Lately I have been praising Google for a number of new innovations including the recent Google Maps branded points-of-interest initiative which is currently in beta stage. But as an SEO optimisation consultant I must say today I am not a happy bunny.

Google has always shown a maximum of three ads above its unpaid organic search results, but it seems this is all set to change as they are currently experimenting with four, throwing in their own comparison ad into the mix. So, if you have just organically made it onto Google page 1, you may soon be dropping off to page 2 again.In fact, any industry where product comparison is utilised could be affected if this becomes a permanent feature.

Google are testing this on a variety of financial keyword phrases such as “mortgage rates” and “credit cards”. Check out the search I carried out at Google.co.uk for “credit cards”, as you can see there are now four results. Google extends the AdWords section by placing their own comparison ad below the AdWords ads – certainly a monopolisation of power in my opinion.

I then did a search for “mortgage rates”; the first result you see is one of the Google mortgage comparison ads, and after that the three usual AdWords ads are listed.

If I were an Adwords paying mortgage advisor I would be pretty annoyed that Google was monopolizing the top spot to their advantage, although apparently this is just an experiment and only applies to a select few keywords, but it’s worrying all the same. If this rolls out across the board, SEO optimization will only get harder as fewer front page spots will be available.

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