I am of the opinion that paid search, that companies pays money to be on top of a Google search, makes it easier for the customer to find what they are looking for. When doing a Google search you many times just want to find a company’s website or similar. Then as a customer you always find what you are looking for if you google for example the store name since a link to the webpage is practically always is the first search result (unless the company is really small or you have totally spelled it wrong maybe).
I am going to give you some examples; first of all, me and my friends google a lot to find where the nearest outlet is or to find the opening hours. One of my favourite brands is the Swedish brand H&M, offering clothing. If you search for “H&M” you do not only find the correct link to the webpage but you can also find short links to for example kids clothing, accessories etc. You also see exactly where the closest store is located and you can just press the map to get straight into Google maps and search for driving directions. Easy and time-saving for the customer, saves a lot of clicks you otherwise would have to do.
Second of all, if I want to buy a specific product or read about a product, I can feel that I trust the pages on top since they have the money to be on top which probably means that they have a lot of customers already. That means that many people has trusted them before which makes it easier for me to buy from them or to trust their reviews.
I also believe that it is a huge asset for businesses to be able to manage the search results. I quite agree with what is said on Occam’s Razor: ”…the secret gift of Paid Search is that you get to control the user experience, rather than the search engine. You decide what the keyword is. You decide what the ad copy is (your promise to the user). You decide the landing page experience.” That means that the companies want to help us save time and effort. And since the company itself is the writer they themselves can give us the promise they believe they can live up to. I think it is a complete win-win situation. And if someone earns more than the other I definitely would say that it is me as a customer who gets the most out of it. I don’t have to pay a thing and the things I actually probably wanted to find, the companies also wants me to find and therefore I find it!