Follower Counts Go Live on Google SERP

Back in April, Google began testing out a new addition to its Search Engine Results Page: follower counts. The purpose of this was to prominently display how many follower or subscribers an account featured on the SERP had because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up making their content seem more authoritative. It turns out that Google has finally launched this new feature, with follower counts going live on both the desktop and mobile versions of the SERP this week.

In spite of the fact that this is the case, many are wondering how long this new feature will last. Google is known for experimenting with features only to abandon them out of the blue. It will be interesting to see how long this latest experiment will last.

With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that some are also questioning the value of such a feature. Displaying follower counts could actually put some creators at a disadvantage, since users may potentially end up prioritizing those creators that look like they have more subscribers rather than actually judging their content based on its own individual merit.

There is a high level of likelihood that so called vanity metrics like follower counts could get gamified with all things having been considered and taken into account. A channel with lots of subscribers but which does not receive all that many views is clearly putting out content that misses the mark, yet it will end up being rewarded for arbitrary numbers. Furthermore, subscriber counts are all too easy to inflate, making it more likely that an unfair advantage will be given to some than might have been the case otherwise.

People with social media accounts will be quick to jump on the opportunity this presents, however. They can incorporate their follower counts into their SEO, something that might contribute to the seismic changes this industry has been seeing for quite some time now. It will be interesting to see where things go from here on out, since Google has been making many subtle tweaks to its search engine, and many of them are received with criticism and end up becoming so unpopular that Google is forced to make them vanish without a trace.

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