New Google Search Ads Are a Case-study in Poor Design

Google has always been expert in design, mastering the art of clean, user-focused pages, but their new ad format does just the opposite. Google’s latest ads occupy nearly the entire search page above the fold, requiring users to scroll down to see anything past the first result. It makes Google unusable, without adblock. It’s so sad, when a company turns away from its mission

This is what Matt Cutts, Google’s head of SEO, had to say about bad websites

“If you click on a website and the part of the website you see first either doesn’t have a lot of visible content above-the-fold or dedicates a large fraction of the site’s initial screen real estate to ads, that’s not a very good user experience. Such sites may not rank as highly going forward.”

Hmm. What website does this sound like?

What do you think? Weigh in with a comment!

Some Chilling Comparisons

Look at some of the search pages with Adblock, versus without adblock.  The one on the left (or the top one, if your browser is small) is with adblock, and displays 6 regular “organic” search results, and 0 ads. The one without adblock displays 9 ads, and 3 regular search results.

Below that is my complaint to Google.

What do you think? Weigh in with a comment!

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 10.01.31 AM Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 10.01.21 AMScreen Shot 2013-11-20 at 10.04.49 AM

Rather ironic…

Last week, Google started showing messages in a few select markets asking users not to use Adblock, a popular browser extension that removes all ads from the search page. With 3 ads, and a single search result on many of my searches, I felt betrayed though.

I’ve never used adblock before, because I believe in supporting the services I use, but this morning I saw no other choice, and installed adblock (which works perfectly by the way).

I’m one step closer to Bing (or at least Duckduckgo).


Michael Sitver

Michael Sitver is a technology insider who has been blogging about technology since 2011. Along the way, he's interviewed founders of innovative startups, and executives from fortune 500 companies, and he's tried dozens or hundreds of gadgets. Michael has also contributed to works featured in Newsday, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the associated press. Michael also occasionally consults, and writes for Seeking Alpha and Yahoo News.

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3 Responses

  1. Ria Parish says:

    They’ve made so many changes to the way they display their ads on the search results page recently though, I wonder if this format is here to stay. I’m sure if enough people complained and installed adblock in protest, their impressions would drop significantly enough for them to be more sensible with their ad placements. Unfortunately, I don’t see there being enough people ready to do this to make a significant enough impact.

    • appstorechronicle says:

      Agreed. 200,000 people signed the petition against Youtube comments changes (, and there’s no sign that Google’s backing down it. They’re too internally focussed and deaf to users to do anything. Maybe they’ll have a stroke of genius with their thousands of Stanford and Harvard engineers, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon. Thanks for your insightful comment.

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