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Is Google Attempting To Force Site Owners Into AdWords?

     
1:07 pm on Apr 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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We've all seen it, extremely poor quality pages ranking extremely well for popular widget keyword searches.

What is it that Google likes/prefers about these pages when there are far superior pages that Google could rank? I am not simply referring to my pages in my industry, there are some darned good sites in my industry, well structured, well optimised, quality images and good, relevant information, yet all too often I see precisely the opposite for the more valuable/popular keyword searches.

Obviously Google's data will tell them the most popular keyword searches for almost any industry therefore is Google deliberately ranking quality pages much lower to try and force those site owners into AdWords?

Honestly, I'm fed-up of seeing such bad results as and when I use Google, not very often apart from checking their SERPs these days, however what do you think?

Do you see a notable bias for your industry's more popular keywords v the not so popular?
2:50 pm on Apr 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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When someone as dumb as me can launch a brand new site just last year and is already generating profit from Google SEO traffic it proves SEO isn't dead yet. Is it as easy as it was 20 years ago - no. Do SEO results vary greatly based on competition and opportunity - yes.

Google is not our friend and they are not trying to help us. They are a for profit business and doing everything to generate more profits

Let's not forget that implying Google is manipulating the SERPs to boost Adwords is not new.

2017 Is there any correlation between Adwords & Organic Rankings [webmasterworld.com]
2017 Does Google Spam lead to Adwords Customers? [webmasterworld.com]
2014 Organic Traffic Drops After I Stopped Adwords [webmasterworld.com]
2014 Correlation between Google Organic & AdWords Traffic Drops? [webmasterworld.com]
2009 Adwords moved closer on August 12 - has it hurt organic traffic? [webmasterworld.com]
2007 Google + Wikipedia = Higher Adwords Profits [webmasterworld.com]

It is easy to blame Google but that won't improve anything. I bet there is some frustrated webmaster reading this and thinking "of course it can't be my outdated 10 year old SEO spam tactics that suck, it must be Google's fault". SEO is very hard and gets worse each year. It is not for everyone. For many people SEO is no longer a viable option. If you think SEO is dead for you, then move on & spend your efforts on something that is viable instead of complaining about the past. Before you start your new venture learn from your old experiences - don't launch a business that relies on a for profit company to give you free traffic. That is not a business plan that is a charity case.

Google is a for profit company and will do whats best for them not us. Be smart and plan accordingly. Focus on non Google traffic sources. The funny thing is that Google will act like a jealous high school boyfriend. The more popular you become from non Google sources, the more Google wants to give you traffic because you are now popular.
3:25 pm on Apr 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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goodroi correct me if I am wrong but it strikes me you haven't actually answered RedBar's question.

You have said is that it is possible in your category to get traffic from SEO.

Could it be that you have just alluded to the answer when you stated that google is a for profit company, is that you implying that anything goes?
3:32 pm on Apr 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The simple answer is, yes, and that's the same with any business up-selling. You see it happening everywhere, and not specifically Google.
The problem only becomes a problem when there's market domination. The E.U. Seems to think something is up E.U. Fines Google 1.49 Billion Euros Over Antitrust in Advertising [webmasterworld.com]
3:57 pm on Apr 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I provided an SEO response to a thread posted in the Google SEO forum. If anyone wants to have a discussion that focuses on Google business please go to our Google Business section [webmasterworld.com...]

Let's keep SEO threads focused on SEO :)
5:41 pm on Apr 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Obviously Google's data will tell them the most popular keyword searches for almost any industry therefore is Google deliberately ranking quality pages much lower to try and force those site owners into AdWords?

I would say for the most part no. I think Google wants to rank the pages correctly (whatever that may be) but is just doing an extremely poor job of it. They want people to come back to do more searches.

I DO THINK Google is deliberately reducing the amount of organic results space by adding more ads, featured results, video carousels and those questions/answer boxes to force people into using adwords though.

Google Search is not the only thing suffering from poor results. I rarely click on ads in the search results. Why? Because in most cases the ads are not helpfully and don't answer my search. The ad copy is poor and the website they point to in most cases is useless in answering my question. The same thing is true in the Google app store. The results are usually pretty bad.

@goodroi - You are right SEO is not dead. You are always going to have to follow good SEO practices to be able to rank. The problem is that many more people are following these best practices (thanks in large part to better CMS, templates, etc...). Besides picking the right niche, good content, backlinks, and SEO, you also need a little luck to be on the right side of what factors the algorithm determines to be better than your competitors. The Google Algorithm also has gotten so complex that it is impossible to reverse engineer these factors that before an update Google considered good and after an update your traffic gets slashed because of something you are doing or not doing.
6:03 pm on Apr 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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is Google deliberately ranking quality pages much lower to try and force those site owners into AdWords?

Your logic doesn't hold, to maximize profits Google will be agnostic as to who buys ads. Basically the could careless if the website an ad is pointing to is good quality or bad quality. All they ultimately care about is that there is an advertiser willing to pay money. On the other hand diminishing the quality of their search results will have direct impact to the detriment of this goal. That is fewer user will go to Google to search and thus there will be fewer ad impressions to sell.

As JesterMagic pointed out, they can keep stuffing more ads on to the page to some degree, but they still need to show the organic results, it is their product. It is the value that is exchanged for your tacit agreement to be shown an ad. If organic search results could be neglected as is suggested, then Google could do away with them completely and simply provide a pay to play platform. But then why would anyone visit Google. Just to see ads?
6:54 pm on Apr 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I remember back in the day (10 or so years ago), when google explicitly forbid blending of adsense ads within site content.
Funnily enough, they are doing exactly that, more than ever, with blended ads on top of search results :)
11:33 pm on Apr 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Even if every search engine were doing an Unfailingly Fabulous Job of Always Ranking Quality Sites, the front page for any query has a limited number of organic slots. We'll all need other ways to gain the visibility our businesses need besides just hoping that organic SEO will be good to us. That's a fact of life, not some kind of plot.

Being popular for other reasons besides organic search does seem to please Google. So good old-fashioned marketing hustle must be considered an SEO essential these days. Get your on-page and on-site SEO factors in the best shape you know how, then promote, promote, promote.
11:39 pm on Apr 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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So good old-fashioned marketing hustle must be considered an SEO essential these days

This needs to be etched in stone and repeated a dozen times a day.

Sites live by being sought after ... and one cannot depend on g to send that traffic. Market it, locally, virally, whatever it takes. Those who do for themselves generally not only get the work, but the bird, too.
9:18 pm on Apr 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Google doesn't give away anything for free, unless they get something more in return. Adwords is waiting for all throwing in the towel.
12:03 am on Apr 3, 2019 (gmt 0)

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G set out to index the web. Now they want to be the gateway to the web.

Pretty simple. And webmasters helped that happen.
1:02 pm on Apr 3, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Considering that search got a CAP on results and you can't dig through pages as before.. isn't that a clear msg to webmasters - only way to get on is to pay?
11:56 am on Apr 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@StoneSolid, when you say a cap, I was just able to look though 21 pages of results for an important keyword, that is quite a lot. I doubt any genuine searchers would go much past the first few pages.
11:17 pm on Apr 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@StoneSolid

thats the reason why they closed many accounts: they do all what was wrong then, and by all means, including better business, ethic, moral, they do what is wrong today:

ads above fold
mimic ads into content
poor content (2-3 result pages)
irrelevant content (serps have nothing in common with search query)
12:19 am on Apr 16, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Biz works kinda like this:

1. Do whatever it takes to get started.
2. Promise anything!
3. Build a clientele.
4. Make some money.
5. Grow the biz.
6. Excite investors.
7. Venture capital.
8. IPO
9. Correct all the errors and omissions allowed previously to get to this point, but do so in a manner that does not reveal that to the public.
10. Make more money.
11. Rule the world (okay, that's not actually part of a business play, but pretty close to desires of Board and Shareholders)

Is g "forcing" webmasters into adwords? Probably not. But if adsense is paying tenths of a cent do you think webmasters might make the change voluntarily?
6:13 pm on Apr 16, 2019 (gmt 0)

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What people forget about AdSense is that it is the tail of the Google critter, an after thought vacuum up the long tail ad network.

Take a good look at the recent changes, consolidation of everything else Google Ads: AdWords, AdX, DFP, etc. all rolled together into Ad Manager. But not AdSense.

If my business model depended significantly on AdSense revenue I'd be hedging that bet on it still existing in five years.
3:06 pm on Apr 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Just because you don't like Google's results doesn't mean that Google is trying to force you into using AdWords by corrupting its core product. Google has a reputation for thinking long-term, and throwing away its competitive advantages doesn't strike me as a sound long-term business strategy for Google Search.
4:34 pm on Apr 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Google changes what it likes when it likes to its own advantage when it feels it can get away with it. Judging by many of Google's other ventures a long-term strategy does not seem to be very apparent, yes, I realise you were referring to Search however for those genuine businesses truly affected by Google's shenanigans with Search it is an important factor and possibly a fatal and costly dilemma if relying on Search for any type of business leads.
4:39 pm on Apr 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I think the OP's point was; Googles results don't look so good these days, so what gives? The people that conjure up these algorithms are pretty darn smart so its a bit improbable that the results you see truly are the best they can come up with when answering a searchers question.

An attempt to force people to use Adwords? I'm not buying into that, but there not as good as they used to be by a long shot. 15, even 10 years ago, the top of the results were chock full of hobby sites people would build and maintain that provided great information. You don't see that today. Sure there is less spammy junk than in the old days but a lot of the good has been jettisoned with that bad.

Its true, you absolutely have to adapt - the revenue we used to drive from organic traffic is a fraction of what it was years ago so employ means that are a hell of a lot more reliable which is a good thing. No matter how much your business model evolves its always challenging to totally give up "ranking addiction" so we pay attention but don't miss the anxiety attacks every time Google burps.

The bottom line is the results Google produces are not very good, been on a long decline and its ok to say it and wonder why. The problem is every time someone raises that it turns into a discussion about how people shouldn't rely on free traffic, Adsense is a poor business model, Google doesn't owe you anything, your sites just an old pos what do you expect, blah, blah, blah. None of that has anything to do with what was raised; the results these days are not very good - as they say, "it is what it is". Why is the issue and question at hand.
6:42 pm on Apr 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I think the OP's point was; Googles results don't look so good these days, so what gives?

I don't see how anyone can accurately say that "Google's results don't look so good these days," because the quality of the results obviously varies by query. For most of the searches that I do, Google's results are adequate or better. The best results, of course, are those that have my pages in first place. :-)
7:16 pm on Apr 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Google's results are adequate or better.

Relative to what? Yahoo, MSN, a previous time period?
7:37 pm on Apr 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The people that conjure up these algorithms are pretty darn smart

And pretty darn difficult to keep on the payroll if you were intentionally screwing with "their" search results to "force site owners into AdWords".
10:45 pm on Apr 19, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Relative to what? Yahoo, MSN, a previous time period?

I'm talking about their usefulness, I'm not making a comparison to other search engines or time periods.
1:37 pm on Apr 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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First, of course Google is trying to get you to use AdWords. You know how you know? Because AdWords income goes up quarter after quarter.

In 2006, there were up to 4 AdWords clearly marked on the right side of the page. Today, many SERP's have 4 ads above the fold and 4 at the end. They also have up to 10(!) self links that keep you on google properties.

Then there is mobile where the organic SERP is completely dead in many cases. Some people have seen serps that were 100% ads and no offer of 'page 2'..

Google has been spotted testing a total of 14 ads in a single mobile search results page.

[searchenginejournal.com...]

Organic click through rates are crashing. Nice charts at AdvancedWebRanking that show it: (compare 4 yrs ago to now)
[advancedwebranking.com...]

It's not like we've not seen it coming. Here is a post from 17 freaking years ago:
Mostly Viral Top Traffic Alternatives to Search Engines
[webmasterworld.com...]

As the search engine referrals continue to fall for most on the web, we are in a scramble to find alternatives. That scramble has become a panic for some that have traditionally relied on the now fading search engines for traffic and repeat traffic.


As SERP's move to more and more ads, the only option is basically Paid Inclusion.
2:24 pm on Apr 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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IMO Google search results are really no better than 10 years ago, maybe slightly worse because of domain crowding. Part of the problem is user intent. If I type in "blue widgets" Google doesn't really know what I want to know about these widgets. If I try to expand on this "blue widget when compared to red widgets from the moon" Google tries to figure out what I mean but in the end just dumbs down the results by removing words from my query they deem not important.

There are also way too many ads. It's crazy what they get away with in the SERPS now days. Most ads I find they display are useless as well. This is just going to get worse as no one is holding them in check and every year shareholders require them to make a profit. It's not just Google either, major media companies fill their amp pages full of ads and the click bait links at the end of their articles which go off to a somewhat shady site that has a slide show of pages full of ads.

I am not against advertising, just the amount. Free internet content is not working for anyone anymore. The users get below grade content and the company's providing good content can hardly stay in business. Who knows what the fix for this mess is?
3:23 pm on Apr 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Perhaps a better title would be: "Site Owners Force Themselves Into AdWords by Giving Away All Their Data."
3:25 pm on Apr 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I am not against advertising, just the amount.


There are many newspaper sites I refuse to use specifically because of that however I was just thinking, with voice search becoming more prevalent, depending whose stats one reads for 2020 they are forecasting 50% of all searches, then how will G et al monetise search?

Prefacing the answer with an ad or maybe following the answer with "this answer was brought to you by ..."?

How would any publisher get any clicks, how would any advertiser know that they were paying for valid charges?

Has anyone here any insight to this?
10:40 am on Apr 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I think the biggest problems are:

1) Spam. Google prefers a safe but low quality answer to outright spam. That is why content farms still rank well.
2) The disappearance of hobby sites from the SERPS - they cannot compete with commercial sites with better SEO but which need to make profit from advertising which means too much ad space is available to rates are low, so people increase ad space so.....
12:49 pm on Apr 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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How would any publisher get any clicks, how would any advertiser know that they were paying for valid charges?

I assume it would be based on impressions (number of times played). Of course this type of advertising only works for certain advertisers and is more like radio advertising.

Of course things could get worse. Someone asks "What's the best TV for $1000?", and Google could recommend products through these devices based on advertising dollars received.
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