Something odd about Google search results is that they claim a huge number at the top of their page, but if you try to get to the last page, the number shrinks to a tiny fraction.

One thing that will help if you want to try this yourself. Click on the “settings” link at the top right of a search results page. Then on “search settings.” On the “Preferences” page that opens change the default “number of results” displayed from 10 to 100.
Now when you click on the tenth page at the bottom of a search results page, you will have gone through the first 1000 results. If you have searched a 4 or 5 word phrase you will often find that there aren’t even 10 pages of results. You will be shown page 6 or 8.

The video goes into more detail about how this might affect your decision to put up a website page about a searched phrase. I’ve included a basic example in text below it for those people who prefer to read. (Like me!)

Video by John Schwartz from
As an example, take “distill alcohol at home” as a search. At the upper right the search results pages says “Results 1 – 100 of about 233,000 for distill alcohol at home.” At the bottom of the page under the goooooogle it shows 6 pages of search results. I click on the last one and at the bottom it now shows only 4 pages.

A note there says: “In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 386 already displayed. If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included.”

233,000 results have shrunk down to 386. Click on “repeat the search with the omitted results included.” The new page says: “Results 1 – 96 of about 234,000 for distill alcohol at home” at the top.

I go down to the bottom and again open the last page and the results are still under 1000. About 1/234 as many as the top line seems to suggest.

No idea why this happens, but I have tried it on quite a few searches and the results are similar. Maybe they want to kid us around just a bit?