Could it be? Are the wheels starting to fall off Google?
Nope, but there have been a few pretty big things that have swung against it lately that show why you shouldn’t rely on one entity when it comes to search marketing.
It’s something I’ve covered in the past; your search marketing efforts need to cover a broad range of varied techniques including, depending on the nature of your business, off- and online marketing channels.
Imagine if Google closed one day and its search facilities simply disappeared. What then? You’ll have spent thousands putting all of your eggs in one basket and be back to square one.
And there are some telling signs that some of Google’s power may be on the wane…
Is Google at the start of a long-term decline or will it continue to innovate and go from strength to strength? Let me know in the comments section below.
EU’re heading for trouble…
The papers don’t make for very good reading for Google coming to the end of 2014.
For all the tax-dodging multinationals out there George Osborne decided to call one of his new levies the Google Tax in his autumn statement.
Now, as well as having to (rightly) pay a 25 per cent levy on “artificially shifted” profits, Google’s name will be synonymous with tax avoidance for ever more.
A problem of their own making, perhaps, but Google’s problems aren’t confined to the UK.
Towards the end of November the European Parliament voted in favour of ‘unbundling’ the Google search engine from the rest of the business (though Google wasn’t specifically named).
The resolution, however, is non-binding and has no legal power, though it is a significant identifier of the current mood in Europe in regards to the search giant.
The aim appears to be to try and break down Google, and to encourage the European Parliament to put the blocks on Google’s dominance in the market. If the European Parliament thinks there’s been any wrongdoing then fines of billions could be on the way.
A lot of frustration again boils down to U.S.-based internet companies not paying local taxes. Europe isn’t happy, and the European Parliament wants a strong single European digital market.
And, as if to underline how much the EU dislike Google, the powers that be have also released ‘Right To Be Forgotten’ guidelines as the requests keep rolling in…
Fantastic Mister Fox
Google’s problems aren’t just political, though. More recently Mozilla, creators of the Firefox web browser, struck a deal with Yahoo! to make it the default search engine for Firefox on desktop and mobile browsers.
The deal lasts for five years with both parties apparently keen to expand on the relationship further into the future.
It’s already starting to pay off. In the two weeks that Yahoo! has been the default search engine for Mozilla’s latest release, Firefox 34, Google usage in the browser had declined by over 63 per cent. Yahoo’s share had jumped from 9.6 per cent to 29.4 per cent.
What does it mean? It means that browsers play a huge part in which search engine people decide to use.
People may go to Google to conduct a search but if a search bar is on a browser then people will use it simply for convenience. The Yahoo! stats (provided by StatCounter) highlight this, and as more and more people adopt Firefox 34, Yahoo! will be seeing millions more searches in the next five years.
Has Google let one of its search rivals through the door by choosing not to carry on its partnership with Mozilla?
There’s also the matter of Google Contributor. Who knows how that experiment will go, and if it’s taken up, what will happen to committed media sites if it heads the way of Orkut and Google Reader?
Do different search engines really affect your strategy, or do you concentrate everything you can on Google rankings? Let me know below!
The beginning of the end for Google?
So, a rocky end to the year for Google, but is it the first signs of collapse? Not likely – Google won’t ever disappear overnight, and statistics show that paid search revenue hit incredible heights over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend.
But, as I’ve written before, it shows how essential it is to have a broad strategy when it comes to marketing yourself online. The tension with the EU may cause changes in search further down the line. Search is constantly changing, after all…
As well as trying to optimise for Google you need to consider, like the Firefox example above, that not everybody you’re targeting may feel like using a certain service.
Are you on Yahoo!, or how about Bing? Some studies show that paid search campaigns may actually be more fruitful and concentrated on Bing, and also cost less money.
Away from search engines are you gathering your customers’ data with their consent in an ethical and transparent manner, and using it in the right way to reward their loyalty with incentives and offers?
Are you speaking with your customers on a human level through social media and email marketing, and are you doing it in a way that doesn’t put them off and make them regard you as a spammy account?
Are you creating engaging, unique content about your industry, your market, your local area, and your customers that encourages people to find you and share it amongst their friends?
The real excitement and beauty of search marketing doesn’t revolve around what Google’s up to and what changes it decides to make every other month.
It revolves around every business of all shape and size being unique and different and not having the same strategy. A creative search strategy is unique to every company, and can really help brands stand out against their competitors.
If you’d like to learn more about how search marketing can improve traffic to your website and help boost your business contact the Webpresence team today!