SEO Gives Google the Sads. Here’s Why…
For most people, Google is the Internet. In all likelihood, we probably use more Google than we realise.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) takes power away from Google and hijacks the very platform they use to control their internet revenue. Here are three ways that SEO upsets the Big G.
1. Dollars, Billions of Them
In 2021, it was estimated that Google generated $209 billion in advertising revenue, or in more relatable terms, seven million new Toyota Corolla’s. A piece of this pie is comprised of Google Search Ads – the ads that appear when we search for a product or service that someone is looking to sell.
The more competitive the subject matter, the more these ads cost the publisher. How well or how poorly these ads perform is inconsequential to Google – they receive their revenue regardless (though they hope they go well so the publisher keeps advertising). Search engine optimisation messes this system up.
With search engine optimisation, a website may still appear at the top of the search results page, but without the need to pay Google for the privilege. The publisher may have SEO costs to deal with (by way of a private practitioner or agency), but this is completely outside of the Google ecosystem.
Essentially, a business can achieve a high-ranking search engine position for specific search terms without paying Google a cent by implementing the right SEO activities. Naturally, the potential “cost” to Google for a website owner to pay for SEO instead of Google Ads could be gigantic (in the order of hundreds of millions of new Toyota Corolla’s).
2. It Corrupts the Google Vision
The Google vision has changed a few times over the last 20 years, but the premise has always been based on the concept of providing accessible and relevant information as easily as possible to as many people as possible. In other words, giving the most genuinely useful and helpful websites the most traffic.
SEO hijacks Google’s ability to do this.
In an SEO-free world, websites would rank well based on what Google considers to be valuable and worthwhile resources. How this is determined is less clear, but the algorithm is tasked with sorting that part out and creating a hierarchy based on organic and delightfully wholesome value. SEO sees to it that this system falls apart.
Most front-page search results that belong to commercial entities are SEO enriched. If you have ever searched for a topic and ended up on a site that insists on giving you the full history of the subject matter before providing the bit you want, you will understand what I mean.
SEO messes up Google’s natural order and means that the user experience that Google has allegedly tried to preserve continues to be manipulated.
3. Their Own Rules Used Against Them
Google makes no secret of the fact that they wish for (or used to wish for) an Internet that comprises mostly of regularly updated, useful, generally honest websites so that users can garner the right information quickly and have a nice experience doing so. These days though, the organic and wholesome approach of expanding information through genuine interest is buried under mountains of content written specifically to trigger the search engine algorithm.
There was a time when one or two clicks would be enough to find the information we required. But those days are long gone (unless it is for something obvious or simple). Site after site appears to be the source we need, only to find out that it is an echo of another site, is written in an unusual way with an overused set of key terms or provides us with an abundance of content we don’t need to get to that bit we do. This style of SEO works but is not only painful on the user, but also quite obvious that it is SEO content rather than essential information. More sustainable and natural SEO is possible but is commonly overlooked for cheaper any-means-possible strategies.
In fact this has become so problematic that Google now highlights the parts of web pages that contain the information we have searched for (more on this feature here).
Image courtesy of 9to5google.com
…Google Doesn’t Really Hate SEO
If you believe Google’s purpose and vision for web search, the objective is to provide the most suitable resources to those searching, as effortlessly as possible, and they have openly communicated what this means in real terms. In fact, the Big G provides its own SEO guide to help advise site owners on what they consider a valued website. The criteria that Google sets in grading each website encompasses characteristics such as content update frequency, content quality (based on search term volume and content length), complimentary assets such as video or images, technical proficiency, and website load speed. These characteristics are part of Google’s assessment process. The conflict Google faces though is that web content can then be created that meets the search engine algorithm parameters but takes it to such a degree that it may not be all that engaging or efficient for the end user. We suspect there is no resolution to this which is why Google has introduced additional search features to help us find what we are looking for.
The reality is that if a commercial organisation expects its website to produce any kind of result beyond just existing, Google Ads or SEO is required unless there is incredible influence coming from another source (social media for example). Creating a nice website and expecting loads of traffic, downloads, or enquiries to occur organically is going to yield immense disappointment (unless, as mentioned above, significant influence is provided via other sources – social media, traditional advertising, influencer marketing and so on).
Google Ads or SEO are both fine tactics for getting a website in the right position on a search results page, so long as they are done the right way (and ideally using genuinely useful content). Make sure that some degree of expectation and timeframe is discussed with your supplier so that you know what to expect.
On a Side Note, and Completely Unrelated, Though Interesting None the Less…
It is estimated that 99% of websites are dead or abandoned, and whilst difficult to define, a major portion of internet content is pornographic, or adult-entertainment inspired. So, we can assess that the modern internet is essentially a content graveyard dominated by erotic content and social networks. And in some cases both at the same time.