Google Experimenting With 20 Search Results Per Page?

You have always (well for as long as I can remember) been able to select the number of search results shown by Google.

The default is 10
Then they add in various other things like news, video, images, local results etc.

Those additions are generally known as universal search

Then you might have results included from your social circle – I have quite a large social circle because I follow lots of people on different social networks, so I almost always see them in the search results.

Google 20 Results Per Page

This isn’t unusual in itself, you could select 20 results before, but now even if I go into advanced search and select 10 results, or manually add &num=10 Google is still giving me 20 search results.

20 search results for lawnmower

Pseudo Site Search 20 Search Results

A couple of weeks ago Google rolled out what I coined pseudo site search. I spent so long trying to gather data, work out exactly why it was happening and come up with a name for it that Malcolm got the drop on me writing about it.

20 links forced in search results pages

I should point out pseudo site search isn’t brand – there are more prerequisites – there has to be a very specific indication in the search query that the intent might have been to perform a search query for a specific domain, but either the searcher was unaware of syntax or just lazy.

Commercial Reason For Google To Make Change

A week or so back Dan Taylor of Destination 360 mentioned in a comment on the travel technology blog Tnooz that for the search query [bellagio las vegas] he was seeing 7 out of 10 results from – travel is a competitive even for hotels as a specific destination and Dan happens to have a page that might rank even higher for Bellagio Las Vegas now (thanks for the great example search result)

I was an idiot and didn’t grab a screenshot then… sigh.

So here is a current 20 page result of which bits were being pushed around. It isn’t now showing a pseudo site search.

bellagio result was pushed down

Everything below the current #5 result for Trip Advisor was being pushed onto the 2nd page of results, and trip advisor itself was at #10 with 8 & 9

Now imagine that everyone was forced to have 20 search results like I currently am for US searches… I still get 10 in the UK & Poland.
Whilst those results for hotel review sites would be pushed down, they would still be on the page, and a reader might be more tempted to scroll down a 20 result page.


For some search queries I think this would be useful, though it might cost Google revenue as there are no ads at the bottom half of the search results if people did start scrolling.
It may also result in the 2nd page of results being totally worthless, rather than just very low traffic, for all search queries.

This doesn’t mean you should ever be happy with a page #1 search result – the fold line – the part of the page immediately visible when opened gets most clicks, thus unless someone is using a very high resolution monitor anything below result #3 is frequently severely hampered.

Also with personalization and region there are significant variations in what is seen in the results.

You will also tend to have a lot more double search results in Google.

I would assume this is just a test for now, though Google did roll out the pseudo site search to everyone at once.


There is speculation that Google will announce something regarding this tomorrow 8th September 2010 (more on Techmeme)

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  1. says

    Great catch Andy, you never fail us. I just love checking for new updates and articles here on your site. Keep it coming!

    I think Google needs some tweak here and there, I just hope that whatever they do its for the best.

  2. Locksmith in Westche says

    Good idea by Google to show twenty results per page… after this act search will be easy on gooogle…
    Thank you for information…

  3. Cheap Air Tickets India says

    This can bring smile on faces who are struggling to come out on Google’s first page. Let’s see if it increases some amount of traffic for those.

  4. says

    So who else is seeing these results? I’m not. I can force the 20 results in Advanced Search but by default I get the following:

    10 blue standard blue links intermixed as follows from top down (after 3 Pack PPC at top):
    – 2 standard
    – Shopping one box with exact same 3 results
    – 7 Pack local
    – 8 standard
    – 1 News result – at the BOTTOM! hmmm… (A Massachusetts golf course groundskeeper who drove a lawn mower into a water hazard and got stuck under it has drowned. )

    So, no personalization.

    How does it feel to be part of Google’s test ground? THANKS for documenting this so well.

    • says

      You would have to live in some weird location like me and still use possibly ;)

      There are some interesting things that happen to all the listing and monetization for Google with 20 listings per page.

  5. VirtuoSEO says

    Interesting find, I can only get it to display 20 results by changing the default in my search settings.

    Also, as a heads up, you’ve only blurred your email account on the first image.

  6. says

    Hi Andy,

    Very interesting stuff. Do you think that this will roll out globally (more importantly the UK ;-) or is just being tested on the .com for user activity?

  7. says

    This is interesting though I still can’t see the 20 results on my end.

    Thank you for sharing this, very educational and thoroughly explained. Keep it up!

  8. says

    Hi Andy – Love the above, and happy you got the screen shots I neglected to.

    I actually think some of the other updates they are probably rolling out will help them make _more_ money. For example, the auto-suggest feature, combined with the (likely) new live-updating results, will decrease (pre-empt) the amount of long tail searches performed. This will in turn generate more clicks against shorter key phrases so more revenue for Google, and higher costs for some advertisers.

    What do you think?

    • says

      I was recently quoted anonymously for a major publication on the realtime searching.

      I think it will push people to use less header searches, but at the same time people will tend to find results before they get as far as the long tail… as soon as they see something interesting.
      They are going to stop typing and scroll when they see likely results… maybe images or video – universal & onebox for local.

  9. Buy Sell silver says

    Interesting, first post i read about this, well explain and alarming, Google has made many changes, but i am confuse about one thing , What its effect will be on SEO?

  10. Infant Strollers says

    Great degree of information right here. There is so much information close to about this subject that occasionally you cannot see the wood for that trees but you’ve pitched this at just the right degree so that the lay person can understand – thank you!