---- Big brands do not have the upper hand - Matt Cutts
TheOptimizationIdiot - 1:33 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)
Do we have any evidence or citations (not from Google) to back up either set of hypotheses?
The biggest thing I have as evidence is the SERPs and results from sites I've worked on.
I know if I was trying to generate more revenue from ads through organic SERP manipulation, as soon as a site indicated it could pay for even one ad I would drop them from the organics, because even that single ad would drive the price up on others, and by showing sites that had not shown indications they could pay for advertising in the organic SERPs, I might a send the non-paying site(s) enough traffic to be able to pay for ads in the future, which would drive advertising prices up higher.
But, I don't see the preceding, because I know and have worked on sites that both pay and have not ever paid for advertising with Google, and their ranking fluctuate based on other factors, so I cannot see the correlation between ad payment and organic SERP placement.
It's an "easy escape" to blame Google and their greed when a site doesn't rank as well as we'd like, but I don't see it in reality. Especially since like I said, if they were really trying to manipulate advertising revenue from organic SERPs, in my opinion, they should be doing the exact opposite of what they are, since once a site indicates it can afford an ad, in a bidding system like they have, that drives all ad prices up, which increases revenue, so giving a site that's indicated it can afford to pay a "freebie" doesn't make much sense to me.