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Is it time to move on from Google?

     
9:06 pm on Jul 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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With Google results not poorer than ever due to brand domination, ROI on advertising at all time lows, I ask a simple question :

Is it time to move on from Google?

Yandex has been quietly busy building an English search engine in the Netherlands and Bing well I think they're doing their best, both have their faults but they don't show brands repeatedly in their SERPS and maybe just maybe with the support of webmasters could build a rival to Google that would keep them honest.

Google isn't going to change, they will keep SME's suppressed whilst suckers keep spending on advertising. The only way to evoke change is switch to supporting a Search Engine that supports the many not the few.
3:59 pm on July 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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It is definitely time for my competition to move on from Google.

I'm a business person and that means I want to invest $1 and earn $2. Since Google controls about 65% to 95% of search engine market share depending on device, country, etc. there is still plenty of opportunity to make a profit. I also recognize that Google is a business and they are not my friend. They are looking out for their own best interest and not mine and that is not going to change.

I've been fortunate enough to find creative ways to make SEO profits. To stay profitable I do agree that we should not limit ourselves and move on or rather expand beyond Google to add new business opportunities. The more I have embraced the diverse opportunities, the more synergy develops across my marketing initiatives.

Here are some of the things that have made me less dependent on Google & helped build synergy with my SEO efforts: email newsletters, social marketing, contests, publishing books, facebook ads, podcasts, youtube videos, and brand ambassador programs just to name a few.

For anyone looking to move on from Google or as I prefer to say ... expanding beyond just Google, what are your best opportunities and potential synergistic ideas?
4:08 pm on July 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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This may come as a complete surprise but yes, I've moved on. I've approached this from the perspective that Google isn't going anywhere and that they will continue to encroach and act in a predatorial manner. They will eat everything given enough time.

So really if I'm doing something it must have legs on its own. Investing time/money/effort is at the highest level of scrutiny for what I do. Few things can flourish in the current landscape. I act under the belief that Google isn't going anywhere so there is really no safe zone in my opinion. They are going to eat or take a cut of anything that comes across their bandwidth. So that includes any YouTube plans for myself as well.

What I'm really hoping for is for Facebook to do something ethical and honorable. They have the funds to create a search. Outside of them, who could? With Google/Android in most every pocket in the globe, the belief that there is hope in sight for a serious alternative? Nope. Not going to happen unless regulation steps in.

If Cutts could start up an "ethical search engine", wouldn't that be the way. His new gig I'm sure is trying to clean off his palate, but I'm sure it's not really working. He knows far too much.

In terms of webmasters showing support for Bing or Yandex, consider this. People who get their pockets filled by Google thanks to their organic traffic are the defenders. People who are winning just love to defend. They can't offer a true perspective because they don't have the ethical compass to do so. Thus, you are going to get the talking heads who praise all things Google because their pockets are being filled. Other reasonable people can see this for what it is. But of course when people get bit, then they care then they are willing to talk about the reality of webmastering in 2017.

I have zero respect for people who show up when the going is good but disappear when the going gets bad. There are some folks here on the forums like that. Easy to show up when the going is good. It's too human to show failures right? Too much pride?

I also have no respect for anyone who defends an obviously unethical practice simply because they are profiting. People like that have a low moral compass and because those voice are often the so called 'experts" and "know-it-alls", there will never be a truth. The truth is almost impossible to find here these days.
7:28 pm on July 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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expanding beyond just Google, what are your best opportunities and potential synergistic ideas?


In no particular order:
Bing and Bing Ads (inc. Yahoo, AOL etc) - twice the conversion rate of Google
Yandex - Could become a rival
Facebook - Great for building a local presence
Linkedin - B2B Bible, if you're selling B2B you can get amazing conversion rates
Email - Studies suggest targeted email is the most cost efficient way to drive conversion
Twitter - Drive traffic to your site and engage with Customers

What I'm really hoping for is for Facebook to do something ethical and honorable. They have the funds to create a search. Outside of them, who could?


The elephant in the room here is Apple
8:16 pm on July 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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It isn't so much as whether to move on, but why be limited to g only? Search is one thing, the WEB is something else and that's where we should be playing.
8:31 pm on July 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Tried Bing Search exclusively for about 6 months on both mobile & desktop.
While they're better than they were a few years ago, they still are no where close to Google overall. Their bot is extremely stupid and their SERP is often erratic.

I've switched Search back to Google on all devices.
9:06 pm on July 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Their bot is extremely stupid
The people responsible aren't bright enough to understand the meaning of a 304 on site map files. Makes their crawlers a bandwidth leech on large sites.

Regards...jmcc
10:36 pm on July 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Are we not looking through the wrong end of the telescope?

The initial challenge is to maintain a database with a frequently-refreshed index of 1 billion+ sites (4 billion+ pages), many of which are dynamic, and return to users who have no idea how to query it a well-matched set of results in no time at all without charging them for it.

A second challenge is to prevent the results from being skewed by people like us, who want our own pages to be more prominent in results (whether or not they are also more relevant to the query).

A third challenge - for anyone who has skipped lightly over the first two - is funding it, and a fourth (when charitable funding has dried up) is returning a profit from it.

Like keyplyr, I use Google as my primary search engine because - whatever they are doing about monetising the task - their results are still generally better for my own searches than other engines, but "generally better" does not mean "universally better", and if a Google search doesn't return the product, service or information I seek, I already use other engines: it isn't a question of "moving on", it is a question of finding what I am looking for (or in tangor's inverse of that, enabling others to find me). No business can rely on loyalty alone, and Google's continuing dominance reflects a continuing ability to stay ahead of the competition.

For myself, finding what I am looking for has become increasingly difficult generally for some years now, whether this results from more aggressive monetisation by search engines, the effect of Panda/Penguin-styled filtering, the size of the web, or simply because the biggest businesses can still game the results better than the rest of us (assuming that market-leaders are not more relevant anyway). As a recipient, my site's traffic from organic results has declined substantially since 2010, but converting traffic has increased. I could be smug and claim some personal credit for this (and I have put a lot of work into my site over that time), but actually I put it down to two main factors: 1. Google has improved in returning commercially relevant results, and 2. they are not yet selling what I sell.

The OP suggests it is time to change our searching habits, but I doubt if there are enough of us here to make any difference. Our marketing should always be looking for the best return for our money, and investment in organic search has probably already had its day (don't form habits, and move on now, if you haven't already). Overall, it may well be time to come up with a new model or mechanism for search (which might actually be the point at which the world moves on from Google), and if anybody here has a better model or mechanism than Google's I would be happy to invest in it.
2:47 pm on July 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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When I first started going to webmaster conferences, a major subtext of just about everything was "How can I make Google love me more?"

Then it started shifting to "How can I become less reliant on / vulnerable to Google?"

I have found that in my mix of non-seo promotions it's best to pick a few things and do them really well rather than spreading too thin.

(edit: fixed typo)
3:46 pm on July 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Facebook could do search with results ordered by all types of user-generated feedback and, I imagine, come up with all kinds of insights into perceived quality. They could also build a walled-garden version of the internet offering publishers adsense-style monetisation in return for creating Facebook-exclusive content (that cannot be found in Google). They could also workaround Ad-blockers (by controlling the app that pages are displayed in).
Not quite the vision many of us had for the web, but...

I also tried using Bing, it's probably better than Google for one word searches, but anything complex and it's lost.
That's not to say Google is still good for long multi word searches - I find that it strikes the most important words out of nearly every search that I perform!
That and the fact that I need to keep separate browsers for English and Spanish. Very annoying.
4:03 pm on July 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Anyone who follows this forum knows that Google is an addiction, even for those who say they've kicked the habit. :-)

More seriously: I don't think it's time to "move on from Google," but I think it's long past time to move on from making Google the center of your universe if you haven't already done so.
4:18 pm on July 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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it's long past time to move on from making Google the center of your universe if you haven't already done so.


Amen to that!
4:35 pm on July 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I've been,and still am, greatly appreciative of the traffic from Google search and the revenue from Google AdSense. I consider both to be standard defaults.

However, for my entire time as a member, currently well over a decade, I've preached what I practice: diversification, in both traffic and revenue. And for my entire time as a member I've been told that it is too hard or not practical or...

Defaults are easy, it's one of their defining attributes. It's going beyond defaults that is difficult. I'll reiterate what I've posted numerous times previously: Google search is ~22% of all traffic, ~55% of SE traffic, on average, to my sites and AdSense is under 10% of revenue these days.

So, yes one can diversify, yes it takes work and time - I've been working at it for 15+ years.
4:46 pm on July 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I don't use Google for anything, it's impossible to for someone like me to use use Google.

Google is what it is. And it is the most popular search engine on the planet. On that basis I am not going to move on from Google, I have an overwhelming desire not to cut my own throat.

When I look at the alternatives like Bing, I am in the same situation as with Google. I have absolutely no idea about how their algo works and I am not going frazzle my brain trying to work it out. In the unlikely situation I did, the algo would then change and waste all my efforts.

As for Yandex, get real. They dominate the Russian market but that's because the Cyrillic alphabet (and the Russian culture) poss almost insurmountable problems to G. And the opposite applies. Can you imagine what the US government would do if Yandex approached anywhere near a position of dominance in the US search industry?
5:26 pm on July 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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It's not time to "move on" for me personally. I have tried to use alternatives, and am having good success with FB and social. However, search is still somewhat profitable. However, if you insist on following the goody two shoe method of "SEO" that Google promotes you are just not going to get anywhere. As long as they algo continues to rely on things that can be manipulated, it will always be gameable. And that's exactly what I'm going to do. I've been buying links and spamming since last year when zombie traffic hit me hard, and while things have recently improved (who knows how long that will last), G can bring the hammer down any time. If they're going to use my content to plug up the serps with ads, then I expect to get paid for my efforts.
7:31 pm on July 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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All I know is this: if I had the same rankings on google that I have on bing and duckduckgo then I'd be a rich man. I'm on page 1 and high 2 for all my main words on those two, but it's a lot harder to get the same positions on google because you can't get beat all the big brands.
I guess google thinks that's what the public want, and maybe they do. but for sites like mine it's a glass ceiling that you can't break through.

I was talking to my friend about google the other day and we decided they're just turning into AOL -- do you remember them? I don't mean the one that's still going now, I mean the one in the early days of the internet. they were like a portal -- they had their own email service, own news service, and even their own browser (when they bought netscape).
sound familiar? it's google! except they're adding more and more things to their portal -- videos, shopping, maps. maybe they'll end up going the same way
7:53 pm on July 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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All I know is this: if I had the same rankings on google that I have on bing and duckduckgo then I'd be a rich man.

We rank very similarly in all three, at least for the queries that I monitor now and then. And those queries aren't rare or extremely long-tail, either.

The main difference that I've noticed between Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo is that Google tends to favor informational results for those queries while Bing and DuckDuckGo seem a little more skewed toward commercial results--at least for the queries that I watch, which usually could go either way.

I do find it interesting that Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo come up with such similar results when there are so many pages to choose from.
8:27 pm on July 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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you say "move on from google"; what does it mean? stop ads? stop using google services ie analytics/search console etc?
or you mean block google bots? remove your websites from serps? so in short stop feeding google at all
@editorialguy
such similar results

i have to disagree; my 11yrs old site ranks well in google; ranks well in yandex; ranks well even in bing; but not in ddg; check your regional results and compare with global;
anyway traffic from bing/yandex/ddg looks stable as expected looking at serp when google sucks 4-5 days a week
9:31 pm on July 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I would like to see some better competition, it seems Google has become too big for its boots in regards to how it treats site owners.

I am not sure that the general public really care, I've not heard a single person complain about Google. Maybe we see a lot more than the average Joe because it affects us directly, just the same as how supermarkets (here in Australia at least) are nailing farmers and suppliers. As a shopper, I love the cheaper products, but somebody at the other end is paying dearly...it's not me and it's not the supermarket.

ETA: Wow, I just tried Yandex, it's a lot cleaner than Google and there's no domain clustering. I think I'll give it a try.
1:05 am on July 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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i have to disagree; my 11yrs old site ranks well in google; ranks well in yandex; ranks well even in bing; but not in ddg;


As always, YMMV. But, just for the sake of discussion, let's take DuckDuckGo out of the equation since it's a bit player. That still leaves your site ranking well in Google, Yandex, and Bing. (Mine, too.) Considering how many sites and pages there are on the Web, it's interesting--at least to me--that a site without a household name can achieve comparable success in three major search engines.
1:32 am on July 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Wow, I just tried Yandex, it's a lot cleaner than Google and there's no domain clustering. I think I'll give it a try.
You may be giving it a try, but it will take millions & millions more to make Yandex relevant to today's Search environment.

I place well in Yandex, always have. However they send me a trickle (<100 daily) compared to Google.
1:36 am on July 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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the Cyrillic alphabet ... poss almost insurmountable problems to G

If they can master polytonic Greek (which they did around 2007), why should modern Russian present any significant problems?

In any case, what difference does it make if a webmaster personally uses google? Unless you're talking about the present site or a minute handful of others, webmasters aren't your audience.
1:56 am on July 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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You may be giving it a try, but it will take millions & millions more to make Yandex relevant to today's Search environment.

I place well in Yandex, always have. However they send me a trickle (<100 daily) compared to Google.


Well firstly, change often happens slowly. I'm not going to keep using Google just because it will take millions and millions to effect change. That may be true, but it's somewhat defeatist.

Secondly, from my own perspective, the results are cleaner, the page isn't full of ads and I'm not seeing any domain clustering. When I do a search, I don't want to see the same site listed 3, 4 and even 5 times on the first page. So it is a better experience for me, and that's what is important as a person who searches for information too.
2:25 am on July 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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These types of discussions hit a crossroad. Established sites that some of us have benefited from the organic traffic to establish themselves. Sure you can keep your investment relatively intact and add social media and social networks. But that model is completely irrelevant if you are looking at a new site launching in 2017 and beyond. Why try and propose ideas that might work for your site that already benefited from yesteryear's Google generosity? It's easy to leverage an audience when you are already established. It's easy to find other alternative traffic sources and other platforms. I'm sure the income from that already established site makes the time worth it. So are we talking about the "new" Google web landscape?

Give up on Google and expect your site to be found in Bing and others which will in turn provide you enough staying power to establish yourself? Good luck with that. People invest in new restaurants (which close in 2 months) in every city, every day of the week. There are always suckers. When Google has high 90% of mobile and most of desktop, how do you "move on from Google"? Create a success story without the 95-98% player? Google is the web. That's the fact of this.

Saying you will launch a successful website that will be offline is about as stupid as saying you will establish your new site without Google. You thing 5% is worth going after? If it is, then it's going to be competitive which means you won't get a sniff anyways.

The suggestions put forward about Facebook are interesting. They have no goals of holding the world's information so even if they get greedy, at least they won't try to eat our content for their own use. I think the webmaster audience would be "all ears" except for the people who judge something based on their own self interest (greed). A new partnership I would welcome and Facebook seems to be the most ethical company out there right now.

I personally don't view Google in a single way. The webmaster part of me feels one way, and the end user part appreciates a lot of what they do. I know what they are though. They are the Google.
3:00 am on July 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Sure you can keep your investment relatively intact and add social media and social networks. But that model is completely irrelevant if you are looking at a new site launching in 2017 and beyond.
On the other hand, if launching a site in 2017 and beyond, the very first thing I'd do is establish a strong Social Media presence and work it aggressively.

Getting backlinks will take a long term effort, but Social Media is there for the taking :)
3:54 am on July 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I wish there was more discussion surrounding going with a new site and the trials and tribulations associated with that. I hear what you're saying. Social media as a base or foundation for launching a site is a real change of mindset. Pretty telling imo.
8:10 am on July 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'm still getting my head around social media. I have recently switched to Wordpress and have a new/shiny template. The guy who did this put a FB box in the footer which tells me how many of my friends like my page etc. I don't know if it is that, or the fact I'm trying to post daily, but I'm now getting around 35 new likes to the page a week. I do find it exhausting trying to find stuff to post about, as I'm still trying to fix up redirects/other issues, so not adding much content at the moment. I'm just filling up the page with photos, articles on widgets that I find in the news, and other stuff.
11:05 am on July 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Move on from Google? I would expect everyone to answer based on where they are at in the food chain. If you have an information site, Google is the best game in town even though the knowledge box is is siphoning off traffic. The services industry is holding up well too in Google despite places like Angie's List being a better driver of qualified traffic or so I'm told. Selling products, on the other hand, has collapsed in Google. About 1/4 of shoppers use Google to find a product first these days, and each ecommerce site owner has to determine if spending a substantial amount of time, money and effort is worth reaching such a small segment of the buying market.

I moved on from Google because my target market (shoppers) left Google. Yes, I still get some traffic from Google that converts but being a small manufacturing business there is only so much time and money I can invest in reaching an ever decreasing group of buyers. After largely moving on from Google well over a year ago, it has worked out well for my company. Comparing last month's total sales, June 2017 sales were up 27% compared to June 2016 all with much less labor and money piled into Adwords/organic SEO efforts. In the end our net profits are much higher.
3:52 pm on July 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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About 1/4 of shoppers use Google to find a product first these days, and each ecommerce site owner has to determine if spending a substantial amount of time, money and effort is worth reaching such a small segment of the buying market.

On the other hand, any number of studies have shown that consumers research purchases on multiple sites before clicking a "Buy now" button. So doesn't it make sense to reach those buyers early in the cycle, when they're likely to be using search?
6:41 pm on July 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I moved on from Google because my target market (shoppers) left Google.

Let's put that in big type on a billboard. It's not about you; it's about your target audience.
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