As I was checking some rankings in Google the other day, I thought about how Google had become so successful in such a short span of time. Google is now a household name and has become a widely used verb among the mainstream for searching online. For many, to "Google" <insert query here> means to search.
I personally am a fan of Google for many reasons. As I am in the search marketing field, Google plays a large role in what I do on a daily basis. So I thought to myself, "Do I rely on Google too much?" On a personal scale and as a user I would say no, but on a professional level I would say that there is a distinct possibility that I rely on Google too much.
Search Engine Marketing: Is There an Over-Reliance On Google?
As online marketers we are trying to help our clients gain a presence within the search engine results. A recent Comscore Report suggests that in the US, Google happens to have the largest search engine market share with over 44%. So it stands to reason that we should concentrate the majority of our efforts on Google. It would be of interest to see how many site owners and SEO's focus the majority (if not all of the efforts) on ranking in Google.
When you perform a keyword analysis chances are you are looking at phrase that you may be able to rank for in Google first and Yahoo second. When you optimize your site, chances are you are doing so for Google first and Yahoo and the other engines second. When you build your external link inventory, you are doing so to improve PageRank… in Google. Are we seeing a trend here? Speaking of trends, using Google Trends I performed a query on Google and Yahoo (notice that I put Google first? That in itself shows that I myself may be guilty of "Google Dependence").
The fact that more searches have been done for Yahoo in Google just doesn't seem right. Then again why would you use Google to find Google? The point that I wanted to make was that Google has been ingrained in us as the search engine to use. It's no coincidence that when comparing Google and Yahoo using Google Trends I typed Google first followed by Yahoo second.
The Risk of Over-Reliance on Google
The risk of over-reliance on Google is nothing new. Website owners and advertisers learned a big lesson after Google's "Florida Update" in 2003. The Florida Update was an algorithm adjustment that had site owners and search engine marketers scurrying around for answers as to why their sites experienced drastic drops in rankings. The end result was that many online merchants were driven out of the natural search (organic) results and inevitably into paid advertising. Were they relying on Google too much?
Some Questions to Ask
For those of you who are "Google-junkies" you should be aware of the other features and products from other engines such as ASK, MSN or Yahoo. Yahoo for example, has some great tools such as their recently updated Yahoo Site Explorer and Yahoo Search Builder tools. Yahoo is making a conscious effort to improve the search experience.
Addicted to Google
A reliance on Google might become like reliance on a drug or foreign substance in your body. You become addicted and eventually it consumes you and becomes all you know. Are we becoming reliant on Google? Well it depends on how you look at it? As a personal user of Google and as a user of search engines I want to find relevant results for my queries... period. That's it. I don't need the fancy bells or whistles. I don't need 100 million results being returned. I just need the right results being returned. For the most part Google does this.
As an online marketer, you have to ask yourself, if you are over-reliant on Google. Should Google continue to be your main focus? If you are just trying to keep up with the Jones' your answer might be yes. If you are trying to be a leader in your industry you need to be aware of the fact that there are other options out there (in addition to Google). The question is can these options help you succeed further in your online endeavors? What happens the next time Google performs a major algo update? Will you be prepared?
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