Organic results only make up 21% of Googles search result pages

Over the last few months Google has been really pushing local search in the UK (with plans to push it even more) and we are finding Local Business Results increasingly creeping into generic keywords such as mobile phones.

Today I thought it would be interesting to take the “mobile phones” search results and see what percentage of the page each element takes up. The results are below and you can click on the screenshot to see a full size version of the whole page.

The top 10 organic results now only account for 21% of the page with local listings taking up 9.3% – almost the same as the Adwords ads which take up 14.3%. Just under 50% of the page is either white space or navigation links.

Google area figures

Google results

Page real estate

By Patrick Altoft. at 5:23PM on Monday, 30 Nov 2009

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events. Follow Patrick Altoft on Twitter.


25 Responses to “Organic results only make up 21% of Googles search result pages”

  1. Hobo says:

    Great post. It’s funny – Google wants us to help them make their search engine better – why don’t they just give us back the old organic listings?

    Hope Bing is taking note…..

  2. Eloi says:

    Nice idea for a study.
    However, did you not take into consideration the 7 other natural results that are under the local ones in your screenshot? that would be more like 65% if you did… Maybe i’m missing something, in which case shame on me etc etc.

  3. Having recently switched to a new laptop I thought things were a bit crowded in Google results but hadn’t realised it was this bad! Thank heavens for the CustomizeGoogle Firefox plugin. Seems G are heading for the same old AltaVista scenario that got them their start in the first place. Bring back simple search!

  4. Hobo says:

    Patrick true – I’ve often wondered if one random local result at a time would be better tho instead of a big list (that in a lot of cases aren’t even that local).

  5. wil reynolds says:

    I have been using the search term motorcycle to show this phenomenon lately. Tons of news results, images, local, etc.

  6. Byron Surf says:

    Very interesting post. It depends on the industry/vertical as to how much Google is willing to spread the % across multiple elements. Verticals that have significant SEM spend such as travel, finance are less likely to see an increase in video, news, images etc.. into the SERPs. However move away from the Head verticals & the landscape is looking far more experimental & like what Patrick has displayed above.

    It’s a changing landscape. I like the motorcycles example. I find the phrase Surfing to also be a good example of the changing Google Search results.

  7. In the 21.0%, what is the percentage of clicks at the first position, second, third , fourth and fifth positions. Please let me know if there is any analysis.

  8. patrenet says:

    Le référencement naturel représentent 21% des résultats de recherche Google

  9. karen says:

    Great post, I found those statistics very interesting.

  10. [...] & review data study by Patrick Altoft on December 1, 2009 With Google Local results taking up more and more space in the search results local search is becoming (at least for Branded3) one of the key things we [...]

  11. Googles really forgot natural results… IMO gg is far from its best results with all those tricks now.

  12. tag44 says:

    Thanks for the post and for sharing the info on Google organic search and its results.

  13. Zoran Rudman says:

    How can we be sure that our business will be showed on the map?
    What we have to do? I figured that Google is using country related yellow pages and then sorts out businesses by the cities and industry.

  14. [...] en la búsqueda en para “teléfonos móviles“, donde nos encontramos que solo el 21% de toda la página de resultados en para resultados orgánicos, y además, en la parte final de la [...]

  15. [...] the results page available for these results. We have already seen how Universal search results are gobbling up room on the homepage, this will only shrink their percentage further. As with nearly all forms of online [...]

  16. [...] BlogStorm: Organic Results Only Make Up 21% of Google Search Result Pages [...]

  17. SEO Ireland says:

    Its definitly changing with a lesser emphasis on the organic.

  18. Mark Carter says:

    It’s an interesting one, isn’t it? …. blended results really seems to divide opinion in the SEO community.

  19. Yahoo was a Search Engine master in past,
    it was….before it reduced organic results strongly.
    Google didn’t forget it.

    results about pictures or videos or news or blogs remain organic results for me, blended but organic indeed.
    Some SEO didn’t forget it.
    I worked on keywords in text only, now I work on keywords around pictures or videos too.


  20. curious if you have monitored this study since 2009? surely quite interesting to see how big that Local wedge has grown & further decline for the organic %

  21. Tommo says:

    I’d be interested in seeing an update to this with local factored in?

  22. dan barnes says:

    Lately organic results are being pushed down even further with the introduction of huge sitelinks in Adwords ads and the half a page sitelinks given to some organic sites that hold #1. I would love to get a glimpse of the SERPS in 5 years from now.

  23. Martin says:

    I also would love to see an update to this peice. Things have changes a bit since this was posted. Great original post though!

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