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Will Google Eventually Change to a Paid Search Result Model?

As Google continually alters its search algorithm to optimize the user’s experience, a decrease in traffic through natural search results, results that are not sponsored, and an increase in investment by companies to manipulate their position in search results indicate that Google might benefit from a switch to a paid search result model.

In recent years, Google has shifted away and devalued results from the natural search algorithm. In the early days of Google, 70-80 percent of traffic travelled through natural search results. However, recent studies estimate that the upper bound for traffic through natural search results has decreased to 50 percent. Furthermore, queries related to keywords with high rates per click rely even less on natural search results. Google has argued that the decline in traffic through natural search results is due to better pay per click advertising by corporations. Additionally, Google financially benefits by increasing search results for pay per click links. An increase in traffic going through pay per click links, results in a greater payoff for Google.

Currently, more companies are investing money into increasing their rank in Google search results. Many private search engine optimization companies are offering services to maximize a websites PageRank. Ardor Backlinks, a search engine optimization company, increases the rank of its customers by increasing the number of back links. Companies are increasingly trying to manipulate their position in Google search results because their livelihood may depend on it. Blogs, news services, online shopping websites, and many other companies rely on web traffic on their website to generate income. Google is the most widely used search engine, which gives companies an incentive to boost their search result ranking to increase traffic on their websites.

The decrease in traffic through natural search results combined with the growing practice of search engine optimization challenge the relevancy of natural search results. Websites are now paying to manipulate their PageRank and using pay per click advertising to increase their exposure in Google search results. One can argue that the only way Google can successfully counter search result manipulation is by converting to a predominantly pay per click search result format. Google is the most widely used search engine and its scale could allow it to successfully transition to a paid search result format. The one drawback of Google changing to a paid search format is that it could potentially open up the market for a new free search engine to emerge. Google’s opportunity to successfully transition to a paid search result format will depend on how other prominent search engines adapt their policies of charging for result rankings. If a significant portion of search engines move towards a paid search result format, Google would significantly benefit from making a similar transition. Although, a transition to a pay per click format is many years away, the large amount of money being invested into increasing a websites exposure on Google indicates the decreasing value of natural search results.

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