Google Stops SEO Nerds With Scorched Earth Policy
It’s happened. Finally. Google stops SEO manipulation from the nerds that were constantly gaming their search algorithm and decided to deal them a death-blow once and for all. However, how they did it is strategic “poetry in motion” and another reminder that Google at its core is two guys with a website that can do whatever the heck they want. Even if it means slightly devaluing the public’s view of one of their prime assets— Page 1 Position 1 Organic search results.
Here it is in non-nerd terms. Imagine if you were losing a soccer game, and then all of a sudden you decreed that all your opponents goals were only worth half. Or changed the rules mid-game that a touchdown in football was only worth 3 points instead of 7, but dancing after you made a touchdown was somehow worth 10 points. Why? Well, all that dancing would be good for advertising dollars. That is essentially what Google did, they changed the game for the benefit of advertising and scorched the "search engine earth" in the process.
How They Did It (Google Stops SEO)
Google used to have ads on top of the search results, on the side of the search results, at the bottom of the search results and also E-commerce advertising with pictures via Google Shopping (Don’t know about Google Shopping? Read Google Shopping: The Bullet You Haven’t Fired Yet.) Sounds like a lot of ads, yes? Well Google also started seeing some trends:
- The ads on the side were not getting clicked often enough
- It was an awful lot of advertising space available.
- It was possibly distracting from one of their main initiatives to fight Amazon, Google Shopping.
- SEO companies were still gaming the algorithm to get the first position for organic search and profiting from it. Google doesn't make any money on other people gaming their system through SEO, and in fact, spends money fighting it.
Don Google Corleone
So in pure Godfather Google style, they hit everyone and everything all at once and Google stops SEO once and for all. They completely removed all the ads on the side of the page and added another ad on top of the page. Here is what that does:
- 1) Removes add space - A lesson in supply and demand anyone?
- 2) Accentuates Google Shopping due to all the white space
And…… pushes down the organic listings underneath the fold on mobile devices and most computers. Meaning, Google killed the value of Page 1 Position 1. It really doesn’t mean as much as it used to, and anyone with a Google Adwords account and some budget will be able to get seen more readily than $1000’s paid to nerds for SEO.
What it looks like? - This is on a 14” screen. Notice there are no organic listings. Also, what you don’t see is the one on the bottom is an ad and there is another ad under that, so a bigger screen isn’t going to be better, much less a mobile screen. In short, no organic listings.
How well is it working?
If we take a look at this diagram from Accuracast that measured Click Through Rate on ads (this means the rate at which ads were clicked aka CTR) after the first week of the change, it's clear to see the brilliance in this change.
In essence, they just increased the amount that ads get clicked which means more advertising money, and this will surely decrease organic clicks.
This isn’t to say that SEO won’t work on less searched terms nobody cares about like “Vladmir Putin Bare Chest Horseback Riding” but for something like “Mountain Bikes” the organic listings aren’t going to make it above the fold. SEO is not a viable strategy anymore. Sure, it can be great for content marketing longer keyword phrases, but in a competitive space, it’s gone gone gone. In essence, even though we already felt like SEO is DEAD, it has now been exhumed and killed off again because Google just scorched earth!