Does anyone remember this? From Google’s blog in 2005, Marissa Mayer (now CEO of Yahoo!) went on record stating:

” There will be no banner ads on the Google homepage or web search results pages. There will not be crazy, flashy, graphical doodads flying and popping up all over the Google site. Ever.”

And of course this gem popped up 2 days ago as part of one of Google’s “small experiments.”

google-sponsored-banner-ad

Google has acknowledged that this is a small isolated test for what would be “branded searches,” or searches for just a business’s name (like “southwest airlines”).

What does it all mean?

A couple things could happen here:

  • Google could ultimately make this a real thing for a select number of large businesses willing to pay top dollar
  • The ad takes up a large amount of real estate, but for branded searches, the intent is there
  • If this is ultimately rolled out to non-branded searches, we could expect a lot of negative implications SEO-wise. In theory, a search for “cheap airlines” could conjure up the huge Southwest Airlines banner ad and make ranking on the 1st page of Google much more difficult for other airlines

 

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