Anyone else out there seeing Google changing from 10 results per page to 7? This appears to be a UI experiment rather than a definite change. While only a few people have seen this tweak, it may be a sign of the biggest change to hit search engine results in years.
The idea of 10 organic results seemed sacred, surviving the launch of blended/universal and the integration of local/maps, One Box and Sitelinks, not to mention preserved across all the major and not so major engines. Google may have been preparing for this for some time with changes such as reducing the number of ad units in the right rail.
It will be very interesting to see how this change influences user behavior. Will this increase the percentage of people who go to page 2? Will it increase CTR for the 4-7th positions? Will it increase the number of people who reformulate the query?
Implicit in this decision seems to be Google’s belief that the top seven results contain all that is relevant. Hubris is the first step towards defeat.