Google Games

If it wasn’t so serious it would be funny, and it’s not.   Over the past 12 to 18 months there have been some fairly big revisions on Google organic listings.  Then on October 2 this year, they hit the big button.  Many clients had been affected in previous revisions, but nothing like this.  Then, we started to get calls from people referred to us who were panicking about their sites and their loss of rank, position, traffic and of course loss of business.

Our investigations have revealed its not about SPAM, or bad links, or negative SEO, I personally reckon that Google has broken up the front page into separate goals for each component, and you now have to make some decisions and move forward.

Below is 4 interesting cases that represent exactly what happened to most clients on 2nd October, not all, but most and it happened in different countries at the same time..

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We track our clients positions on keywords organically every day.  As you can see above there were 2 big loosers and 1.5 big winners. Why?  Well, lets just say that these 4 all were doing the same thing with the same service provider with the same modus operandi, white hat, no bought links, no spam, hand written quality pages and good volumes, all the old boxes were ticked.  There is no malware, no hidden pages, no diverts, so they should have all been treated the same.

So, just some were hit you say, well, that may be the case, but with those that grew, that means they didnt get pushed up in their categories, others had to be knocked off, get it?  OH, and by the way, all of these are in different industries, but 2 in each vertical of transport and tourism.

At the same time, some light was shed on Google Places and a long standing issue for another client was resolved due to the fact that they didn’t have a sign out the front of their business on streetview on google, and a Googler in India disallowed their listing as a private home.

Then, to add icing to the cake, Google decides to now stop providing organic keywords in its reports and traffic monitoring in analytics.  Are you getting an idea in your head at this point?

Google has never made any money directly out of organic listings, it was always adwords.  Now, with these revisions, they are definitely making adwords more crowded, because some people will, in my opinion, never get to rank organically for some of their favourite and best performing keywords, EVER.  So, they will have to pay and increase the competition in paid Adwords ads.  Google has never monetized places, but I think that’s coming.

So what do you do?  Here is what I can tell you.  Long tail (3 or 4 or 5 keyword combinations) work really well.  REALLY well written pages on your site still work, but the big terms, ie Spill Kits are now informational listings and don’t sell.  They are reference terms.  The terms that sell, ie, Petrol Spill Kit Suppliers work really well.

Google has shown us the way, PPC (adwords) is now about the terms you cannot rank on, and you have to pay money to be there for every visitor, SEO is all about paying money and getting as many visitors you can for the money you spend, plus, protecting your positions on search.  Places is all about where you are and you wont get Melbourne visitors if you are in Brisbane, unless they search for in Brisbane.  Reporting is the key, and a separation of powers is the answer.   The Best in the World are saying nothing substantive, and that leads me to believe that there is no Knowledge.  Our knowledge we share with clients, not the world, and I think that’s the substantive answer.  In the next 2 months, we will be offering you our suggestions between doing nothing, doing a bit, reducing SEO and maximizing Adwords.  Its a dance and a game, and you can still win the game if you dance with the right partner….

I do think we will be doing more talking and advice in the next few months, plus planning, than actually working on your Adwords or SEO and I think that will make a world of difference.  Google Plus is coming, , it’s definitely a component, and it needs you to work more with us and put your face to your brand and business and that is another challenge..

I have not mentioned (Google) images, store, utube or facebook and there is a reason.  I can remember back when Google launched adwords in Australia and people used to say, why would I pay them for that?

Everyone is now DIFFERENT.   And, that is Hummingbird…

So where from here?  Well, people are choosing to leave Google in Australia.  Its true, and I think many are as frustrated as me at not finding what they want on Google organics.  Here are two very long term views on Bing visitors to 2 different websites in Aus.  Bing still treats SEO as a dedicated and valuable source of information in organic listings.  If this trend continues, and I think it will, bing ads are going to become more expensive, with more traffic and Bing Organics will continue to grow in volume and worth…  There is no other explanation in my mind for this steep growth in volumes apart from an exodus commencing.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have 2 options again….

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Mark Tull