Google is a Master Tester
There are few companies that are better at live market testing than Google, and they love beta testing using the world as their subjects.
With billions of searches happening, they can afford to have a few non-optimized results happen in order to find a better way of presenting or organizing the content they offer. In scientific language, we are the population sample. Their latest testing is the placement of Search Option on the Google Search Results Page. Run a few searches and you may see the search options appear down the left hand side, where they have traditionally been, or moved to the top.
Test Like Google
How do you test like Google? Google uses a testing or a scientific method known as A/B testing or split testing. What that means is that they take 2 or several versions of what they want to test and then place them in the same environment, subjecting them to the same conditions, and systematically switching between test versions to create a data set that they can evaluate.
Is Google Screwing With Us?
Well, no, in fact, I'd take the position that all of Google's testing has helped me and my customers, immensely. The Google AdWords ad platform has this split testing process built in to help deliver up the most successful combination of ads and keywords.
Google's Profit is Our Success
That sounds a little suspicious, but I believe it is absolutely true. Everytime Google serves up better combinations of ads for my clients in Google AdWords, leading to more clicks on the better combinations, my customers win with highly relevant traffic to their website. Google wins with revenue (leading to their profits) and my customers thank me for increased leads/sales.