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Google Showing Only Top 10 Results, No Page 2 - Bug or New Feature?

 3:59 pm on Sep 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing something strange with my Google searching right now.

I am only getting one page of results, and no links to view additional pages of SERPs.

Very strange. Anyone else seeing this?



 9:23 am on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

no page 2 means more search refinements. after a year or two they may really be able to give just one organic result and 20 ads around it.


 9:46 am on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

To me - this is all a combination of bad metaphors.

I hope the dream is not over - at the very least, some of must remain practical optimists. Or how about "what a long strange trip it has been"...

The fox is guarding the chicken coop. The kids are running the schools - or more perversely the kids are actually parenting and there are so many of them, the parents are overwhelmed, and hoping for one last shot at being a kid themselves they take the easy road.

The Gorg is pushing these changes because of the money - and the thing that is driving the money is the ads - and the thing that drives the ads is the mediocrity of the masses -- the school kids who don't know what they are doing when they click on an ad, the uniformed searcher who clicks on an ad because they don't know how to use their keyboard and mouse to look around, they all want instant and simple answers. I know, I watched several of my clients waste well over a million dollars in advertising in the last year because the campaign were run by one such kid who was eating the dogfood / drinking the coolaid and didn't know how to really understand the stats (never mind that they didn't even have it set up right). Just the application of 10 simple negatives has saved them well over 10% and if they hang on for just a bit, they'll finally understand we're just getting started.

We have morphed into a society who wants to ask all the questions and wants the only the easiest answers.

The difficulty I saw in decades of management consulting was that there were increasingly few executives who knew how to work with big questions and how to work with others who could ask the big questions. (They'd rather subscribe to expensive, pretty -and often unread- newsletters that told them what they already believed they knew than look differently at things.) The sad truth was the adults got laid off and the kids only wanted to listen and take advice from their cohort of school chums. It was truly the rare executive who would seriously listen to any advice or wisdom from anyone more than about 3 years older than they were.

So the big questions here are what happens to the real business user employing the world wide web for what it is - the world's best marketing machine? What happens to the professional mature marketing minority in the face of immature semi-pro children who rule the world?

Reno does an excellent job of summarizing the "toy" aspect of Google that makes it easier for "kids" at the expense of the mature marketer or business person.

- caff...
- mayday...
- instant...
- copied Bing...
- image search...

...to this I suppose we need to add "one page wonders" or some such name to this apparently rising phenomenon.

I wish to add "Personalized Search" as another improvement that doesn't really get the professional anywhere. Great if you are searching for pizza, movies, or whatever a soccer mom or dad is searching for. Great for a shopping engine. But crap for a professional marketer or professional searcher looking for anything other than the big brands.

When this was rolled out I actually spoke to a couple of Gorg engineers and asked why their wasn't a "business" or "professionalized" search and they immediately glazed over feeding me the corporate line that personalized search worked for everybody - because of course Google knows everything.

In my opinion, personalize search is unadulterated CRAP if you are a professional looking for the unusual or unique -- which makes the professional go back to places like twitter or facebook or blogs to see what their compatriots are doing. It also destroys simple understanding of how to work with Google by scrambling the serps just enough to make everybody confused.

These "kid" like changes like personalized search drives the adults to these other places and away from Google. How profitable is that?

These changes also throw a lot of professional SEO "conventional wisdom" under the bus.

The fox is truly guarding the henhouse - and they are feeding us the waste that comes out of the back of the place and keeping all the good stuff for themselves. And are we eating it? You bet.

Google is being driven by kids looking for the fast buck. This is short term profit at the cost of long term stability - but the long term is out of their vision.

It is our responsibility to keep the pressure on Google to cede some power and authority to the professional searcher and marketer.


 9:53 am on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

if you think long term, how is google going to know which sites are best when they only give 10 sites to click on?

if the users have nowhere else to go, then the results are going to get pretty stale pretty quick. all the traffic is going to end up in the same place. surely they need data on the sites further down the SERPS so they can work out which ones to rank at the top.

i think google's new ajax-style search is already skewing their data, even without this.
beforehand, if your site appeared in the top 10 and never got a click then we could expect it to go down. fair enough. but now it can appear in the top 10 for a matter of seconds and never even be looked at.
if someone searches for "france train accidents" (a morbid search, sorry) then google will display one set of results when the user types "france" (none of which are relevant to his ultimate query), another set when he gets to "france train" (none of which are relevant to his ultimate query) and a final set when he completes typing the whole phrase.
what happens to the data on those first two sets? none of the sites will be clicked because they're not relevant, but does that act as a blackmark?

how is google to know that the final search term was completly different to the first two? as far as their new ajax-style serps is concerned all the sites shown were relevant, and only the handful at the end interested the user.

i dont really believe that they're going to make this a permanent feature though. sounds a bit crazy.

[edited by: londrum at 10:00 am (utc) on Sep 29, 2010]


 9:58 am on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Bing will be delighted with all that's going on at the "new Google." No search results past page one, changing spelling automatically on page 2 so the search is no longer relevant, and in general irritating and annoying searchers.

Yes, Bing will be delighted.


 10:23 am on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Bing will be delighted with all that's going on at the "new Google." No search results past page one, changing spelling automatically on page 2 so the search is no longer relevant, and in general irritating and annoying searchers.

Yes, Bing will be delighted.

I definitely hope so. At this moment in time I prefer Bing. Their SERPs are fairly good overall (in the past couple of months I've had loads of irrelevant results from Google, but the same search in Bing gives me what I'm looking for)

Plus Bing don't seem to focus on anchor text as much either - it seems as though Bing look at on-page factors and the *quality* of backlinks (i.e. not just anchor text), whereas Google seems to look at on-page factors in a lower regard and then place anchor text as a really important factor.

So yeah, I'd be happy enough if Bing's market share started to grow.


 10:40 am on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

use bingo for a while till google get back from hell

Robert Charlton

 10:48 am on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

For me it appears to be query-independent. I just tried some research-grade searches, still no pagination.

Thanks for the report. I still haven't seen this, so it's hard really to react to it, except to say that it doesn't make sense to me that it's query independent. Either the results have got to be so sparse that there's no point going beyond page one, or else so general that there's no point going beyond page one.

But to stop just at page one, after say ten results, with no interface going forward, is almost like clicking a button that says: "I'm Feeling Lucky, but not quite as lucky as I felt yesterday."

Is this happening on long queries?... short queries?... signed in?... not signed in?... etc? I've done searches on some possible overally general terms, for everything from the word "the" to various phrases targeting viagra... and at least here in northern California, Google is still returning page after page of "unrefined links", as Shaddows describes it. At a certain point, yes, they do get repetitious.

Why click through endless pages of unrefined links, when you can type another word and get exactly what you want?

It's likely that Google would like to clump these results into categories, but in part I feel it's an interface problem. I don't think that people quite have the vocabulary at their fingertips to select terms that make sense as a hierarchy, and the interface isn't quite pushy enough and probably can't be. It's almost as though it needs to make bigger jumps and suggest the concepts rather than follow a path described by literal search phrases, but that would break everything. I'm seeing Instant return only five suggestions, and that too isn't seeming like it's enough.

Robert Charlton

 10:52 am on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

The thought did cross my mind that if this wasn't a bug, or wasn't somehow query-related, it might be some sort of rock-and-a-hard place A-B test. The Information Week article Jekko links to leads to some Google articles on studying user behavior triggered by hard search tasks, and those make me feel that this is not likely to be that kind of testing.

Here's the Google Research Blog article that Information Week cites...

Official Google Research Blog: Frowns, Sighs, and Advanced Queries --
How does search behavior change as search becomes more difficult?


And here's a link to page offering a pdf download of the research paper the blog discusses....

How does Search Behavior Change as Search Becomes More Difficult?
Anne Aula, Rehan Khan and Zhiwei Guan
http://dub.washington.edu/pubs/215 [dub.washington.edu]

From the paper...
Our study showed that there are signals available online, in real time, that the user is having difficulties in at least closed informational search tasks. Our signals together with the signals related to successful and less successful search strategies discovered in earlier research could be used to build a model that would predict the user satisfaction in a search session. This model, in turn, could be used to gain a better understanding of how often users leave search engines unhappy - or how often they are frustrated and in need of help, and perhaps an intervention, at some point during the search session.

Doesn't sound like that's what's happening here.


 10:59 am on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

We took a small traffic hit yesterday. It may have been a direct result of this new feature. I am wondering how widespread the rollout was so I can calculate our future traffic loss if/when this rolls out to everyone. I know in my discovery of this yesterday I was very frustrated as I could not find what I was looking for and gave up. Simply stopped trying. I've never been frustrated by a G change before like this... Well maybe the delayed loading of the link bar up top. That drives me crazy every day.


 11:48 am on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

I can't remember the stats for people who look beyond page 1, but it's low. From a user POV, this is not very disruptive, and will encourage use of refinement in the "cool, new Instant feature". Why click through endless pages of unrefined links, when you can type another word and get exactly what you want?

I agree that the basic idea of having another search box instead of pagination might be good for a typical user.

Although I personally think that Google Instant is AWFUL for a typical user. It's got really poor usability. A typical user types fairly slowly (y'know the kind - looks down, types a letter, looks back up at the screen, types another letter, looks back up at the screen etc)

For them, Google Instant will be confusing as heck. I'm fairly experienced and I still find Instant annoying since the page transforms and shifts around you as you type (and usually it guesses what you'll be typing wrongly, thus showing irrelevant results)

So yeah, I personally don't think that Instant is a good idea for a typical user.

And whilst I agree that from a usability perspective, having dozens of pages of results can be daunting. But I feel that relying on Google Instant to implement this will be even more daunting for a typical user.

Just my $0.02.


 12:26 pm on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

I guess Google's analogy is..
"If you can't make it to page 1, then you're a loser and we don't want to know you or associate with you."

This was probably part of an A/B test to see if by removing pagination, Adwords click numbers would rise, therefore look better on their revenue reports.


 12:30 pm on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

And if you're not on page 1 and cannot afford the new AdWords page 1 bid levels, then bend over and kiss your @$$ goodbye ~ you're gone gone gone

Nobody click on second page ads anyhow, would it make any difference?

It would make a difference if you were for example ranking organically above fold on page 2 and not paying for adwords. If page 2 was not shown you would have to pay for page 1 adwords to be visible for search term.


 12:35 pm on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

This change will really put a screw into seo efforts so maybe that is part of the reason for it.

Did your site get a penalty and drop 100 spots or did it simply get pushed to the #11 spot by your competition? ...and good luck getting a new search term to rank if you can't see it moving up the ranks!


 1:51 pm on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Still not seeing this.

How about sharing some example searches?


 1:56 pm on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

This model, in turn, could be used to gain a better understanding of how often users leave search engines unhappy - or how often they are frustrated and in need of help, and perhaps an intervention, at some point during the search session.

If Google would just give people what they searched for like they used to do, they could save a lot of research money and stop the bleeding of searchers that are leaving them.


 1:59 pm on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

We took a small traffic hit yesterday.

Same here, from GORG SERP traffic was cut by 60% for the "FlagShip" Store, Bing/Yahoo Went Up though.

They(gorg) will not a get a penny(Ads) from us this year, same as since beginning of 2005.


 2:05 pm on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

if you use the google tool belt and refine your search to past 24 hours or past week or whatever google drops the pagination. Then when you click back to any time you still lose pagination.

Clearing you cookies usually fixes it..

That was yesteray today its back to normal.


 2:16 pm on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

They(gorg) will not a get a penny(Ads) from us this year, same as since beginning of 2005.

As a goof, I'm going to up my bids by exactly one penny to see if that toggles anything.
I too haven't changed my bids since 2005.


 2:32 pm on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Is this happening on long queries?... short queries?... signed in?... not signed in?...



 2:36 pm on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Clearing you cookies usually fixes it..

Yep, cleared my cookies and it stopped. Interesting. Maybe it was a bug after all.


 3:02 pm on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Removing cookies and seeing things "work" again doesn't necessarily mean it was a bug. You could've been allocated to a particular group as part of an A/B test, and this was stored in your cookie.


 3:16 pm on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

thereplicant has a googd point. I have yet to see this (US east in the North East), but the possible implications of one page results is going to open a whole new breed of "SEO scams", and a lot more webmasters will be paying Google through PPC to be seen, and those who can't afford it will have to find alternatives to survive.


 3:20 pm on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sure, it doesn't prove anything, it just leaves open the possibility that this was just an error that got written to my cookie. That's why I said "maybe."


 3:49 pm on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

i still dont see anything here in india logged in or not, chrome/ff/ie


 4:30 pm on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Not seeing this in Upstate NY


 5:12 pm on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Perhaps they are going to endlessly scroll SERPS similar to how Image Search now operates after they copied Bing.


 5:24 pm on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Personally for me Google has been broken for some time now and I seldom use it anymore for search. The reason is: instead of listening to my input and delivering results the algorithm makes guesses about who I might be based on my location and browser settings and then delivers a cacaphony of results. A wild mix of news, shopping, twitter and other stuff I do not want. It's a bit like yahoo when it turned into a portal - only worse. Yahoo at least has the portal stuff seperated in different areas on their website, while Google is trying to mash the portal stuff into its SERPS. Wait a little longer and they will mash your emails from your Gmail account into your SERPS when you are logged in. Or other peoples emails. (I bet it won't take long until your gmail account has privacy settings and you can make your emails public for everyone to read - turned on by default of course).I wonder however: Are they still delivering good results for the majority, am I somehow different and have fallen out of the target group that I do not like anything about their recent "innovations"?

They seem to be overdoing many things recently. Not only turning the SERPS into a portal mash:

- They have a funny little thing going on with their doodles, which is nice now and then. But they have been starting to overdo it - everyday a new doodle, last week I saw a new doodle and it looked familiar and I thought - this has been on Google before, they are starting to repeat themselves. Then I realized it was the Google logo.

- They add background images to Google, which might have been nice - but they push it too far, the images are way to big and do not fit, so they have to kill them of the same day.

- And now they add instant which I do not like - but they seem to be overdoing it again, with removing additional results pages.


 5:57 pm on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google has apparently confirmed that this is a BUG!

A Google spokesperson said: This is a bug affecting a small number of users. We will work to resolve it as soon as we can.



 6:01 pm on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Just saw this on the official Google help/support boards:

Kelly F
Google Employee
12:46 AM
Hi everyone,

I want to get some clarification on the problem you're all seeing. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but is this what's happening?

- You open FireFox (various versions)
- You enter a query with Google Instant off and press "Search"
- At the bottom of the results page, you don't see the Gooooooogle, the 1, 2, 3... or the "Next" button
- By clicking the Images tab in the sidebar and then clicking back to the Everything tab, you see all of the features that were missing before

Can someone take a screen shot?



Are we sure this isn't a bug? I only ask because I am seeing other references to this issue where this gal Kelly is asking for more information.


 6:02 pm on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Wow, I was tying my reply as Tedster was making his post.


 6:04 pm on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Phew, nice to see official confirmation that it is a bug :) (Re: Tedster's post)

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