BWMagic’s Internet Marketing News
Are Google’s Listings Becoming Too Corporate?
Just as Eric Schmidt announces he will be stepping down as
the CEO of Google, (effective April 4th, he will be replaced
by Larry Page, who everyone knows is a co-founder of Google)
all the talk in search engine circles is about how much more
emphasis Google is placing on Local Results.
Often these local business listings are now displayed before
and above other more general organic results. In addition,
Google seems to be placing much more emphasis on Corporate
Brand name listings in recent months. While this move to big
brand names is nothing new, in combination with the increased
local listings, one has to wonder if Google has made a deliberate
move to favor corporate listings above all other organic results.
In theory, this is supposed to give the web searcher a better
surfing experience and Google has stated many, many times that
improving the searcher’s experience is paramount. But one has to
wonder if this overemphasis on corporate brands is giving the
searcher what they’re looking for in their search.
Everything works out perfectly if the searcher is looking for
the “Official Site” of a company, product or service. They get
what they’re looking for and come away happy. However, in many
cases, the searcher is looking for general information on a
product or service – they may be more interested in discovering
what others say about a certain product/service or company.
In other words, they may be looking for a general comparative
site with information and user reviews on that company. They are
more interested in finding out those opinions and views, rather
than viewing the corporate pitch or salesletter. Now they will
have to search through five or six listings in order to find
that comparative authority site they’re really looking for in
All this is fine, except for the fact that webmasters and
online marketers know, the closer to the number one spot,
the more quality targeted traffic you will receive from Google.
Being listed down just a few spaces can make a big difference
in the amount of traffic and sales you will receive.
Affiliate marketers, with their information and review sites,
are already feeling the pain of Google’s emphasis on this
corporate angle. One could even argue Google could be trying
to cut out these middlemen and deal directly with the companies
themselves. Integrity aside, there’s nothing stopping Google
from favoring and listing higher the top brand name companies
and corporations which buy all those Adwords Advertising.
And even this is a jump to judgement since only Google knows
who is buying all their advertising, besides Google can simply
block affiliate sites and marketers by lowering the quality
score on these types of sites. Cutting out the middleman
and featuring the main corporate site instead.
If indeed this is Google’s Strategy, there’s nothing wrong
with this emphasis on corporations, they can construct their
SERPS to reflect whatever they want. Google is a business and
businesses have to make money. And a publicly traded company
must keep their shareholders happy, first and foremost.
In the end, it is these businesses, big and small, which will
benefit the most from being listed first in Google’s results.
More power to them, but it is the small webmaster and the small
online marketer who will suffer the brunt of this shift.
Affiliate marketers will be especially hit with these recent
changes and many will not survive without this free organic
traffic from Google. The online Gold Rush is not exactly over,
it has just shifted more towards the actual business owner,
especially at the local level.
One also has to keep in mind, not all these changes are of
Google’s doing, many businesses and companies are just becoming
aware of the real monetary benefits of SEO and Keyword Positioning.
These companies are now increasing their online marketing budgets
and this increase can be reflected in higher rankings in the
search engines, especially Google.
Adjusting your marketing strategies to reflect this shift will
not be easy. Having an older domain and an authority site will
probably help ease the pain, but creating special partnerships
and relationships could go even further in establishing an
“official” site for a product or service.
Adjusting your targeted keywords to reflect the “reviews” and
“comparison” angle could be another good strategy, although the
amount of searches each month will be less then for broader terms.
Another angle is to target more long tail keywords but even this
is harder to do since Google introduced Instant Search, surfers
now get less of a chance to type in these lucrative long tail
Over the next few years, we will probably see a rising increase
in the presence of major corporations and small companies in the
search engines, especially in the top positions. The glory days
of the small time online affiliate marketer may just be over and
it will get much harder and much more expensive to make a profit.
Those lucrative leads and sales from free organic traffic,
especially from Google, might even seem like a distant dream.
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