Another Google Search Change, That's So-So

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 24, 2010
Updated • Jan 1, 2013

Google Search has seen lots of changes in the past years, but none were as drastic as the changes introduced over the course of the last year. Even if you blend out all the search experiments like instantly updating search results that are only visible to a minority of users, you are left with a few good additions, like encrypted search, and lots of bad ones like the search fade in interface.

Search becomes polluted with ads and additional options that most users do not want or seem to care about. Even worse, the search quality seems to have dropped in that time as well.

The newest addition to Google Search is a change for some searches, that will have a huge impact on search engine users and webmasters.

Before the change, a single domain could only occupy two slots of the ten available slots on any page in the results. Authoritative sites were able to get an additional boost with site links, displayed under their first result.

With the change, a single site can occupy up to seven of the ten slots on any Google search results page, leaving three for other domains.

The example that Samarth Keshava, Software Engineer at Google gives is a search for exhibitions at amnh which now displays seven results from the official American Museum of Natural History website in the top seven slots of the search results.

Why is that bad? Mainly because the first link in the search results lists the official exhibitions page at the museum. The remaining six results lists specific exhibitions, which the user could also access by clicking on the first search result.

And Google did even offer a solution for this cases until now by displaying the "more results from domain" beneath the search listing.

And then there is the site: command, which would only display search results from a specific domain if desired.

There are situations where a query like this may make sense, for instance when looking for articles on a specific site, e.g. ghacks windows which now behaves similar to the site command, by displaying multiple site listings of the site.

In the end, it depends on the reach of the new feature. If Google has managed to limit it to very specific queries, where users are searching for information from the site, then it's a welcome addition.

If they however did not find the right ratio, then it may put a lot of businesses and websites in jeopardy. Webmasters who would like to discuss the topic find threads in all popular webmaster forums, including Webmaster World.

What's your take on this change in Google Search?


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  1. Fred said on September 12, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    @Martin OK, good point

  2. ReX said on August 25, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    The only plausible explanation is that the Google guys went mad and are trying to kill their baby.

  3. Fred said on August 25, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    I can’t see this having a huge impact. It is in Google’s interest to keep the search results good, so if they hear about problems they will reduce it’s use.

    1. Martin said on August 25, 2010 at 4:18 pm

      I think Google’s first interest is to make money, to make the shareholders happy. To do that they need to keep the search results at a level that the majority of users finds acceptable.

  4. Roman ShaRP said on August 25, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    I had to block scripts on Google search to make it work Ok. Palemoon (custom Firefox build 3.6.6.)

    Damn, I don’t want to switch to Bing or what, but if the Google guys won’t stop this freaking experimenting, it’ll have to.

  5. Roman ShaRP said on August 25, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Awful. It don’t work for me.

  6. Yoav said on August 25, 2010 at 7:09 am

    My first take is : why fix something that isn’t broken?

    But on the other hand, now that the search options are right on the search page, I am using them more often and that has helped in my work. So, some changes were for the better.

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