Is Google Mixing Paid Results With Free Results?

Feb 16, 2010 • 9:06 am | comments (9) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine

A few weeks back, Google started testing enhanced Google Maps results. Now, Silicon Valley Watcher noticed it and said that Google was doing something new, by not separating out paid results from free results. Truth be told, and as Danny explains very well at Search Engine Land, Google has been mixing those results, but labeling them.

Here is the search result in question:

* skateboards in houston

Google Local Sponsored Results

The thing is, this is not guaranteeing the top position. Just change the query slightly and you will get that same result, pushed down, because Google's ranking algorithm still determines the spot.

Google Sponsored Local Result

There is a lot of debate at WebmasterWorld that this is either a form of paid inclusion or not at all. I see both sides and I am not sure what to think, which is why we have forums.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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02/16/2010 03:09 pm

Well, they found one more way to make money. I have to say I just don't see Google the same anymore. Do they have any ideas that aren't based on making a penny more here or there? Haven't they made enough?

No Name

02/16/2010 03:50 pm

hello , i’m just starting in this world of blogs I’ve been into SEO recently and gathering helpful information for this. and after reading your post it has become a little easier to me , thanks and i have no idea about your query


02/17/2010 10:31 am

Google probably would be doing the same for all results soon - mixing sponsored links to organic results.

web yazılım

02/17/2010 12:00 pm

I agree with nepal. Although it would be disastrous if they mixed organic results with paid ones...

Tony Nguyen

02/17/2010 01:48 pm

There's nothing wrong with this, as long as the searcher is served relevant results, that is most important.


02/17/2010 02:00 pm

I completely disagree with Melissa...if they were so "all about making money" then why is Product Search still free? The reality is... they are a business and if they are going to continue to grow and be efficient- they need to come up with new opportunities and ways to make money.


02/17/2010 04:32 pm

This is ridiculous, small business will be burned out by this feature since google is putting a price tag on everything, no one will be able to afford google anymore never mind paying a company managing this service. Google is becoming way to greedy and forgetting way made them what they are today. RELEVANCY!

Mark K

02/18/2010 12:04 pm

Lets hope they dont start doing this in the natural results - its becoming crowded enough as it is what with maps, "real time social", news results etc. At thsi rate their will only be 4 or 5 places available on the first page of results for natural listings!

Jane Cooke

02/22/2010 12:05 pm

To answer the question first, they are. It is without affecting the integrity of the algorithm itself. But the click through data should show if the sites marked as such are getting an advantage 'within organic results' compared to another site in the same position without the marker. Over the long term, the answer is likely to be yes. Another thing is purely from an organic perspective, the site is the 4th best result but is given a higher display preference than the first 3 only due to payment and no other reason.

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