Search Engine Optimization – or SEO – has become the catch-all phrase to describe the techniques used to get your web pages high up in Google’s search results. Sure there’s Bing, Yahoo and some others… but really, there isn’t. But what about Youtube, you ask? Yes Youtube is also a fantastic search engine that you want to rank well on, but it’s owned by Google, so I’m lumping them together for the sake of this argument.
SEO is a large piece of Inbound Marketing, and it’s the life blood for a good many companies.
SEO has become a major part of our business too – not to put too fine a point on it, but it is now such an important part of Pixelcarve’s sales/marketing, and that of our clients, that I predict it will be our primary business driver within the year.
And that’s a little scary.
Why? Well it’s not that we’re not good at it – the opposite, in fact we’re damn good at it and I would put us up against the best in the industry. It’s in our DNA to help businesses grow through the acquisition of new clients online, and SEO is a natural extension of that.
I say it’s scary because the term SEO is actually a misnomer – the real term should be GO, or Google Optimization.
Ranking nicely in Bing, Yahoo, Ask, etc. is all fine and good, but you don’t make a dent in your business unless you’re ranking with Google. Really it’s about optimizing websites and web content for Google – a single focus, a single access point, and a single company for the search interaction between your company and its customers.
And that concerns me. I do not believe in monopolies, and I particularly do not like them when both myself, and all of my clients, have to rely on them to pay the mortgage and to feed our families.
Sure, Google’s sophisticated algorithm and search dominance has played a major role in the overall success of the Internet, and it’s a valid argument that that’s a good thing. Even I use Google’s search myself so I can hardly complain too loudly. But the end result is that every business on the planet has to jump through their ever changing hoops just to remain relevant. Those who don’t, either die or stay small in what is likely a niche market.
But like all businesses, Google themselves are afraid of industry changes too. We’re not the only ones concerned with Google’s almost complete dominance over how consumers connect with businesses. Many of my clients have expressed a distaste for having to rely so heavily on one company for their marketing.
And with discontent, comes disruption. What is it that’s coming “next” that could remove the need for having a search engine? There are many threats to Google’s crown – the post-screen era (wearables), disruptive search competitors, social media, siloed ecosystems – and apps.
But, you ask, doesn’t Google have their own apps, on their own mobile operating system? Yes, they do, but even discounting Apple, BlackBerry and Windows Phone apps that are out of their reach, Google doesn’t even have full control of their own ecosystem.
As people engage more and more with apps that do not require using a web search, Google has correctly identified that apps are a fundamental threat to their business model. And now they have just done something about it.
Announcing Now On Tap
Now On Tap, Android’s M’s new integrated real-time search function that exists as a layer on top of any app running on your Android phone and tablet. They have taken their search to the battlefield, and as Bloomberg says, dropped a bombshell.
Google is now making efforts to be the interconnecting layer between not just the web, but everything. Now on Tap extends their search dominance out of the web browser, and into other people’s playing field.
It’s a first stage in their offensive, and it’s an uphill battle because its unlikely companies like Apple will allow them to do the same on their platform. But more innovations like this can be expected from Google in other areas that threaten this business model.
Now On Tap will likely prove to be immensely useful (provided the voice recognition is up to par with a user’s expectations), and will no doubt result in copycats from the likes of Apple and others.
But I have to ask, how does this make you feel? Are you willing to hand Google more of your data, more of your time, and more of your dependence? Is the convenience and power of this feature worth it?
Only time will tell. But I’d love to hear from you in the comments and weigh in on this next era of Google-Optimization.
Should one single company be the access point for all of human information?