It appears that Google is changing how often your brand appears in the search results – reducing from 10 listings to 7.
Traditionally, when searching for a website, there would be 10 listing appears on the 1st page, however it seems that Google is testing reducing this to 7 listing. SEO professionals have measured a top 10 ranking as a website being on the 1st page of Google results. But now this appears not to be the case, your website could still be in the top 10 results but not appear on the 1st page of Google thanks to this new 7-listing approach.
Here is an example of the 7 listing display for eBay:
It appears the seven results are triggered on Google mainly when the No. 1 result has sitelinks – sub-links that appear under a main listing in Google search results that channel users directly to high traffic portions of a site. Testing showed that if sitelinks appeared below the first listing, then the trailing results were reduced in number. Google automatically shows sitelinks in the search results for sites that are deemed useful or popular.
It is predicted that as many as 20% of all Google search engine results pages now only show 7 listings.
Google have confirmed this testing with a statement sent to Search Engine Journal:
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.
Before you get all worried though, this change should make it easier for your site to dominate all those 7 results because the competition is reduced. With 3 less links to click on, there’s a greater chance that a user will end up on your website, plus you also have the advantage of being able to bump those negative review listing about your company onto the 2nd page.
While there isn’t much you can do with this change, I suggest keeping an eye on or perhaps revisiting your sitelinks in Google Webmaster Tools – this could be the trick to getting the pages you want into those top 7 positions.