Google Makes Major Change and Destroys Their Own Search Engine

Posted by Melissa in Google on October 27, 2010

Everyone loved Google. I know I did. Then it turned into some money hungry machine despite that fact that it was making tons of money already. Those of us that are in the industry have seen google doing some things that clearly show all they care about is making money and giving good information to us is no longer a priority. It appears their priority is how to make money and display to you the people that are paying them.

Google Local Business Center / Google Places

Google created Google Local Business Center awhile back and it was a great bonus for businesses. You could add your business and possibly show up above the search engine results. Phone numbers and maps were right there for people and it was great. Originally there were 10 spots. Then it changed to 7. Then Google started offering tags that people could pay for and many of us saw massive shifts in what is now called Google Places. People that paid were showing up much more and above others.

Today’s Change – Which I Hate and Has Officially Made Me a Bing User

Google made some major changes in how they will display their local search results. Now these results take up a ton of room as you will see in the picture below. Additionally, there are no longer 10 spots on the search results page, there are 5. If you were on the first page of Google and you worked hard to get their you may no longer be there. Sorry.

If you look at this it is quite obvious that Google is killing their own creation – the search engine. For you to do well on Google you will need to pay for Pay Per Click (PPC) or you will need to pay for the Google Places. Google also took all of the SEO’s and web designers out of Google Places last year and there has been significant talk about Google offering SEO services. So now they will make money from PPC, Google Places and if you want to be in the top 5 you may have to pay them for it.

If they keep this Up Google will no longer be a search engine, but a paid directory.

29 responses to “Google Makes Major Change and Destroys Their Own Search Engine”

  1. Alan Bleiweiss

    Google sees it differently. They see it as a way to force local business owners (and that includes regional and national companies with local offices/branches) to have to jump on the Place Page band-wagon. Which will result in millions more Google owned pages that, in turn, also display Google ads.

    So Google sees it as the next great revenue model.

    Alan Bleiweiss

  2. JadedTLC

    I find this absolutely “vomitous.” Google is such a hypocrite. It spends 10 years convincing nerds that Paid Inclusion is why Yahoo sucks. And Pure Search is Gold. And now that they feel Yahoo and Bing are no longer a threat – they decide to build what they had.

    This shows me that Google is a big PR (public relations) company, not a tech company. Whatever happened to INNOVATION?


  3. Melissa

    Alan, I understand what they want. The problem is they are destroying what they had and what they had was great which is why so many people used it.

    They were making tons of money anyway, why mess it up? You can’t trust their results when everything is paid for. I can go to Superpages for that!

  4. Melissa

    Amen JadedTLC! Amazing and awesome comment!

  5. Alan Bleiweiss

    Let’s be pragmatists just for a moment. Google is a mega-corporation. They have shareholders. They have corporate people running a corporation, which is in business to make money.

    If you want innovation, go to Apple. And even there, money drives the machine in many ways.

    Besides. Google is ensuring our careers will be long and prosperous.

    Now, from a human perspective, of course – it’s vomitous, infuriating, and despicable.

    Alan Bleiweiss

  6. Melissa

    Alan, what made that mega-corp successful? Searches and results? Now people can pay to show up…that is a paid directory to me.

    BOTW? Superpages? There are free areas, but they don’t show up very often, do they?

  7. Alan Bleiweiss

    Yeah and with AdSense came the “paid directories violate our terms of service” policy. That was ages ago. Google’s been evil from very early on. Until a better mouse trap comes along, it is what it is. But yes, this could very well be a major opportunity for others to gain market share. Except they, too, are driven by business revenue factors.

    Alan Bleiweiss

  8. Tony Verre

    I’m not sure I completely agree that the GOOG is going to be a paid directory, but I can see more of that sentiment taking hold.

    This latest move smacks of IYP-ism (i.e. the Super Pages model) where you pay crazy fees to “distinguish” yourself from other “free” listings.

    I’m curious to see how they balance reviews in the local algorithm in conjunction with sponsored / pay-to-place local.

    Great post. Interested to see what comes of it.

    Tony Verre

  9. Ruud Hein

    Years ago, in some high level threads on Cre8asite Forums, I suggested that the most effective way for search engines to handle spam is to go to paid inclusion.

    Many of the changes at Google the past 2 years have narrowed the number of sites people get exposed to — and many of the queries leading to them have been vetted by human quality control.

    The big “rest of the web” simply gets hidden below the fold and on subsequent pages.

    And yes, it will stand. It will work. If you’ve ever seen someone click from Google SERP to Adsense riddled page only to click right away on an ad without knowing it … then you know this Google trick will be accepted.

    Oh, and regarding Bing … Been with them for a couple of months now and it’s fun to use. Actually gave me that thrill Google did in the beginning.

    Ruud Hein

  10. Melissa

    Tony, I see your point. I guess what bothers me is they were making tons of money without this move and to become greedy and lose users is incredibly stupid.

    Ruud, I have known for awhile that the Goog was evil. I told a client at a meeting yesterday that I though the backlash Google will receive in the next year should make Bing extremely crucial…Now I know I am right. I hope Bing brings me happiness today 🙂

  11. Sebastian

    It’s obvious, that Google has changed: Away from that clean, bright interface displaying only 10 search results towards pure complexity full off options!

    But so has the web…

    … and even our life as an active user and/or even a seo!

    Googles goal – to guide users to all information out there – is clearly reflected in the last changes Google made to the SERPs.

    – “Suggest” helps unexperienced users in finding the right query
    – “Instant” even refines this search experience in real time and speeds search up
    – “Personalized” results store behaviour and webhistory, what also quite often leads to a shorter path towards information
    – … etc.

    With “Place Search” Google show us it’s capability of connecting real world data & information with a search engine. I bet no one wouldn’t have expected such an innovative step 12 years ago, when Google launched…

    For sure, we have again to adopt. Our work as SEOs get even more complicated and so on, but these are just unreflected complaints humans always bring up, when something changes.

    When you take a deeper look into the new SERP layouts and all those tpyes of layouts identified by Andrew Shotland in his Blog, you’ll recognize their immense local relevance together with the interesting connection to review sites & stuff… This is a huge step forward in local search, which might really help to get “salvation from directory hell” pushing real local businesses to the storefront of the worlds biggest search engine…



  12. Adam Webster

    Great post Melissa.I’ve been using Bing much more recently. I’m sure its market share will continue to grow.

    Adam Webster

  13. Mohan Arun L.

    Those balloon thingies that Google calls place markers should appear only when user clicks on “Places” on the left. Apparently Google ‘detects’ place names in the search query and displaces regular search results with balloon results. This can cause confusion.

    Mohan Arun L.

  14. Maciej

    I have not seen that large local listing display yet where I am but I’m not crazy about it. Takes up too much of the organic listing in my opinion. I think Google can structure that area with a bit more thought.


  15. Melissa

    Mohan, I agree with you. I think the layout is a bit sloppy.

    Maciej, look in chrome and you will see it.

  16. Melissa

    Sebastian, I understand Google evolving, but I don’t like the fact that it is all about the money. I do think they could learn from Bing’s tabbed local option, which to me is cleaner and easier.

    I do feel that his new move can hurt smaller businesses too. We will have to watch and see.

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