Today is not a good day to be a sports website. In its ever growing attempt to keep users on its search pages, Google started embedding the entire NCAA bracket via several simple search commands.
Users who type in “NCAA Bracket” and hit enter are now greeted with a bracket for each game based on each round of play (Round of 65, Round of 32, Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, Final Four, Finals). Google also included the game time for each bracket.
There is some good news Clicking on any of the listed games in the Google embedded bracket takes users to new about those games and the teams involved in them. The new setup could lend itself to better search results based on real-time updated information.
The term “NCAA Bracket” has created millions of searches and thus pageviews for sporting sites in the past. It is that fact that led websites such as ESPN and Bleacher Report to create inventive bracket displays.
The NCAA bracket wars were so big that websites would spend days, even weeks, leading up to March Madness with their fingers directly on the pulse of NCAA SEO. Now Google provides bracket results for “basketball bracket” and “March Madness” and “NCAA tournament” among other related searches.
Also included are NCAA rankings, the score for each game, and, of course, the winning team results.
While Google has not attempted to delve deeper into content creation, the embed shows the true power Google can hold over search results and web traffic when it flexes some SERP muscles.
Some website owners are likely to complain that Google is cannibalizing their traffic. On the other hand, Google taking over simple tasks anyone can accomplish leaves website owners with the need to create in-depth analysis, better commentaries, and other stronger news stories that matter.