Have you noticed there’s a lot of chatter about what Google is doing to advertisers and whether they’re purposely stealing the space above the fold?

David Angotti of SEO Journal wrote about it recently, and it certainly raises real concerns, and I would add the example he uses is certainly scary at first glance.  However, if you notice the very broad keyword chosen for the “proof,” if you’re a Layered Traffic student, you might think is this really that big to me?

So, since I’m not really a fan of many of Google’s practices, I didn’t discount this as being possible.  Like me, you probably have many varying opinions about the many different practices at Google (that’s why I created such a thorough course at “Layered Traffic”).

Naturally I had to run the simple test myself.  What I found is a little less concerning then what Angotti and others stated.  First I did the search he had in his article “Has Google Declared War on Small Businesses and Publishers?”  He used the phrase “hd monitor.”

I did not get even close to the results pictured.  Yes it is true Google’s own market place came up above the fold.  But they weren’t number one in the results.  Notice in the screen shot below, Googl’s marketplace only appeared once (in the red outline).

search results screen shot

Results of “hd monitor” search in Google

You can see the results are very different. Yes, Google’s marketplace is there, but not to exclude others.  Honestly, Google owns the search engine, so they do have the right to market their own wares.

So I repeated the search for a more specific, brand research, and the image below is what I found…

google search image 2

Results of “SONY KDL32BX300” search in Google

You can see in the red circle Google’s marketplace is number 2, just as in the broader search results.  Based on this quick, and less than thorough test, it appears Google is “forcing” their marketplace into the results in one of the top positions, though they aren’t completely dominating the results.

The problem is, if they really are attempting to present only the best, and most relevant results to consumers, are they really applying their algorithms to their own websites and products?

If they are, then the results are fair.  If they aren’t…. well, then maybe they really are trying to push out the small business and affiliate marketer.

What do you think?

Talk talk to soon.

— Wayne Sharer