Why is everyone so critical of Google? Is it because the company is too big for its boots? Is there a niggling feeling that maybe they’re abusing their monopoly power?
The truth is: it’s probably neither. A company that can become a household name across the world in less than 20 years must be doing something right. ‘To Google’ is now a verb for goodness sake!
Google has joined the likes of Hoover, Photoshop, Superglue and Velcro where the brand has become a verb. ‘Googling’ is synonymous with using the search engine to solve all your problems. No other company comes close – not even Bing/Microsoft/Yahoo!
AdWords and SEO Collide
So why do so many people want to take a pop at this online behemoth? After all, there are plenty of dynamic companies who monopolise their niches without attracting the same levels of opprobrium as Google. Steve Jobs’ Apple or Richard Branson’s Virgin are two examples that spring to mind.
Could it be that Google is a victim of its own ingenuity? No-one could deny that its AdWords cash-cow is a fiendishly clever concept. And it somehow seems churlish to complain that SEO has been made overly difficult for marketing professionals when the system of online organic ranking of website pages is free-at-point-of-entry anyway.
What many people forget is that Google has achieved its phenomenal success by doing what every business sets out to do: namely, to provide its customers with the best service possible.
No Such Thing as a Free Lunch!
As a search engine, Google’s primary responsibility is to make sure its search results provide the most relevant and highest quality results in response to whatever search terms are typed in. Arguably, it has no responsibility whatsoever to marketing professionals, business people or anyone else submitting ‘content’ to Google’s Index – which is entirely voluntary and FREE OF CHARGE!
In the light of the lengths that so many businesses go to in order to rank highly on Google’s search pages, it’s hardly surprising that the search engine is always trying to keep one step ahead of companies that will stop at nothing to achieve a Page One position.
As we all know, Google changes its top-secret algorithms on a regular basis. This is partly to uphold the ultra-high-quality standards that give users the optimal search experience; but it is also to prevent dubious SEO techniques being used to fool Google’s robots into ranking a web page higher than its content deserves.
Is It True What They Say?
Some cynics say that it’s now so difficult to ‘read’ what Google expects from content providers in its ‘quest for quality’ – and therefore to rank highly in organic listings – that SEO has effectively been killed off.
This has forced businesses to use paid-for advertising via AdWords, just to keep the sales leads coming. Even worse, they claim that Google has dramatically upped the price of ‘clicks’ in its Pay-Per-Click formula, simply because they know they can get away with it!
Elasticity of demand within the AdWords’ concept – where price bidding is unavoidable for those who want to top the paid-for listings – will tend to create an inflationary environment, notwithstanding the fact that many more advertisers are being ‘forced’ into the market-place.
Accusing Google of greed is, in one sense, shooting the messenger. AdWords in itself is almost a ‘perfect market’ that even the earliest designers of this innovative form of advertising could probably never have foreseen.
Rather than Google’s greed, it’s more likely that the rush to retain market share and keep the leads coming in is as much to do with the greed (or desperation!) of the advertisers themselves.
Let The Battle Begin!
Whichever way you look at AdWords, its perfectly balanced economic logic is breath-taking. On the supply side, Google has to police its indexed content to ensure that quality is everything that searchers expect.
As long as this side of the equation is maintained, it’s almost a case of setting the broad cost parameters of the advertising market-place (based on the ever-changing mathematical probabilities that the popularity of keywords dictates) – and then sitting back and letting battle commence.
How Google goes about this may account for their unpopularity in certain quarters. Whilst it’s true they have no direct responsibility for keeping content providers happy – and whilst it’s true that no-one forces a company to pay for its AdWords service – maybe there’s a PR job to be done in explaining how the worlds of SEO and AdWords feed off each other.
About the Author Mike Beeson is a highly experienced UK journalist, copywriter and PR consultant. Mike’s company, Buzzwords Limited, was established over 20 years ago and is located near the city of Manchester. Tel 07714 222 464. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org