ColourOfSpring - 6:35 pm on Apr 15, 2013 (gmt 0)
Boy is this ever wrong. You do realize that AdSense is the other half of AdWords, right? Nothing happens to one that doesn't affect the other, and traffic quality is largely what drives smart pricing.
netmeg, I meant that Adsense don't care - or should NOT care - about your website's loss of traffic from Google itself because the ad placements they recommend may cause your site to be deemed "low quality" by the spam team. I take your point in that of course they don't want (for example) 1000 spambot clicks going to your site, or even generally low quality traffic. I didn't really explain that clearer. Basically Adsense don't - or should not - care what percentage of your traffic comes from Google itself, or even the negative impact your ads will have with Google itself.
This business of Google manipulating organic results in order to boost ads - I've certainly seen them switch out the layout and the backgrounds of the ads, but changing the organic results? Over almost ten years and hundreds of websites and many AdWords clients (and probably tens of thousands of searches) I have never seen any sign of this. And I've looked.
You cannot "see" Google's best possible SERPs versus Google's "good enough" SERPs - you just see what they deliver. There's no split test you can do - you just get - what I get - what we all get - what Google deliver at any given time. Google only have to deliver "good enough" if "good enough" makes them better than their competitors. See AT & T's sudden ability to offer gigabit connectivity as a reference to the "good enough" mentality.
I'm not sure why people are so resistant to the notion that Google would try to maximise ad clicks (their cash cow) while at least maintaining their search share and general popularity amongst the population and media.
On another forum it was widely debated that Google do not want to get above a certain level of search share - to be seen as TOO monopolising and incur seriously profit-damaging legislation against it (particularly in the EU). I'm sure there's an optimum level of share they want to obtain, and then maximise the profit from that share of the market.
I know for some people here, the "official" view of Google is that Google simply want to grow market share - grow it to 100% if they could - while totally NOT focusing on ad clicks simply because a bigger share of the market will naturally win more clicks. But ponder this - one of the biggest threats to Google - perhaps THE biggest - is not Bing or Yahoo! It's accusations of being too monopolistic and controlling, and subsequent legislation being made against it. This isn't even a conspiracy theory. Google have - even with 70%-odd share - been dealing with this accusation for years. There's no way they can simply shoot for such a high market share without seriously jeopardising their no.1 position.