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11-Oct-2012

Is Google making the recession worse

Win some Lose some

It has been said that the Google updates are a zero-sum game: some websites get better ranking, while others deteriorate (just for the moment assuming that external website results are not being displaced by Google's own links of interest - that's another debate).

However, the rankings may be zero sum, but the costs to businesses clearly are not.

Changes in ranking cause businesses to spend more time and money on SEO and because the changes are happening several times a year, that is inevitably going to be a constant drain on business profits. Add on the amount of time spent puzzling and discussing what has actually happened to a website's rankings and what to do about it, takes up a lot of management time as well.

Google updates - Businesses pay the price

It would be very interesting to find out how much businesses think they are spending each year, just to try to adapt to algorithm updates.

OK, its the way search operates and at present there isn't a lot of choice. Call it an additional market force at work perhaps ?

Presumably Google doesn't have much choice either; it has to do updates otherwise we'll all get results full of spammy sites and irrelevant results. (There's another debate of course as there doesn't seem to be much support for the idea that results are improving).

Making the big, bigger and the rich, richer ?

Small and medium sized businesses with lesser known names are often heavily reliant on stable Google rankings to maintain their revenue, whereas the larger brands obviously have more established customer bases. Also, they have a much wider reach in search.

The one thing all businesses like is stability, so that they can plan. That particularly applies to SME's who are growing, but the instability of the search results undermines that aim.

At an earlier point in internet history, I thought (and lots of others did too) that the internet was going to open up markets to smaller businesses, so that they could compete for service with the larger brands.

It has done that. But has it become a two edged sword ?

You get to compete, do quite well, employ some more people and then BANG ! your business halves in one week as a result of a Google update.

Or, at best, you have to keep spending on external SEO just to tread water (you hope).

Its reality - but it doesn't have to be

Its not Google's fault that so many businesses are dependent on its search results. Its also difficult to see what they could do deliberately to change anything. Whatever they do, there will be people who don't like it and those who benefit.

The relative monopoly that they have is something that we, the users and time, can change. We can moan and blame, but ultimately we all bought into it.

But if its THAT important, we can help to create a more evenly spread search and a more stable market for all the businesses that depend on stable income.

ITS SIMPLE !

Just encourage people to use other search engines.

We are the publishers and businesses. We've got space on our sites and we own it.

Why not produce a ranking on your site of your favourite search engines - with a review written by you. If discontent is as widely spread as some people think, perhaps we would all be surprised by the results.

Lets get back some control over the horizontal and the vertical.

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