Google Search Results: From 10 To 7 To 4?

Sep 5, 2012 • 8:52 am | comments (47) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine

Google FourA couple weeks ago, we reported Google is showing only seven search results when the search query is specific enough to warrant less results.

To my surprise, it seems like Google is cutting that number to only show four search results!

Yes, a WebmasterWorld thread has one searcher noticing for search results that return sitelinks, instead of showing seven results, it is now showing only four results.

This seems to be a test, I cannot replicate the test myself but the screen captures seem legit.

four Google results

As you can see, Google took this down from ten, which came down from seven and now is only showing four results.

I am not sure if Google has serious intentions of only showing four search results on a page or not, but they seem to be testing it.

The WebmasterWorld thread has one more picture as well.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Robert Cerff

09/05/2012 12:58 pm

If memory serves me correctly, Bing did (does?) something similar with specific searches. This might be useful should you be doing an actual brand search I suppose.

Andrea Pernici

09/05/2012 12:59 pm

On blackberry sometimes Google shows 3 results + navigation (pagination)... I think they are making tons of tests.

Lyndon NA

09/05/2012 01:09 pm

Could be due to * limited results, * duplicate results, * a quality threshold, * intention detection, * behaviour modeled * a mix of the above etc. Personally, for many of my searches, I end up going past page 1 ... ... so I don't see this helping me at all. If they do this, I pray they only do it for limited search types. And heaven help them if they ever include their own platforms/products...

Simon Heseltine

09/05/2012 01:16 pm

Yeah, when Bing first launched they would return fewer listings on the 1st page for certain queries. IIRC branded searches were prime examples.


09/05/2012 01:23 pm

So ? An average Google search user doesn't care about the quantity on SERP, but about the quality of SERP. I'm not familiar with the item searched in the example, but this SERP seems to be helpful = quality enough.

Sunny Ujjawal

09/05/2012 01:29 pm

One day Google will show only Paid Results on 1st page.. :) :)


09/05/2012 01:35 pm

it for better user experience, to make them click only at adwords ads. And wikipedia not deserve sitelinks.

Roie S

09/05/2012 01:51 pm

When logged in to Google (and if you have Google+) there almost no organic results. I see G+ posts, knowledge graph BS, related Gmail emails etc. Google has finally lost it completely. No more organizing the web, just organizing your own Google account... I don't need them to do that, and i absolutely don't WANT them to do that and there is NO value in the results shown to me because they were generated by me or people whose posts i already saw - and are remotely related to the search term. BYE BYE Google search!

Jeff Downer Indianapolis IN

09/05/2012 02:11 pm

As a search engine user, at four results per page, all I can say is: "Hello Bing!


09/05/2012 02:13 pm

Don't you know as a search engine user, that you can select by yourself how many results to be shown ?

Mike Kalil

09/05/2012 02:51 pm

I've seen this happen before, but when you refresh the results, 10 show up. I've always assumed it was some technical malfunction.

Ismael Verón

09/05/2012 02:54 pm

At least Google doesn´t deny it >

Roi Alon

09/05/2012 03:02 pm

Bruce Clay mention about 3 results on Google results - back on June during SMX.


09/05/2012 03:20 pm

'fewer' results

Jeff Downer Indianapolis IN

09/05/2012 03:27 pm

It doesn't matter., Google (or any other search engine) gets to select how many search results are shown. If Google says it going to be four then it will be four and turn off any search options it chooses.

Aaron Charlie

09/05/2012 04:04 pm

You can turn a lot of it off you know.


09/05/2012 04:41 pm

I noticed it yesterday on very far back search results(page30 and up) where I even had less than 4 results. Its really tiresome following all these bloody little nuances while they "try" to get it right. In fact I am tired of having to check up in places like your site (no offense intended-great site) to see what the hell is going on and I am not crazy. Google sit and play with peoples livelihoods these days on a daily basis . There is no consistency for more than a day or two and its starting to drive me and I am sure loads others nuts. I once upon a time (before I started internet marketing) loved Google as it helped me in my day job and I still cannot work without it in the Systems world but these days all I feel is pure hatred for "Mr Goody two shoes Matt Cutts" and the rest of the pack. I long for the day for when they get some real competition but so far they are like Microsoft and nothing can touch the Mother........ers. Oh well maybe its time to move into a low tech area of remuneration. Time to whip out a table and start selling Lemonade on the side of the street..... Thanks for letting me vent a bit .... I shall overcome...... One last thing to note. I think that Black Hat SEO must be very a rewarding thing when manage to screw with them just wish i knew how ......


09/05/2012 04:46 pm

Google has gone too far, 4 search results! It's far too obvious that they are doing this for the own interests and no one else. This isn't about giving the user a better search experience it's about promoting their own sites and getting people clicking on their ads!

Winson Yeung

09/05/2012 05:24 pm

What? 4 result is definetely be a pain when I'm doing research on stuff... I still prefer the 10


09/05/2012 05:25 pm

If you are not familiar with the subject, how do you know the result is quality and helpful. Surely you could only judge that if it was something you were actually looking for. Or is this just another troll attempt?

Winson Yeung

09/05/2012 05:25 pm

I will switch to bing on that day

Frank Pedrera

09/05/2012 06:20 pm

I'm currently seeing 7. Are they just intentionally trying to mess everything up? SMH


09/05/2012 06:40 pm

It does matter, because right now you, as a search engine user, can select the results quantity by yourself. So why you, as a search engine user, blame Google, if it was yours, a search engine user, choice to see such results quantity ?


09/05/2012 07:17 pm

I've been seeing 7 today as well.


09/05/2012 07:20 pm

Well there are actually 10 results showing on the page. It's just that 6 of the 10 are showing as site links for wikipedia. Hopefully it's just a malfunction. I think 10 per page is best but definitely not 4.


09/05/2012 08:19 pm

Post was lost again ...

Piyush Khera

09/06/2012 12:19 am

Looks like a experiment to me. This is different for different queries as well. Google might be trying to push sites with less authority to page 2.


09/06/2012 02:29 am

Maybe its time to write your congressman and senator. Granted Google can do what they want with their search engine. But to do so, they should have to shed their other businesses such as broadband, etc. How easily the consumer is abused when one company basically controls what you see when you search and how you get online. The anti-trust red flags should be flying high with regulators, but I think politicians are too consumed with elections. People should use their freedom of speech in a constructive way instead of just complaining about it to others that have no control over laws and regulations. The end of free organic traffic from Google is soon approaching and is continually expanding into new niches. If your ranks are good today, tomorrow they may be replaced by paid ads.

Matt Morgan

09/06/2012 03:10 am

Well, I guess with only 4 results, us SEOs will have to focus on site structure, rich snippets, and extreme relevancy.


09/06/2012 05:02 am

Big G is forcing all webmasters to go for PPC. isn't it?

Peter Becci

09/06/2012 05:15 am

Just did a search for "Harvard" and got 4 listings

Peter Becci

09/06/2012 05:21 am

Got 5 for Disney World

Saroj Nayak

09/06/2012 05:30 am

Now Google trying to show more effective results on SERP from which an user can get more information..It may be Paid Results or Organic results..In my computer it me showed 7 organic results when i typed "Six Sigma" on the Google Search Bar...

Chandan Kumar Jha

09/06/2012 05:46 am

It's only rumour. As you are seeing these days google is prefering more to paid but the matter of 4 it's only only rumour about organic SERP.

SEO First

09/06/2012 06:02 am

Chill guyz! Don't show reactions and prove Google Wrong. I Don't think this can be true, i mean Google can't reduce their search results to 4, may be 7 but NOT 4. Cmon, they are into search business(one of their best product too) and they want to keep it alive. Google wont mess up with it unless it ain't useful to user. I guess this might be because of experiments Google do daily in their search engine. According to a fact Google does almost 2 experiments daily but approves only 15-16 in a year.

Dewaldt Huysamen

09/06/2012 11:13 am

Ok not too be funny now, but really what are they trying to achieve here. There is no need to be so greedy in killing everything that is left organic. ai let us see

Sumit Rawat

09/06/2012 11:17 am

me too

Murthy Seo

09/06/2012 11:34 am

This type of issues I faced before that. But I don't think this is actual search result for that page. May be this made some unfortunate issue while frequent search query passing the Google. But I am not sure! Any one can tell, why this happen?

Louie Ramos

09/06/2012 11:40 am

I think it will stays with 7, maybe Google will have 4,5 results if there are News, Videos & Photos included in the search results for that particular keyword. If you have 2 to 3 of those media available, that will bring the total listing back to 7

Rahul Mishra

09/06/2012 12:01 pm

I'm not agree with you. Now days, google has done lots of changes in his search and may be it is his next UPDATE..!!!

09/06/2012 07:17 pm

I think its a bug or something... because when I search the same term with advance setting of 100 search results per page, it returned with 100 results.


09/07/2012 01:29 pm


Tyler Abernethy

09/08/2012 02:06 am

Dude. He was making a point. General searchers arent going to choose the options, and four results is not ok with me as an SEO, so in order to make that point clear, i threaten to switch to Bing.... Phew. Glad we cleared that up!

Tyler Abernethy

09/08/2012 02:10 am

I agree, it does kind of work for branded terms. Im cool with it, AS LONG AS ITS LIMITED to extremelly specific searches where google is like 99.99999% sure that the top result is THE result

Webstats Art

09/08/2012 06:47 pm

That day has more or less come!


09/25/2012 02:58 pm

Why threaten, just do it....different search engines often have the same results, as the guys who do good SEO get good results across all engines...


09/25/2012 02:59 pm

I like 100.... it gives you a deeper perspective.

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