The Google Hotspot

  • 0
  • September 16, 2008

Ever since Google Universal Search started blending news results into the organic search results we have been watching with interest to see where the news results appeared. Sometimes they are at the top of the page and occasionally at the bottom but more often than not they are somewhere in the middle.

Recently I’ve noticed that Google is creating what we have been calling a Hotspot where 3 lucky sites get effectively framed by news results, PPC ads and shopping results while the other 7 results on the first page are being frozen out and stand very little chance of seeing traffic.

Take a look at the screenshot below. See how the first 3 results are far more prominent than the other 7? Notice how the 4th result (which is the last one to be visible without scrolling on most monitors) is Wikipedia?

Google has managed to take a results page of 10 listings and make 7 of them pretty much invisible. If your main keyword results page looks like this then you simply have to be in the top 3 to get any decent traffic.

Google Hotspot

Patrick Altoft

About Patrick Altoft

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events.

  • Jon

    Yuck, Google seems to be moving further away from the nice clean results listings that made us love it in the first place!

    On a related note, I’m consistently getting 30 results listed per page at the moment for Google searches. Has anyone else noticed this, or is just me?

    Cheers, Jon

  • Jake Johnson

    It may be an oversight from Google in an attempt to apease allcomers – news and shopping, etc – but something also makes me think that Google want to increase activity on their Adwords side. It is a more straightforward way for sites to gatecrash the frontpage and also a surefire way for Google to continue to make money in these troubled times, seeing as they don’t benefit finanically from SEO activities.

  • http://www.codeauthority,com J. Medina

    Thank you for your article. I think that google might be trying to make things too exclusive when it comes to searches which gives me two opposite thoughts. On one side, it the exclusivity could inspire everyone to create better AdWords in pursue of excellence… on the other, if it becomes too exclusive to be on the “Google search page one”, that will make a large portion of the web-population to become angry with Google and maybe stir away from it. Google is so large now that it may not matter to it if some people leave, Google just needs to keep in mind that the “stir away from” happened to Yahoo and eventually they fell from the grace of the Internet population.

  • Waning Google Fan

    Don’t be naïve. There is no such thing as a “free lunch”.

    First off, I’ve always liked Google. However, that being said, slowly over time I’m finding more and more that they are using their vast & pervasive control over the little browser window most of us look thru every day to subtly manipulate the Internet into this commercial monster that only they control –instead of the people who actually make the web exist—that is, US—the people who do the surfing and site building.. They have become a Monopoly, that not unlike Microsoft, wants to dominate the Internet to the point where the original concept of the Internet will be a distant fading memory.

    As a business owner and hotelier for a major franchise chain in the US, I was thrilled at the idea of the Google Places when they first came out—- with its lure of a free web site for business owners to set up. I assumed they would try to make money by selling me services (which they did). The real shock was when they started selling space to 3rd party resellers (e.g. Expedia, Trip Advisor) to advertise my rooms for sale thru their 3rd party sites on my Places site— (however they won’t even display rates from any of the major chains in this same way). What’s the problem you say — the hotel is getting business. Yes, BUT I have to pay these 3rd parties commission fees exactly like a travel agent, plus extra booking fees. All of this means Google is indirectly extracting 15-20% out of my pockets on every reservation they gets sold on my site. I could pull down my Google Place site—but how can I not have a presence on the Internet?

    Considering that they also filter who sees my sight, where they see it, and when— the end result is that Google is now essentially controlling how, when, where, and with whom I do business. Because I have to pay fees that I once didn’t, they are also indirectly influencing what rates I sell hotels rooms for. Ultimately somebody has to pay for all these added fees — and eventually these fees will be passed on to all of us—the consumer.

    The Google Hotspots is just another “wolf in sheepskin”. Right now, it looks cool— seems useful— and its another “free” service from Google. What’s to argue with?. I say don’t be fooled. This is like a drug dealer giving out “free” samples—once they get us hooked— it won’t be free any more. Trust me. I’ll say it again, when it comes to Google, There is no such thing as a free lunch!

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