How Google Profits from Irrelevance?
You pay for your web page to have a prominent position on the search
results page of a specific engine, and every visitor that clicks
on your ads and is brought to your site from that engine nets an
incremental charge, payable by you to the engine. You are, in fact,
paying for each individual visitor on a pay-per-click basis. The
benefit of a paid program is that your website is guaranteed to
be found on the keyword or phrase that you purchase. Overture and
Google AdWords are popular paid services.
Within the industry we have all known the undeniable fact that
an established search engine will always earn more from crap organic
results than good ones. There is no direct monetization from someone
clicking on an organic SERP,
whereas there is a hell of a lot of money to be earned if a searcher
clicks on an Advert. The worse the SERPs the more likely a searcher
is to click on a advert, as (truth be told) most
of them are pretty relevant.
It may be simplistic but it's still a fact. What Google (and to
be fair here, Yahoo, MSN and
Ask too) is need to be wary of is when the mainstream media start
writing about these facts.
Google actually has started to like little mud in the main organic
results for commercial terms. Why? Because less than stellar organic
results (from practices like web spam) mean higher CTR’s on
their paid links and more juice for their quarterly earnings.
The simple fact is that Google and Yahoo! want their paid links
to be more relevant than their organic results on searches of a
commercial nature. Saying Google/Yahoo wants to get rid of SEO
is kind of like saying the National Hockey League wants to abolish
fighting. They may say this publicly, but the right mix of fighting
fills the seats and gets more people tuning in (e.g., makes more
$). There is a saturation point where fighting detracts from the
game, but the NHL has engineered their rules, fines, suspensions,
etc. to create an optimal level of fighting.
Isn’t the same thing going on in the SERP’s? Doesn’t
Google/Yahoo like these to be slightly irrelevant and haven’t
they engineered a system that makes this so? It would be over the
top to say Google wants its organic results to be completely irrelevant
(like the comment above suggests) and they certainly have every
incentive to be fantastically relevant for non-commercial search
terms (which they are). But a little irrelevance is good for paid
links and paid links is how Google makes money.
SEO isn’t the bad guy here. They are simply playing in a system
set up to create mud. Consider also how Google displays SEO optimized
pages. A recent search on “printer cartridges” brought
up these two paid links first, with a cleanly optimized title and
The same search brought up the following two organic listings first:
Why do these organic links have such a muddy message? Because this
is the way Google has engineered the system. Webmasters have to
manipulate their sites in this manner to get listed. Which set of
links would you rather click on? Which one makes Google money? At
the end of the day, For commercial terms, Google and Yahoo! have
a huge incentive to make their main search results less relevant
than their paid search listings. Because the system rewards them
for paid links, users have to put up with some mud in their main
results. Shouldn’t we just accept that SERP’s on commercial
terms will be a bit muddy because most if not all of the organic
results are gamed? Is Google Base going to change this? Or maybe
there is a better way.
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