A bit dramatic perhaps, but if I’m right you’ll REALLY thank me. I’m not foolish enough to predict the actual demise of Google, but they are changing dramatically right before our eyes and I think I can help us all win if we understand what’s happening.
My last article told you why I thought CONTENT was king and how to rank high in Google search results the right way. This article is my supporting proof to hopefully convince you I’m right.
My title could be a bit less dramatic, sure. More accurately stated, this article is about the massive changes I see coming in Google search, and while I’m almost certain it will impact Google’s bottom line in a BIG way, I’m much more interested in helping you know what to do about it NOW to be in a great position as it starts to happen. Even if I’m wrong, I’ll have golden advice for you at the end of this article that will make total sense to you (I hope).
Summary: This article is about how Google search will inevitably change very soon (I predict) and how to benefit from it starting now.
I’ll cover three things:
- The facts we know
- The only obvious conclusions I can think of as a result of these facts, and
- What you can do NOW to position yourself for traffic, wealth, influence and greatness as Google changes.
Not only do I think trends are in play to wipe out a chunk of Google’s cash flow (Billions annually as browser users “mature”), I also think that the famed Google search engine algorithm is in jeopardy of being increasingly irrelevant very soon for billions of search terms. Even if these observations are well ahead of their time, I’ve got some golden advice for you anyway. If I’m right about the time-line though, I think you’ll be calling me a genius as early as a couple years from now.
Bold predictions perhaps, but see if you can find any holes in my logic.
We know these facts:
- How Google Makes it’s cash: Google generates most of its revenue currently from Ads running via Adwords/Adsense etc. If you search for “how to build a dog house” you’ll get paid ads mixed in with what Google thinks are the best sites on the web on the subject based on it’s complex and highly secretive ranking algorithm.
- We are starting to ignore ALL ads: The WHOLE WORLD (especially online) is caring less and less about what advertisers have to say about themselves (paid advertising), and they are caring more and more about what other users and independent reviewers have to say. It’s an undeniable trend.
- We (Google users) are getting smarter and we have opinions: Google users will learn soon (and most have already learned) that the “organic” or “unpaid” results on Google are where the true experts and most respected results are. Sure, paid search results are monitored by Google for “quality score”, but it’s still a game of who has the most money and time to put into writing creative ads. The paid ads do not reflect the quality of the business, knowledge of the expert or usefulness of the content behind the ad. In other words, for good reason we as consumers are caring less and less about paid ads even on Google.
- Google wants us to rank content online and WILL increasingly respect our choices: Google recognizes the need to get end users into the game of “ranking” content, providers, businesses, experts and everything else. This is why Google came up with the +1 system you see everywhere now. Those ranks will inevitably begin to mean more and more over time. How do I know this? Why else would Google allow us to “vote” on virtually every piece of content online if Google plans on ignoring our votes? I think we’ll see some anti-fraud measures added to the +1 system and Google will take the votes increasingly seriously over time. Sure, they may keep their “algorithm”, but just as with Local Search we’ll start to see the customer feedback really driving the ship. The challenge for Google will no longer be tweaking the algorithm, but will become preventing +1 fraud.
- Ignoring consumer preferences and FORCING us toward paid ads would hurt Google: Any unbiased ranking system can not possibly allow “paid” positioning to be confused with “most popular” results. Sure, Google will still run ads, and sure, some people will still click, but who do you trust more if you are buying a book about building a dog house, 1,000 of your voting peers, or a slick ad writer?
The big question:
If I’m right, where are we heading given the above facts that I think are indisputable?
What will Google do as all these trends unfold and the changes begin to effect their bottom line?
Some of Google’s options once this loss of ad revenue scenario plays out (these are my theories only):
- Start charging us a pay per use/membership fee to use Google (not likely)
- Stop allowing us to vote on content and hope we’ll trust their super secret ranking algorithm forever instead – while also hoping that we’ll accidentally continue to click on and respond to paid ads (this option would almost certainly lead to Google being replaced by a better search engine that allows and respects our votes)
- Google will find a way to snap up experts, top content producers etc. like they snap up small companies now and find ways to cash in on their content. Don’t think they’ll do it? That’s how they run YouTube now with “invitation only” revenue sharing. It won’t be Adsense either – that’s already “uncool” in most corners (and fewer of us will be clicking ads remember?)
- Get a govt. bailout because they are too big to fail (joke)
Regardless of whether or not it plays out exactly like I’m betting it will the following advice is pure gold:
- Create great content and post it all over the place online. Content will clearly RULE both short term and long term online. Any SEO tricks, built in a week websites, set-it-and-forget-it marketing efforts etc. will all DRY UP and be useless at an increasingly faster pace.
- Actively seek the votes and support of your audience as you crank out high quality, low cost (or free) content.
- Monitor your influence and take steps to increase it.
- Engage with your audience. Be in constant conversation. Ask for tangible feedback and support from them.
What if you are not an expert at anything yet? Tap into this trend anyway by helping other true experts capture and share their great content online. I’m always looking for creative people with creative ideas that will expand my reach online and I’m willing to reward their efforts. I’m not the only one in that position either!
You’ll also find many “clueless” experts and content rich businesses in the world that could use help getting into position for the shifts that are happening. Convince them that content is king and then help them get it out there to their eager audience.