Google Algorithm March Update: The Curious Case of 19 Organic SERP Results

Written by Dinesh

Updated on Jul 29, 2020
Category: Google Updates

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Earlier, we updated you about an unconfirmed Google Algorithm updates that happened on March 1st. This article is intended to give you more insights on the same.

Last week, there was chatter online as SEOs saw major fluctuations in the Google Algorithm Trackers. It seems to be a newer algorithm update from the search giant, and Peter Meyers of Moz covered it in his “March 1st Update article.

According to the MozCast (their stats in Temperatures), there was a massive spike in the Google rankings on 28th Feb and 1st March of 2019.

Google SERP results on page one - Moz

Source: Moz

Though we saw a number of variations in the metrics, there was a significant spike in the search results on the first page, which had more than 10 organic results (apart from Ads).

Gazing at it, Moz tried about 10,000 keywords and surprisingly found that most of these keywords resulted in 11+ organic Google SERP results on page one.

Google SERP results on page one.- Moz

Source: Moz

Typically, it’s hard to grab a spot on the first page of search engine because of the SERP features like Featured Snippets, Google Ads, Top Stories, and image results occupying almost the first fold of SERPs.

Interestingly, during this fluctuation, in-depth articles found their way onto the first page of the SERP results, not only for the informative keywords but also for the buyer intent keywords.

Usually, for the websites with in-depth articles, it’s challenging to rank on the first page of SERP which typically provides 4 to 12 results for a search query.

However, on March 1st, Google amazed us by rendering as many as 19 results on page one of the SERPs for a search query.

Analyzing the 19 results SERP

As mentioned above, out of 10K keywords that Moz tried, Google resulted in 19 results for 9 SERPs.

Here’s a screenshot of the 19 results SERP for the keyword “Pumpkin pie recipe.” It has 19 results along with the featured snippet occupied by the 1st link of the SERP.

Top 19 results for the keyword Pumpkin pie recipe

What are your thoughts on this? Logically, you can see that there is nothing that can make it look like this is non-organic, right?

We also observed that it ranked traditional results with thumbnails followed by news and magazine articles.

Diving deep into in-depth articles

Nowadays, most people (if not all) may despise in-depth articles. They are, typically, masked in the regular organic results. Yes, they still manage to outrank and appear on top of SERPs, thanks to the source-code markers that help it.

Here’s an example of the last 6 results of page-one of SERP for the search query “Sneakers” which resulted in comprehensive articles about the product.

SERP result For The Search Query Sneakers

Source: Moz

As you can see, according to the keyword ‘sneakers’ it should show e-commerce websites. But Google also ranked articles along with it.

Although it’s difficult to analyze the type of articles, these are actually in-depth articles that rank on the first page.

This was the result found on 4th March. This SERP actually had 12 results, out of which 6 positions were occupied by this 3-pack of in-depth articles.

If you see the March 1st results, we witnessed similar results where this 3-pack contained more than 10 in-depth articles.

Looking at this, when the research was made to find out the resilience of the in-depth articles (considering packs with more than 3 results only), this is the percentage of results that in-depth articles ranked on the SERP.

In-depth Articles Ranked On The Serp

Source: Moz

Close to 25% of in-depth articles ranked on SERP on the 1st of March while it was just 6% a day prior. It means that it’s almost 4 times higher than the previous day.

However, this came back to normal the very next day and has remained the same since then. Moz also detected a spike in the SERP results of ‘Real-estate’ shares for extensive publications such as The New York Times, which typically contain in-depth articles. This might be a reason behind the spike on March 1st.

So, what is the final conclusion?

Looking at the graphs, it doesn’t seem to be a significant algorithm update from Google.

However, when I surfed on Peter’s twitter profile to see if there was any chatter about it, interestingly, I found many people who witnessed 19 organic SERPs not only on the desktop but also on smartphones as well.


Also, Marie Haynes, a Google algorithm updates researcher, shared a screenshot which shows a massive spike in the traffic of a website.


If you’re someone who has a website that publishes in-depth articles, it would be better to keep an eye on your metrics.

This is because Google may also rank your page along with shopping sites for the buyer intent keywords. This could be an update from Google, or it could be a test too.

If your site has had any fluctuations on these dates, do share it across. Keep a tab on this page for further updates.

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