Google May Only Showing Seven Search Results

Aug 21, 2012 • 8:42 am | comments (48) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine

sevenA WebmasterWorld thread noticed that when Google returns sitelinks for a search query, Google will then follow with six additional search listings - making for a total of seven search results.

There have been times when Google would show less or more search results, but never this consist. I.e. it happened before with bugs. But now, if you search for something and Sitelinks show up, it seems like in every case, Google will show a total of seven results, as opposed to ten results.

Here is a screen shot of a search for [ted drewes]:

seven Google results

Danny went a lot deeper into this change at Search Engine Land - the question is, does this help diversity? SEOmoz also did a deeper look at this so-called search shrinkage.

Google sent a comment to Search Engine Land that reads:

We're continuing to work out the best ways to show multiple results from a single site when it's clear users are interested in that site. Separately, we're also experimenting with varying the number of results per page, as we do periodically. Overall our goal is to provide the most relevant results for a given query as quickly as possible, whether it's a wide variety of sources or navigation deep into a particular source. There's always room for improvement, so we're going to keep working on getting the mix right.

Maybe that is why so many people saw ranking fluctuations around August 16th?

Yes, this seems to be mostly about navigational queries but is this better for the searcher?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Previous story: Video: Google's Knowledge Graph Breakfast


Spybubble Русский

08/21/2012 12:49 pm

the USA is the most powerful country in the word because of it's...diversity (and of course other things) same should be true with the internet

Spybubble Русский

08/21/2012 12:51 pm

my comment disapeard, strange

Mike Kalil

08/21/2012 12:54 pm

The lack of domain diversity is getting ridiculous. For example, try Googling "hp dl380." Obviously the first results should belong to HP, but they literally dominate it.

Praveen Sharma

08/21/2012 12:55 pm

I don't think shrinking total number of results will improve search results quality.

Spybubble Русский

08/21/2012 01:09 pm

its becoming even worseon international google domain, despite perfectly good sites written in local language, some nich are covered with english results all the way to page 5, those blogs etc probably have better link profile but are not more relevant than a website with great information written in the user language

Jeff Downer Indianapolis IN

08/21/2012 02:16 pm

Looking at screenshots I see that like in my research into this, no ads are being displayed.

Most profitable results

08/21/2012 02:35 pm

Google's goal is to make searches click on ads and to have sites advertise. Google has officially lost their mind, trying to squeeze every other dime. How is it better to show 7 results and another 50 ads, Youtube vids, News etc? Google has declared war on site-owners and searchers, F the likes of Danny Sullivan and Barry that do not call this what it is. It was clear since Panda that Google is doing what it can drive profits. Google A/B tests SERPS and lets the ones with most clicks /profits stand.

Trent J

08/21/2012 02:58 pm

Maybe Barry does a Brett Tabke by removing threads really harmful to Google's PR.

Cory Howell

08/21/2012 02:58 pm

The sitelinks may have an affect on the homepage showing only 7 results, but I captured a screenshot last week of the Page 2 & 3 results also only showing 3 results and the query had no sitelinks (on Page 1). Seems like the testing is a bit more than just the sitelinks association -

Cory Howell

08/21/2012 02:59 pm

The sitelinks may have an affect on the homepage showing only 7 results, but I captured a screenshot last week of the Page 2 & 3 results also only showing 7 results and the query had no sitelinks (on Page 1). Seems like the testing is a bit more than just the sitelinks association -

The Anti Anti-SEO guy

08/21/2012 03:44 pm

I'm preempting Anti-SEO's comment here and telling him to not even bother telling us to suck it up and start building a real business.


08/21/2012 04:27 pm

Stick it to the man Bobbob.


08/21/2012 05:09 pm

Since when is it a crime to make a profit? Not to pick on just this post, but Google IS A BUSINESS! They need to make a profit and it's their right to make as much as they can. It's always a balancing act...make as much money as you can, while not compromising the quality of your product. The beauty of capitalism is that it weeds out businesses that sacrificed their quality for profit. The numbers are indicating that people are still happy with Google - which means their doing a good job (in the eye's of searchers).


08/21/2012 05:45 pm

WoW, seems I established another brand ) Watch and yearn guys )


08/21/2012 05:46 pm

Exactly !


08/21/2012 05:50 pm

DISQUS doesn't work properly. It's just a piece of junk.

Nelson D

08/21/2012 05:59 pm

You should brush up on US laws on false advertising, disclosures and monopolies. Also Google buys lots of traffic from Firefox. Opera, iOS etc. Google claims their results are unbiased and that's the problem.


08/21/2012 06:01 pm

Barry, why did you choose the image for this post in rainbow colors ? Just curious )) "Not that there's anything wrong with that"

Barry Schwartz

08/21/2012 06:23 pm

I didn't remove anything.


08/21/2012 06:49 pm

Does it allow you to spam ? Go to court.

Ismael Verón

08/21/2012 06:49 pm

I get it and I share your opinion, but in this case there´s no Ads on that screen print...

Barry Schwartz

08/21/2012 07:46 pm

Google colors.

Tyler Herrick

08/21/2012 08:14 pm

What's the big deal if Google wants to make more money? They are a businesses and can put only their advertisers on page one if they want. You should buy ads to rank.

Rob Woods

08/21/2012 08:41 pm

I'm seeing a fair bit of that as well. On the secondary pages I'm seeing say 6 results, with 4 video results. They appear to be testing replacing organic results with images, videos, etc, rather than just adding video/image results to the page and leaving 10 blue links.


08/21/2012 08:52 pm

It is difficult to say how this new type of search results affect the usability. However, there are some statistics that says, the results from 8 to 10 is the least clickable. On the other hand, I think that the intensity of the SEO should be expanded, especially for searches that can show some sitelinks (brand names etc.). The competition will be stronger, because it is better to be in last place in the top ten (sorry, seven) than the general on the second page.

Larry Kim

08/21/2012 09:30 pm

i think google is doing this for a combination of legitimate user experience reasons and sticking it to SEOs. Reminds me a bit about how the whole keyword not provided thing was framed as a way to improve privacy. I wrote up my thoughts on this issue here:


08/21/2012 10:06 pm

looks like you name is matt cutts. Add to your terms what automatic indexing software not allowed to index your website if not send you at least 100 visitors per month. Google rules vs our own rules.


08/21/2012 11:35 pm

I am starting to think Danny is way to close to Matt! He even closed comments on his article about this issue after he went to bat for Matt. I guess he didn't like the number of down votes he was getting. At least Barry takes it on the chin. Danny if you are reading this closing the comments won't stop this. Matt might be your friend but he and the other Google cronies have launched an "unprecedented" attack on your industry. As a result Matt and his cronies have attacked your business. If Google lock out SEO's and more importantly content providers out of their search results. Why would we bother reading these blogs and why would we bother turning up to SMX?


08/21/2012 11:46 pm

Disqus just doesn't like you Anti. I do though!


08/21/2012 11:48 pm

Because Google built their business on other peoples content! That is fine when they share the pie. When they decide the pie is all theirs is when it becomes a problem.


08/22/2012 12:21 am

Because of nostalgia )


08/22/2012 02:05 am

Read Bloggers vs Huff Post case. They also claimed, that Huff Post built it's brand (sold lately for 300 millions) on their content. They also asked for share.


08/22/2012 02:47 am

I don't need a share of Google's profits. I just want them to stay open. Larry is constantly having a go at Facebook for being closed yet Google is closing more and more doors every day. Then again maybe market forces will fix all this up for us. Some other search engine may finally have a chance to make some real incursions into Google's monopoly. No company is to big to fail not even Google.

Danny "the Crook" Sullivan

08/22/2012 05:01 am

Danny got scared when he was made to look like the fool that he is. He said that since Matt Cutts is rich he doesn't have to lie, but then someone pointed out to Danny that bankers and other execs were filthy rich but committed crimes to make even more money. Danny and his writers are all in Google's pocket, Matt McGee especially. Ask Matt McGee if he ever bypassed the normal channels when his sites got hit? Or Pamela? You know the answer, that's why they only write stuff that defends Google (with some tangential "anti-Google" stories.) Google takes care of their sites and they defend Google, a quid pro quo with a massive payment.

Office Furniture

08/22/2012 06:28 am

This is what Danny Sullivan wrote: " Fasten your seat belt, if you’ve been spamming Google. The anti-spam “Penguin Update” will have more jolts in the coming months, as Google continues to adjust it. In contrast, updates to the Panda algorithm aimed at low-quality pages are now so minor as not to be noticed, when they roll out monthly." He used every one of Google's talking points, assuming that all small businesses destroyed by Google was spamming. Not a word about the massive ad clicks and earnings increase. Why? Because Danny is a corrupt POS, like other SEO figures he has been corrupted by Matt Cutts. He throws everyone else under the bus so Googlers can show at his conferences and promote them via tweets. Ka-ching for the spineless POS! I will have more about Matt McGee, Netmeg, Tedster, Brett Tabke and Durant Imboden and why they always defend Google. Hint: Because they have been corrupted by Matt Cutts and he takes a look at their sites when they get hit by Google's algorithm. That's worth millions and millions. Do not delete it Barry, I am going to post it time and time again until people see it.


08/22/2012 06:31 am

I don't think Barry will delete it.


08/22/2012 06:43 am

Looks like Google's doing even more to make it harder for the little guys to catch up. I like what they've done to get rid of spam, but this is crazy. How are newer sites supposed to start getting real traffic if they're on the second page? Nobody clicks through, at least not potentially paying / reading customers. Oh, and is this going to apply to ads, as well? Fewer ads of lower quality on the first page? That might actually be a good thing.


08/22/2012 07:35 am

I wonder how this will pan out, A judge is forcing google to disclose all journalists they have given paid incentives to .

Sunayna Gupta

08/22/2012 09:11 am

This way Google has made the online competition for higher ranking on first page of search engine more fierce. According to me when there are so many options available for every search term it's unfair to limit it to just 7 searches on each page.

Roie S

08/22/2012 11:41 am

Only one SEO figure is brave enough to write constantly about Google becoming a giant glorified spyware driven by semi-fraudulent clicks (see their no. 1 affiliate: babylon spyware). I mean Aaron Wall of course


08/22/2012 12:16 pm

i saw eight results for "facebook" including site links result and one news result.


08/22/2012 03:09 pm

Barry, don't you see you're under the spammer attack ?

Barry Schwartz

08/22/2012 03:17 pm

been a rough week.

Rajeev Pal

08/23/2012 10:59 am

yes google showing 7 search result, but google count 3 listing and 1 image result........ dear total. google showing total 10 result with listing and images result.........


09/07/2012 09:39 am

Ereist, I think you're right!


09/07/2012 09:57 am

Though 16 still seems high. Several of the booths at GenCon Indy this past weekend had multiple iPads.

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