Robust, content writing. Social media tweets and posts. Autoresponder campaigns. On-page registrations capturing email addresses. Blogs, back links and conversions.
These are words and phrases that everyone in the business world should know. If they are new to you, then you are behind. By trying to "improve our search and Internet experience", Google has changed the face of marketing and advertising forever.
Has the Google search experience actually improved or has it gotten worse?
Finding what we want through simple searches no longer results in zeroing in quickly and accurately on our targets. In fact, in some instances a company's website may not come up in first place on page one even when entering its name in the search field. If the company has not played the Google marketing game, they could very well end up anywhere. If the company has no website, the chances of quickly finding it are slim.
That was not always the case. When searches first started, any indexed information would come up in the logical order that one would expect.
So let's talk about these algorithm updates that started way back in 2000 when Google launched its toolbar, which is noted as the inception of page ranking and content marketing.
This is the day the race began.
During the following years, Google continued to make updates rendering the most successful internet marketing plans nearly useless. And the search experience was without a plethora of complaints. (What happened to 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it?)
Regardless, Google began making algorithym and PageRank updates on a monthly basis, leaving most marketers out in the cold. Some caught on and made the necessary monthly tweaks to achieve a high page rank, thus landing on page one of the appropriate Google searches.
By 2003, Boston - the first named update - had come on the scene. Well, Boston was followed by Cassandra (April 2003), Dominic (May 2003), Esmerelda (June 2003), Fritz (July 2003), Florida (November 2003) and only two updates in 2004 before Google's IPO took place. With 19,000 shares sold and $1.67 billion in capital raised, Google became a major, global player. By 2005, Google's price per share had doubled.
Almost ten years have passed and Google has grown beyond anyone's wildest dreams. The corporation is known as an innovative employer, a world leader and as forward thinking as a company can get, with a newly developed hovercraft and a strong focus on mobile devices.
Google is always the good guy, the company to watch, the philanthropic giant and more.
Yet, what about the flip side? What about all of the marketing dollars that have been wasted due to constantly changing game rules?
If you're a business owner, marketing professional, SEO company or involved in digital media in any way, you will recognize this list and nod in agreement.
Once every advertiser on the planet understood the amazing advantages of appearing on page one of any Google search pertaining to the products or services they were selling, the race began. The promise of instant clientele and traffic became so appealing that marketing strategies have evolved considerably over the years.
Yet, what are the chances of every advertiser ending up on page one for their selected keywords on Google? Very few realize that it is might be easier to find the Holy Grail.
It simply isn't possible. SEO companies promise page one over time yet continue to use techniques based on the last update to no avail. Advertisers don't know the difference and most certainly don't know who knows. SEO is the behind the scenes money maker and often an expensive trip to nowhere.
How one gets to page one changes, or is updated, approximately three times per year - sometimes more and sometimes less. So every time that happens, the entire advertising/marketing & SEO communities shift gears.
One minute it's all about blogs and back links and before we know it, social "likes" and reviews are taking priority.
There have been over 100 updates since the Boston 2003. Updates have increased from a couple a year to fifteen updates in recent years. Yet, no one is complaining.
If our auto manufacturers requested fifteen recalls in a year, we would stop buying the brand. If our washing machine manufacturers had fifteen recalls in a lifetime, they would be out of business.
Yet, we are willing to allow this monolithic company to rule our advertising waves by forcing businesses to succumb to the newest and latest guidelines for reaching page one status.
The mass public is unaware and in for a rude awakening. The news they are reading every day, is written by unpaid writers who are not forced to use sources. So information comes from everywhere and is hybrid by the next writer who sees that story and adds his/her own spin.
The reason for this evolution of non-authenticated news is because companies, in an attempt to comply with Google page one guidelines, are forced to create informative blogs in order to gain on-page search-engine optimization, as well as back links (blogs that are posted elsewhere that link back to the advertisers website, thus boosting page and authority ranks).
Having a 500 word blog written by a good writer could cost anywhere between $40-80. SEO guidelines encourage blog posts two-four times per week.
Most companies are unwilling to pay a high price for blogs and instead find writers in third-world countries who will write 12 blogs for $12-36 total while the U.S. writer would charge a minimum of $30 or $360 for 12 blogs.
Well, guess what? The third-world writers are grabbing information off the internet and no one is checking the sources. The blogs are then published and before you know it people believe what they are reading and spread that information.
As time goes by, articles and blogs become reproductions of reproduced articles and just like in that childhood game, "telephone", the accurate information gets lost along the way.
There should be great concern over the increasing use of unsourced blogs and articles.
Google creates great services, no doubt - yet they are the Matrix - they hold the codes and the keys to the promised land.
And Google monsters are being created in their wake.
5 Google monsters no one talks about:
1. SEO Companies: Everyone is an SEO expert. Advertising, marketing and public relations firms have all gotten into the act. SEO specialty companies generally handle a couple aspects of SEO and the client rarely sees the projected results. Although no statistics are available, there are new SEO companies cropping up every day. However, which ones are up to date and in-sync with Google updates?
2. Marketing companies: Just like the blurring of sales and marketing, in today's workplace the number of companies calling themselves marketing companies now includes: public relations firms, ad agencies, SEO companies and everything in between. There is no way to tell who does what. So the blurring of specialists goes in both directions.
3. Online Saviors are born: Marketo, HubSpot, Vocus and more. Every day a new savior is born with free ebooks on the newest, biggest, baddest way to gain success on the internet.. barraging your inbox with so many tips and tricks you have to wonder how often they use their own tactics... where's the time? Google quadrupled our clutter.
4. Google Page One flattens global economy: Google has produced a world of marketing lemmings. Clutter up. Creativity down. What happened to the creativity we see on tv, print ads and radio commercials? How many more online ads can contain the same messages? Is everyone an expert? The best? The most? The finest? The cheapest? Our messages are so blurred, we want to ignore them all.
5. Google has created an entire industry of smoke and mirrors: And people are buying the smoke and mirrors! Plus, Google doesn't always publicize updates. For example, recent rumors reveal that Google is planning to encrypt user information, which will prevent website owners from discovering fine-tuned information about their visitors, which has been a huge marketing advantage to date.
So while Google is being lauded for its contributions to the information highway, no one is talking about the elephant and the monsters that have been created.
There's got to be a better way. Marketing in this manner is like treading water and sometimes in the wrong direction. Yet just like a train that has left its station, content marketing and social media are hitting Main Street hard. Everyone's getting into the act and the vicious circle of empty promises and wasted budgets continues.
With over 100 updates, it would seem that Google might have learned something from watching the government amend antique laws. Will amending and revising the original Google widget going to continue to cause the rest of us time and money.
We want value for our advertising dollars. We want to be able to plan and know how to succeed. We don't want to guess and we most certainly don't want to have to change directions every three months.
We're following a carrot - the promise of page one and a stream of new customers if we continue to spend time getting "likes" and writing blogs and doing the same five-seven things everyone else is doing to stand out, while all the while blending in.
When is it time to stand up and say, "Build us a better widget or we're taking our marketing budgets to find more effective ways of increasing sales."