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.
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.
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 Bellagio.com – 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.
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 Vegas.com 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.