Google, what are you thinking?
We know, you are a profit machine that has share holders to report to and that is why you just made, what you would consider, a brilliant change to the search results.
1) No more sidebar ads.
2) Four ads on top of a natural search.
3) Reduced ads on page one from 11 to 7.
So in one fell swoop, you have pushed natural search down the page even further (so users will click on the paid advertisements that make you money) all the while making those top 4 (instead of 3) ad positions THE MOST coveted spots on the page, thus INCREASING the ad spend of those small businesses that rely on PPC for customers acquisition (again, making you more money).
No doubt you are patting yourself on the back for the layout change that will shovel in more profits for you (and by the way my Adsense portfolio) but..
You say you are “for” small business, but, you continually make it more expensive for PPC users, and harder for SEO to get their pages “seen.”
A Google spokesperson told The SEM Post “We’ll continue to make tweaks, but this is designed for highly commercial queries where the layout is able to provide more relevant results for people searching and better performance for advertisers.”
So are you saying, if we “pay” you to be on top, that makes us more relevant?
Are you saying that your natural search algorithm isn’t good enough to provide the most relevant listings?
We’re just saying.
p.s. For more on Google changes, here is a pretty good article that explains in detail what they did.
Also, make sure to watch Josh’s Ted Talk!