internetheaven - 8:39 pm on Jun 25, 2010 (gmt 0)
Google's layout today is quite different from a year ago - that alone has lowered click rates for many people.
More specifically, ads are far more prevalent and whereas they use to sometimes take up the top 3 spots then now seem to always take up the top 3 spots and the number in the right hand column seems to keep increasing too. #1 is now really #4 for organics and there are now more adverts than organic results in a large number of result sets.
Aside from just pushing organic down... that block of three with the extremely faint background color they're using for the ads makes it hard to distinguish where the "Sponsored links" drop off and the organic results begin.
This is particularly true on an LCD monitor viewed straight on. For me, it verges on deceptive.
There's no "verge" about it. It is plainly and blatantly deceptive and most non-webmasters I talk to are completely unaware that the top results are paid for. They think only the right column contains paid ads.