Google’s 7 (or is it 10?) SERP cap

Since around August this year some of you may have noticed that Google has been testing a slight change in the way they display their results for some search terms.

Instead of the usual 10 results we normally get and know so well, the buck now stops at seven!

You may have just come off the phone to one of your clients with the satisfaction of telling them that all their results are showing on page one of Google. Now what?

Firstly, let’s look at some of the reasons Google has started doing this. One reason could be that Google is trying to make space for more detailed PPC results; a service that brings in a large percentage of their profits and one they will always aim to improve.

However, it seems that organic search results with additional site links are having a big influence on the change. One of the main reasons we get these extra site links is because the search term we used was probably brand-related.

If you have not seen this happen try it for yourselves by searching for a well known brand such as ‘Nike’. Even though there are other sites that appear – including Wikipedia and the brand’s social media pages – you will see that a good portion of the top of the page is taken up by the first result being the Nike website with a range of additional site links below.

Sadly, underneath there is now only six more results. Poor eight, nine and 10 have been pushed out the bed and left in the cold on page two. However, but for these previously bottom of the page results, is it really that bad to have been pushed out?

With the first page now pretty dominated by the first result, this could actually distract a user away from the remaining results, especially if some of the results below are still related to the official website.

By contrast, if the user moves onto page two, results eight, nine and 10 are at the top. It may be page two but they will be more noticeable and a more likely to get read fully. In other words, positions eight, nine and 10 could still deliver success despite being bumped from page one.

It’s still too early to be able to gather any detailed figures or changes in traffic as a result of ‘Google’s 7′ but it’s certainly something that website owners and online marketers should be keeping a close eye on. When the figures do come in and the impact is assessed, this could become an important consideration for future SEO strategies.

Justin Christley, SEO executive

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