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Google Testing Less than 10 Results on First Page

January 20, 2017

Last night I performed a Google search on my home computer, using Firefox. I only got four results back on the first page, though there were over 55,000 results total (see below).

Google Experiment

I was not signed in but Instant was on.

It looks like Google is testing this style of SERP when it thinks a handful of pages are clearly the most valuable, relevant results for the query. Presumably, some users would prefer fewer choices as long as those choices clearly addressed the query. Didn't either Sergey or Larry once say that in a perfect world, Google would return only one result?

This page did not address my needs as a searcher, because I was specifically trying to determine where my own blog ranks for this query -- i.e., whether I rank on the first page. If this experiment became the norm, "the first page" would become nearly unattainable for all but a few very high-authority domains (think brands, Wikipedia, etc.). But as someone in the search industry, I'm hardly the typical searcher. I'm guessing this SERP would satisfy the needs of the majority of searchers.

Has anyone else seen this experiment? Would you prefer a shorter SERP?

Elisa Gabbert

Elisa Gabbert is WordStream's Sr. Manager of Content Marketing and SEO. Likes include wine, karaoke, poker, ping-pong, perfume, and poetry.