Saul Hansell, the respected reporter for the New York Times, wrote an insightful blog last week about Google and the fact that they have actually been limiting the number of sponsored ads that appear in the search results in an effort to improve “ad quality”.
The industry jargon that is used to describe Google’s philosophy that bid prices are not the only factor determining whether ads show up and how they are ranked is “Quality Score”. Quality Score extends the focus beyond the keyword and corresponding ad copy to the effectiveness of the landing page that a searcher actually arrives at once they click on an ad.
Hansell quoted Jonathan Rosenberg, Google’s Senior Vice President, as saying that the:
Company’s co-founder, Larry Page, would like to see even fewer ads. “Larry often says we would be better off if we showed one ad — the perfect ad,” said Mr. Rosenberg.
Later in the blog post Hansell noted that Sergey Brin, the company’s other co-founder, wondered aloud whether Google in fact had gone too far.
“There is some evidence we have been a little more aggressive in decreasing coverage than we should have been,” Mr. Brin said. He noted that Google developed technology that helped increase its revenue from advertising (largely by finding ads that are more interesting to users). Indeed, it had a rule of thumb that for every potential dollar the company could earn from an improvement in advertising revenue, it would reduce the number of pages showing ads so that Google would only earn 50 cents more in revenue. “Clearly that is not the ideal strategy, because we don’t want to end up with no ads,” Mr. Brin said.
How many businesses in today’s economic climate would pull back the throttle on revenue? I can tell you two that aren’t, namely Yahoo and Microsoft, which in a weird way explains why Google is so far ahead of them in so many ways.
Over its tenure, Google has remained incredibly consistent in its objective of providing searchers with the best overall experience, which in turn has led to its dominance in every imaginable corner of the internet.
If you want your company to thrive online, it’s time for an increasing degree of introspection. Does your website align well with your objectives and are the search engines (Google in particular) able to recognize that? Are your Search Engine Marketing initiatives as relevant as they could be? This is a great time to revisit these concepts if you are serious about leveraging the opportunity that your website presents.