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Why Google Needs To Encourage Clicks To Publishers In The Search Generative Experience – It’s About Ads & Revenues

Google Logo Exploding Money

There is a lot of concern and worry around the new Google Search Generative Experience and how that might impact traffic to content creators, publishers, site owners, and the web as a whole. I get that new things are scary, but I think the concern may be overblown.

Why? It comes down to Google’s revenues and that about 80% of Google’s revenues (78.16% in Q1 2023 to be exact) come from ads.

How does Google make money on its ads? Well, most of it, not all, come from clicks on those ads. Most ads, not all, Google only gets paid when a user or searcher clicks on the ad that Google Ads serves to the user.

Last earnings report showed that paid clicks, the number of clicks on ads, were up 8%, while the cost-per-click was down 7%. It costs less for ads, especially in bad economic times, so Google needs to have more people clicking on those ads. In fact, it is a bullet point in the forward looking statements section, “fluctuations in our revenues, as well as the change in paid clicks and cost-per-click and the change in impressions and cost-per-impression, and various factors contributing to such fluctuations.”

Google needs people to click on search ads both in the classic version of Google Search and yes, in the new version of Google Search, the Search Generative Experience.

Maybe my logic is off here and if it is, comments are open below, but Google needs to have a search interface that encourages searchers not just to get the answer but also to click on links and listings within those answers.

Otherwise, if people are not going to click on listings and links in the new Google Search, then Google needs to come up with changing their business model, a business model that has made Google one of the most powerful companies in the world.

Google even showed what ads will look like on day one of this experimental launch:

click for full size

Yes, the ads are there, like traditional Google Search Ads.

And guess what, the organic, free listings are there too!

Here is what Google showed in their demo, the three big listings at the top right, that have large images, titles and URLs, followed by the other results below:

click for full size

Then if you toggle deeper into learning more, you are presented with more of those big website listings (or cards):

click for full size

A search interface that does not encourage searchers to click on free organic listings, is a search interface that cannot encourage searchers to click on paid listings. The future Google search interface cannot cut out Google’s main source of revenue, I just don’t see how Google can do that.

Is my logic off here? Comments, as always, are open to discuss below.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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