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Monday, March 4, 2013

Findings from Google’s 7-Results SERP Study

Posted by @ 10:22 am

Everyone with a website is in a constant battle to vie for the top 10 spots on Google’s web search results for their keyword. However, it might be time to start trying to get into the top 7, instead of the simply the top 10.

Google has recently raised the stakes in this battle by only showing seven search results on the first page. Google’s 7-result search engine results page change was heavily followed and several findings were published.

Among the more interesting conclusions:

  • 7-result SERPs can actually become 14-result SERPs when Google blends local search results (in a pack of 7) with organic search results (also in a pack of 7).
  • Rarely, images can comprise the first “result” which consume about as much vertical territory as four normal text-based results.
  • On average, about one-fifth of all tracked queries (10,000 keywords) by SEOMoz yield 7-result SERPs.
  • When the SERPs include a #1 listing with expanded sitelinks, it’s almost certain there will be 7 results on the first page.
  • About 80 percent of 7-result SERPs have a #1 listing with expanded sitelinks.
  • About 1 percent of tracked queries seem to “flip” back and forth on any given day from 7-result to 10-result SERPs, and there appears to be no solid way to predict why this happens.
  • It’s not known whether 7-result SERPs are simply 10-result SERPs with sitelinks added and results 8-10 removed. Testing this theory has been difficult and appears to be affected by domain diversity (i.e., the number of different domains occupying the SERPs).
  • It’s not known exactly what triggers a 7-result SERP. The ideas of brands, entities, and domain authority were tested and the evidence was inconclusive.


Some would assume that the seven search result page would produce less search results on the first page and therefore give less help to the researcher, but this was not found to be true. One of the hidden benefits of the seven result search page is that results from the same website are compressed into one. Previously, one web page could dominate the top result page, but not with the seven search results.

One negative speculation is that Google seven page results are brand -focused. When looking at search results it appears that brands can dominate the first page, rather than just web results based purely on the keyword. This was found to be the case with some and not others, so this is a toss-up.

One interesting note is that Google SERP study actually showed more search results than less. Though it populated only seven websites for the search, local listings and photographs were also displayed. In all Google SERP may be a good thing for many. Since the vast majority of the SERP results was focused on travel and tourism this could be a major help for Google search customers. Especially since it can be so easily changed to the former ten results we have all come to adore.

Courtney Mills Courtney is an online marketing and communications specialist at ineedhits - a leading search engine marketing firm with over 16 years experience. Courtney has been living and breathing online marketing for over 5 years. She specializes in web and communication marketing, while providing news and opinion to online marketing communities.

View Courtney Mills's profile

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