Only a few months ago, Google had the SEO industry re-thinking the future of search when it unveiled SearchWiki – user controlled search results.
Well now Google are testing SearchWiki for AdWords. Imagine that – user controlled search advertising.
At this stage, it appears that the tests are restricted to US users, with early reports of the SearchWiki [x] appearing along side AdWords headlines (see screenshot below).
The introduction of SearchWiki for AdWords could open up a can worms for Google advertisers, and with no official report from Google at this stage, the rumor mill has been busy speculating on its impact.
Whilst Google will surely respond with a formal announcement in due course, here’s some of my musing on the potential consequences of SearchWiki for AdWords:
It does beg the question “will changes to ads via SearchWiki impact AdWords quality scores?” If Google can bypass the obvious opportunity for abuse, it is conceivable that it will feature in the quality score calculation at some point.
I still haven’t read any reports on what level of engagement Google is experiencing with SearchWiki for organic results, but I would hasten to say that it will diminish quickly, once the buzz has subsided.
With that in mind, I think SearchWiki for AdWords will receive even less user interest. If you don’t like an ad, will you bother to block it or rate it down? Probably not. Youre more likely to ignore it rather than rate it.
Any user controlled element of a search engine is open to some level of abuse. If SearchWiki for AdWords ends up impacting AdWords quality scores and therefore click costs, then the potential abuse will be far more concerning.
I think in the short term, SearchWiki for AdWords, if it gets a proper release, will be just a way for users to customize their experience from a visual point of view. It’s not likely that Google are going to tamper with their primary revenue source and upset advertisers.
What do you think? Would you bother to block or rate Search ads? Share your thoughts below: