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|The Future of SEO in a Big Brand, Google-Only World|
Okay, sort of a hypothetical...
I have been doing SEO really since the day it was invented but not with any real success until the last say 7 years...
In that time Google took over, and for me my only money comes from Google... Right now all my money is gone because whatever Google is doing.. All is fair in love and war... I still get my other traffic, it does not make me a dime.. Google took away 1/3 of my traffic total and 100% loss in sales
Anyway, over the years it use to be people surfed different searches, then Google became the standard... The wide array of building profitable traffic got narrowed into one place. It use to be you had to be on the first three pages, surfers got less interested and lazy, realizing anything they want could be found in the top 5 choices... They trusted Google as they should, it is what Google works at...
Then over the last couple of years big business realized, heck we should just put teams together and dominate the top five, we have the resources and money and natural links and everything else to dominate... They say "we don't have to dominate the search" as they do not, because anyone would naturally just type their well branded name into the browser... Yet, they can dominate the top 5 and should because odds are the people up their are just affiliates or ad sellers that are selling for them...
Sure they are making a profit anyway, but less of a profit. For the profits they were giving away they could just invest half of that and dominate...(and do huge branded companies really want nobodies and anybodies marketing their model but them, I WOULD NOT! It was a gold rush and they wanted in, now they do not) Google naturally respects them anyway because people naturally link to them, they are huge, a name they can trust , G hates affiliates...
Now G must realize that really all Adsense is is affiliate marketing... people making a little something for people to get to the same place they knew they needed/wanted to go anyway... In the end, the way people have been trained to the net, top 3 maybe 5 in Google... that is as deep as the net goes on any serious level...
Oh yeah, and with smarter surfer's comes less used keywords, only a few keywords now make money and everyone in the entire world is competing for it... Sure their are keywords no one is competing for... Because they make NO money...
To be honest what once seemed like a limitless world to me for marketing my ideas now seems like the most narrow... It has been reduced to 5 places that can make money, and closing in on three with competition through the roof... Hell I could teach a 5 year old how to build a nice SEO site... SEO use to be a talent, web deign a secret skill... it is SOOO saturated... I think I can stand on the corner of my street and gain more attention, respect and income in the Long term then SEO. I see door-to-door sales as more a lucrative future.
This is not an anti-Google or SEO thread... I just see the noose tightening... I always felt so long as I just put out my content and have a small place to operate I can succeed and felt it would always be available in SEO... I am to the realization that it is not...
So the question becomes, how can you survive in such a limitless environment with SEO... We are down to one search engine, and 3 to 5 spaces...
Five places? Well, that can be the case for some queries, but how many total queries are possible traffic sources? It pays to get outside the box and consider many kinds of marketing angles for a site. And expand your vision to include all the ways you can retain the customer after SEO brings them in for a first visit.
It's been a long time since I thought of SEO as merely a rankings game. I work with some very small businesses who are succeeding even as solo entrepreneurs, as well as working with some very big enterprises. So I can tell you for sure, there are a lot of traffic strategies to explore that the Big Brands simply can't or won't.
Yes, the game keeps changing - it has always been that way. I spend at least 30% of my time learning new things every day. I just consider that part of my "job description".
tshirtdeal I will absolutely agree with you.
Let me start by saying I agree with 99% of what you said in your post. As a Webmaster who uses SEO practices to rank sites better, I have been knocked off my throne and cussed the gods at Google more times than I can imagine.
My mistake for relying on the GoogleHighway for business. (At least that's what I'm told when I complain)
In the end... I always refer back to a copy of "Who Moved My Cheese" (A great 50-page single-sitting book for sales people), and start reaching out for different ways to attract visitors, and put food on my table.
The beauty of google was that it gave the little guy an equal chance. That chance is being crushed slowly.
We are nearing a point for the next big thing. Maybe it will be bing that comes along with a new interface that takes advantage of increasing screen sizes and resolutions. Google seems preoccupied with trying to develop AI and has forgotten in the end we care about results.
The one thing you won't read anywhere is someone saying "wow these results from google are so much better than yahoo.". Truth is they aren't now and google will find quickly that once the free service (SERPS) loses value in the eyes of a fickle public they will fall very quickly.
If bing provides better results in 2011, what is google going to do? I think we will see shortly in the data the shift away from google has started.
|It use to be you had to be on the first three pages, surfers got less interested and lazy, realizing anything they want could be found in the top 5 choices |
Isn't it possible that Google has improved to the extent that most searchers can find what they want in the top 5 places? Or even that webmasters have improved and websites are more adept at understanding their visitors? Or most likely, a combination of the two?
I do agree with you, the problem for me is that it really has come down to the top 5 places... The competition is to tough, they have huge teams.. How can just a single individual compete... Everything else I have tried does not work... The only place I have ever made any real money is from Google... I've tried everything... Over the last 2 years for me it has been brought down to the top 5 spots...
I use to do better 5 years ago on page 3 then today on the 8th and 9th positions of page one... What worked so will with SEO and why I loved it early was people are looking to buy.. Other avenues I find it so difficult to make sales... People on social networks and so forth are not looking to buy no matter how much you put something in front of them.. By the time they do want to buy they go to Google and find the source right at the top...
If I go down on this long ventured I have put my heart and soul into the only way I will reenter is with my own products I make or my own services...
"expand your vision to include all the ways you can retain the customer after SEO brings them in for a first visit."
Yeah Tedster, I guess this is what I have not figured out... Although I was about to start working on it after I just finished my total site overhaul... I will work on these ideas if G puts me back in the game, so far that isn't the case though...
I know what you mean. There's building a website, and then there's building a business.
tshirtdeal, I have been where you are many many times. I know it feels devastating sometimes and it can make you outright depressed to see all your hard work be essentially erased.
SEO is an ongoing process. You can never stop in your efforts because if you stop, there is someone in the same industry that is working hard to beat you out.
Go to the drawing board, analyze everything and log everything somewhere so you can look back on it. Continue to create HQ unique content and continue to improve your site and to network within your community.
Everytime google has slapped me down I have come back even stronger and more experience and I always learn something new.
It has gotten to the point where I now hope that google slaps me down so that I can take on the challenge and show google it can knock me down but it cant keep me there.
Dont be discouraged, and do not do anything too drastic either, I know its easier said than done, but take it from someone who has been in your situation many times.
|It has gotten to the point where I now hope that google slaps me down |
You are a better man than me! I just about spit my beer onto my keyboard when I read that! LOL
hah! I know it sounds weird. Dont get me wrong, when I do get slapped it hurts. But then I become this different person who doesnt sleep because I am so focused on finding out what happened and recovering.
I have been hit with so many penalties and I have never received the same penalty twice. Many times I will just watch matt cutts videos, read SEO forums and something will click and a lightbulb will go off and I will realize what I need to do. And if that doesnt work, I do the same thing over and over for weeks until something does click.
It is very stressful but the reward is worth it when you wake up one day and notice you are now in a better position than you were before the penalty/slap etc.
I get it Brinked, being able to recover would only build confidence and ensure that you can do this for the long haul...
Unfortunately for me I just have no clue what could have caused this.. If I was aggressive link building I would get it... I did just overhal my site the last few months... Only a few pages a day and no changes in content, META's or anything like that...
I did see that a directory has me listed in their "sponsored" links which is site wide and shows a ton of links in Webmaster tools... Could that cause it? Could google think I paid for this 1 link and kill me? If so that seems a bit unfair because I will just start thousands of directories and put my competition sitewide under Sponsored homepage links..
Do you have a thin affiliate site? Google can be kind of tough on those. Having some affiliate links on a content site usually makes it easier to get good rankings.
No, not at all, it's extremely fat if anything every page is 500 to 1000 words of my own unique content... It made it through the initial thin affiliate site wipe out with ease back when that occurred...
Not to mention all my competition is extremely thin/scrapers who have always been able to do better then me somehow.. I'll never know.. They are still there , I am not...
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. I've lost track of how many times Google gave me a swat, often it was nothing I did and my sites popped back up a week or two later.
I've always suggested having more than one site, similar but not a duplicate on a different server and domain. The chances of all of them getting whacked at the same time is unlikely if they are not connected.
|Continue to create HQ unique content and continue to improve your site and to network within your community. |
|I have been hit with so many penalties and I have never received the same penalty twice |
Those two seem to be totally confusing..
Are you trying to say that google had slapped and penalized in different ways for doing what you suggest - creating HQ unique content and networking?
Google can slap you for no reason at all, some of what google does makes no sense at all. We've all seen it.
There's a site that's always played cat and mouse with mine for my main keywords, the site's main page, which remained unchanged since 1999, consisted of an image map with no content and five links. For the last four months it's consisted of a " We are under construction, new site coming soon". It currently sits at #2 on the first page for "Blue widgets"
|Right now all my money is gone because whatever Google is doing. |
I noticed that yesterday, Friday Oct 29th, 2010, Google search results for "products" all started returning "Google Places" listings. Things like "atv" and "dryer parts" are not locations but Google is showing locations where you can buy those locally, underneath their own affiliate offers of course.
Check your stats for Saturday Oct 30th, 2010 if you are a US based publisher and I am certain most of you will have seen a substantial loss in traffic if your site "sells products online".
Google just became a shopping portal and they get paid via affiliate offers and "places" subscriptions. Google is no longer primarily a search engine imo and as such it's time to SERIOUSLY brainstorm ways of sustaining your traffic WITHOUT Google, Yahoo or Bing (and preferably not by paying them for sponsored listings).
The world went and got dependent on Google, now Google is cashing in. The internet is changing, right now.
BTW, I meant Limited there not... "limitless environment" in the last sentence of the opening thread...
"SERIOUSLY brainstorm ways of sustaining your traffic WITHOUT Google, Yahoo or Bing"
The problem in my mind is where though? The bottom line is when someone is ready, willing and able to buy that is where they will do it from.. Like I said, I only lost 1/3 of my traffic but 100% of my sales.. I have traffic coming in from social networking, social bookmarking, other related sites, articles and on and on... I can probably gain the 1/3 of my lost traffic back, and be back to 100% traffic but then i just have 100% times zero which doesn't do me much at all..
If we study history we see no company dominated the market share forever. At one time Kleenex, Frigidaire, FORD,GM,IBM and others had the market locked down. Now considering this is a global marketplace, I don't think the Google dominance will last long. It's my opinion that people use Google because that's all they know. But as they become educated, they will choose other rivals. Just as Naiver in South Korea owns 80% of the market there, (G is 4%) different cultures will prefer different search engines. Google will also face stiff competition from specialty search engines like Kayak and others who will erode their share.
The problem with being number one (which IBM learned) is that everyone is gunning for you. Instead of having one or two competitors, you have hundreds.
Google is now making a profit of over $5B usd a year. There are plenty of capitalists around the world who want a piece of that.
If all your money is coming from Google, then your problem is your niche.
Bing and Yahoo make up 33% of the searches done on the Internet.
I've been doing this a long time as well and I've noticed that certain niches provide a better return on Bing and Yahoo and also vice versa.
It's all in the niche. 33% of the searching public doesn’t use Google and those 33% can generate a lot of sales if you are targeting the correct niche.
Might be time to look at changing up your niche and go after getting Bing and Yahoo conversions not to mention the many other ways available to drive qualified traffic to a site.
As the saying goes “The definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results”.
Removing the Google spybar and not worrying about what Google is doing was a very liberating moment for me.
|Removing the Google spybar and not worrying about what Google is doing was a very liberating moment for me. |
I never install any bar in my browser. And it's already more than 3 years since the last time I check my sites' pagerank.
|The Future of SEO in a Big Brand |
IMHO, google future is about ads (portal) and services. Think about charging outsourcing small fee (from big brand) to take order for local/regional pizza hut around the world, ticket booking services, etc. and route the order to closest point of sales.
Right now, if I want a pizza, I bet goog know where I am, where the closest pizza store near my house. All goog don't have right know is a direct services to link me to vendor.
|Things like "atv" and "dryer parts" are not locations but Google is showing locations where you can buy those locally |
Keep in mind that a query does not have to specify a location. If Google is confident enough that it knows where the user is and what his or her intent is it might serve Places results. It's a bit hit or miss right now; I've seen a couple of one word product queries where adding a location actually knocks out the Places results.
|Google just became a shopping portal and they get paid via affiliate offers and "places" subscriptions. |
Okay, I'm just simpy confused here. Can you expand on this?
|Right now, if I want a pizza, I bet goog know where I am, where the closest pizza store near my house. |
Actually, if you listen to Schmidt... Google would already have known you wanted pizza and had it ready for you to pick up long before you knew it yourself!
In fact, Goog even knew you were tired of combination and wanted ham and pineapple this time.
|Actually, if you listen to Schmidt... Google would already have known you wanted pizza and had it ready for you to pick up long before you knew it yourself! |
In fact, Goog even knew you were tired of combination and wanted ham and pineapple this time.
Not to mention, 'bounty hunter' services for government. I have read it somewhere in this forum about a college student get caught a few hours after posting to twitter.
I certainly respect a ceo's right to speak. But some of what is being said is scary.
I had a conversation last night at a party with friends. About 1 in 3 came right out and said "what's wrong with google" or something to that effect. One is an engineer that researches online. Another uses the web primarily to buy things. The others didn't notice/don't use the web much etc.
This new google is about to either cement the companys future or detour it. Unless they are finalizing changes I think they really jumped the shark with this AI attempt.
gmail and google talk for 'archive' and communication. goog checkout for payment. goog map for pinpoint location. Reliable search engine to collect raw data and track visitors behaviour. Adwords and Adsense for revenue and marketing purposes.
All building blocks are already there, all it needs is to connect them into full scale services.
I understand what you are saying, but an expert at SEO will always be/stay ahead of the curve. Don't give up, just work a little harder and beat up the big bullies like you know you can..... because you can!
Like Tedster said, you have to turn on the innovative and creative light bulb, that's all...... then mix it with your current SEO knowledge!
Last thought, don't put all your eggs in one basket.... in website/SEO terms. Expand your area of expertise into other things.... they can be fairly similar but should be done!
Keep at it, and best of luck to getting back on top!
If you have not already considered this... getting an email address from your visitors is important especially now, it is a way to continue business to your customer base without G.
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