Paid inclusion is a term that refers to where a company pays to be included in Google’s organic search results. Back in the day, Google built itself to include you in organic search results based upon strictly merit. That is, your site was included in a search result for a given keyword phrase depending on the relevance of your site, and how much your site is trusted and the amount of authority it has.
Then, Google started doing advertising next to the organic search results. So, these days the Google search results page is now a combination of organic search results, and results based upon paid Adword campaigns, as well as results from Google properties, such as Google+ Local.
As it now stands, Google’s search results page makes it clear which are paid ads and which are organic search results. And most people, given the choice, will choose the search results. Given that 90% of Google revenue comes from paid ads….things are changing.
Now, Google is going to allow you to join in on the organic search results if you pay for paid inclusion in the results.
There is a lot of controversy about the new paid inclusion policy. The biggest issue is one of disclosure. Google should arguably tell searchers that the search results are, or are not, based upon fair, impartial criteria. Paid inclusion puts a different sort of spin on search results. This is why the current PPC ads are colored so that you can make no mistake that they are paid ads. With this new policy, Google may not be fully disclosing that some of the search results are in fact paid advertisements.
The other key issue is how far will paid inclusion be extended to other types of Google search results? For now, paid inclusion is only going to affect Google Hotel Finder and Flight Search. What Google will do in the future about extending paid inclusion to other assets is cloudy at best.
For now, Google does not appear to be officially announcing the new paid inclusion policy. In fact, in the past, Google called paid inclusion ‘evil.’
What do you think of the new paid inclusion policy?