Google Stoops to a New Low! 247 Comments
Google Stoops to a New Low!

I must say when I saw what I’m about to show you in this post I had to check it twice as I didn’t quite believe what I was seeing at first, but sure enough Google has stooped to a new low today in their never quenching thirst for more profit. I can’t confirm that this has been rolled out across the world, but it is happening where I live in New Zealand anyway.

Before I show you this I first want to lay down a little background. We all know that Google makes their money when people click their ads listed on a Google results pages and on other websites that are opting into the Adsense program. So obviously Google’s agenda is to get as many of these ads clicked as possible.

However stop for just a moment and remember what Google is useful for and why it has become such a popular tool for people to use in the first place. Google is a search engine, not a giant advertising billboard, let’s get that straight to start with. People use Google as a gateway to the internet, and Google is supposed to be showing a list of the most relevant websites related to a user’s search queries.

This all sounds well and good, what a great service, Google makes it easy for us to find websites right…well sort of, but over the years Google has taken advantage of their popularity and slowly but surely are moving towards being one giant advertising billboard and that’s it!!

What Happened to the Organic Listing?

Yes the organic listings, the websites that Google lists that DO NOT pay Google to be there. The ones that do SEO (search engine optimization) and get ranked on the front page of Google, what did happen to them? The way Google is going you might have to scroll to page 3 to find an organic listing soon.

Let’s take a look at a typical Google results page below that I see when I search in Google, so you can see where I’m going with this. This might not be the same for you, as possible Google is testing this out in some countries, New Zealand where I live being the perfect test place.

So you can see from that image that above the fold of the page now 95% of the real estate is taken up by NON ORGANIC listings. Google has now added an extra listing for “Searches related to KEYWORD” just below where the Google Ads finish, thus pushing the organic results even further down the page.

When people click on these related results, it will load a new Google page which will of course show more Google Ads, and give Google another chance to get them clicked. This is just another aggressive trick from Google to stop people from visiting websites that are not Ads.

This is not the first time they have done dirty tricks like this, in fact Google is slowly but surely doing more and more of these cunning techniques. Don’t believe me? Well think back to 12 months ago when the background color of ALL ADS where a pink color that was obvious, so searches knew if they were clicking on an ad. Well Google went from obvious pink to a light pink that was hard to distinguish without tilting your screen, to now being WHITE so you can’t tell at all!

But there’s more, Google use to make it very obvious what listings were ads by telling you, as they were say “Ads by Google”, but I guess that was being too helpful so now they just have the words “Ads” and I wouldn’t be surprized if they remove even that soon.

What amazes me is that the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) comes down on affiliate sites who don’t make it obvious that they make a commission from links on their sites, but they let Google continue down this aggressive and somewhat deceptive path of advertising.

Do No Evil….As Google Do Plenty For Us All

I get sick and tired of listening to garbage from Matt Cutts at Google telling us all to be transparent and put up QUALITY sites for the user experience when I see Google turn around and pull moves like this latest stunt.

One of Google Panda’s penalties was for sites that have too much advertising above the fold!!!!!! Can you see the irony in this, when a Google results page is essentially nothing more than one giant ad, as they push the organic results below the fold.

Google’s motto is “do no evil” yeah right, you have to be kidding me, Google is shown quite clearly that they have no interest in helping people find the best website that meets their search query and instead want to show you the results that make them the most money.


I hope this latest move by Google annoys you as much as it has me. I would love to hear from you all below in the comments. However like I said Google might not have rolled this out globally yet, so you might not see it when you use Google, but I can assure you that it is there when I use Google, so something is going on.

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90 Comments to Google Stoops to a New Low!

  1. October 23, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    So true Matt! The continued hypocrisy shown by Google is getting ridiculous. Anything more than ads down the right hand side is too much, but they had to also place the them above the organic listings, then remove their background colour and now this! I am hoping consumers will start to get sick of these profit making practices and turn to Bing. Funnily enough, with all of Google’s over the top algorithm changes in 2012 my rankings are all over the place, but with Bing I consistently do well. So thats 2 reasons to hope for an uprising against the big G!

  2. Brian De Den's Gravatar Brian De Den
    October 23, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Wonderful! Morons!

  3. October 23, 2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing the information. My website was number 6 for almost for an year and now this month, my websites rank has dropped to 378 ( from 6 to 378). All the money I spent on SEO is going to waste. I thought it is due to EMD update. BUt, now understand it is Google’s greed that did it.

  4. October 23, 2012 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    It’s hard enough trying to compete in an industry filled with tens of thousands of competitors but now the gate keeper is putting up an iron wall. Yahoo is starting to look better everyday…

  5. October 23, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    I’ve started to look at alternate ways of getting traffic. Google is saying one thing and doing another.

    We need to concentrate on quality, while they just whore themselves out to anyone.

    I’m glad you sent me this email, it just confirms what I was thinking.

  6. October 23, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    I’ve recently noticed the same thing here in the U.S. on Google. If this trend continues, I fear organic rankings will eventually become obsolete. BTW, l absolutely love your stuff on imsuperelite. (You explain things very well.)

  7. October 23, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt, You are absolutely correct. I had personally observed this. I reside in the UK and can confirm the story is the same. The big G do have a long term plan I supposed, we wait and see and they roll it out gradually. Great post

  8. October 23, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Interesting development Matt and thanks for the update. Nothing similar happening in Australia. Not sure if it’s just that I haven’t been paying much attention lately, but I’m getting as many as 17 page 1 results now for some local search terms. We can’t accuse Google of standing still that’s for sure.

  9. October 23, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    I think Google is now becoming just like any other big business out there looking after its own agenda, instead of its users. Something must give and as website owners we should always be diversifying our traffic sources.

  10. Remi's Gravatar Remi
    October 23, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Thanks Matt!
    That’s very good to know! I think it’s time for a new search engine…. Google sucks more with every update!


  11. miss erica's Gravatar miss erica
    October 23, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    With all due respect, they are the sole owners and proprietors of the search engine. They are not “Evil” for doing what they do. We as affiliate marketers are “camping” on their land and they are well within their rights to tell us where to pitch our tents.

    While I like the idea of affiliate marketing and, clearly, many a marketer has made a pretty penny, I see that as a thing of the past. If anyone ever thought that gaming Google’s algorithm was a solid long term biz plan, think again.

    It seems to me that their position on affiliate marketers ( while they may not say this outright) is they do not want people riding their coattails to riches – they want to use THEIR property for THEIR best financial interest.

    If you were #1 for a high volume search term, would you let ME put MY affiliate link above the fold…I think not.

    Have a nice day everyone.

    Matt Carter Reply:

    its nothing to do with affiliate marketing, or ‘camping on Google’s ground’ as you say, it has everything to do with Google taking advantage of society by luring them in to use Google until they have a huge market share and then taking advantage of this and serving up Ads.

    Jimmy Reply:

    If Google has strong indication that a different way of laying out ads will have more long-run profit potential than the current method, do you think that their executives should decide against it because it will make SEOs unhappy? Do you truly believe that it is ethically wrong in some way? They are obligated by American laws to produce maximum profit.

    The organic search market sells a 0 switching cost product, meaning that the instant a person becomes unsatisfied with Google SERPs they can go to another search engine without having lost anything except the time it took to Google a term. If you believe that they “lure” consumers in with what is widely accepted as a great algorithm, then surely you also believe that if these changes are as unfavorable as you’re making them out to be, they will lose that market share as quickly as they gained it. This is a very basic example of a calculated action in a free market.

    I’m an SEO and I hate it too but my time is much better spent understanding it than complaining about it.

    Dennis Reply:

    I would disagree – google is a publicly held company and with that serves the interests of its stakeholders not necessarily the consumers or users of the product. When the stock price valuation becomes the primary objective original intentions are betrayed in the quest for increasing revenue. Those falling by the wayside are casualties of their greed. They aren’t necessarily targets just pushed aside for more profitable but not always constructive structural changes. Google doesn’t care if you ride their coattails as long as you are willing to pay,diluting the quality of search results, and skewing to, dollars paid, instead of what they claim as their mantra – quality content.
    What’s your affiliate link – I’ll let you tag along – no charge

  12. October 23, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Hey Matt,

    I share your disappointment at the direction Google seems to be taking. For a long time they have said over and over, that relevancy was the number one thing to keep in mind, whether for SEO, Adwords or whatever. That one of their main goals was to provide the SEARCHER a good experience so that they continue to come to google to perform their searches.

    In my niche, we are seeing more and more that it is just the big buck guys at the top of the organic listings, regardless of relevancy. Often I have to go to the 2nd or 3rd page of organic listings to find the results that are really more relevant to my search, as opposed to being from a really big dog in the market.

    I have not see the ads as bad as what you showed here, but more and more I see the ads with site extensions that take up more of the page, as well as more organic listings where the top listing has the sitelinks shown. Great for them, but on those pages it seems google only displays 7 returns from different pages, as opposed to the old standard of 10.

    I find myself using Bing more and more often, as for me, their search results are more “relevant” these days.

    As always, thanks for sharing your insight.

  13. October 23, 2012 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Hey Matt, I definitely am pissed at Google from this.

    It looks like they really don’t want anything organic anymore but okay… as a side note, you are ranking #2 for Affiliate Marketing just below Wikipedia.

    That’s INSANE rankings man, hope you stay there but I guess we will see.

    Note: I don’t get the same page you are displaying but I guess it’s because Google hasn’t applied that yet to my zone, just a hard guess.


  14. October 23, 2012 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Awesome post. I am just as annoyed as you are. I wish we could leave Google like we are leaving big banks. Give our business to the little guys that deserve it. I got more to say but Google might come after me. ; p

  15. October 23, 2012 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Yip, crazy stuff going on. I also heard that G is cutting the number of organic results from 10 to 7 soon.

    G is going to self destruct by putting profits before quality results.

    I agree with you. They need to practice what they preach.

  16. October 23, 2012 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Hey Matt, I think it worse than what you are saying. I’m almost to the point of switching to Bing. I searched a term a week ago or so and 7 of the top 20 results were all the same article on different sites. They all had the same title and much of the copy was the same. So were spun into oblivion, unreadable. That is what Google thinks is an enhanced search experience? Okay, I’m calm now!

  17. jeremy's Gravatar jeremy
    October 23, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Yup its the same out here in Jamaica, but I usually go hunting for what I am looking for, regardless

  18. KC's Gravatar KC
    October 23, 2012 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    I just checked and it’s the same here in Denmark, and just the other day they added the search tools to the top of the page instead of the side as it was before, so pushes the organic results even further down, I hope yahoo and bing take over soon.

  19. Eric's Gravatar Eric
    October 23, 2012 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Google(6) Search(6) Engine(6) = 666

  20. October 23, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    You ask us to express our opinions but why is it helpful for us to get angry or appalled? Is there anything that can be done? I always ask myself the question, before I get a subscription, is this going to eliminate the symptoms or bring a cure? If there is a solution then lets team together to do something! If not, I’m not going to get angry or upset because its not worth adding more stress to my life!

  21. October 23, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I have all but given up on affiliate marketing and SEO. I have had my Adsense account suspended and my Adwords account.

    The Adsense I kind of understood, but I had cleaned it up and I understand that ignorance is no excuse, but my Adwords account was for a bricks and mortar business.

    My hosting company had some problems and the sites were down for 2 – 3 days. Google say I violated their landing page / site policy because my ads were pointing to landing pages that were down.

    I corrected them and have asked Google to review it, but now they are using the Adsense issue to say I am a repeat offender.

    “Internet dictators” are the words that come to mind. Some stiff competition is needed as they are showing the typical arrogance of a company who has a monopoly.

  22. October 23, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    On one hand every move that Google makes of this nature will keep the make money niche going stronger perhaps as there will always be new fodder for more information products.

    On the other hand perhaps it is just time that we as consumers exercise our right to simply stop doing business with a company that has always clearly been out for numero uno and tells us what we can’t do yet turns right around and does these things themselves and allows huge traffic pulling websites to get by with many things the little guys would have their accounts deleted for doing.

    Personally I gave up on the whole blogging and SEO thing a long time ago and scrapped all of my Adsense sites that were making money. I would rather make no money than support fraud. In many businesses it is the responsibility of small businesses to take a stand on such monopolistic practices, but what most often happens is that people are scared to death to lose the money they are making and don’t have the backbone to fight back by completely stopping support.

    I’ve seen this trend in every business offline I have ever been a part of or owner of and it’s no different online. I guarantee you if every single website online today just stopped showing Google ads that they would have no choice but to wake up and change their ways! Flip the script and show them what it’s like to have their business take a huge monetary hit.

  23. October 23, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    I agree totally Matt! I am glad you pointed this out and want to share the link oh a Hubpages forum if you don’t mind!

  24. October 23, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt, great current information as always.
    This frightens the heck out of me – we are small business who consistently updates quality content on our site over the last year to finally get on page 1.
    Dont tell me all this work maybe all for nothing ! !
    All the other Google updates (panda,penguin etc) have never bothered me as it has always been head down and put out information.
    But this does……
    Cheers Paul

    Matt Carter Reply:

    it won’t be for nothing, its just that less traffic will filter down to organic listings if Google makes this a permanent change.

  25. October 23, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Matt I do a search for “affiliate marketing” and there is only one ad at the top and you are number 5 on the page. I am based in Auckland. Wonder why I don’t see what you do?

    Matt Carter Reply:

    I assume it is because Google uses different data centers depending on where you live.

  26. October 23, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Hey Matt,

    So, is there any point to doing affilate marketing? This information about Google kind of dashes my hopes in organic search methods. Is it even worth my efforts? Thanks!

  27. JoelinPDX's Gravatar JoelinPDX
    October 23, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Well, if true, this is the best news that Bing could hope for. It isn’t in Google’s best interests to go more and more in favor of the paid searches. Frankly, I’d be surprised if this is the wave of the future.

  28. Ali's Gravatar Ali
    October 23, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Hey Matt,

    Yes this is very worrying for SEO if this goes global. I can see why Google are doing it as they announced a large drop in profits recently but there is no point in saying have good quality sites and let Google do the rest if they are just in it for the money. I think this why everyone should diversify their traffic going forward as it seems Google are looking at ways to make up for the profit drop – that is quarterly profits were down 20% to £1.35bn (I feel for them, I really do not know how they will get by(!))

  29. victor's Gravatar victor
    October 23, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Hey matt, thanks for the heads up! I think it is kind of nerve racking that google is doing that, it makes me wonder if and when that rolls out in the u.s. then how would people like me who rely on organic searcg traffic be able to make money online?

  30. October 23, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt

    I’m not seeing that Google page layout in Australia.

    From a financial letter I subscribe to: On Thursday, third-quarter earnings for search-engine colossus Google leaked hours before their scheduled release. The big miss for Google was a 15% decline in “cost per click,” the money it makes from search ads. Again, this lower number is a function of higher tablet and smartphone use – allowing web surfers to bypass Google’s PC-based space ads.

    Google plunged 8% on Thursday from its 52-week high. Shares fell another 2% on Friday.

    That’s probably the reason for their aggressive stance on advertising.


    Matt Carter Reply:

    Thanks for sharing these stats Mike, very interesting indeed

  31. October 23, 2012 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I don’t think there is any doubt what google is about. They are working to make advertising the only way to get a site in the upper end of search. The more you advertise with google the more clicks you pay ofor the relevant you become in google’s eyes. And googles eyes are the only ones that matter today.
    Of course over time they could start to lose the public to a better search engine.

  32. October 23, 2012 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Great post! I’ve notice very similar stuff here in the US. I also noticed the Pink, light pink to white change happening. Not many have been as outspoken, but you are right on here.
    Not that it helps any of us trying to make a living at SEO, but I do still believe that free market will prevail. In time, folks will get sick of this and start turning to other options and there are plenty.

    Good post, never miss a single one. Keep positive.


  33. October 23, 2012 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt. I had an inclination that this was the path the Big G was going down….,As the saying goes…., “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

  34. October 23, 2012 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    I’m in the UK Matt – it doesn’t seem to have hit here yet. Google are treading a dangerous path though. It’s not that difficult to use another search provider. People are pretty fickle. Do you remember MySpace, Friends Reunited, Windows Messenger and a thousand other “used to be bigs” – Nobody’s invincible! But, I am getting tired of SEO!

  35. fran's Gravatar fran
    October 23, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink


    Totally agree. I think that we are very tired of google moves, getting down other people´s work. It is hard to do seo, it is hard to pay for seo, and it is hard to build a business and that google people takes down, because they put pandas and garbage like that.
    I was hit by panda/penguin, I don´t know exactly what animal, but two things. First, my site was an affiliate site, but a good quality affiliate sites, where I announce things that people that are interested in my niche want to read. Second, is the hard part, google put me in #3 or #4 page and put a site in #1 page (and others examples more) that have a content without any value (content about 2 years ago, so not good). I am not going to say what niche, but if I were in “android phone” niche, it is as if I was up to date information about lastest phones and my site was penalized and other sites talk about “samsung galaxy 1” and was on #1 page.
    Well, totally agree that google is acting bad because if they don´t want affiliate sites (with ads), they have to put down themselves and for example, the big websites as newspapers and others, that ALL have big intrusive banners/ads.
    I am not against ads, but I think that it is as always in life, big fish eat small, and it seems that if google or other big companies put ads it is good, but if I put ads, it is bad… well it is the same thinking as, for example, hitler…
    I say… or everyone… or no one.
    Take care.

  36. October 23, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Nice article. Google is going out of their to spam searchers yet again. I’m in Chicago and my listings are even worse. when I typed in affiliate marketing I get the 1st set of 3 ads that says “ads” and then I get the 2nd set of 3 ads that says “related ads to Keyword”. I counted the ads and they are a whopping 18 with the ads on the side and bottom. Oh well, Google runs the FTC.

  37. October 23, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Yes Matt, I have noticed this shift in Google, and I must be honest with you, I also think that all this is just about money.

    They try to make us feel guilty for trying to make a living by doing s.e.o. in a white hat manner, but where would they be without us, most website are invisible to Google, without some s.e.o.

    I’m not sure about what else to say, other than do as you preach Google, and not expect others to do as you preach, but don’t practice.

  38. October 23, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    HI Matt, great current information as usual.
    This bothers the heck out of me!
    As small business we have spent the past year providing quality content on our website to finally to get to Page 1.
    Don’t say this may all be a waste of time !
    Previous Google updates (panda,penguin etc) have never bothered us as it has always been head down and provide information for our customers.
    However now us small business may lose out to those with the big bucks ……
    Cheers Paul

  39. Tony C's Gravatar Tony C
    October 23, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Not obvious here in the UK, even if I got to
    It looks like if there are no adsense ads they don’t bother.
    Still got a straw coloured background top left too.


  40. October 23, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Wow Matt amazing but not surprising Google is like any monopoly (Big Business) that trying to corner the market and force the smaller business out of business because they can’t afford to pay high fee PPC ads.
    We must all work to find different ways to beat down big brother.

  41. October 23, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt

    In Indian lingo, we have a proverb which goes like “an ant gets wings when death approaches”. Google is no different. In their quest for money, they leave no stone unturned. Soon, we might see Google going down like Yahoo.

    Surfers are smart, they would simply skip to page 2 and onwards. Surely Google can’t fill all pages with paid advts. Unfortunately Yahoo is gone, Bing yet to catch up, else everyone could hop in to gain majority share.

    Google is helpless. Site owners master SEO techniques quickly, outsmarting even Google. The Panda, Penguin … shows how panicky they are. You just can’t stop vendors from approaching the place with max footfalls.

    Your post is good, informative and we all agree with what you showed us. IMHO, as a business outfit Google is right in approaching various strategies. Soon site owners (again businessmen) would counter them easily. Google will soon turn mad …

  42. Tom's Gravatar Tom
    October 23, 2012 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Wow I haven’t seen anything like that in the US yet.

    As the world economy gets worse Google will be trying to squeeze every last bit of profit out of search. After all they have a lot of projects to pay for. Inadvertently they will probably be the instrument of their own demise as they cause people turn to other search engines to get what they are looking for. Apple and Bing are probably salivating.

    As far as Cutts is concerned he is just the friendly Opie like face that is put on this empire. They feed him the lie and he regurgitates it.

    Google is also facing a coming crap storm as well from the European countries who are taking exception to their practices.

    I’m sure things will get very interesting.

  43. October 23, 2012 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt, do you think we could get good results with using “bing” search engine instead? Thanks for the valuable info in your blog as always.

  44. Jon's Gravatar Jon
    October 23, 2012 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Anything Cutts says needs to be taken with a bucket of salt. What G says and what G does is mostly two different things at the best of times. For a long time their focus has been on revenue gathering and their core ‘search’ business has virtually ceased to be relevant. With their recent market capitalization losses this is likely to get worse not better.

  45. Samuel's Gravatar Samuel
    October 23, 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink


    What do you think Google is looking for? Moneeeeeey. What are affiliate marketers looking for?

    Google is crucifying Affiliate Marketers for trying all methods to make money through their sites.

    Google is not protecting anybody but their own selfish interest.

    Thanks for the observation.

  46. October 23, 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt!

    I hate to say I told you so, but I did a few months ago. I’ve been preaching that this was the direction Google was going in, nearly a year ago.

    I’ve been accused of being a conspiracy theorist and just plain crazy. “Oh no, Google is only trying to get the best and most relevant search results”, was what I was told all the way up until now. I finally feel vindicated!

    I have been using other techniques for quality traffic that only costs me a few cents per 1000 clicks and I no longer worry about organic SEO traffic.If it happens it’s a bonus.

    Have no fear eventually there will be consumer backlash when this new adwords program goes worldwide. If it does, it may just give Yahoo / Bing the opportunity to power slam Google. I sure hope so. I’d teach the dirty SOBs a lesson.

    I still remember when Yahoo was the search engine giant. What goes around comes around and they’ll be getting theirs soon I think.


    Steve H.

  47. Martin's Gravatar Martin
    October 23, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    If I were Google. No wait let me change that. If you were in charge of Google and your goal was to maximize ad revenue, you would do the same thing. Just like a scene from a mafia movie after a guy gets whacked “it was business, it was never anything personal”.

    The obvious message is we need to learn to play in the world of pay. Sure we can use social search platforms and Web 2.0 properties. But we want the Google eyeballs too. Not everything will work because the ad costs are insane. But, many people are showing great interest in CPA and secondary search networks, banner advertising and solo ads. If you run a “real business” as Mr Cutts would say, you need to think about your ad budget and how you can make paid placement work for you.

  48. October 23, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Google lost me a while back, ever hear of Yahoo and Bing?

    Adsense is now a joke and you will lose more as they cut you out of the picture. Google appears to be adopting a “user pays” principal so if you want to be on top it will cost you. I can;t wait for FTC to slam them for the latest obsevation by Mat, so thanks for the post on this growing concer for us.

    Now I wonder if I can charge Google for copying my content.


  49. Jay's Gravatar Jay
    October 23, 2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Matt..we all see this coming, the question is when:) SEO is getting tougher and tougher these days with Google playing its own tricks. Being big is fine, but being ego is dangerous..Lets see what will happen next.

  50. Honey Wesley's Gravatar Honey Wesley
    October 23, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    I’ll tell you something else I noticed. I can’t remember the search term I was using, but I went a little deep into the search results, like the first 5 or maybe 10 pages.

    As I went through the pages, I noticed by about page 3 there were only 7 results listed instead of 10. A couple of pages later it was down to 5, then 3 and no kidding, by the time I hit the last page, which was either page 5 or page 10, there was only ONE result listed!

  51. Cybil's Gravatar Cybil
    October 23, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt, I see where you’re coming from. I just did a search here in the US, for that keyword, looks like you still rank 5th for that search term, so it seems it hasn’t rolled out here just yet.

  52. Richard's Gravatar Richard
    October 23, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    This definetely sucks. I don’t know what to think about it they are killing this industry little by little well the Only way to aboud this is by finding low ads competition keywords with high contextual price, that will be hard

  53. Rob's Gravatar Rob
    October 23, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    There is always another challenge! Also FTC is the FEDERAL Trade Commission – I don’t see the word FAIR anywhere!

    “Do no evil” is code for “Users must do no evil; we can make up our own rules and you lot have to suck it up!”

  54. steve's Gravatar steve
    October 23, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    GREED and HYPOCRACY hope they fall flat on there face soon

  55. October 23, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Google has become an advertising mega company. When I Google a product, or any other search, many times the page I’m sent to is not relevant to my search.

    I have started using Bing for searches lately and you still get lots of ads but it seems I get more relevant content.

    Perhaps they have their sites on something they want to buy and are in a hurry to get the money together, hmmm.

    Tom Reply:

    I notice Bing is getting more aggressive trying to attract people. I whole heartedly wish them luck.

  56. Ti's Gravatar Ti
    October 23, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Lately, I was thinking that we just had to adapt to Google. Now, with what you saw them do, if it is rolled out everywhere and definitive, it could mean more scrolling down for searchers. In this environment where Google has gotten competition (most visited sites), I think that doing bad moves can be detrimental when there are substitute to what Google offers.

    However, as far as search is concerned, the other top visited websites (ex: facebook, Pinterest) are not primarily used for search, as far as I can tell. Thus, Google seems to have a leeway.

    Thank you Matt for taking the time to share this post.

  57. Phil's Gravatar Phil
    October 23, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    I see your point, but after I did a country search I see the same page but with the additional links at the bottom of the page.

    I do however see your page listed in the results. So my question is who is trying to fool who.

  58. Allan's Gravatar Allan
    October 23, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt. Whew, I can see this has gotten you hot around the collar, and understandably. So far I still see the related searches links at the bottom of the page in the U.S., and the paid ads at the top of the page still have the shaded background distinguishing them from the organic links. But it’s definitely maddening to think that Google is penalizing websites for practices that they are using for profit. It’s essentially Google’s way of monopolizing certain methods of making money. Google certainly has been caught with dirty hands in the past, and it’s no stranger to being dinged by the FTC on shady practices such as when they used cookies to monitor Apple Safari users. Seems that Google is again testing the water to see just how far they can push before getting slapped again.

  59. October 23, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Matt – for as long as Google indicates what is an ad, the FTC (Federal trade commission) cannot do anything about their aggressive marketing.

    To be fair, when google object to sites having too many ads that also applied to their own adsense sites as well. So they are not all that unfair.

    Personally I welcome all measures that stop tricks to get poor quality sites in the top positions. In this way quality sites that do not employ such measures have a better chance of reaching the higher ranks.

    It used be a losing battle keeping spammers and their paymasters out of my content sites, until Penguin struck. Now I get daily begging messages & also threatening ones to have the spam links removed.

    They already spammed my sites mercilessly (or their so called SEO people did) free of charge and with impunity. Now they use threats to have me clean up their mess for free.

    While there is a looooong way to go before everyone wakes up to penguin and panda, I look forward higher quality submissions … and yes, I must admit I’m also enjoying payback for spammers or their ignorant paymasters.

    Back to the issue you have raised … hey they are a business just like everyone else. They have zero obligation to give a free ride to anyone. But you are right, they will drive hard to get as much income …. and yes that will result in less traffic for organic listings. make no mistake about it, this situation will continue for as long it is cheaper to do SEO for traffic via organic listings.

    Eventually the cost of getting organic traffic will equal that of getting paid traffic. Think about brutally competitive market niches such as “lose weight fast”. It is soooo hard (& therefore costly) to get in the top 10 in any reasonable length of time that if one has a really good product, waiting to get there organically is going to cost more than to just take the plunge and pay. This will expand to other niches as markets mature.

    Matt I read your messages and find a lot of value (with thanks) … on this occasion I am not with you mate. I hope you find some merit in my comments.


    Miranda Reply:

    Sam, I agree with you – yes, we may not like it but it’s their site! Also, though I don’t much ‘like’ google, they have done and continue to do an amazing job with cleaning up the internet of spammy sites.

  60. October 23, 2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Google thinks of people trying to make money without paying them as parasites.

  61. October 23, 2012 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt

    Thanks for the great post, even though the information is totally disheartening.

    What chances do potential affiliate marketers like myself, who’s been trying to make a go of it for the past two years, have against Google! No other business would survive, be it corporate, medium or small business, if they treated clients or prospective clients as Google treats us. I’ve done PPC advertising of recent times but I’ll certainly think long and hard before I give Google anymore of my dollars.

    Let’s hope Google finds a heart somewhere and begins to think of others before themselves. Hmmm…. well there’s nothing like being hopeful.

    Kind regards

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Don’t be too disheartened by this, you will still get SEO traffic, and besides you can always use Adwords for affiliate marketing, as long as you are collecting leads and not trying to bounce people off your sites page via your affiliate links.

  62. October 23, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Thanks for this Matt. They haven’t started this in the UK yet it would seem though they have introduced the “Ads” element and the paid ads are pale yellow. I typed in copper pipes as a trial and it was covered with ads above the fold. Below that was a long list of shopping results and then Google local search results so the first non-paying website was about half way down the page.

    I have always just focused on writing really high content quality and I don’t even really do that much back linking. I have 10 sites like this all Adsense related. Since Penquin kicked in and then the Exact Match Domain kicked in my sites have disappeared to Page 2&3 and my revenue has not vanished but dived.

    Google it would seem just want complete domination and the more paying advertisers they can get the better. I am actually ok with that if we were not getting what I call the “Smarmy Cutt’s patronising piffle,” that he spouts out about all us very naughty webmasters.

    A number of my sites are also being out ranked with Yahoo voices and Livestrong articles that are 300 words long and complete crap.

    For fun I built a one page site around a really good keyword and I wrote a 300 word article of very poor quality. I rewrote the article at Squidoo, Hubpages and then on Voices and Livestrong. I did no linking at all to any of these and the articles were rubbish.

    Voices at number 3
    Livestrong at number 4
    Squidoo at number 7
    Hubpages at 19
    My site with exact match domain…still looking

  63. October 23, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Great Post Matt….greed ( masked in the name of “doing no evil”, “looking out for the interests of our customers” and other self serving platitudes) always gets in the way of integrity. Is this the final edition – doubtful – only one stage of many until all the true organic sites are pushed beyond the boundaries of any reasonable search. For what purpose – probably one far from its original concept – the mighty dollar. Eventually they sacrifice their identity and creative options will be spawned. Takes time but it will happen. Right now they are the bully on the field threatening to take all the bats and all the balls if you don’t play by their rules. Not to be overly dramatic but Thomas Jefferson wrote: “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent”. Thanks for speaking out….Dennis

  64. October 23, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    I love it this way, Now we dont have to worry about distinguishing which are ads and which is organic search, I mean you just need to scoll to below the fold.

    Of course im a bit slow and it took me a while to figure this out, and I must apologise to all adwords clients as I dont buy stuff over the net, I just use the internet for reseach.. Anyway I personally probably added about $3,000 to googles profits last month.

    Ithink the problem wil be googles though as more and more people click on ads by mistake. Their profits will sore through the roof, while their advertisers will see less for their money,.

    They will surely drop their bid price,

    Oh dearie dearie me, Is that what happened to google in the last quarter, when their expected revenues dropped and the price per click went down 15%

  65. October 23, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    What the heck!!!! I’ve never had the first post before so I forgot what I was going to say…. okay here it is.

    In my opinion, if they stay with the same business model they’ve pursued with all of the recent algorithm updates their days as top dog will be numbered.

    These changes aren’t just noticed by webmasters and SEO experts but by ordinary people trying to find information online but instead end up where Google thinks they should go.

    There are plenty of search engines out there and but people are so used to using it they forget that there’s Bing, Yahoo, etc…, and I’ve been using Duck Duck Go with some pretty good results.

    I guess time will tell but I intend to rely more on the other search engines and social sites in the future because this is getting old.


  66. October 23, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt,
    thanks for the heads up, and yes “do no evil” – lets hope this little NZ test fails and we see no more of it. I am not holding my breath however…

  67. October 23, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this valuable information.

    I was reading where Google has lost some $20b in the past week. I guess that we have to look forward to more changes in the way they do things.
    I have lost 5 blogs in the past 4 years. Google claims they were spam blogs.

    Have a wonderful day.

  68. Patrick Walsh's Gravatar Patrick Walsh
    October 23, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    yea maybe its time to boycott them completely!

  69. October 23, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Hey Matt,

    Sad, I’ve spent the past year and a half building sites and ranking them. When I ran my rank trackier last week I only had ONE site with any top 100 rankings at all.

    I’m moving to paid traffic, and maybe that’s a good thing. I sure as heck know that Google is not willing to work with me.

    In fact, I had my Adwords account banned because one of my sites were hacked through my hosting service, no fault of my own.

    I shall perservere…

  70. TK's Gravatar TK
    October 23, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt,

    Worth while info about Googles tactics, enjoy reading your stuff

    TK – Fellow Kiwi

  71. October 23, 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Well I haven’t seen results like that in the US yet but for months Google has been loading organic product keyword pages with big box store advertisers sites so that you usually have to go to page 2 to find a real review.

    Well it’s their playground but I hope it comes back and bites them on the ass. Their new motto is dont be too evil.

  72. October 23, 2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I totally agree. Google is becoming one huge Internet advertising billboard. This latest move might have something to do with their falling short of Wall Street expectations. Hopefully, the trend will continue, so that hopefully they will begin to treat we small guys and gals with some respect.

    Interestingly, even organic results are more like ads, with big brand names dominating the first page for every virtually query. Google ceased being a search company and became an advertising company a long time ago.

  73. October 23, 2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Yeah! I’ve been watching this too and their latest stunt you referred to in this post has convinced me to change my default search engine on my browser to Bing.

  74. Mark's Gravatar Mark
    October 23, 2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink


    Do you see Google’s blatant click ad strategy actions becoming annoying to users? Or do you see the masses being chicken brained and think Google is showing them the top notch results for their search? What about Bing / Yahoo, are they headed down the path chasing after Google or do you think they will for now stay true to proper SEO?

    The whole page above the fold just clicky monetized highest bidder ads. What a great racket for Google, what a skanky deal for internet users. I guess with this extremely wrenched up daily money grab if it works, squashing the small business owner and serving piss poor search results, Google’s OK with being despicable.

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Hi Mark

    Yeah I am not sure what people will think of this, but I assume most ‘un-trained’ users will not notice, but then again you never know, this could backfire on Google, which is why they most likely test it in small countries like New Zealand to start with

  75. Rob's Gravatar Rob
    October 23, 2012 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt,

    That was a great read, eventually people will get sick of this sort of treatment from google and stop using it. they will turn to the “underdogs” Bing And Yahoo instead and get the service we deserve.

  76. October 23, 2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Google “jumped the shark” some time ago in my opinion. I recently switched to as my search engine of choice and haven’t looked back.

    I suspect Facebook will soon launch an embedded search engine. I have noticed traffic in my stats logs from a usergaent named Facebook bot. Bring it on I say !

  77. Steve's Gravatar Steve
    October 23, 2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    I haven’t read all the posts, so sorry if this has already been discussed, but I just pulled up “affiliate marketing” on my smartphone (using Google) and only 2 ppc ads showed up in mobile mode. Since I and so many people shop online these days maybe it wouldn’t hurt to focus more attention on the mobile side of the house. It seems, at least as listings go, the ppc ads aren’t yet crushing the organic search results in Google. Just my observation.

  78. Tony G.'s Gravatar Tony G.
    October 23, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Matt, searching from Israel still shows the same SERPs as before for the aforementioned keyword – organics right under the top 3 PPC ads:

  79. Gillian G's Gravatar Gillian G
    October 23, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    There is no doubt that’s where things are heading.

    Do you think there will be a revolt against this blatant profiteering or will organic listings just get pushed down as you predict?

    What can be done against the behemoth that is Google?


  80. October 23, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing, Matt. I have been pissed since Google slapped me from using Adsense and Adwords a few years ago, so it doesn’t surprise me what they are doing.
    Money in the big boys pockets and none for the little guys.
    Take care

  81. October 23, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Matt, yes it IS sickening and I’m also surprised that the FTC does not step in. On the other hand, it IS Google’s search engine and even though they are blatant hypocrites, of course they are going as close to the line as possible to increase their profits.

    That’s why we have to make use of all the other ways to get our visibility apart from the search engines.

  82. Graham's Gravatar Graham
    October 23, 2012 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Considering Google’s earnings came in lower than expected, if i was to take a guess this will be Google’s new business model in the near future. Ranking their own internal sites in the search engines in the most competitive markets, they got all that data why wouldnt they? dont be evil my ass they knew excatly what they were at from day one.

  83. Sarah's Gravatar Sarah
    October 23, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    So how do we keep a website solid and avoid to fall in googles traps?

  84. Iskandar's Gravatar Iskandar
    October 23, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    May google rest in pee.

  85. Adjia's Gravatar Adjia
    October 23, 2012 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt,
    I am in the UK and there is nothing like that showing for “affiliate marketing”. I checked a few of the English speaking countries as well using the global Firefox plugin (not logged into Google account) and they are showing the usual pink ads at the top and white ads on the right with the related searches at the bottom. I even checked just to see what you are seeing but I am getting the usual results and not what’s in your images.

    But for Google UK, I have noticed recently that sometimes they show ads both at the top and bottom with related searches at the bottom as well which doesn’t leave much room for organic results. I think you are right, they are most likely testing different things out in different countries and maybe just for certain periods of time.

    Also the organic results since the recent updates are usually the big authority or ecommerce sites and You Tube videos.

    I think they appear to be favouring the types of sites that spend a lot on Adwords more and I wouldn’t be surprised if they decide to take up the whole of the first page with ads. It’s getting more and more all about profits than providing good search results.

    It looks like it’s time we started to rely more on other forms of traffic.

    Thanks for the post Matt.

  86. Ian's Gravatar Ian
    October 23, 2012 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Hey Matt

    What started out as a peoples search engine has become a dictator on the web and there needs to be a concerted campaign against them to get people to stop using their search engine completely.

    If there is no money coming into their coffers Google will soon change their tune.

    Every day now we are hearing how Google are really penalising affiliates and other small business web sites and promoting their own agendas.

    Google really sucks quite frankly.

  87. Ionel Roman's Gravatar Ionel Roman
    October 23, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    when I search for something in google as a normal searcher (not as an internet marketer who does the keyword or competition research, and stuff) I click on those ads quite often and to be honest I don’t really care if it’s an ad or not, as long as I find what I’m searching for 🙂

    If the majority of people thinks like me (or if I think like them lol) then I see no problem in seeing only ads. It won’t cost me any money to click an ad, it will cost the advertisers.

    Now, on the other hand, if people will get more and more annoyed by these practices (which I agree are tricky) and will eventually stop using Google, then Google will begin to lose its searchers, therefore lose its advertisers, therefore lose its money, and therefore lose its business 😀

    What this further means is that, they will either:

    1) have to switch back to the old model (or at least to a middle solution) and get their product (the people) back, or

    2) go down with their ship (business) and let others take their place.

    I am sure that every second someone (probably bing and yahoo, probably others) thinks about how to sink google to take their place 😀

    And I am sure that to a normal person who only comes online to search for something every once in a while, it doesn’t make much difference if they use google, bing, ask, or any other SE to carry out their search.

    Besides, Google own all their products and services and they’re free to do with them whatever they please.

    So, I don’t really see a problem even if Google decides to go out of business tomorrow morning. Life continues with or without google.

  88. October 23, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    This was brought to my notice about 12 months ago by another marketer, and slowly it has become more and more obvious what Googles agenda has really been all along.
    You can blow smoke up my backside as long as you want to Matt Cutts, telling me to provide quality etc, but in the end we know Google is a business, and going by their last profit report, he is under pressure because apparently their earnings were well below forecast figures. So it’s just another greedy grab.
    I haven’t built a website for myself in over 12 months, and have no intention of doing so again. I make videos, I do different forms of CPA and buy 95% of my traffic. In the end for the time spent doing SEO and waiting for rankings, only to have that work pulled out from under me by another google update, I am way ahead in monetary terms and of course time.

  89. greg's Gravatar greg
    October 23, 2012 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    I am seeing the same thing. The real problem is that the paid ads are in bold blue so the reader is drawn to them and hardly notices the web results section.

  90. Ron's Gravatar Ron
    October 23, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    The greed monster saturated the heart of Google along time ago.
    To much water’s gone under the bridge for them to turn back now.

    I loathe the way Google operates. And you DON’T need them to be successful online.

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About Matt

Hey, Matt here, I'm a full time Super Affiliate, 33 years old, and live in New Zealand with my wife and son.

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