Google’s Real Goal (Hint: It’s not what you think it is)

I’ve always believed (and have repeatedly stated on other sites) that Google’s goal with the organic search results is to return to searchers the most relevant and authoritative sites–given their query. But the other day, I was searching for new windows, and the quality (or lack thereof) of the organic results lead me to a different way of thinking.

Maybe I’m the last one to the party on this one, but I’m starting to see evidence that Google’s real goal is to generate more ad revenue by making the organic results relevant enough that people continue to prefer Google, but not as relevant as the (top) paid ads.

Do a search for “window replacement city, state,” and examine the quality of the search results you see (paid vs. organic).

When I searched, I got Yelp (1), Home Advisor (2), and a handful of lead-gen sites (3-8). When I clicked on Yelp and Home Advisor, the results were terrible–companies I’d never heard of and from mostly outside my area.

Where’s the value in that?

The top 3-5 paid ads, on the other hand, were from very well-known, local window companies I had heard of (mostly from off-line advertising). I did a few more searches for other home service categories and found almost exactly the same thing–highly relevant paid ads matched with fairly low-quality organic results (low-quality = not very relevant to my searched term).

If Google’s real goal is to generate more paid clicks–without causing a mass exodus of searchers to Bing, totally alienating some of their large advertisers (Home Advisor), and triggering anti-trust lawsuits–they’re moving things in the right direction.

The average searcher is unaware of the nuances of SEO and PPC advertising. Filling the first page of organic results with sites that are just passable to the average searcher draws the searcher’s eye to the top paid ads, which by comparison, suddenly appear much more relevant and trustworthy.

I’ve always told business owners that their long-term strategy for SEO should be to establish and promote their company as THE authority for what they do in the markets they do it.

I still believe companies should take this approach, but now more than ever, I’m thinking they should do it not for SEO. They should do it because SEO, as we know it today, won’t exist.


Posted in Guest Blog Posts, Resources, SEO Thoughts

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