Some have speculated that Google made the “Farmer” update to help its advertisers, and its own bottom line, but data from large search marketing agencies shows revenue wasn’t the search engine’s primary signal. Yet, data from Efficient Frontier and the Rimm Kaufmann Group indicate that revenue-per-click is showing a modest improvement, all the same.
Both agencies saw data the confirmed what’s been reported by others, most prominently Sistrix, with Sistrix’ top 100 “losers” dropping 43%, in terms of paid click traffic to a set of Efficient Frontier’s advertisers analyzed by Siddharth Shah, senior director of business analytics at the company.
Efficient Frontier’s winners and losers, listed by click traffic, seems to confirm other reports.
However, neither Efficient Frontier nor the Rimm Kaufmann Group saw a correlation between revenue-per-click (RPC) and the drop in clicks, indicating that Google didn’t use this metric as the primary signal of how rankings should be changed.
“We see no evidence that within this group there is any link between sales per click and the change in traffic share,” writes Mark Ballard, senior research analyst at Rimm Kaufmann group, in a blog post.
Shah of Efficient Frontier concurs, saying, “This is surprising. You would expect that a site with a much poorer RPC than average RPC would suffer a bigger drop in clicks than a site that has a higher RPC than average. Indeed you would expect that a site that has had a higher RPC to gain clicks post Farmer. This suggests that the Farmer update squelched clicks from sites not necessarily on the basis of monetization quality.”
Yet, the change does appear to be benefiting advertisers, Shah said. ” I have seen improvements of Google Syndicated traffic ROI from 6% to 35%,” he told Search Engine Land. “On an overall basis, Google’s traffic quality has consistently increased by 10%. This is significant because a higher ROI would lead to bigger budgets from performance advertisers.”
Ballard from Rimm Kaufmann hasn’t specifically seen improvements, but expects them to be modest. “Assuming Google doesn’t completely reverse the changes due to complaints, the overall impact will likely be very minor with sales-per-click from partner sites improving in the low single digits,” he wrote. “It’s a start!”