|EFV and Google will say no... i will say probably |
I could point you to any number of searches (including searches on "commercial" topics) where the top results, including results featuring megasites that carry advertising, are for pages that don't carry AdSense ads.
But even if most of the top search results were for pages that carried AdSense ads, what would that demonstrate? It would merely show that information pages (the types of pages most likely to carry AdSense ads) tend to do better in Google search results than, say, e-commerce or thin affiliate pages (which are less likely to carry AdSense ads).
Google may well profit from the higher rankings of information pages in its search results, but that doesn't mean the rankings are being manipulated for monetary reasons; it simply means that, like any well-run media company, Google profits by supplying what its audience wants.
Before I say anything let me just say that I do not know if Google does this and neither does anyone else who has contributed. What we are reading in this debate is opinion not fact.
|In the context of this thread, the question is whether Google can make more money by fulfilling its mission or by subverting that mission. |
EFV in your posts you make the assumption that Google could not do this without it being blindingly obvious. This is definitely not the case. We do not know for sure how many factors are at play in determining the SERPs. Tweaking the algo in some areas can be done without anyone knowing what has happened. Tweaking the results in most areas is like this. They can do it without, as you say, subverting their mission.
Having said this I would lean towards the "no" brigade. Their profits have been high enough to keep the stockholders happy so far. Ask me again when they run into their first major profit crisis.
|Before I say anything let me just say that I do not know if Google does this and neither does anyone else who has contributed. What we are reading in this debate is opinion not fact. |
I'll agree with that, but I'll also ask how many of the people who are convinced that Google manipulates its search results have any experience in the media business (as opposed to the SEO business, where manipulation is the name of the game). Attitudes tend to be colored by experience, and people who attempt to manipulate SERPs for a living may be inclined to assume that everybody does it--including Google.
I honestly do not think they manipulate natural search engine rankings, but I do know they do manipulate which and how advertisements display on publisher pages or on sponsored listings that display on search results pages.
|I do know they do manipulate which and how advertisements display on publisher pages or on sponsored listings that display on search results pages. |
Of course, in much the same way that a newspaper or magazine determines where ads will be placed. That's how things are supposed to work, and there's nothing deceptive about placing an ad for Wally's Widgets at the top of a widgets page (as opposed to giving Wally a boost in the organic search results, which would be deceptive since Google has stated that it doesn't do that).
|Attitudes tend to be colored by experience, and people who attempt to manipulate SERPs for a living may be inclined to assume that everybody does it--including Google. |
Actually that is exactly what Google does for a living.
|Actually that is exactly what Google does for a living. |
Google creates algorithms that generate search results based on indexing criteria such as relevance, PageRank, and TrustRank. That isn't remotely the same as "manipulating organic SERPs to improve ad income" or "manipulating search results for a living."
Does Google manipulate SERPS? I doubt that, it would be too easy to identify.
Does Google historically make algorithm changes around the beginning and end of a business quarter? Absolutley. At least they had been doing it consistently in 2005 and 2006. I actually have 3 years of keyword data and rankings that show me this. if it happened once or twice, ok no big deal, but every business quarter it would be the same thing, up and down in rankings.
So that tells me they make algo changes at those times.
If they do it to boost their earnings report or not, I do not know, but it would be a good business deceision if they did do that. Unless there is some kind of law that says a search engine can not make algo changes in the beginning or end of a business quarter.
Of course this is all opinion, not fact, except for the more than 2 years of organic keyword data that I have saved.
|Having said this I would lean towards the "no" brigade. Their profits have been high enough to keep the stockholders happy so far. Ask me again when they run into their first major profit crisis. |
When 50% or close to it of your revenues are coming from AdSense, somebody in Google should and must keep a close eye on it. Like anybody else i don't know if they do or don't manipulate their organic search results but there is too much money in stake to just let it ride by itself... A very small twick to the results could make a big different and we probably will never know.
|Google creates algorithms that generate search results based on indexing criteria such as relevance, PageRank, and TrustRank. That isn't remotely the same as "manipulating organic SERPs to improve ad income" or "manipulating search results for a living." |
Then we will have to agree to disagree.
Of course Google is continually adjusting the organic search results. The question is this - what criteria are they using to guide these adjustments. Does part of their adjustment fold in some metric that involves Adwords? Or is it only user satisfaction, measured by a number of criteria?
Google has said explicitly that Adwords is not a factor. So either they are not telling the truth or they are. Google is certainly not beyond "spinning" things, no company is. However, that is not the same as telling a bald-face lie. I'm convinced that Google speaks the truth here. As others have mentioned in this thread, any short term gains would be offset by a long-term disaster. Google is not, to any evidence I've seen, a "quarter-by-quarter" business.
Does Adwords provide a safety new when some algo tweak goes wonky? Sure. Does that mean Google will intentionally make their organic results go wonky? I can't see that making business sense at all. Plus, it is a MAJOR challenge just to generate decent search results at all. That is Google's ongoing struggle, and it's difficult enough.
There's one factor I see over and over in these discussions -- a major underestimation of just what it takes to create good search results for billions of pages.
If you've ever worked with internal site search for just one major enterprise, you know how humbling that experience can be. Now take that upwards by quite a few degrees of complexity. Add to that the competitive/cooperative environment that Google and webmasters create mutually, and you've got a humongous challenge, with just that much.
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