Google releases Professional Service Ads
September 16, 2015
In San Francisco, Google is rolling out its new ad program which is targeted towards connecting homeowners with professional skilled services. Its aim is to recapture the market of other review or service sites like Craigslist, Yelp, and Angie’s List. Are you ready to give up your favorite go to site for Google? Consider this first.
Speed of Information versus Cleaner Search Results
Google has always made it clear that it wants to dominate the information gathering and providing world. It has evolved over the years to provide information as quickly as possible. Ideally, Google wants whatever information exists out there to be obtained through advertisements because that’s how Google makes their money.
While this is reasonable, the question is: how many ads can the consumer handle before they are turned off by the thought of searching for something in Google?
With the addition of Google Professional Service Ads, you may be seeing more of the search results overrun with ads. They are starting with three ads, but that could always change. The trade-off is the speed of contact with your potential contractor versus having Google overrun with ads.
Ads Based on Individuals and the Growing Gig Economy
One thing Google has enabled for millions of people is the ability to reach a market they could never have done on their own. This has given rise to what is called the “gig economy”; where an individual providing a niche service as their main source of income, using the Internet to connect to potential customers.
Sites like Thumbtack and Fiverr allow someone with a unique set of skills to easily provide that skill to those who need it. The google professional service ads taps into this market by providing an individual’s picture and contact information as an advertisement at the top of the search results.
Is it a good thing? Certainly, the individuals who are making their living off of it may think so. Websites currently providing services like this may not like it because it impinges on their business model.
Squeezing out the SEO Crowd
The search engine optimization (SEO) industry has been around as long as the Internet has. It originated when people realized they could manipulate Google’s search results by stuffing keywords and links into their sites. In a way, SEO has been the reason that Google has continued to evolve because they have to continually tweak their algorithms to ensure no one abuses the system and ensures there is a reason to continue to run Adwords.
With the new professional ads, there are no websites or URLs to worry about as the individual contractor signs up to the service directly through Google. Of course, they could create their own websites which could eventually pop up through the search results, but with the real estate on the page being taken up by the other ads, will people continue to click on organic results?
The Existence of Organic Results May Be Waning
The last point begs the question: is Google getting rid of organic ads? It is something that has been widely discussed over the years. If you look back to what the results looked like when Google started versus today, you would see that more and more of the page is being taken up by advertisements, and the organic results are being pushed further down the page.
With the addition of these ads, one may find that they won’t even see an organic search result unless they scroll down the page. And, in that case, is Google going to continue to offer organic search? The answer is, yes, they probably will. But it may change in unknown ways. The SEO industry has proved that with today’s organic results, a power curve represents the click through rate (CTR) that websites get for their ranking. With those results being less visible, will that affect overall CTR?
If organic results are affected, many websites will be forced to pay to play in Google. Paying for advertisements to ensure the success of their business may squeeze their margins and render their service unprofitable. Businesses should prepare for the impact this could have.
The Effects on Your Favorite Review and Rating Sites
Finding the gap in the market, websites like Yelp and Angie’s List have made a living by providing in-depth reviews to customers so that they know their potential service providers will be of the highest quality. With the rise of these types of sites, businesses and individuals have been forced to up their game and provide the highest quality service to compete in the marketplace.
Most of these review sites have made extensive use of organic traffic to improve the visibility of their sites. With Google squeezing in more of its own ads, these sites could very well suffer reduced traffic and, if Google is successful, it could essentially render these old businesses extinct. While that may be an extreme case, it certainly wouldn’t be the first companies Google squelched in their rise to dominance.
Only Time Will Tell
The truth is, things will likely happen more slowly but, over time, the above postures could come true. In the meantime, many people will benefit from these advertisements by being easily connected with new customers. Only time will tell what the effect this roll out will have.