So far in Q4, Google (GOOG) is serving 3.82 ads per keyword — about 52% more than it did during Q3. During November, Google served 4.38 ads per keyword, a 75% increase over its Q3 average.
This according to search marketing agency AdGooroo (which — let’s admit it — needs a new name if we’re going to take these numbers very seriously).
One reason for the dramatic increase is that Google experimented with serving fewer ads against its search results during Q1 and Q2 2008, before disapointing results led them to serve more again.
The numbers could be seasonal, but AdGooroo’s Rich Stokes says he doesn’t think so, and points to Yahoo much slower relative growth as what Google’s would look like if it weren’t tweaking.
Also: Microsoft’s ads per keyword are down over the same change of seasons.
But it’s also been clear during the last few weeks that Google is trying to dig up revenues anyway it can.
Google has put new ads on many of its properties, including Google Images, News, Finance and new types of ads on Google Maps and YouTube search.
The company has also been cutting costs — travel and food — while pushing engineers to focus on projects that will help the bottom line now, instead of maybe someday in the future.
Our theory is that Google’s either trying to “shock and awe” Wall Street — which has begun to trim expectations and price targets for the company — with a blow out quarter, or that Google’s desperately trying to hit the numbers that are already out there.
For what it’s worth, a Google exec we’ve spoken to tells us its neither — that there’s been no concerted effort to squeeze Google’s non-search products for revenue and that the cost cutting had to happen eventually so why not now.
We almost believed him, but if AdGooroo’s numbers are right and Google is really suddenly throwing half-again as many ads on its search results, it’s clear that whoever’s controlling Google’s revenue machine wants it to print more of the green now.