Robert Scoble reports from the (cocktail) field that he “noticed that Google is putting fewer advertisements on each page than its competitor.”
He cites “Google internal research” discussed by a “nameless” Google employee while mingling at an “awesome” Jeff Pulver party in support of his assertions that Google is “brilliant” and “advertisers are going to LOVE this.”
My Google source is not “nameless” and he is on the record, the Wall Street record.
Sergey Brin, Founder & President of Technology, in the Google Q42006 earnings call:
In the fourth quarter, we continue to enhance our ad matching by eliminating ads from some of our less commercial queries while showing more ads on commercially-oriented searches. As a result, the percentage of queries that receive ads have gone down by several points, but monetization has improved. These are the kinds of improvements that we make all the time and really improve both the quality and the monetization of our system.
Scoble’s own “research” is a Google search for “San Francisco Sushi,” saying:
You’ll find two ads along the top, and three along the side. In a second search I did, the ads on top disappeared and there were only five ads along the side. There used to be more, the Google employee told me.
By following Scoble’s “San Francisco Sushi” Google search link, the number of ads Scoble reports is accurate, but Scoble did not report on Google’s own promotion of its Google Local products in the very same search, a strategy I reported on at length in January: Google Local at Google.com
Not only do the new local listings come before the standard PageRank algorithm derived results, they are more prominent and may be perceived by searchers as Google recommendations for the local businesses. Top placement combined with enhanced presentation means the new local listings slots will be highly prized by local businesses.
Google is putting itself in competition with key local AdWords accounts: Citysearch, AOL, Zagat…The new enhanced local listings appear below and next to Google “Sponsored Links” for local listings directories.
Will the enhanced local listings become a new Local AdWords product? Google was “hard at work” to develop the new local listings format within Google.com. It will undoubtedly be hard at work going forward to develop new ways to monetize its prime, lucrative Google Local real estate at Google.com.
At the Kelsey “Drilling Down on Local” Conference in Santa Clara this week I pointed out to Eric Stein, Director, Google Local, that the new Google Local “Directory” ahead of Google SERPs pits Google against its own local directory AdWords clients.
The familiar “we are always enhancing the user experience” response was offered.
MY COVERAGE FROM DRILLING DOWN ON LOCAL:
Intuit: The next local Advertising Agency?
IAC’s Peter Horan: Front door content drives local strategy
Nokia gets local: Mapping, navigation smart2go platform
Deal time: Partnering drives local ad sales ecosystem
Yahoo unlocks local advertising value online
Online advertising meets ‘The User Revolution’
Growing local ad spend: Top seven predictions
The future of Local Search: Report from the field