rlange - 1:07 pm on Sep 20, 2011 (gmt 0)
This is the heart of the issue for most of us. Every change that Google makes seems to help them and hurt organics. I'm sure they're happy that some people like their aesthetic sense, but to be honest, if I could get some of my loss traffic back but they had to be less aesthetically pleasing, I'd give THAT a +1.
Here's the thing, though—and it's something that some people around here keep saying with ever-increasing amounts of venom, but nobody really wants to accept: as a webmaster, Google's purpose is not to promote you. You're not even their audience.
So, when someone here complains about this or that design change pushing organic results further down the page, so what? Does it even matter to the average user? (Remember, you're not the average user.) Do they care that they're not seeing as many organic results above the fold, or do they just dutifully scroll down the handful of extra pixels like they're used to doing on every other website they've been visiting for years?
Has anyone here even bothered to find out if these changes actually do impact referrals for page-one results?