The sneaky misleadings of the Google Adwords Preview Tool

August 17, 2010

This sucks!

I’ve shelled out over half a million bucks on Google Adwords in the past 5 years.  In the past year I’ve watched as more and more of the Google Places (previously Google Maps) local business results are hogging the prime real estate of the SERP page. Since the introduction of the little map and “Local business results”, the top organic results have been moved about 600 pixels down the page (screen resolution depending). The only results that remain as they were (in top slot if good quality) are the Adwords Ads.  So what does this do? It decreases the value of Organic results (the real deserving sites according to the Algo) and, by implication, increases the value/importance of the Adwords advertisers (and size of their budget!).

Unfortunately this is just the latest in this trend, I’ve watched since 2003 how the “sponsored results” have slowly but surely sneaked into the prime SERP real estate at the expense of the organics. Not only this, but the “sponsored results” have also blended more and more with the overall results, so that the less astute searcher is probably not even aware that these results have “jumped the ranks” because of hungry advertising budgets.

This trend has irked me for a very long time, but is not likely to stop anytime soon.

What pisses me off is that until recently, when you used the Ad Preview Tool, the local business results showed up in the tool – which they should, being after all a “representation” of what the actual SERPS look like.  But not anymore!! No, the big G completely leaves those out of their preview Tool, which, to less experienced Adwords advertisers is actually a “misrepresentation” in my view – not a “representation”!

Why has G done this? My view is that they don’t want the less-experienced Adwords advertisor to see that they could just as easily outrank the organic results by signing up for a “free local business listing”. That way they might trim their adwords budget. No, what Google wants to do is get all the non-advertising local businesses onto the listings, and then eventually charge them a flat monthly rate (as already being rolled out in the US). With Google’s revenue so linked to the ups and downs of online advertising, a new stream of locked-in recurring fixed-rate revenue could be just what the MBA’s ordered.

Once again – this is all Google’s prerogative.  But please Google, don’t tell your adwords clients – “Here, use our free tool to see what the search results really look like”, when clearly THAT IS NOT HOW THEY LOOK!!!


Andy @ FirstFound August 17, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Google in “fudging the truth to get more money for Google” shocker?

I wish that were a shocker…

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