Nice article on Google’s move to the dark side

Ben Kemp, a longtime SEO consultant, has a nice, if long-winded, rant over at SiteProNews about Google's apparent abandonment of their founding principles.  The article is full of hyperbole, but he gets the nuts and bolts right.

Google's actions of the last two years have hurt countless legitimate businesses.  But the stock price is at $1029 today, so who cares, right?

You can read the article on the death of "Do No Evil" here.

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Google Ads, but not marketing messages, in your Gmail inbox

Google has recently rolled out a currently-optional new look for Gmail users.  The new tabbed interface divides incoming mail into several groups – personal, social, and promotional.  That means that people who have subscribed to marketing email lists will now have to go looking for the messages, rather than seeing them in their mailbox by default.  It appears that anything that looks like it came from an autoresponder will be filtered and placed in the "promotional" folder.

In addition, Google is now displaying ads in user's inboxes, disguised as unread messages.  These ads are contextual, with content that's related to the messages the user typically receives:

nasty ads in gmail

 

 

 

 

It's just another attempt to hurt marketers while increasing revenue.   Some users are happy that the marketing messages are now in the promotional folder, as they can ignore them. Of course, that only means they're not seeing the advertising from lists to which they actually subscribed.  Instead, they get to see unsolicited contextual ads from Google.

More on the nasty Gmail ads here.

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Who’s Getting the Traffic? Not Me

I'm a member of eBay's affiliate program, so I have a number (several hundred, actually) of Websites that promote eBay.  When I first started building them, they were quite successful.  The sites were attractive, they had some decent content, and of course, they had quite a lot of eBay listings.  People searching for items to buy in Google would often find my sites in the SERPS, visit my site, click on a link that interested them, go to eBay, and make a purchase.  They got what they wanted, and I made a few coins off of the deal.

About a month ago, I was checking the stats on one of my sites and I saw that someone had recently come to my site from Google when searching for this term:

bose dcs91 power adapter supply for lifestyle 18

According to Statcounter, my site ranked #6 on the first page of the Google SERPS for that term, or at least it had a couple of days earlier, when the visitor had made the search.  I got to wondering if my site still ranked there, so I plugged that term into Google and did some searching.

Here's the results I got:

No, my site wasn't listed on the home page anymore.  In fact, my site wasn't listed in the first one hundred pages of the Google SERPS.  What's really odd is this – the first four listings were for eBay itself.   Google's been going to a lot of trouble to eliminate eBay affiliates from their listings lately, but now they're simply listing eBay.  Kind of odd, given that eBay spends a lot of money advertising with Google.    At some point when going through this search, I came to the end of the listings, and got a message that said, "In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 98 already displayed.  If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included. "

When I clicked on that, the results were even more interesting:

All ten listings on the first page were for eBay.   There was even a listing for eBay.co.uk; kind of odd, given that I live in the United States.  It goes without saying that my Website designed to help people find Bose equipment isn't doing very well these days.

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Panda and Penguin Aren’t About Revenue?

In a recent video, Google mouthpiece Matt Cutts says that the recent Penguin and Panda updates were intended to improve the user experience, and not to increase company revenue.   That may or may not be true, but it's pretty clear that Google has been taking great pains to boost their revenue by tweaking their SERPS pages, as this article at Tutorspree blog makes clear.

Google won search by providing the best organic results users had ever seen. Ever since then, organic has been fading from the SERPS, losing ground to revenue generating Google products.

13%

That’s the amount of real estate given to true organic results in a search for “auto mechanic" when I’m logged in at the Tutorspree office in TriBeCa.  I’m using a Macbook Air 13inch. My browser size is set to “Actual Size." The rest of the page is taken up by Google products. Adwords take up 29% of the page. Google’s map, plotted with it’s own local results takes up 7% of the page. Google’s navigation bar, complete with notifications for my Google+ account, takes up 14% of the page.

 

 



Google search results are all ads

 

See that red box that says 13%?  That's how much space Google is now devoting to organic search results.

It's pretty tough for visitors to find your site in the search results when your visitors can't even see the search results.   Of course, Google doesn't make money from showing search results; they make money from getting you to click on ads.  Still, for the time being, they still get to call themselves a search engine.

While Panda and Penguin may have not been specifically designed to increase revenue, it's obvious that the homepage has been.  87% of the page is now essentially ads for Google.  Don't want to pay them?  Then, if you're lucky, your site may show up in the 13% of the page that they use for organic searches.  Good luck finding that.

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Google Irks Environmentalists Over Fundraiser for Climate Change Denier

WASHINGTON — Chanting "Google, don't fund evil!" and hoisting colorful signs, dozens of environmentalists gathered outside of Google’s Washington headquarters to protest a fundraiser held Thursday for one of Congress' most notorious climate change deniers, James Inhofe.

You may draw whatever conclusions you wish about this story about Google in the Huffington Post, but it seems odd for the "Don't be evil" company to hold a fundraiser for someone who has worked so hard to stop any efforts to do anything about climate change.

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