google will do away with organic results.
The organic results on the SERP are like going on a business trip. You’re not there to explore or to uncover the beat of a city. You’re there for a specific goal and purpose;
The organic results, the offering of links to 8 or 9 web pages is a business trip.
The organic results don’t lead you anywhere beyond the page you clicked on (in any structured sort of way). They don’t guide you, they don’t offer a pathway or anything of the sort. They just are. They’re options — nothing more and nothing less.
As a statement about the state of users, the organic results say “People are utilitarian. They have a very specific goal of getting the very specific information and they move out of the ecosystem.”
When put in that light, the organic results are not very “flattering” in terms of what they say about the nature of people and their quest for knowledge.The issue is that the acquisition of information and knowledge are not akin to a business trip. You do need to understand the “beat” of a topic. And for that reason, the way Google goes about presenting the SERP and its blue links are going to change.
The Problem: The 10 Blue Links Don’t Allow for Exploration
Constructing knowledge is far more complex than someone having a question and then being provided with a factual answer. If this were all searchers were concerned with, there wouldn’t be a need not only for “10 blue links” on the SERP but any form of URLs.
As a former teacher, I’ve always seen knowledge in terms of the construction of schemes (a la Piaget). To create legitimate understanding or even familiarity with something takes multiple attempts. Meaning to say, it takes multiple pieces of content from multiple vantage points dealing with multiple topics and subtopics. This is how a human being constructs a scheme. It’s why school students learn “units” as opposed to one topic one day and a totally different topic the next.
This is not a novel concept.We all know, folks will look at a product, do some research, maybe put the purchase on hold a bit, think about it, get some more information, research alternative options, mull it over some more, get some more background information, and only then actually buy the product (maybe).
Why is this the case? It’s because people are trying to be comfortable with the purchase before making it. How do you become “comfortable?Even the knowledge graph mostly allows you to explore horizontally. It enables you to move from one knowledge asset to the next but not necessarily deeper within one asset.