The Search Engine Optimization landscape has changed dramatically over the last few years. In fact, if you were doing SEO in 2007 and were transported to today, you might not have a clue how to survive. Those who have constantly been paying attention understand the direction Google is heading. And you might not like it.
No Longer a Directory
For as long as we can remember, Google has just been a fancy online directory. They did this so well that they dominated all others and racked up billions (with a “B”) in revenue. They then got into tech products in general, software/apps, investments, and even self-driving cars. But at its heart, Google is still a search engine. They still depend on search volume to drive the rest of their ventures.
“One Stop Shop”
Google wants to be the one-stop solution for searchers. Instead of giving searchers a giant list of links to click, it wants to (and is already beginning to) give solutions right in Google. No need to click to sites when Google poops out the answer for you without ever having to leave the search.
How about the time?
How many people will click on a link below? The answer is low. Google is smart enough to know my intent, which is to quickly find the answer to this query. This means that if you’re anywhere near this space, your search traffic will become nihl. Other question-answer queries are doing the same thing:
And in case you happen to want Will Ferrell’s height as well, you’re in luck.
Google doesn’t make money on SEO, which is the process of getting organic rankings higher for specific keywords. Google does, however, make TONS of cash with Adwords, so they’re always looking for more opportunities to monetize listings. In the local map section, for some industries you’re already starting to see ads where they never were before.
Sorry Locksmiths, your life just got a lot simpler. Pay Google and you might get business. This will become more normal for local businesses (“Google Guaranteed”) in the future, which could be good in some respects, and potentially devastating in others.
There has even been speculation regarding whether Google could monetize the “images” tab as well. Where there’s a will there’s a way, and Google and and will try anything.