Is Google Adsense in direct conflict with Google Search?

Jun 20, 2011

In recent years, the amount of spam appearing on the web has increased substantially – there’s no doubt that it is becoming a problem for many users. It’s difficult to find the information that you need, without wading through copious amounts of ‘filler’ and web junk. Major search engines, such as Google, continually strive to resolve this ongoing issue. However, it’s very interesting to note that Google’s AdSense program has been one of the main catalysts in actually increasing the amount of content spam on the web.
Of course, this will not have been Google’s intention when they initially created the service, but clearly, it has been a very unwanted side effect. Google makes a substantial amount of money from AdSense ads, therefore they obviously don’t want people to stop using it entirely. In running the service, are they actually in direct conflict with themselves as a search provider?

It perhaps begs the question – would the quality of Google’s search results be better if all AdSense ads were removed? It would certainly be interesting to find out – however, it’s unlikely that Google will be willing to halt such a profitable service.
Recently, Google issued a number of questions that end users can refer to in order to assess the ‘quality’ of a page or an article – here are just a few examples of these questions:

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
  • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?

Using these examples for guidance, it could be concurred that it is possible to still have a ‘high quality’ site while using AdSense ads, and many examples of such sites can be found on the Internet. However, it has to be asked, is this always the case? As with any service, strict procedures and ongoing monitoring processes are required to ensure optimal performance, and as the use of AdSense continues to grow, the content will be much more difficult to monitor.
Perhaps a balance is required – many experts recommend that a limited amount of ads should be used, as an excessive amount can distract from or interfere with the main content of a website or article. However, even a small amount of Ads can present a problem, if the content is not accurate.
It’s certainly a very interesting concept – AdSense is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon – but could Google be jeopardizing the integrity of their own search service by continuing to offer it? Or perhaps they think that it’s a risk worth taking?

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