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New multiple indented listings with meta descriptions on some searches
Robert Charlton

 6:07 am on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

I just did some test searches on phrases I occasionally monitor, and, on results for a client site, I'm seeing a kind of Sitelink I've never seen before... essentially, a slightly scaled down version of an indented result, but four of them, with full titles and meta descriptions, with no urls. They are larger, though, than multiple forum thread title results I've seen.

These are returned for keyword phrases, not for the site name. Searches for site names (including WebmasterWorld, which I tried) give the conventional 8 sitelinks, returned as shorter phrases in tabular form (2 columns, 4 rows) as before, with no snippets.

I'm assuming it's a test, as I can't believe that Google will let this kind of visual dominance for one site persist for very long. In a way, it's visually stronger than having the top 5 or 6 spots without indentation.

Moderator's note: Changing title of this thread from my original New Sitelink-type links with meta descriptions on some searches to New multiple indented listings with meta descriptions on some searches to better describe the situation.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 2:55 am (utc) on Oct. 20, 2009]



 8:29 am on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Noticed this a little earlier today as well and you are indeed right....it takes up quite the amount of space! It took up pretty much where positions 1-5 sit now but without scrolling. And just as you say, it was visual dominance as it took over the page.

[edited by: MLHmptn at 8:40 am (utc) on Oct. 1, 2009]


 8:35 am on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

These weren't forum threads,were they?



 8:38 am on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

These weren't forum threads,were they?


No they were not...they were title, description meta tags showing to be exact. Now if they were full blown descriptions I dunno, I didn't research that far. From what I remember seeing the descriptions were only snippets like 50 characters and like RC has said...No URL's displayed. Also, when I noticed it there was only 4 sitelinks..not 8 distributed in two columns like RC seen and it still dominated the window.

Robert Charlton

 9:00 am on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

No, these aren't forum threads, and the display was quite a bit larger than the forum thread display. They're maybe 80% the size of regular indented listings, but without the urls.

PS: It's late at night here, but I just got out of bed to recheck something important... these aren't Sitelinks... they're top-ranking pages for a specific queries, now with four additional clustered and indented under the main listing rather than just one.

travelin cat

 4:07 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

< moved from another location >

We just noticed a new display in Google similar to sitelinks in that they appear under the first result but they are different then other sitelinks we have.

On a three word phrase, our listing is #1. Underneath it are listing for pages other then those found in our sitelinks.

These listings are indented and and the first line is the page title followed by another line that has either a description tag snippet or a descriptive snippet from the body of the page.

In the first line of each indented listing, a keyword is bold that appears in the original three word phrase.

There are four of these indented listings and they are followed by a "More results from domain" link.

Is this new? Anyone else seeing this?

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 4:23 pm (utc) on Oct. 2, 2009]


 4:18 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Is the site a forum? If so, it sounds like a new feature that Google just launched on September 30. This googleblog post includes a screen shot:


travelin cat

 4:28 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Ted, our site has a forum, but most of the new links are pointing to static pages unrelated to the forum.

Robert Charlton

 4:47 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Just moved the above posts on this topic as noted from another thread.

The listings are still appearing, and I continue to be surprised. I thought it was going to be an after-midnight type test only. If you have a regular listing plus four indented listings and then a 'more from' link, that's six blocks of text... pretty much everything above the fold on many browser windows.

A regular listing occupies four lines... a title line, two lines for the snippet, and one for the url and the Cached and Similar links. These sub-listings, I'll call them, are only two-line listings... one title line and one snippet line, and no url line.

In contrast to the forum listings, the sub-listings also have a line of white space between each listing.

Google is obviously tracking them carefully. Mouse over a sub-listing title line and you'll see a long tracking string. I haven't had a chance to check traffic boost for these.

travelin cat

 5:00 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Interestingly enough, on the serp's that have these new results, Google is showing "Results 1 - 9" instead of the usual "Results 1 - 10".

travelin cat

 8:24 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

I just checked and the old serps are back. Must have been a test.

travelin cat

 3:41 pm on Oct 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Well, they have returned again, this time it seems in greater numbers.


 4:44 pm on Oct 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Interestingly enough, on the serp's that have these new results, Google is showing "Results 1 - 9" instead of the usual "Results 1 - 10".

that must vary with location or search ..I've just done some testing and get "Results 1-10" ..
there are a lot of them it seems easy to pull them up for nearly any two word search ( they do seem to be associated to forum sites ) but as said can point to non changing forum thread pages (such as faqs or "pinned" ) pages ..

tested .noticed something interesting when I made a typo of the "example paintd" instead of "example painted" ..
the typo gave a page with the did you mean "example paint" at top ..with two instances of "example paint" found.
then a horizontal line
then the rest of the results were
"example painted" ( with "example painted" in each )
and one of the "new multiple instances" included

adwords displayed to the right of the top group ..

However a search for "example painted" correctly typed

Gave the top 5 positions for the string "example painted" to 5 totally different "fresh" sites and then the sites from the first page ..again with the same "multiple instance " site ..

tried other typos ..same discrepancy ..
between the "example ******d"
you get a "did you mean"
then two results for what GOOG guesses
then a line
and then results for
"example *****ed"

but search "example *****ed"

and the top five sites are not the same as the first 5 after GOOGs two guesses .

but both pages include a "multiple listing" and it's the same one .

Robert Charlton

 7:41 pm on Oct 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've seen them come and go, but today, around Saturday noon my time, in San Francisco Bay Area, they're showing on Google.com and not showing on Caffeine. Results are the traditional 1-10, if either "traditional" or "1-10" can describe what I'm seeing.

For the serp I'm seeing, there are not only these Sublink Clusters (as I'm now calling them) for the #1 result, but there's also, for this query, a forum result further down the page in the #6 position. I haven't been paying strict attention for a while to what the Universal Search test position currently is, but I'm thinking the forum result is a Universal Search test.

I've never seen a forum returned before on this particular query... nor for that matter in this particular market area... so it may well be that Google is looking at returning results not only for different types of sites, but different types of result displays for these different types of sites. For the forum result, they've dug fairly deep into the forum content, IMO, to display 4 results satisfying the query. They're not what you'd call great quality pages on the topic.

It's interesting that Google would combine both the Sublink Clusters and the forum link clusters on the same page. It makes for a long page. I don't always see forum results on searches that show the Sublink Clusters, though.

Also, there are no ads at the top... the "normal" eight AdWords ads down the side. It strikes me that a longer page format (keeping the traditional 10 results per page) might allow more ads down the side. It might also restrict the number of ads up at the top.

The main motivator seems to be ongoing experimentation with the interface. Usually, Google announces the features that stick.


 4:25 am on Oct 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

RC...Are you happening to be doing branded search phrases? I seem to be able to pull up these types of results anytime I use a branded term and a keyword in a 3+ keyword phrase. Interesting to say the least. Branding taken to a new level maybe? Also earlier I had mentioned they were using Title and Description meta's but in fact they are only using Title and taking a snippet from on-page for the description. I have screenshots if we can post a view all URL? And once again, these are NOT forum links. I can also confirm that Adwords are not displaying. I am also able to display this new "sublink cluster" doing a "sitedomainexample.com" search with the quotes for certain sites.

Just to clarify that is not a site: operator search.

[edited by: MLHmptn at 5:01 am (utc) on Oct. 6, 2009]


 4:42 am on Oct 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

Sorry, no screen shots, MLHmptn (see the orum Charter [webmasterworld.com])

However, I see something like what you're describing - and yes, the snippet is from page text as you described.

Robert Charlton

 6:05 am on Oct 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

MLH - Competive keyword searches, not site: operator searches... two and three word searches... definitely not our most competive, though.

Snippets are from the meta descriptions, which I'd expect here because the pages are optimized for the searches they rank on, and the meta descriptions anticipated those searches.

One search is "branded" to the extent that one of the words from one of the two-word searches involved is also part of the company name.

travelin cat

 2:36 pm on Oct 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

None of the searches we are seeing have any branding in them at all. They all seem to be very non-competitive terms that we have traditionally held first position.

Robert Charlton

 8:40 am on Oct 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

Just a note that I'm now seeing several variants of indented results being returned... almost as though Google is experimenting with combinations and permutations of these sub-listings in different contexts.

I'm no longer seeing 4 sublistings in situations described above. Instead I'm seeing 2 sublistings accompanied by a "more results from" link. This link expands to a standard site:domain search along with the original query.

On some brandname searches, I am seeing a "+" icon and a "show more results" link under a standard indented result for the parent company. This link expands the collapsed listing into 6 regulary-sized but indented results... with a further "show all results" option beneath that... essentially what's been noted earlier by MLHmptn and tedster. I'm seeing these only on brand name searches, not on competitive searches.


 11:35 am on Oct 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

This is something that has been happening and still happens, since July of this year. There are reports on major search blogs about this.

Easiest and most safe search you can do to reproduce this is a search for sitelinks, [google.com...]

You'll see the official Google Webmaster Blog listed with two results, one indented and a plus box to show an additional five.


 1:10 pm on Oct 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

This has been going on for a couple of months (at least in the UK serps) been very useful for the vertical I'm in, but they have definitely toned it down since they started experimenting in July-ish time.

Robert Charlton

 8:08 am on Oct 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

It's clear these are variations on site:domain searches, and that Google is testing the display format and the "threshold" of when the sublistings break out of the pack and appear independently.

Comparing tonight's results with an earlier printout, this is how I've seen the recent indented listings (not the "+" collapsed listings) evolve...

On Sept 30... for a keyword1 keyword2 query....

Page "A" showing as "normal" main listing, with pages "b", "c", "d", and "e" showing each as 2-line indented sublistings (title and 1-line snippet, with no urls)... plus an additional More results link beneath.

Tonight, Oct 14... for the same query...

Page "A" showing as main listing, with pages "b" and "c" showing each as 3-line indented sublistings (title, 1-line snippet, plus 1-line url)... plus an additional More results link beneath.

When I click the More results link, I see the "normal" results for this site:domain query...

site:example.com keyword1 keyword2

... pages "A", "B", "C", "D", "E"... etc, each with a 4-line listing.

I didn't notice whether results of Oct 12 were 2-line or 3-line listings.

With searches that return the plus box, the ordering also remains the same as they would be in a site:domain listing as you expand or collapse the listings.


 2:31 am on Oct 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

< moved from another location >

When I search mysite.com, I see a triple indented listing. I've never seen this for any search before.

What is the difference between a double and a triple indented listing? Why would a site have a triple indented listing, especially when there is "more results from mysite.com" listing below anyway?

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 2:58 am (utc) on Oct. 20, 2009]

Robert Charlton

 3:02 am on Oct 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

helpnow - Interesting that you're seeing these on a site search as well. Please read the above and describe the differences in your situation.

Essentially, Google has been experimenting with different ways to display clustered results as site:domain type searches... apparently playing with different threshold values for different types of clustering. Now, I gather, you're seeing clusters on searches that start out as site:domain searches. Is that correct?

See also this related discussion about a slightly different display variation that Google has been using...

How to get 5 additional collapsed Listing in SERPs?

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