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Yesterday ZDnet dedicated an editorial article on Google’s highly profitable secret war against small businesses and jobs. While this is very good to see some mainstream coverage of our Search Engine world, I would only partially agree to this article.

The main reason why?

Google's golden egg goose - small businessesBrands, from medium to humongous all have large search teams, working on an every day basis trying to optimise both their paid traffic and their organic ones. Working with clients who are ready to spend fortunes on adwords and display. Any Google move is closely watched and analysed.
My observation over the last few months is that Google has become increasingly more agressive to push big brands with slow and unreactive process to shy away from SEO (organic) non-branded traffic
On the other hand Google ensure that any branded traffic and Paid search provides max exposure for such brands.
The latest 2 search algorithm + Analytics update for organic traffic are very likely to scare large corp away from heavy investment in SEO:
 

  1. Panda forces you to push better quality content
  2. Freshness forces you to refresh such content often
  3. Google stop providing you keywords info on Analytics for free Google traffic

It’s interesting that the latest freshness index comes around time where most corporation are working on their 2012 budget allocation. Coincidence? I can’t be certain.
Deprive big brands from clear ROI for organic traffic as large organisations/sites are slow to update to change but at the same time flatter them with paid proposal or traffic that should anyway belong to them, you surely have a winning case for Google’s paid campaigns.

What’s coming up?

I had the opportunity to be presented with what I believe will be the biggest move for Google in order to boost its revenues and sit its adwords program as a turnkey marketing spend.

Keywordless ads and campaigns.
This allows advertisers to set and forget adwords campaign optimisation as Google. This would allow small players to avoid burning their small budgets on mistakes such as bidding on high traffic, high cost kwds. All optimisation, including keyword selection is done for them.
What Google doesn’t tell is their selection algorithm is not very accurate. When one of my client trialed the beta version we found an approx 20% under-optimisation rate. 20% is a lot even for a beta product.
20% underperformance rate X every search query displaying a paid advertisement X Millions of Advertisers= very big $$$$$

Best opportunities for small businesses

How to make the most of this change in landscape? Well will every turmoil and every big shift in the industry there are plenty of opportunities for the smart players, let’s look at Google’s recent changes:
 
 

Panda update (quality)– This was coming and any small businesses who are still in existence must be selling a product or a service of high quality
Best Answer: Use all Material available within your company to create great content (YOur sales activity and brochure can be a good start)
Freshness update– SEO can no longer be a set and forget, make sure you create an editorial calendar, review, add, update information about your products as frequently as possible.
Best Answer: Again, start with internal resources! Your customer support, what questions do they handle? Write it down as they become meaningful and numerous enough to be published
Google Analytics update (loss of keywords info) – Google, in a way, is giving you a favour by forcing you to stop being focused on 1 specific keyword, by pushing only for a ROI per keyword you risk over optimising your page.
Best Answer: Look at an entry page level, consider the # of keywords per page and how much total traffic, bounce rate and result you get from that page. Look first at on-page optimisation, then outreach/advertisement/linkbuilding, then Conversion rate optimisation at a page or page type level.

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