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Search Engine Users Fail To Recognise Paid Listings

There has been some debate regarding the efforts that search engine providers make to distinguish paid and organic listings. The American Federal Trade Commision (FTC) deemed this issue to be so serious that they issued a warning to companies including Google and Bing. They said that there was some confusion about advertisements appearing above the organic listings.

The claims of the FTC have been supported by a leading market research company called Bunnyfoot. They surveyed 100 people and found that 41% were unable to differentiate between the organic and paid results. Apparently the survey participants thought that the shaded advertisements were included for reasons of quality and relevance.

A spokesperson for Bunnyfoot said, ‘We were astounded by the numbers when they first came in but there can be no doubt about it: a significant slice of internet users simply don’t recognise Adwords listings as sponsored links.’ He went on to suggest that adwords advertisements could have more brand value than many marketeers have imagined.

Google Highlight The Differences Between Typed And Voiced Searches

There has been an increased tendancy for Google users to conduct voiced searches via their computers and hand held devices in recent times. Reportedly individuals using the new voice recognition technology are showing an inclination to make general searches. Instead of typing phrases including specific keywords they are relying upon Google to work out the gist of their voiced commands.

Matt Cutts said that Google are already adapting to the changes in search behaviour. He claimed that ‘over time, we’ll get better and better at understanding users’ intent whenever we’re trying to match that up and find the best information, or answers or documents – whatever it is the user’s looking for.’ Web site owners may also have to optimise for the types of long tail phrases that are favoured by the new generation of searchers.

Google Make Allowances For Down Time

Google have released a video outlining the steps that they take when encountering websites which are down. Webmasters will be relieved to hear that the leading search engine takes account of such issues but doesn’t issue immediate penalties. They ensure that the Googlebot makes return visits to find out whether the issues have been resolved. They also issue warning messages via webmaster central. However, it is worth bearing in mind that prolonged down times of a week or more are not tolerated.