In August, Google began showing seven search results, rather than 10, for certain queries. SEOMoz recently published a series of insights on Google’s new 7-result SERPs, gleaned from data collected since Google rolled out the new layout.
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.
As 7-result SERPs continue to evolve, it will be interesting to learn what triggers them and what role they play in SEO. It seems clear that 7-result SERPs are especially good for the #1 position, considering that about 80 percent of them contain expanded sitelinks.
But will it soon be possible to have some sort of control over whether certain queries trigger 7-result SERPs? Will SEO professionals learn how to improve the likelihood of getting expanded sitelinks?
You can read Dr. Peter Meyers' analysis on SEOmoz.