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7 Search Results In Google Will Help Brands

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For years, search engine optimization companies, online marketing professionals and small business owners have worked to figure out exactly how to get the best rankings within Google search engine results. And for the longest time, people have been used to receive 10 organic results in Google search engine result pages, or SERPs, per keyword.  Last week, that number has dropped down to 7 results in Google SERPs and it appears that along with this change, it has become easier for one site to crowd the results, according to Search Engine Land.  7 results are mostly showing for brand name related searches at this point, which should delight those that have been hurt by negative reviews showing up in SERPs when doing a search for their name.

Notable Changes in SERPs in August 2012

  • The changes appear to have happened on or around August 16, when online chatter about the changes boosted dramatically. According to Search Engine Land, a simple search for eBay now brought up seven results instead of the traditional 10 SERPs.
  • Dr. Pete at SEOMoz has been tracking fluctuations in Google SERPs and upon hearing word of the changes, did a data sampling of many different SERPs. His findings concluded that about 20 percent of SERPs were below 10 results. The number had previously been 3-4 percent, and spiked dramatically the week of August 16.
  • It has not been determined if the SERP changes will be restricted to brands, as some SERPs of non-brand items and generic search terms are also displaying only 7 results. Search Engine Land noted that it does appear to be directly related to sitelinks, or the number of expanded links from one site that appear underneath a listing on the search result page.
  • Search Engine Land also notes that as the SERPs have decreased down to 7 results on the first page, there seems to be a simultaneous rise in all of those results coming from the same website. SEL states that it does appear to be related to the change, although they could not confirm it.

Google has previously stated that it intends to work on search results related to site links and site clustering, so one might assume that this change is related to those statements. Search Engine Land did contact Google for a response to the obvious data changes and appearance changes in regards to the SERPs. Google administrators said that it was indeed working on tweaking the way searchers see results, stating that the search engine giant is constantly looking for ways to improve results for viewers. Sometimes this means giving them a variety of different websites about a given topic, while other times it might mean giving searchers a deeper look into the specific topic they are looking at.

7 organic results for a brand search is a cleaner experience when Google can decipher the intent is indeed for that brand.  It doesn’t appear to have helped searches for those who have an exact match keyword domain name. We’ll see how this plays out.

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Google Unleashes the Page Layout Update

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Google Update LogoYesterday, Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team, confirmed on the Inside Search blog (and webmaster central blog) the algorithm change he forewarned us all about in November.

For all of you who may not have attended Pubcon 2011 in Las Vegas or missed the post on Search Engine Land, Cutts warned:

“If you have ads obscuring your content, you might want to think about it.”

Well, yesterday Google started rolling out the algorithm change that could affect websites that don’t have much content “above-the-fold” which intern may prevent these types of pages/sites from ranking highly in Google’s SERPs. The algorithm update affects less than 1 percent of global searches so you may or may have not noticed this update yet.

I Have Ads Above-The-Fold. Should I Be Concerned?

If you have ads above-the-fold you don’t need to freak out. Google understands the monetization of websites BUT, if your content on the webpage is currently being pushed down below the fold by large, fugly ad blocks, you should probably consider a webpage layout change, especially if notice your organic ranks begin to slip.

Think Your Website Has Been Affected?

If you feel your websites has taken a hit by the new page layout algorithm update, you might want to consider your current page layout and monetization strategy. Google Labs has a nifty little browser size tool you can use to see how people are actually viewing your pages. If you notice that only a small percentage of Internet users can see your content without having to scroll, you may have a problem.

I’ve Updated My Pages, Now What?

After you’ve made the necessary changes to your pages, Cutts stated it can take “several weeks” on a typical website as Google re-crawls and processes the changes you’ve made. However, depending on the size of your website it could take even longer.

For more information on the page layout algorithm change, visit Google’s Inside Search blog.

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