A Basic Guide on Google’s 7-Result SERP
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When it comes to SEO, Google is like that popular kid in high school that everyone wants to befriend. Google maintains its stronghold as the #1 search engine despite competition and even threats from social networks which are now being used by many as search engines.

Needless to say, the first page of Google is a piece of limited and coveted online real estate. It was already difficult to get into these top 10 spots, how much more if the number of slots is reduced to seven?

Yes, you heard it right and you’ve probably seen it as well. While this is far from being the norm, having just seven spots in Google’s first page is definitely a development worth knowing for all SEO marketers.

The Different Types of Google’s 7-Result SERP

According to SEOMoz, the 7-result SERP manifests in three permutations. At least, that’s what marketers have observed for now and there could be more versions in the future.

1. The “Classic” 7-Result SERP

This is the most common form of the 7-Result SERP wherein the #1 ranked organic search result is displayed with a main link together with expanded site-links. Six other organic results are displayed ranked #2 to #7.

2. Six Organic Search Results Plus an Image Pack

Try searching in Google using the search phrase “pictures of dogs.” You will be greeted by a collage of images ranked on top followed by six organic search results. This is how this version works.6 results serp with image


3. Seven Organic Results + Seven “Local Pack”

There can also be rare instances wherein seven organic search results will be displayed and after the #1 ranked site, Google will show seven “local” results (with address and phone number and most possibly geo-tagged via Maps).7 results serp with local

Industries Most Affected by the 7-Result SERP

As mentioned, the 7-Result SERP is far from being the norm in terms of Google’s results pages, but there are industries or niches wherein this situation is more prevalent as compared to others. According to an experiment conducted by SEOMoz, the most affected industry is Travel and Tourism wherein 36.2% of the search results behave this way. This is followed by Retailers and General Merchandise, Sports and Fitness, Dining and Night Life and Vehicles/Transportation Services. The least industries are Health, Occasions and Gifts and Hobbies and Leisure.

SEO professionals who are handling hotels and tourism portals should be more keen to this development while those who offer health services can be a bit more relax and just wait for further developments.

Expanded Site-Links for the #1 Ranked Site

It is interesting to note that in cases wherein a 7-Result SERP was displayed, the #1 ranked website always had expanded site-links. In eight out of 10 instances, the number of expanded site-links accompanying the main link is 6, but it can be as few as one. The researchers at SEOMOz hypothesize that the number of site-links that are to be displayed in a 7-Result SERP is dependent on the number of pages on the site that is relevant to the search.

Seven is a Variable, Not a Constant

Here’s the deal, it does not mean that once a search term yielded a 7-Result SERP that it will be the case every time you run a query using the same search term. There would be many times that the SERP would switch from a 7-Result to a 10-Result and vice versa. This is because Google has become smarter in its algorithm and is able to measure a site’s relevance to a particular query using several factors such as brand signals, social signals and authority.

Further, it is important to note how the #1 listed site is displayed when Google shifts from a 7-Result SERP to a 10-Result SERP. As mentioned, when a site is ranked #1 on a 7-Result SERP, there’s a 100% chance that it will have expanded site-links, minimum of one and maximum of 6. When Google displays a 10-Result SERP and the site is still ranked #1, expanded site-links won’t be shown but the same site can occupy the succeeding spots (#2, #3, #4 and so on and so forth). Also, SEO marketers need to take note that in terms of domain diversity, a 7-Result SERP edges out a 10-Result SERP by a small margin. Does this mean that Google is trying to deliver more options to search engine users? That we won’t know by now.

Context and Google Knowledge Graph

With all these things being said, the million dollar question remains: what triggers 7-Results SERP?This question can’t be answered without delving into how Google ranks sites nowadays, especially with the addition of Knowledge Graph.

Google has took on the responsibility (as it should) to give search engine users the best SERP possible, and by “best” we mean the most relevant to the query, as if you’re searching something in the real world. As all SEO professionals know, how Google ranked sites in the past is heavily reliant on semantics. In other words, keyword-heavy sites are usually ranked better.

Today, SEO marketers don’t talk about keyword-heavy, but keyword relevant. For example, Google now understands that when a person searches for “Carlo’s Bakery,” he’s most possibly searching for that famous New Jersey pastry shop so the site ends at the #1 spot (aside from the fact that the search term is an Exact Domain Match). Instead of displaying results showing all bakers in the planet named Carlos, Google is smart enough to somewhat hypothesize what the searcher’s intent is.

So, does this mean that this will trigger a 7-Result SERP?

7-Result SERP is Still an Enigma

Frankly, the answer is no. The purpose of this discussion is to make you aware that 7-Result SERPs are being shown everyday and the basics about it. As of now, Google is yet to release a definitive guideline on how this will affect websites and what SEO marketers can do to get (or avoid) 7-Result SERPs.

The pertinent thing here is that you remain vigilant for developments and do some investigation and experimentation yourself. Try to find out what keywords may trigger a 7-Result SERP for your site or for your competitors. Take note of the outcomes and try to establish a pattern.

But as of now, all we can do is wait and see.

Related posts of interest:

  1. A Guide to Perfecting the Art of Guest Blogging
  2. Google AdWords vs. Organic SEO: A Quick and Straightforward Comparison
  3. 4 R’s of SEO: Robots, Ranking, Relevance & Results

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