In the future, will Google searches just return links to Google?
As a creative marketing agency in Kent we work with our clients on their Search Engine Optimisation and Google Adwords campaigns. Over the years we have seen the results that the periodic changes made by Google to their algorithms and infrastructure have had on how our clients' websites are ranked.
From the addition of an extra shot of caffeine, to the feeding of hungry penguins to the flight of hummingbirds*—Google's updates aim to improve the ranking position of good sites to provide the person searching with the best possible results.
Google have also been busy creating new products, such as Google + which is it's answer to Facebook, and adding features to its Adwords advertising platform. This is having the result that the key links returned—those highest up the page—when a user has searched are often to Google sites or ads on which Google earn revenue.
the majority, if not all, links a user will see without scrolling will be to Google!”
For example, search for a product and you will likely see image ads from Google's Product Listings, make a regional search and you will see maps to Google Places, use Google + and links to your friends' profile pages may appear in your search results. Add into the mix the Google ads that display at the top and right of just about all search results—which have increased in size earlier this year with the introduction of Ad Extensions—and the majority, if not all, links a user will see without scrolling will be to Google! Let's not get into snippets as well!
Of course Google can do whatever they like with their technology, but the interesting thing will be how users interact. Will they begin to ignore what they see first and instead scroll to the natural listings—determined according to quality of the sites—in the same way so many people flip through the first few pages of ads in a magazine? Alternatively, will Google's results and advertising continue to improve to such a degree that users have no need to look any further?
It will be interesting to see, as this will inevitably affect the direction of companies' marketing budgets—will it be primarily content driven and time consuming SEO that generates the results or should meticulous and increasingly expensive Adwords campaigns be a prominent part of the mix?
* Caffeine, Penguin and Hummingbird are the names given to some of Google's technical updates in case anyone was concerned that this post was taking on an 'I am the Walrus' style surreality!"