skibum - 6:46 am on Feb 8, 2011 (gmt 0)
Adsense already Smart Prices us based on click quality. And clearly Google has some idea of what it considers to be Search Quality.
The overwhelming value of a click comes from the intent behind it, not what site it is on. That's why Google makes billions and social sites struggle to come anywhere close to those types of revenue numbers. The result of "smart pricing" can reflect the value of the content on a site but IMHO most of the time it probably doesn't. If you have a crap site that someone lands on from a pop up, the clicks from that site will not be worth much. If you take that same crap site and get it to rank #1 for whatever the content is on the page then the quality of clicks off that page will be spectacular comparatively.
Let's say you have a site reviewing widgets that people come to to research them and ultimately buy them. If someone reads a review and clicks on a link to go purchase a widget then AdSense doesn't get the click. If AdSense does get the click, chances are the AdSense will be less relevant to the widget reviewed (or take the user off of the original purchase path, cause them to consider an alternative and not result in an immediate sale because now they are back to the thinking stage and out of the previous buying intent) than the link to that actual widget in the review.
If someone looks for diet pills and a MFA site can come up in and is clicked on from the search results, has a few lines about diet pills and a block of AdSense selling diet pills at the top of the page then it is the intent of the user (i.e. the initial search) that makes the click [that ends up going to AdSense] valuable. If you actually have to sell something to get paid from your advertising, it can work best to provide just enough information to keep someone thinking they are going in the right direction so they'll go click on your aff link and go buy. If you get paid on the click then don't provide any quality but just give someone an AdSense block that contains something that looks more relevant (or provides a clearer path) than anything else on the page and they'll click on it, go buy something. If the conversion data is then used to determine search quality then the MFA site will be judged by the algo to be an excellent site.
Please lets get away from this BS that adsense = content farms
I think it is content farm = adsense but adsense != content farm
We also need to remember that there are still plenty of companies out there that don't have much of an analytics plan and still chase clicks. When it is clicks an advertiser is after it is pretty hard to judge quality if there is no post-click metric.
The bottom line is whatever appears in front of someone intent on doing something be it a scraper with an AdSense block more relevant (than the content) to the action one is seeking to take or a good content site that provides the answer, product or service right on the page, the path that provides the clearest path to achieve the goal will win out every time.
It begs the question, if the userd finds what they want does it matter how they get there? Add in a pressure/desire for Google to always make more money now and in the future and what direction does that lead?