*Warning – <rant>*
One of the factors involved in the Panda update, we think, is the ratio of content to ads on a page. Many people have complained that Google encouraged people to put as many ads as possible on a page only to then slap them hard in the Panda update.
What would you say if I showed you that Google is doing the same thing? I hate when corporations take advantage of situations because they wrote the book on the topic.
I used a tool called MeasureIt to draw the measurement lines to see how wide, in pixels, the text areas are. Surprisingly, Google’s is only about 100px wider than eHow’s.
Here is what I see in Google’s SERPs these days:
Here is a screenshot of eHow:
How is Google’s search results page any different from eHow’s page, with a lot of ads and a thin line of content?
My take: It’s not. If Google were to be ranking their own search results and rolled out a Panda penalty, they would lose almost all of their search volume. I guarantee it. Who cares about readability and usability? The funny thing is, Google knows that they have positioned themselves so well as the dominant search engine that people will just continue on using them, no matter what.
I admitted back in the day that I don’t really notice PPC ads, but the other day I did as I was clicking through some SERPs. Because I saw 11 ads on one page.
Check out this “Online Colleges” SERP (full length screenshot, so you’ll need to click to enlarge):
Plus, it’s not like Google is hurting for money. After all, in their numbers that they released yesterday, they made 9.72 BILLION. Yes, with a “B”.
Can we make Google change the way they are doing business? No, I don’t think so. I’m sure they’re laughing all the way to the bank (9.72 BILLION ways) and you PPCers are super happy about it as well, because now your job is making your company more money. But us organic folks? Now we have even less to work with. And companies are spending more and more money on paid search.