Another Google SERP format... counter SEO?


I have never seen this before... perhaps it is new. I was following a backlink for John Scott that I found in a footer, and it didn't make much sense to me so I decided to Google the name. I got a results page that matched what I have long thought would be Google's best bet at diminishing the value of organic SEO while still satisfying searchers. It is a combination between directory and SERP; sort of a Teomoa style result with a Google look and feel. Google is "suggesting" the thematic pathways that a John Scott search might take through the google index, with a sampling of the SERPs for each pathway.

The results are split into 3 sections. The first appear to be the 3 top ranking (organic) sites, as expected. Then there is an hrule and "see more results for JohnScott Real Estate" followed by the top 3 (organic?) results from that query. Before the next hrule, they offer a hyperlink (no results) for "also see john / scott .

Another hrule and then the next 4 results from the original search, followed by "Try your search again on Google Book Search"

I tried a few more people searches but didn't see this layout anywhere else. It cetainly seems like a good way for Google to present non-competitive results that may be relevant, when ranking optimization may have blocked them out of the SERPs.


I've seen it a few times. I

I've seen it a few times. I believe as far back as the begining of December.

Very interesting - more value to the top 3

I have seen this a few times for the last 1-2 months as well. I'ts almost like google is taking terms that might be considered "long-tail" and using that as an opportunity to suggest their own results.

I think this gives even more value to ranking in the top 3. Imagine if you ranked in the top 3 for 2 of the 3 "sections." You would essentially see 2 links instead of just one.

It may hurt SEO efforts, but it opens up the door for placing a higher value on those coveted top 3 results in the SERPS!

they have been doing some

they have been doing some inline suggestions for quite a long while now.

I believe adding the John L Scott bit to the inline related suggestion is fairly new though. I have not seen them do and inline suggestion and then link to another related serp yet.

The "also see john / scott"

The "also see john / scott" link is new to me too, but the splitting of the results is pretty old news.

I don't get much joice out

I don't get much joice out of anything I have below the top three anyways. I have my doubts that this will make it any worse.

CSS Hacks

see CSS Hacks, rather annoying because I didn't want counter strike hacks at all

'|' ?

What the heck does the pipe operator do? An OR operator? The results don't suggest it.
I haven't seen that used before - anyone?

It's not a pipe operator.

It's not a pipe operator. The suggestion is "John L. Scott", not "John / Scott" as John Andrews wrote. Google shows the L in italics ( l is a lower-case L in italics ).

Google's been playing with

Google's been playing with this and tweaking it here and there since about August.

In one of Matt Cutt's UI Fun threads he used an example where the algo suggested ["to be or not to be"] in place of [to be or not to be].

It does seem as if G is using it as a tabless drill-down, possibly using frequently searched for terms for the suggestions.


yeah that slash is a typo... as robzilla notes it should be a lower case "L (see the link I provided).

John Scott Real Estate and John L Scott are Google's "suggestions" in this case.

Re: It's not a pipe operator.

Ohhhhh.... I'm doing that little light bulb over my head thing ;)
That had me confused :)
(Not that I have any idea who John Scott is otherwise)
Thanks, man :)

John L Scott is a popular

John L Scott is a popular real estate agency in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. There is another John Scott, but either way it's not a search term that anybody is optimizing for.

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