John Mueller has just confirmed something that quite a few of us have known for a while.
In a recent Twitter post, published 23 May 2017, John made the following statement:
“There’s no hard limit on the number of times a site can appear in a search results page set.”
John’s post was a direct response to a comment from Twitter user Seth Nickerson, who was curious as to why Google was showing three results from the same domain when searching for “magnetic sweepers”
Craig Anderson, another Twitter user, also jumped on board with the topic and was similarly bemused when the same URL appeared in the first 4 results for another search query- with only 2 distinct pages appearing within those 4 results.
Although Google does take steps to ensure an acceptable level of domain diversity exists, many search users find it somewhat surprising to think that the same website can be listed several times on the first page results.
This normally happens when a user enters a more unique search query, particularly when searching for a niche-specific, long-tail keyword combination.
So, What’s The Problem?
Although there are some instances where it might be useful to have two or three pages from the same website on the first page of the SERPs, the problem is that having the exact same page listed more than once obviously affects small businesses and organizations who are trying to compete with the big guys in the organic listings, such as Amazon.
Each duplicate listing obviously pushes the other listings down a place and this can have an enormous effect on business and search traffic, especially when you are knocked off the first page and consequently appear on page two.
Another cause for concern is the impact on the quality of user experience, which is a buzzword that Google is always trying to promote. When searching for a term, most of us feel that it would be more useful to have a more varied cross-section of results offering an improved level of choice.
It also seems strange that Google would demote / devalue a website or page because it contains duplicate content, and then return a duplicated list of results for a query on the first page of the search results.