With March Madness officially underway, competition is heating up on the court – and on the Internet! Google, not one to miss a beat, is unsurprisingly prepared for the anticipated flood of NCAA search queries. As sports bloggers and webmasters scrambled to optimize their websites for the fast-approaching annual sporting event, Google quietly awaited the launch of the Madness to unleash a new resource for avid sports fans. For, unbeknownst to these webmasters, Google brought a gun to the knife fight.
In Google’s most recent attempt to elevate user experience, a huge NCAA March Madness bracket now trumps all related search results, providing sports fans with a one-stop-shop to tend to their bracket game. While this new interface may offer instant gratification to searchers, it does so at the expense of hard-earned positions for organic listings, pushing them way down, or even – gasp! – off the page entirely. And unfortunately for these sites (but fortunately for searchers), Google isn’t pumping the brakes anytime soon.
Rather, the unveiling of this built-in bracket seems to be just the start for the Internet giant, essentially rolling out the red carpet for the restructuring of all sports results pages.
Google recently announced  a massive update to their sports results that promises to heavily enrich user experience for the average sports fan. Sports-related search queries are now met with an interactive answer card built directly into the results page, with details ranging from game schedules and scores, to league standings and player stats. Go ahead, see for yourself – search for your favorite sports team in Google, and check out the plethora of information that comes up. Impressed? Good. You should be. After all, this is all part of a larger movement to highlight the importance of user experience – through the penalization of websites that fail to offer engaging content and a vibrant personality, in addition to the standard information expected of them. So what does this mean for the average sports website that only offers game scores? Well, as they say, another one bites the dust.
In this ever-evolving world of online marketing and search engine optimization, agencies and webmasters alike, need to prepare for new elements within the SERP and adopt new strategies to embrace change. Permanence is one privilege that is not afforded in this industry, but hey, that’s what makes it fun, right? We’re up for the challenge!
- Google Sports a New Look: The Integration of the March Madness Answer Card  - March 21, 2013