Google has the informal motto of “Don’t be evil” but I am here to call BS on that one. I’m not even talking about their willingness to let China censor their search results or their allowing copyrighted material to be used on youtube because it is good for their traffic or any of the other myriad of abuses they participate in. No, I’m talking about the bully on the playground kind of behavior that when taken to a corporate level or, even worse, a monopoly level becomes out and out evil. Remember the playground bully? The big kid who made up the games and then changed the rules again and again if they were not winning?
Google has reached that point. Whether it is pushing organic search results down below lots of paid advertisements or even Google products particularly on high profit margin keywords, or obfuscating data in Google Analytics (free resource) in the name of privacy but leaving that same data available in Google Adwords (paid resource) or just generally doing all the things they have made violations of their terms of service for you to do, Google is just plain evil. Businesses that were built on ranking highly on Google for critical keywords have disappeared literally overnight due to changes in the Google Algorithm. Google has opened the door to a whole new industry of negative SEO while not affording website owners any way to disavow incoming links which Google claims are spammy and they lower your search engine rank under their “Penguin Update” to their search algorithm. The list goes on and on.
Why is Google evil you ask? Simple. The same reason so many other large publicly traded corporations are evil. They live and die by their quarterly earnings reports. Look at Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg said he was going to do what he felt was right for the company and not what Wall Street wants. His reward? A plunging stock price and people questioning whether he should step down as CEO! For saying he would do what he felt was right for his own company! Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying “Google bad, Facebook good”. I haven’t drank their cool-aid either. I think Facebook has just as much potential to be evil as Google they just haven’t figured out how to profit from being evil and have no one take notice yet. Just look at their history with privacy issues. The minute a company can use its size and market share to promote its own profitability, they do. That’s why we have, albeit poorly enforced, anti-trust laws in this country.
A lot of people have said to me “but look at all the great innovation and free stuff we get from these companies because of their drive to increase profits.” Blah, blah, blah whatever. It ain’t free if it costs you your privacy. It ain’t free if it costs people their jobs. It ain’t free if it costs you your freedom. When I mentioned to a client that I was going to write this blog post today they, only half jokingly, told me I shouldn’t because I would probably get punished by Google. So be it. I am nobody in the big bad world of the internet anyway. I’m just a small town web developer and online marketing consultant. So do your worst Google!
So what can I do about it, you ask? Keep your game plan diversified. Don’t focus solely on SEO or Facebook or Twitter or Youtube or Linkedin or Adwords or email as you look to promote your business. Come up with a good mix for you and your company and stay diversified. That way when the rules of any one platform change, you still have the others in your repertoire. Quite frankly (and ironically) it is probably the best way to protect your ranking on Google as well. Google is looking at more and more factors to rank your site and, despite the blatant link baiting of so many people saying SEO is dead, SEO is alive and well, it just needs to be fed more.
Want a hand putting together a strategy? Drop me an email or give me a call. I will probably have a lot of time on my hands after I get banned from the Google index.