Google Search Results: First 10, then 7 and now 4?
Throughout the past two weeks, there has been much discussion about the number of organic results appearing on the search page.
First, there’s Google showing 7 organic results on a page for some searches. A search for eBay on August 16 displays 7 results aside from the Google news listing.
Furthermore, it appears that the “7 only” listings affect 20% of the search engine results pages on Google. Dr. Meyers of SEOmoz posted his findings after analyzing a set of 1,000 queries and Top 10 SERPs. On August 15th, there’s a clear spike of search pages with 7 results climbing from 0% to 20%.
An article came out two days ago on SEO Roundtable, reporting Google maybe testing pages with only 4 results and, almost as proof, this image of a “kaizen” search came out on WebmasterWorld on September 4th. Notice how there are only 4 organic results and Adwords are appearing at the bottom instead of the top.
Although this search cannot be replicated, it sheds some light on where Google is potentially going with how the SERPs are displayed. Personally, I don’t think showing that small number of results for each query is a good user experience. However, the possibility that Google will continue to deliver fewer search results on each page gives even more weight to position 1 rankings and sitelinks, as it translates to owning a bigger portion of the search real estate. That means more work for us SEO’ers to start cracking on!