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Wonder what's new at FindAnyFloor.com or in the technology world in general? Visit Damien's Blog to find out. You'll get some of the latest technology news, emerging trends, and stories from our CEO's travels, businesses and life experience among several industries.

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Damien's Blog

Changes to Google Organic and Paid Search Results Affects Most Industries

By Damien Patton, (795 words) Posted in Corporate on August 26, 2009
There are (38) comments permalink

Most online professionals know about Google testing new ad styles with Google Caffeine, but do companies that use Google for advertising understand the changes that might be around the corner? Over the past several weeks we have been monitoring these Google tests on different browsers and computer platforms. Within the last 30 to 45 days we have seen how visiting certain industry sites in vertical markets could affect your future organic search results in Google. In addition to changes to the organic results and tracking of user activity, Google is working on changes to their ad system that will affect Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising in most industries. The following blog is intended to help online professionals and business owners in the flooring industry, but it is applicable to almost any industry.

First, going back to a few weeks ago we noticed that after spending time on certain websites, and then searching key industry terms for that vertical market, the results would be different. Let me give you the examples that we did. We will note that we were not signed in with Google accounts and we were using Firefox version 3.5.2. We did a search in Google for the term "Flooring" (without quotes) and wrote down the results. We then called our other office on the other side of the country and had them do the same. The organic results were identical. We recognized that a certain company was on page 3 of Google for the term Flooring, a place that was consistent with where they had previously been. We then went to their website through the link in the search results. We stayed on this site for a few minutes before retyping the term "Flooring" in the Google tool bar in the top right hand corner of the Firefox Browser. Now, the results had changed. The site that was just on page 3 of Google was now on page 1. We repeated this test several times on different machines in both offices, each with the same result.

Today, we saw a totally different type of result in Google for the term "Flooring," but this time it wasn't organic, it was the Pay Per Click (PPC) ads. Unlike the Google organic changes that we described above, the Google PPC changes we saw were different depending on the Browser we were using. Before we could capture all the images on a PC using Firefox and IE7, the new PPC ads results stopped showing (probably due to the testing) but we were able to capture them later using Firefox 3.5.2 on a Mac.

New Google Product Image PPC Ads in IE7

(When using IE7 the new Google PPC product image ads automatically display as shown above)

New Google Product PPC Ads Closed in FireFox

(When using Fire Fox 3.5.2 on a Mac the new Google PPC ads give the user the option of viewing products from the advertiser as shown above)

New Google Product Images Ads Opened in FireFox

(When using Firefox 3.5.2 on a Mac the new Google PPC product image ads only display once the consumer has clicked to show products as shown above)

Obviously these new Pay Per Click ads stand out from the crowd and Google will initiate a new PPC price war amongst advertisers. Why is Google testing this ad option where it sometimes appears with no option to the user and at other times the user has to click on "view products?" My guess is that it has something to do with the opt in, opt out legislation that congress is considering. Google wants to see how many people will click on an ad to expand. Our experience is that the ads that are served up to the user without an option will get a far great click through rate than those that have the option. How many users would even notice that there was an option to see more products?

As for the organic search results changing based on previous web browsing, there seems to be little one can do to organically optimize a site to compete against this new technology. Is Google doing this to help battle SEO and to try and serve up better, more accurate results? Why would someone want a site they have just spent time on showing up in their new search results? Would the user find this annoying or would it validate their searches. One thing is certain, with Bing and Yahoo joining forces, Google isn’t letting the grass grow under their feet. They are constantly innovating. Maybe all of these tests will prove this isn’t the right direction, or maybe this is the search of the future.

Icon: author blog About the Author:
Damien is the Founder and CEO of FindAnyFloor.com as well as several other technolgy businesses specializing in social media and search.
image: blog cloud comment

Comments (38)

Jim Birch posted on: August 26, 2009

Thanks for sharing this information. Makes me wonder if there were any organic search listings above the fold on that last screen shot.

It seems like SEO or not, you will need to advertise on google in the future to get to the top of the search results.

Damien Patton posted on: August 26, 2009

Thanks for the comment and question Jim. You are right, when the vertical photos were showed, there were no organic results in Google above the fold. Now, this is based on screen resolution and the size of a monitor. I should have posted those in the results. Even with a large monitor and average resolution, the amount of organic results will be much less visible about the fold just based on the size of the photos that display vertically. I would think that Google would change this to horizontal and this is just one of the areas that they are testing.

Ronnie Sidell posted on: August 26, 2009

I haven't seen this and what concerns me is that I can barely afford to compete with PPC now. I can only imagine the price of the bids if 1 person can have pictures and no one else can. Do you think that Google will allow a link to pictures for all PPC ads, or do you think that the little guy like me is in trouble?

Ryan Johnson posted on: August 26, 2009

Ronnie - Your concerns are valid. At this point I am not sure what Google is going to do yet. Its still in the testing phase, so we will have to wait and see. I am sure Google will open up this type of product/picture PPC advertising to everyone, but of course it will be done in traditional AdWords fashion, where it will be a bidding process as it is now. The big companies out there will of course drive up the Cost Per Click (CPC) on each other for competitive keywords, but there should still be plenty of opportunity for people like yourself to participate at reasonable prices for certain targeted keyword phrases.

Jackson posted on: September 2, 2009

With these changes to Google, do we know how people are going to SEO around them? What you are saying is that SEO might be impossible for this new Google change. I am sure someone will figure it out and Google will change it all up again. It is a never ending issue online. Thanks for this, I hadnt seen it and I will be on the look out.

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