Well, Google has done it again. They’ve changed the way they assign page rank (which is a measure of a web site’s "validity") and web masters everywhere are throwing up their hands because overnight the rules have changed yet again!
Most of the blogosphere is reacting with outrage. Andy Beard has a GREAT piece on the ensuing melee resulting from the latest shake up. It’s funny and it’s educational.
However, it’s important for business owners to keep in mind that relying solely upon Google to deliver your customers is VERY dangerous, indeed. See, Google defines their "customer" as those who search, not those who pay to be found by that search. Because of this definition, you can’t TRUST Google to do what’s right for you, the one who wants to be found. Google will always do what is in THEIR customer’s best interest…. damn those of us who actually pay to gain access to those eyeballs!
So while bloggers from A-Z may rail against the latest actions of the 900 lb Gorrilla that is Google, there isn’t much any of us can do to alter their actions.
For the past DECADE I have encouraged my clients to design their web presence so that it can be indexed by the search engines, but to then to market their business like the search engines don’t exist.
There are other ways to make your potential customers aware of your business OTHER than Google. There’s an old saying that warns you against putting all of your eggs into one basket. Many marketing professionals once extolled the "squeeze page"…. to which Google replied….SLAP!
Now, Google is issuing another SLAP, this time to bloggers who feature paid links on their blogs. Google isn’t going so far as to delist them, but Google is discounting them, and that hurts.
Then again, I am reminded of a story in the book "Striking it Rich.com" (copyright 1999) where one business owner (Long Island Hot Tubs) had with the all powerful 9at the time) search engine, Alta Vista. His submission of his site, which at the time featured 400 pages of product, was deemed to be "search engine spam" and the site was delisted by the search engine.
What bothered Harrison most was that "as a judge, jury and executioner, they deleted all references to our site."
According to the book, Long Island Hot Tubs (now Pool and Spa.com) turned to the web in the late 20th Century because other forms of advertising had failed them. Alta Vista wielded the same harsh stick then that Google freely waves today. The last laugh was on Alta Vista. It’s no longer the 900lb gorilla. Now Google sits on the throne.
As you build and promote your web business, keep in mind that Google views their "customer" as those who use them to search. Getting access to just a small portion of those millions of eyeballs are why there is a now a "job function" known as "Search Engine Optimization". There are other ways to access those eyeballs… it is just that few of those options actually have a "deliver those eyeballs for free" option.