Should Google Show Ads In Knowledge Graph Results?

    December 15, 2013
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

It seems that more and more of the Google search results page is for sale these days.

Last year, Google turned its shopping results into an all paid model. Then came the testing of banner ads on branded searches. We’ve even seen Google showing advertiser query suggestions in the Knowledge Graph on generic queries (though these didn’t appear to be actual paid spots).

Is Google moving too far away from organic search results? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Now, if the screenshot below is authentic (and we have no reason to believe that it’s not), Google actually is testing paid spots in the Knowledge Graph (hat tip: Search Engine Roundtable).

Really? In the Knowledge Graph?

As you can see, Google is showing an ad for “dealer nearby”.

Again, this is just a test. Google isn’t showing this to all searchers. Here’s what the query shows for me:

Google Knowledge Graph ads

It’s interesting that Google is showing ads on a query like this, as it just added car information to the Knowledge Graph last week. Google failed to mention that they’d be showing ads here, as it was pitched more as an informational service.

“You may already use Google to help you make everyday decisions, like what restaurant to pick for dinner or which movie to go see. Starting today, you can also rely on Google’s Knowledge Graph to research a big decision: cars,” said Google in a Google+ post.

“Say you’re thinking of buying a new 2014 Mazda3—just tap the microphone on your Google Search app or search for [2014 Mazda3] to instantly see facts like what size engine it has, its MPG and pricing for different configuration,” Google said. “To explore other cars, select one listed under ‘People also search for’ and your results will update to show you specific information.”

To be fair, the kind of ad they’re testing here might truly be useful to users. If you’re looking for info on cars, there’s a good chance you’re thinking about buying one, and it might be helpful to know about a place nearby that is selling the model you’re looking for.

That said, is the Knowledge Graph area really the place to be showing this? It just feels kind of dirty. This is supposed to be where Google is showing “knowledge,” not selling out to advertisers. Google has plenty of other real estate on the search results page for that doesn’t it? You know, like the AdWords ads that surround the organic results? Or the traditional local search results?

The ad is clearly marked as an ad, but why force advertising in one of the few ad-free, knowledge-driven parts of the page? I can’t see this helping if Google wants to inspire trust in the Knowledge Graph, which they should really be concerned about doing, given that we keep seeing erroneous information appear there.

I won’t rehash all of that again. We did that in a recent newsletter article. But even since then, at least one other Knowledge Graph flub gained some attention. Google indicated that a living author was dead.

Can you trust that Google to have the best info in this area of the search results page when part of it is for sale? It might be helpful to know area dealers when you’re looking for a car, but is it the one that paid to be there necessarily the best “knowledge”?

Meanwhile, Bing continues to build up its rival to the Knowledge Graph with new and interesting information. This week its “Satori” offering added Ted Talks, famous speeches, online courses and better information for universities, snapshots of scientific concepts and historical events, and more.

I smell another Scroogled campaign brewing. On the other hand, Microsoft hasn’t been very shy about adopting advertising strategies that have worked for Google in the past.

It’s going to be very interesting to see if Google expands Knowledge Graph ads beyond the test phase, and whether or not Bing follows suit.

Should the Knowledge Graph be for sale? Let us know what you think.

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  • http://career.com.ng/federal-ministry-of-youth-development-job-recruitment/ Darlington

    I don’t trust Google anymore for their search result because it’s all about advertising these days.

    • http://hubmaze.com Vin Dicarlo

      hi Darlington, I agree with you. nowadays Google is busy to show advertisements instead of quality.

  • glover

    I think google must show 1920×1080 ads on their pages and block scroll buttons and organic search results. Because only google deserve right to get ad-clicks from their search results.
    So peoples need to understand what time to change to bing/etc.

  • http://dory.ro Dory

    Why necessarily Bing?

  • Dave

    Yes they should. They are a business and should do whatever they feel is necessary to make money. The ads are not annoying. They can’t possibly bother a normal person. I don’t see the problem. If you don’t like it use another search engine.

  • http://www.i-webtechsolutions.co.uk/seo-consultant.html Ritesh

    Well, No one can predict anything about google or its marketing trends. It seems that now google is going little bit away from organic results and moving forward towards paid results and listings.

    Nice piece of informative article, lets see what is going to be happen in the future?

  • http://Www.bestcarhire.com Malcolm McNeill

    Oh dear , I think Google is cruising for a bruising here.
    If it’s not broke, don’t fix it – they should leave well alone and concentrate on what they were and still are good at – being a search engine, not a personal shopper.

  • http://www.vjversatile.com/ Vaibhav Jain

    Google is really working hard and strategically to convert it’s every bit into revenue. Nothing wrong with that till the value and benefits that Google provides to it’s users remains the same