With the release of Google Instant a couple of weeks back – the rumor mill began cranking full speed with stories of doom, gloom and general anarchy. Very similar to when Google released AdWords. All corners were announcing the death of SEO relevance and the “fact” that Google was no longer a “company of the people”.
Yet here we are – still breathing. When Google releases new products or forms of innovation, they are typically very forthright about what it means to the industry and to their long-term vision and product strategy. Unlike many other global behemoths, there is clearly no gag order. Top to bottom and side to side – Google employees who are “in the know” are blogging and being quite interactive with the outside community on the product in question. It begs the question – why does everyone buy into the speculation? Why not just take it from the source? Has Google given us reason to disregard their public statements? I am and have been very critical of the likes of IBM, Microsoft and others. Not Google though. Google is the entity that brought the inverse relationship between control and trust to life.
Let’s think this through. First, Google Instant only works when entering a query through the Google homepage. What is the percentage of users who actually go to the Google homepage to perform a search at this point? No one I know. It is almost always via the Google toolbar or iGoogle. Therefore the true reach of Instant is very much marginalized – and knowing Google, that is likely by design. Think about that.
Instant will only make top 5 results on Google that much more valuable. If anything, the advent of Instant increases the value of good SEO and top 5 results. Results beyond the top 5 are soon to be – dare I say – significantly devalued.
I was talking to a prospect today about the subject of SEO. She asked me about all these companies that claim to offer top 10 results within a week. Her question was quite valid…”if companies x, y and z can all deliver top results within a matter of weeks, then why isn’t everyone simply doing this on their own? And if I can setup a company and, almost immediately, rank top 10 on search terms that are highly coveted and relevant to my industry – isn’t the product (organic search) that made Google great severely flawed”?
Bingo. It is simple logic. If some company can emerge from their garage and manipulate Google results with such ease, then the product must be flawed! This is a very dangerous way to think about SEO. Instead of seeing Google search results as an obstacle that you are helping customers to overcome and to manipulate, SEO businesses should be helping companies to build their message. The best search engine is the one that returns the most relevant results on a given term – results that cater to the needs and wants of the masses effectively and efficiently. It is up to SEO companies to support this goal, not circumvent it. Google has changed a species. We are no longer living in our own little worlds isolated from those who do no live on our block or work in our office. We are all connected and sharing dynamic and evolving content on a global scale with distribution channels that increase exponentially every day. If this spawns a parallel industry of evildoer SEO companies whose only interest is in their own minimal revenue gains and not the shared goal of helping strengthen the quality of choices being returned via search results, it is unfortunate and CMT will not be part of that problem. And if they do meet with some success, well even a broken clock is right twice a day.