Give, and ye shall receive!
Well, we are still in the grasp of a recession folks but it looks like someone forgot to mention this to Google as they have just recorded their best ever quarter with a whopping revenue of $9.03 billion. This is a 32% increase over Q2 last year which was already a very respectable $6.82 billion. Whilst these figures are pocket change to a business mastermind like myself, I figure it deserves discussion for the rest of you normal folks (I wish).
How do they do it?
Well, there is a detailed breakdown over at Search Engine Land but in a nutshell, Google sells adverts. The top results when you do a Google search, the results down the right-hand side of a Google search, the adverts on other sites, the pop overs on YouTube – all adverts and Google gets paid every time someone clicks on one and clearly, people are a’ clicking.
Sure, they have a few other products and commercial versions of their applications but by and large, their income is generated through adverts they serve on the search engine result pages, other sites they own and through a network of partner sites that show google adverts (for a small slice of the pie).
So, what is their business model?
It’s really pretty simple – create a great website that allows people to search the Internet for whatever topic they desire and importantly to be the very, very best at it. When people then use this amazing, wondrous free service, Google also show a couple (one or two, or ten, or thirteen) of advertisements above and alongside the search results.
Then, when anyone clicks on these adverts Google gets paid. Given the several hundred million search queries made every single day then the scope here for pay-per-click (PPC) revenue from the displayed adverts is mind boggling – well, $9.03 Billion for Quarter 2 of 2011 to be more precise (pocket change?).
What can we learn from this?
Google expects the very best from its search results and it wants to show you the most relevant results for your search. If they did not do this, then you would start using another search engine and they would lose out on all that juicy advertiser revenue.
This is the lesson, get this straight in your head and you will have the jump on your competition: to get your site to the top of the organic search results, the ones that are not adverts, that take up most of the screen space and that are technically free your site must be the best of the best for the search query that has been performed.
Simply put, to be at the top, you should deserve to be at the top by providing a great and free and wondrous service as Google themselves do for the majority of us search freeloaders who don’t click on the adverts.
What do you need to do?
You need to be the best but what exactly does that mean? Well, if you are a plumber serving residential customers in a small geographic area then a couple of videos showing how to tackle common problems like a leaky tap coupled with some shrewd content promotion could help you outrank the other local plumbers who have no content. If you are a larger company the same rules apply – you need content that is relevant to your target audience and helps them tackle the everyday problems that they face.
It’s almost like, if you give back if you enrich the web and make it a richer place with your content, then you get rewarded and earn the right to rank which in turn gives a needed boost for your service pages where you peddle your (high class) wares.
Where does SEO fit into this?
If only it was as easy as ‘build it and they will come’ hey but the content you create is the foundation for a solid search campaign and it makes the job of your SEO that much easier.
As an SEO our jobs have changed and any SEO consultant worth their salt will be helping you build a site that deserves to be at the top of the results and then promote that for you. This is not because we are all such a kindly bunch but rather that it makes our jobs a damn site easier to help you rank if you deserve to be there in the first place.
So where does SEO come into this?
What is SEO? Do we even need it anymore? Is SEO Dead? (again?) Truth be told, things have not changed massively in ten years, sure there are some differences and the Devil is in the details but the basics remain – identify and create content that is useful to your prospects and market and promote the hell out of it. Simply put, SEO is more important than ever and harder than ever as brands and your competition gets a foothold.
The basics have never really changed and great content has always been the best foundation but as the algorithm starts to look at social promotion as a means to qualify great content you are now under the scrutiny of your peers and gaming the system is getting harder than ever.
Facebook + Bing, Google and Google Plus, Twitter – Like, +1, Retweet (argh)
The lines between SEO and social media are blurring and any SEO you work with had better have some social media chops or they are ultimately missing a trick (for you). But, ultimately, SEO is more important than ever if you want to be doing business five years from now you had better get yourself in the game.
Are you #winning?