Search Engines figured out a decade ago that allowing a single company to dominate the results was a bad user experience. Even if a company was algorithmically determined to have 100 relevant page results, the engines limited their appearance in SERP to one or two listings. Google improved this practice by indenting the second result for the same site and displaying it below the first, making it easier for the user to navigate directly to the page they want.
UI changes by Google over the last few months have seemingly lost track of this simple concept and created an embarrassment of riches for some searches. Specifically, Google’s rules appear not to consider the interaction between Local, Sitebox and regular results.
Berkeley Toyota is clearly the BEST result for the first query; they shouldn’t get three listings in local, four more from a Sitebox and the top natural site below that. Depending on how you count, that’s the top five spots and eight listings.
Apple gets six unique listings and ten links before the first non-Apple listing appears. Below the Wiki listings, Apple sub-domains scores another three of the next six listings and two more go to Mac.com. That means Apple owns 11 of the first 14 listings.
So, Google, how about fixing your rules here?
- If a site is given the SiteBox/Onebox position, that should be the only result on the page from that domain. At minimum, remove the natural search result.
- If a site is showing in local, it should suppress the OneBox listing. There is no point in showing both.
- Even if a company shows multiple locations in the same city, only use one spot in the local search.
- Sub-domains are considered “separate” sites, but if each sub-domains gets two spots in the SERP, even the purest White Hat SEO is going to be tempted to create five high quality “sites” and own the top ten.