backdraft7 - 3:08 pm on Sep 10, 2012 (gmt 0)
Tim - for the most part they did quite poorly. 100% bounce on most.
One (#3 candidate) had a very low bounce rate of 16%, while the #1 and #2 trials were in the 36% to 38% bounce rate range. #3 only had a few dozen hits. #1 was in the thousands, so it obviously dominated the serps.
For the most part, the #1 positions outweigh the others by a huge margin, so this A/B test wouldn't exactly explain the "days long" dead zones. This morning I'm getting emails already from other business owners reporting the same poor sales over the weekend and continuing today. It's not just me I guess.
My theory goes like this:
Imagine a forest with nice neat little trails interconnecting known destinations. That's the OLD way Google worked. Nice, reliable paths to finding what you need and a great user experience since you never got lost.
Today, Google replants the trails and blazes new ones every few days. The effect is just like a grocery store moving all their products around so the old regular customers now have to chase everywhere to find what they are really looking for...and making many clean misses along the way.
It's sad, but I'm more inclined each day to believe this is just their way to increase adwords income. Nothing more. They seem to care little of user experience.