Google Search is a free service, but Google is still a company. So to answer the question “Is Google Search getting better?” we need to determine our perspective. Do we mean “better for those who search”, “better for those who pay for advertising on AdWords”, “better for shoppers” or “better for businesses”?
In fact, even in the business area, global brands differ very much from local businesses or small businesses trying to break into the marketplace.
One obvious answer is that Google Search just keeps getting better for Google the company, because it is the foundation of everything they do. Without Google Search, the other things Google does would be possible and some things would stop making sense altogether.
From a small business point of view, however, I think that Google Search keeps getting worse. Here’s why.
Website owners all around the world depend on Google Search for their livelihood and spend considerable amounts of money and effort to rank well on Google Search results pages (SERPs). Google boasts delivering the best results for those who search and spends a huge amount of money and effort to make its search results more and more relevant.
Part of this effort was the recent demotion and exclusion of directory sites and archive or index pages. For small businesses, this often cuts out the “middle man” and shows links directly to relevant websites, instead of forcing potential buyers to view a list of competitors first. In a sense, these directories were stealing website traffic for their own direct revenue (through paid listings) or indirect revenue (through advertising).
Another part was the addition of Knowledge Graph, which attempts to provide direct answers to search queries on the search results page. Unfortunately, this change, despite being great for information searches, can really hamper business’ promotion efforts on Google Search. Google keeps telling us to market our business by publishing fresh, informative content, and then grabs that content, shows it directly and forgets about giving us the traffic.
Online marketing consultants deal with computers, web sites and technology and the work can sometimes be frustrating, but we get to make a positive impact on our clients’ business and life and sometimes, they even take the time to write about it.
When I read the message below, I had to hold back tears, both from the sense of frustration in my client’s journey before she started to work with me and from happiness at having made such a difference. I’m very proud to post it here for everyone to see.
The message is from Michelle Kenway, who dedicates her life to helping women (and men) strengthen their pelvic floor muscles. Her clients have an embarrassing problem, which she solves through physical therapy, e-books and DVDs sold on her site, Pelvic Exercises.
Amazon announced this week a new mobile phone with a solid design and many features, called Amazon Fire. Will it be a game changer and give Amazon a big advantage in the marketplace? And what does it mean for small business owners?
Amazon Fire comes with 4 cameras, positioned in the corners of the device, as well as infrared sensors, so it “knows” where its user is located and where he or she is looking. The phone uses this information to rotate the display in “3D” and allow the user to peek into the display, as well as scroll and navigate with one hand.
To make life even easier, this phone can recognise many things in real life (using a technology called Firefly) and use them to offer relevant actions. Here is a quick summary:
Building a website and starting an online business seems to many small business owners like a big step. This often makes them feel exhausted after it’s done and they do their best to pretend that it’s all they’ll ever need.
So much so that when someone tells them that their site’s software needs updating or that the content needs to be refreshed and extended, they almost hate that person. “What?” they say, “Is it not enough I’ve spent all that money getting this responsive, singing and dancing WordPress site with mobile bells and whistles, now you tell me I need to spend more money?”
Sadly, it’s not.
Yesterday, a friend rang me and casually mentioned that his online business website had been hacked. He was miserable, because he didn’t know how to recover it and had no way of getting his site back, because he had not kept any backups of the files or the database.
Google has released a new Image Search. Ever true to their aim of providing the best possible user experience, the new Google Images is a lot quicker and more intuitive to use. If you are looking for photos or graphics, the new image search interface is great.
But what about website owners and small business operators that want their websites to be found through image search?
Well, in terms of reach, Google Images is responsive, which makes it convenient to use on any device. With the rapid growth of Internet use on touch and mobile devices, this means more exposure for marketing purposes.
But wait, there’s more…
This is a tale of woe for all you out there who have not kept up to date with Big Brother (Google) changes. Once upon a time, I had a good pagerank, and there was much rejoicing and I even boasted my good fortunes and considerable SEO skill in a post.
Then, the mighty Google enginerds decided to let loose a large, wild Penguin, and they updated the Google quality guidelines and they automated detection of “unnatural” links and their new algorithm flagged my site and there was much misery and there was no point posting about it, because nobody could find my blog anyway.
Fortunately, the email notification from Google Webmaster Tools provided a handy link to the reconsideration request page. I promptly submitted the site for reconsideration and waited for 8 weeks.
My request was denied, my site remained hidden from the public eye and there was much hair pulling and screaming, but I didn’t record any of it, because the site was still virtually invisible, but also because it was really pathetic to listen to.
The first thing you learn about starting a business on the Internet is that everyone can do it. I remember the first seminar I attended. You may have had the same experience yourself. It is a free event that makes hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales in one day. The food, the venue and the free gifts are nothing compared to how many suckers come to those events for the promise of sitting on the beach in a swimsuit with a laptop, sipping cool drinks and watching the dollars appearing on the screen every day and every hour.
Gal and I went to our first event as life coaches. It was an awesome weekend. It was a great seminar and I learned a lot. For 2 days, they promised the world “Be your own boss! Work 3 hours a day! Money will be coming out of your ears!” and … “Everyone can do it!”
I have to say I almost believed them. I wanted to believe them with all my heart, but because our life coaching course had promised exactly the same thing, I had the suspicion there was a pattern there. Luckily for us, it was not a test of our trust. We just did not have $10,000 to buy the product on offer. We were shocked that our fellow coaches spent so much money just weeks after they had spent thousands of dollars on the life coaching course.
If you have ever heard these slogans about trying to build a business on the Internet, be warned, someone is convinced you are a sucker and might be taking you for a ride.