ColourOfSpring - 8:53 am on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0) [edited by: ColourOfSpring at 9:56 am (utc) on Apr 18, 2013]
COS does that constantly diberry, which makes it pointless and frustrating to point things out the them or even bother to post much, if anything, in threads they're involved in.
TOI, I'd appreciate it if you could address me directly instead of indirectly - particularly when criticising me. I did engage all of your points. You took a single exception here:-
I didn't ever say search experience. I said organic results.
Organic is but one component of the search experience. For commercial searches the top ad box gets twice as many clicks as the organics below it (ref [searchengineland.com ]). This makes sense. If the stats didn't reflect such an overwhelming popularity for the adbox, Google would stop putting ads there. They don't want to frustrate their userbase. There is a bigger picture outside of organic listings that keep searchers on Google. With the adbox answering 2 out of every 3 commercial queries, the reliance on organic listings isn't as great as perhaps you thought it was (strictly commercial searches of course). Users are presented with a SERP which is a mix of areas, including organic which is hidden mostly (or completely) out of view on most commercial searches. Maybe you are extrapolating how you use Google onto Google's entire userbase - but for the average user, they're not like us webmasters - they get what they get - a SERP. They don't automatically scroll down to organic and ignore the near-indistinguishable ads, especially with Instant automatically switched on - they see the results changing just below their keyword box and click. In fact, if everyone did automatically scroll below the fold, Instant would be useless. Even with Instant turned off, it would be a frustrating experience to always have to scroll to find results. Any site whose content you're truly after is always below (or near-below) the fold isn't following best practices (as Google themselves point out to webmasters). Obviously users don't behave this way - they click on the adbox twice as often as they click on organic results.
COS, you're not engaging with what I actually said. Which was, I don't think they are manipulating the algo *to put brands up top*.
diberry, I thought I did answer that here:-
Nobody can say for certain either way that Google are or aren't balancing things in their favour when it comes to the algorithm, but for certain they are the only ones shaping and influencing and manipulating it [it = algorithm] (for whatever reasons). Certainly the end orangic results can't tell you one way or the other. It's all in the eye of the beholder.
Or in other words, your guess is as good as mine. I'm sorry I didn't address your point directly. However, I just look at what Google do in other areas (particularly design/layout) and hazard a guess that they have too much self-interest not to weight the algo towards favourable results for them. Again (and I'm flogging this horse somewhat by now) - so long as it's not to the detriment of the searcher.
[edited by: ColourOfSpring at 9:56 am (utc) on Apr 18, 2013]