Google SERPS – Blended Results
So you must have seen the local results that come up on the first Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP). For you SEOs out there, you may also have noticed that often, you don’t get the standard 10 results on the first SERP when this happens.
Generally, this isn‘t a problem, but for one of our clients, it causes an issue with one of their main keywords. Where they would normally rank 2nd position for the term; anyone searching the term within a 10 mile radius of the client’s office will find their site ranked as the first local result, which happens to be the 3rd result overall. Frustrating to say the least.
Even more frustrating is, as an SEO, do you count the local results as the true rank of a specific keyword or exclude them?
Well, we did a bit of research on the matter and The Moz Blog has produced an interesting piece of research to help identify how and why Google move certain results into the local listings.
For the term “pet shops Kent”, we get 3 “true” organic results, followed by 7 local results, and below that; another 7 organic results. That makes 17 total, however, when you then go onto the 2nd SERP, you have to start counting results from 11 again.
The reason for this is that some of the results are “blended”. According to The Moz Blog, what this means is, “the local pack contains both truly local results and organic results that are being treated as local.” So how do we find out which ones are truly local and which ones are blended? There is a simple test that you can try to identify this:
You may have used the “&start=10” function before in Google. If not, try this
- Search for “Pet Shops Kent” in Google.
- When the results have loaded, type “&start=10” at the end of the results page URL and press enter.
This will automatically take you to page 2 or everything after result no.10. “&start=20” will take you to page 3, “&start=30” will take you to page 4 and so on. Theoretically then, the first page would be “&start=0”.
Regardless of the number of results on the first SERP, “&start=10” will always take you to page 2 or result number 11. If this is the case then typing “&start=9”, for example, should show you result number 10. Let’s try it:
- Again, run a search for “Pet Shops Kent”.
- When the results have loaded, type “&start=9” at the end of the URL and press enter.
This will still take you to page 2, however, you will notice that all of the previous 2nd page results have been pushed down and you can also see the result ranked in 10th position at the top. So now we can now count back to see which sites are ranked within the “true” top 10.
If you type “&start1” at the end of your original search URL, this will show you everything from the result ranked 2nd. You can then compare these results to the original 17 results to see which ones are true local results, and which ones are “blended” results.
Although this may seem like it has no use other than determining where your site should truly rank, it can actually give us much more insight into the way Google ranks pages. It also raises the question of why pages that have a low organic rank have all of a sudden been promoted to the first page within the local results. According to The Moz Blog,
“[This indicates] an opportunity for sites that might be weak on organic ranking factors but are decently optimized for local...There's also a potential opportunity for some of the lower-ranking organic results to get promoted above other organic results by improving their local ranking factors. For example, #10 could jump above #7 and #8 (using the organic counting method) with some solid local SEO efforts. In the overall SERP, #10 could jump just behind #9, effectively gaining five spots.”