A number of members at WebmasterWorld noticed that their AdWords ads, which previously ranked on the first page, were moved to the second and third page results. This was first observed on May 16th.
On the 16th of May, I noticed that most of the websites that were in the first page rankings in Google USA, had been dropped to second and third page positions.
Websites that have replaced them are mostly irrelevant listings from large corporate companies and over-bidded newbies.
Is this a glitch in the system, as I don't see how this would increase Googles' revenue if they have a much lower click through rate or if surfers eventually block them out of their vision like they do with banners?
Apparently, this member is not alone. On May 16th, others observed the same behavior.
Glad to see I'm not alone in noticing this... starting on the 16th, for one of our most popular terms (our historic rank: 1 - 3) - the entire first page is now filled with advertisers who all fail to include this rather popular word in their ads.
It was suggested that users delete their cookies to see a different ranking. Doing this actually helped the users who were affected.
I deleted my browser cookies and the rank changed, not as it was, but an updated version. It almost appears as though the system is refreshing and an updated rank is developing breaking loose the websites that seemed to be glued at the top and moving a few new ones in.
I deleted cookies as tootalldave suggested and the "odd" results stopped appearing and then I started getting the "true" results. Weird indeed. There is definetely something in that cookie that was trigering the "oddball" results. I am at a loss.
Did anyone else notice this? Unfortunately for typical users, they won't be deleting their cookies as they don't know that there's a problem.
Discussion continues at WebmasterWorld.