Web Search: Google Offering Paid Inclusion in Some “Vertical Search” Areas
Danny Sullivan has the details and plenty of examples at Search Engine Land.
Why are we sharing this? Here are even more reasons (if needed) to understand and share how the web search business works and how to interpret a search results page. Google changing its tune is important and interesting but what’s most important is how it all works. It might also be yet another reason to take some time and take advantage of the advanced/power searching capabilities Google and other engines provide.
1. What’s a Vertical?
Flight search, hotel/lodging, finnacial companies, etc.
2. Note the new look (see screencaps in Danny’s article)
In the new format, the background color that’s used for Google’s traditional AdWords units is gone. The comparison units also carry a “Sponsored” disclaimer rather than an “Ads” one, as with AdWords ads. This seems part of Google’s positioning the new units as something different than ads.
3. Review the Section, “Organic, Paid Placement & Paid Inclusion Listings”
A useful review for some and intro for others.
4. Danny’s Comment
Even though paid inclusion is fairly commonplace in the vertical space, it still feels somewhat surprising for Google to be doing it. Having a search tool for financial products using paid inclusion even goes directly against what Google’s founders said they disliked back in 2004, as part of the IPO filing’s “Don’t Be Evil” section:
Google users trust our systems to help them with important decisions: medical, financial and many others. Our search results are the best we know how to produce. They are unbiased and objective, and we do not accept payment for them or for inclusion or more frequent updating.
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About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.