I’m finding that more and more I click on ads rather than search results at Google. Why? Because the search results in some commercial categories are so thoroughly SEO (search engine optimization) spammed that it’s a waste of time trying to figure out which search results are worth clicking.
But while the search results are a mess, the people who pay to have their ads run are often worth clicking. After all, they’re bidding and paying for my attention, thus making them more likely to be worth a scan than some SEO-optimized Adsense site that has thrust its way into the top ten pure search results.
The re-rise of paid-for search results means the future of search is starting to look more like its recent (and supposedly discredited) past.
[Update] I’ve now had three people email suggesting the wonderfully conspiratorial idea that Google has no incentive to produce search results — and it may even turn a dial now and then in the opposite direction — as worse search means more ad clicks.