Domain Clustering Change: Fewer Results From Same Domain

google domain clustering changes

Google’s search and SEO guru gatekeeper, Matt Cutts, posted a recent video about new shifts coming to Google’s algorithm affecting the diversity of the search outcomes being displayed.

Cuts shared that Google is“soon” to make a shift that will make it less likely to see multiple results from the same domain name, if you already have been shown that domain name in previous results three or four times before.  Cutts explained that once you’ve seen a cluster of about four results from a specific domain name, the subsequent pages are going to be less likely to show you results from that domain name.

Source: Search Engine Land 5/17/13


To explain this in more detail, Cutts explained the history behind domain diversity in the search results. As Matt explained, the goal is to strike the right balance between offering diverse results but at the same time returning the best and most authoritative search results for the query.

The history for domain clustering within Google is as follows:

  • There was no restrictions in the number of results per domain name. This turned out to be a bad thing, as Matt explained.
  • Google added “host clustering,” that prevented more than two results per domain name to be shown in the search results. Webmasters got around this by placing content on subdomains.
  • Google expanded the clustering to show a max of 3 or 4 results per domain, instead.
  • Google then changed this to show more diversity on the first page of results but show less diversity on the secondary pages. So you’d likely not see more than two results from the same domain name on the first page, but you can see several results from the same domain on secondary pages.
  • Launching soon is a change to this to show less from the same domain, even on subsequent pages, after you’ve already seen about four results from the same domain for that query.

Google has frequently changed the diversity of domains in the search results and we expected this change as we reported earlier.

Matt Cutts did explain this most recent change was in response to several complaints, likely including our complaint about the diversity of the search results.

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