Whilst browsing through Google’s search engine the other day it was brought to our attention that there is a feature that they have implemented within their search engine results page (SERP) that gives the user the option to block a specific website from appearing within the listings. This occurs when you click through to a link in the SERP and then press the back button which will bring you back to the search results, however this time you will be presented the option of ‘blocking all’ results from the listings and future listings that you will see.
As you can see in the above image, we searched for ‘web designers Birmingham‘ and found our website in the SERP, we then clicked through and then went back and we were given this option to ‘Block all’. Now, from a user point of view this could be a good idea as you can get rid of any websites that come into the results that are just spam or just plain unhelpful (obviously you wouldn’t be blocking our site!) and this will allow you to have more of a customised user experience. On the other hand, from a website owner’s point of view, this isn’t so good because all that time spent on perfecting your search engine optimisation (SEO) has just gone down the pan if your target market are blocking your website. Also, quite a shocking thing that we found was that even the paid-per-click (PPC) ads on the top of the SERP have this feature attached to them. I don’t know how happy you would be if you are spending a large sum of money to be guaranteed into the search results at the top of the page and then you find out that it can be removed from the results with a click of the users mouse! If you have just found this out now and are having a moment of panic, don’t worry, there is hope yet!
What we have found with our rigorous testing of this feature (i.e, we accidentally found this out when we were browsing) is that once you have clicked through to the website from the SERP, if you stay on the webpage for at least 30 seconds and then go back then the user is not provided with the option to block the website. This could be seen as Google determining that anything under 30 seconds is a page bounce, therefore, first impressions are essential. Ensure that the loading time to your website is at a complete minimum because this is one of the highest causes for users to leave a webpage prematurely, also, make sure that the landing page that the user is presented with isn’t too overcrowded and is aesthetically appealing because nobody wants to stay on an ugly website (we all have our shallow sides). Factors like this can make a big difference.
Hopefully we haven’t sent you into a wild panic and you feel more informed than enraged. Simply follow the simple advice we have given and it will be a good starting point to ensure you don’t face the dreaded ‘Google block’.