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We are using Google Custom Search and we have found that often the total results iterates between two values, even for the same query. The different values can be slightly different or more than double.

The parameters I am using look like this:

https://www.googleapis.com/customsearch/v1?
q=something
cx=XXXXXXXXXX
lr=lang_en
siteSearch=www.mydomain.com
start=1
fields=context%2Citems%28fileFormat%2CformattedUrl%2Clink%2Cpagemap%2Csnippet%2Ctitle%29%2Cqueries%2CsearchInformation%28searchTime%2CtotalResults%29%2Cspelling%2FcorrectedQuery
key=YYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
filter=0

This is problem because of calculating the number of result pages. How can I get the same results for the same query?

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1 Answer

up vote 0 down vote accepted

Google varies its results all the time and there is nothing you can do about it.

There are several main reasons why this happens:

  • Google does A/B testing. They test how users react to sites ranking very differently. For example they may move a site up from page 3 temporarily to measure its click through rate when it is in the 3rd position.
  • Google has multiple data centers that get updated data and code at different times. In a case like this, one data center will likely serve completely different results for some queries than other data centers. As the code and data get rolled out (usually over the course of a week or two), all the Google data centers will show the same results. While this is happening, results may swing wildly between the two because queries may be directed to a different data center each time.
  • Google uses your search history and preferences when building search results. The results that you see may be very different than what your friend sees.

In this case it sounds like the "multiple data center" issue is at play. The results you are interested in will likely stabilize over the next couple weeks.

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