My cat jumped onto my keyboard earlier and had hit the 0 button when he was walking across while I was at Google.com. When he hit the button I got the standard drop down that shows search options to try and make your search faster and better by not only saving you typing time, but also giving you search suggestions to help you better target your results.
Today for some reason (I probably just hasn’t noticed before) for some reason Google has decided to start showing how many results the search term will begin to pull back. I don’t actually see how this is beneficial to the end user, but I do see how it could have some effects on SEO people, minimal effects but some.
Anyways, the first thing to think about is the old mindset but still valid one that the more results that come back, the harder it is to optimize for that term. The reason this used to be more relevant was the thought that you weren’t competing with 50K other pages and relevant results, but you were competing with 1Billion or more results so you have to do something to make your page stand out. Although this is still somewhat relevant for actual competition, it is less valid or difficult since Google’s algorithm has become more advanced and also includes numerous other things to help make your site relevant above other pages with similar content, search volume in addition to pages indexed, etc…
2. Now if you use the amount of indexed pages as a way to help pick out what to try to optimize for, this can definitely help you with that since it not only shows you indexed pages, but also other variations that could be less competitive. (You also have to keep in mind that it also depends which data center you are pulling from).
3. Now, what if the massive amount of results or minimal amount of results scare your website traffic away from selecting the terms you have worked on optimizing first. This is probably so minimal it won’t effect anything, however when in doubt ask your Mother.
If your Mom is like mine and doesn’t know a thing about Online Marketing or other Online Search Engine trends, ask her what she thinks or watch how she reacts to seeing them. You may find that they think 10 Million results is way to much to have to look through or that 50K is way to small. This could also cause them to stop using the terms you worked to get and start using ones in the middle. It could also work in reverse in that they like huge results coming back or they like smaller amounts since it is less overwhelming.
This could definitely have an impact if people start getting scared off by seeing too many or too little results coming back and can help other sites that would not normally have gotten the traffic.
I know that this probably will not have an effect on much, but I am wondering why Google would include search volumes in the drop down results and how that benefits the end user searching and if they feel it would benefit the websites relying on the traffic. I don’t think the actual amount of indexed pages is going to make results more relevant, so what is the point?