Revitalization of Organic Search for Marketing
Many of you have been negatively impacted by Google’s search algorithm rules and in how they’ve managed the presentation of their search results pages. Even Advanced SEO strategists are challenged to help small business gain visibility. But change does create opportunity.
For some, it has killed website traffic and impaired their website’s ability to engage visitors and generate sales conversions. The net result is an abandonment of organic marketing and a resignation to the cost of paid advertising. With normal competitive markets, no one can exert undue influence nor enforce unfair practices on all.
Google and Facebook have gained a monopoly market dominance, and their control has deepened. Critics site this fact in the news by saying “capitalism is dead.” However, if the Internet monopolies are regulated to some extent, it could bring organic (non paid) marketing and fair competition back into vogue. That is, if it’s supported.
Increasing reliance on Internet advertising with only a few options is very risky for the future of business. Obviously something needs to be done. Biden’s move to ensure big corporations do pay their fair share of taxes, perhaps shows the momentum has shifted in favor of small business.
Crushing Advertising Protocols and Prices
As an example, few real estate agents are suffering with a reliance on Facebook Ads, expensive and weak lead generation services, and Google ads. It’s made them reluctant to invest in long term real estate marketing service packages to grow sustainable visibility and reach. The focus is on immediate, short term results with no equity, which is clearly not in best interests of small businesses, who are fighting for their lives against cash rich, giant corporations.
The challenge is so high, that more desperate marketers resort to spam and other negative tactics. These tactics are a big waste of time and money for small businesses.
As we arise from the pandemic, small businesses are financially challenged to ramp business up. The restrictions, monopoly and business practices of Google and Facebook will bring much pain, but profits for the two advertising platforms will undoubtedly rocket.
Plugging Search Pages with Ads
Back in 2004, when Google added advertising ads to its search results pages, small business owners and search engine optimizers didn’t feel it would be much of a threat.
Yet, each year, the search engine Giant continued to infuse more advertising and other material into search results, while even limiting the number of organic search results. The ploy was to stack the deck and enforce clicks on paid ads.
Similar activity on your site would be deemed spam and your site would be punished for it. Seems hypocritical and very unfair.
Google has even posted unauthorized snippets of web site content in its search results pages thereby reducing clickthroughs to those websites. The content Google injects into the search result pages includes Quick Answers, Knowledge Boxes, Featured Snippets, Top Stories (news), People also Asked and more.
Zero Click Searches
Over the years, traffic to websites from Google has been significantly reduced. In fact, the term zero click searches has been applied to describe what’s happened. And zero click searches are now estimated at 65% of all searches in 2021. This means that even though your site may show in search results, there will be no clicks through to your site. No visitors, no sales.
Obviously, this can impact businesses who have limited options to reach interested consumers online.
The era of monopoly is perhaps one of the reasons small business formation has its historic, all time lows. Why start a business that’s doomed to failure with few options for cost effective reach to the consumer or B2B markets? This point is not among the reasons Google is facing anti-trust charges, but it should be.
Is Google a Monopoly which must be Regulated?
The attorney General of the state of Ohio just launched a lawsuit against Google Alphabet corporation claiming it is a monopoly and should be regulated as a utility. The nature of the action stems from Ohio’s belief that Google favors its own products ahead of legitimate products and services of other companies.
Surprisingly, this is the first legal action of its kind and it may herald in an era that is less tolerant to the big monopolies: Amazon, Facebook, Google, who completely dominate Internet advertising. Google stock price is up again today, so it appears no one is too concerned about actions against the company.
There’s no telling how the government will respond, yet Google and Facebook have been squeezing advertisers for some time now and the writing’s been on the wall. The squeezing is so intense, many businesses have given up on marketing and simply succumb to pricey advertising campaigns with squeeze landing pages where visitors endure high pressure selling tactics and other techniques to buy (sales conversion).
This results in visitors/shoppers not enjoying their experience.
Although overall search traffic via Google globally is in the trillions, the corporation has learned how to retain more of that traffic for its own marketing and business purposes. The profit benefit for Google has been astonishing. Profits have rocketed into the hundreds of billions of dollars.
The process has been simple: deny or limit free organic exposure in search results, and force small business to purchase advertising instead. Given Google’s monopoly position in search (90% of search), the ethics of this squeeze play is highly questionable.
A report put out by Search Engine Land with sources shows how Google is retaining more Web traffic.
Facebook too has its methods of discouraging visitors from leaving its platform and this hasn’t been addressed by regulators. That means it has its own zero click numbers. Facebook’s own organic feed algorithm penalizes account holders if a link in a FB post goes to a website or outside of Facebook.
If there was competition in the search and social media space, this wouldn’t be a topic. But the big 3 have a significant monopoly on the Internet.
With organic digital marketing disappearing, more business owners are keen to see the issue rectified. If Google, Facebook, and Amazon were forced to behave not like an oligopoly but instead as utilities, they would need to adjust their search algorithms and results pages. If this happens, it would be huge boost to small business and to search engine marketers.
A return of organic traffic to websites would bring enormous benefit to the fragile, recovering economy.
The real issue with Google and Facebook domination of the Internet and their squeeze strategies on small business, is that small business finances gravitate into Google and Facebook bank accounts. Less funds for small business leaves American businesses less competitive and less effective.
This summer as the economy recovers, it will hit a speed bump called Google and Facebook. If the issue becomes too intense regulators could force the companies to change.
For Real estate agents, the challenge to dominate real estate marketing is daunting. The real estate industry has its own monopoly issues as well, and Google has eyed real estate as a potential business opportunity. Still, a Realtor using an integrated real estate marketing campaign will rise to command whatever online opportunities are present.
For market leaders, the future always looks good.