tedster - 2:02 am on Sep 7, 2011 (gmt 0)
The targeted traffic thing makes G recession proof.
Exactly - and the targeted traffic goes away if Google intentionally manipulates organic search trying to drive site owners to buy Adwords. It's organic quality that fuels the whole search business and Google is too smart to undermine that with quarter-to-quarter manipulations. Even at IPO, they put the investing world (and their board) on notice that they would not be that kind of company.
And yet the Adwords conspiracy idea is the idea will not die. It first showed up almost immediately after the Adwords program was launched. And several times every year since then, someone from the organic team makes an unambiguous statement that their team does not even have an income related KPI to use in evaluating the effectiveness of their algo changes.
This kind of manipulation might be something most businesses would consider - but Google is not most businesses. After all these years, if the official statements were bald-face lies, wouldn't some engineer, present or past, have spilled the beans and leaked the story?
I'm not talking about layout changes here - clearly some of those are aimed to encourage attention to the Adwords areas. I'm only talking about the organic ranking algo itself. Its purpose is to keep the average user happy with Google's results.