google 7 search results

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.

Ebay 7 search results


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%.

SERP showing 7 results graph


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.

SERP showing 4 results


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!