Have You Heard of the Google Lab Rat?

Google has been using me!  Well, really, it’s nothing new, they have been using me since the day I chose to use their search engine.  They use me to see what I search, and where I click, and how long I leave their site when I click on one of the search results they have provided. Used and abused I tell you.  But now they have taken it to a whole new level!  When I do a search now they aren’t just changing small things.  Oh no.  Now they are making massive changes to see how I react.  It is like I am some sort of a test rat.  Okay, maybe I am not the only one.  Have you guys been “chosen” as a Google lab rat?  Let me know if you feel used and we’ll let Google know together.

The local results are intermingled with the organic results which had a negative effect for some, and a positive effect for others.  The map is showing in the top right.  This is a change that is universal, and I don’t believe I am being used as a Google Lab Rat any more. The following I know they are still testing.  Have you seen it? You likey, or no likey?

In this case sticking with the “7-pack” at the top just like the old Google Maps listing, but the map is up in the right hand corner.  Has anyone seen where they have gone back to A-J instead of just A-G.  As a lab rat I saw it, took a screen shot just the other day, and I can’t remember where I save the file.  Doh!  The following is something I presume we are all Google Lab Rats on now, but they are still testing this and I am not sure they will stick with it forever:

Note that in the screenshot above the map on the right is eclipsing the ads on the right. Speaking of which, did you notice that MAJOR CHANGE!  It doesn’t say “sponsored links” any more!  Google does away with their bread and butter “sponsored links!” So they haven’t actually gone away from their roughly 20-Billion-a-year bread and butter, but they did leave the name at least for a little while to test the word “ads” on lab rats like me.  Are they testing this on you too? A few days ago my co-workers were still seeing “sponsored links.”  Now they are lab rats as well seeing “ads” instead.

In the ad below, while the SERP is showing as a local serp with the map on right, something is different, what is it?

You guessed it.  Google is giving less priority to the “7-pack” moving them down the page below some of the first organic results.  My guess as a seasoned Google lab rat is that this is due to the fact that the maps results have very few reviews and for that reason are given less relevance. What is your guess?  Or, do you know something I don’t about what is causing that?

Now let’s look about what is different about what shows up beneath the fold in the Google serp.

Just 5 organic results!  Ouch!  They cut the results down from 10 beneath the map to just 5!  But wait, check out this next one:

See, I am a Google Lab Rat, and maybe you are too.  Now I see 7 organic results beneath the “7-pack.” Go check.  How many are showing up for you?  Do a couple different searches and see if you get a different number each time.  Are you one of Google’s rats?

Below is a screen shot of something they have done to conditioned Google rats like me.  Can you guess what it is?

They quit showing ads on the top.  This is nothing new.  I have had more people than I can count on my hands and toes ask me how come Google shows ads on the top and sometimes they don’t.  This is what happens to conditioned Google lab rats.  If you don’t click on the ads after multiple searches without a click-through, they stop showing ads to you on the top.  Google wants to show ads to people that are going to click-through.  If you won’t they quit showing you as many ads for a couple reasons (Matt Cutts, correct me if I am wrong):

1.) User-experience.  They don’t want to show you something they begin to assume you don’t want.

2.) It effects the advertisers click-through rate and quality score to keep showing ads to someone who doesn’t ever click-through.

Have you ever seen when only 2 ads show on the right for a search that you know has multiple advertisers willing to pay to be there? I haven’t been able to get it to happen ever since Google Instant came about.

So, you little rat, what other crazy changes have you noticed with Google.