And what that means to your advertising and messaging...
A Yahoo employee has a perspective on why Google is trouncing Yahoo when it comes to search advertising revenues in a recent post.
As it turns out, Google is doing better not because it is returning better organic search results, but because its ads are better. And by better I am keying mostly on ad relevance. Google users are increasingly finding the paid ad links helpful in the quest to find what they're looking for.
And why the increased relevance? Because Google began to move away from ranking ad placement solely by bidding on cost per click. For some time now, Google has been using an algorithm to rank ads by relevance to keyword searches, partly based on ad content and partly based on the relevance of the destination page gained by clicking the ad.
If ads are more relevant, users will click them more often, viewing the ads as helpful and not a nuisance. If clicks double, then as long as costs per click recede less than 50% you make more money. Ask Google, their share price topped $700 today. Now imagine that... Google adapts its advertising to make it better for its customers (those using search, not the advertisers) and it turns out to be better for the company too.
Now, here is the extended revelation from this phenomenon. Relevance and salience are the most important attributes in any advertising - TV, radio, print, direct mail... Relevance stirs interest which creates "clicks" which ultimately (If there's integrity between your message and the product or service you deliver) will result in increased revenues.