Why would Google be Traffic Shaping?

There’s an interesting thread over on Webmasterworld about Google Traffic Shaping. It may seem overbaked a bit, but if you know some of the thread participants personally, you’ll realize that if their focus is on it, there’s a good reason.

Secrets abound and on these threads you need to read between the lines a lot or else you’ll be scratching your head.

To summarize the thread, some people have noticed Google tuning their knobs on a site by site basis with respect to traffic that converts. One month traffic may go up while conversions go down…and vice versa.

We all know Google is a data analysis monster. You kind of have to be when your products are “free” and you have to make money through the back door, if you know what I mean.

So how do they make their money? Selling adwords. Lots of them. The more money their advertisers make, the more they’ll advertise. And the more Google will make.

So while they may repeat the mantra that they want to provide the best possible results to the user…as a public corporation, their DUTY is to provide the best possible return on investment to their shareholders.

Therefore, and I say this without emotion or casting aspersions, you have to assume that their dream scenario is a bit different than the PR….

For them, the shopper is the most important Google visitor. Give your customer (ie advertiser), a shopper who converts, and now you have a product with a metric that sounds like music to advertisers.

Imagine if you will, you’re a local shop, independent or outlet of a large chain. You want to pay Google for shoppers and shoppers alone.

So in Google’s ideal world, shoppers will type search terms in Google. All organic results will be of no interest to the shopper and only the paid search results will entice them to click. And once they click, they will convert.

THAT’s why they are experimenting with traffic shaping, particularly in respect to conversions. And they seem pretty far along.

The take home point for webmasters is, to score well online, at least with Google, you need an online presence that converts…and you need to pay Google for that traffic.

I really don’t want any of my friends at Google to be upset by this post. So I’m going to repeat. Google is a public corporation. PR is PR. Business is business. And if Google AREN’T doing this, they would be breaking their fiduciary responsibility. Like in the Godfather, everyone needs to put bread on the table. It’s not personal.

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