We’ve all used Google before, we’ve all scrolled down the pages of results looking for the answers we need, and we all know that all Google SERPs have ten results.

It’s common knowledge.

For this reason, most SEO strategies are developed with one main goal in mind and that’s to get companies to try and snatch one of those ten spots or, even better, one of the top five ones.

Although this is still true today, with the ever-growing Google environment, a lot has changed over the years and that has, of course, had an impact on search results.

In today’s article, we’ll be exploring the reason why, when you have certain keyword targets, you need to do your due diligence in order to understand what really is a first-page position.

Google’s Evolving Search Results

First things first, it’s crucial to have a good grasp of how Google’s search results have evolved over the years and the truth is: they’ve changed significantly since 2005 until now.

Whereas in the early days, Google was pretty much a text-based search engine, now, it is rich with multimedia in its results, and in many Google searches, you’ll see a combination of:

  • Featured Snippets
  • Google Map Packs
  • Google Image Carousels
  • Knowledge Panels
  • Google Shopping Ads
  • Google Video Carousels
  • Sitelinks

These are all different attributes of today’s Google searches, which organic results have to compete with in order to appear on the first page and which can often overthrow them, causing the number of organic links in the SERPs (and, consequently, the meaning of “first page results”) to vary.

It’s Worth Checking Google Search Results

When you’re tracking hundreds of keywords, it’s not feasible or scalable to Google each and every single keyword in order to find where your rankings are for each day.

However, it’s not impossible to access that type of insight.

Most companies actually end up using rank tracking tools that help them keep all the relevant data in one single place, where they can easily monitor and use it as necessary.

Personally, I use rank tracking tools all the time to keep track of my clients’ SEO performance and I do recommend that you do the same.

However, there is one downfall that comes with the overreliance on these tools.

Using my own professional experience as an example: for some campaigns that I’ve worked on, in order to get on the first page, my clients needed to be in the first seven spots, and not ten.

The problem was that we didn’t know this while we were looking at our rank tracking tools, so everything seemed to be going according to plan. It was only when we did a live Google Search that we came to the conclusion that we should be aiming for the top seven positions.

This has shown me that it is always worth doing a live Google search to see how many results are actually on the first page, particularly with your high-priority keywords, which is why I advise you not to rely solely on your tracking tools.

How Does This Change Your SEO Campaigns?

The answer to this question depends on which stage of the SEO strategy you’re currently on.

If you’ve already launched your SEO campaigns and have keywords that you’re targeting, it’s worth going through your reports and identifying which keywords you need to be mindful of.

In case you’re only now starting to develop your SEO strategy and, as such, are still looking for keywords that fit your business and goals, these new insights about Google’s first SERP will help add another dimension to your research.

A big part of keyword research is about evaluating search volume and search intent, in addition to how competitive each keyword is.

Even though there are many great tools that can show you a keyword’s competition score, now you know that it’s a good idea to supplement that data with how many search results are on the first page.

The Truth About Google’s First Page of Results

The world of SEO is constantly changing and getting on the first page of results isn’t as straightforward as it might sound.

However, it is by reading articles like this and learning about small, yet pivotal SEO-related details that you can perfect your strategy and understand which steps you need to take in order to continuously improve your rankings.