As some of you may have noticed the new search results Google is testing today. Whether you love or hate them, doesn’t really matter – Google is doing it and we have to adapt if they do roll this out for everyone at a later date. Below is a search for the phrase London Hotels on Google.co.uk which shows the new layout.
Now these results alone are not the main issue for me, it is how they have also expanded the width of their sponsored results too. Which means that there are now no organic results at all above the fold of the page with my screen resolution set as 1366 x 768.
Baidu is China’s main search engine with around a 67% market share (Google has around 16% in China). Baidu has no shame in admitting they are wanting as much money as possible from adverts which is why up to 80% of Baidu’s SERPs can be either paid/sponsored listings or Baidu’s own services (such as its own versions of Wiki, Yahoo Q&A, Forums etc)
When you look at the Baidu search results for the phrase “Beijing Hotels” in Simplified Chinese, you will also notice that there are absolutely no organic listings above the fold too.
Is Google putting more weight towards the financial gains within markets where they totally dominate? It would certainly make sense, since there is a finite amount of searches that happen daily and if they dominate the search engine market within a certain country then they may as well get more money from these queries.
Although, what happened to all that “its all about the user”? I am not convinced seeing less results above the fold is better for the user. I like choice, I want to see a selection of results which I can choose based on what I am really looking for, not what Google thinks I am looking for.