So many people are obsessed with Google. And as far as that goes, there is good reason to be. Google is the largest search engine that gets the most searches and delivers far more traffic than any other engine. But I'm not one to watch Google on a hyper-obsessive level. I'm just as happy to let others do that for me.

When it comes to our clients we do care about Google rankings. In fact, we really don't look very deep into what rankings are for the other engines (Yahoo and MSN). Typically if you're ranking well on Google the others are not far behind.

I recently checked out Google's new Insights for Search, and I have to say that I found it less than insightful. The gist of it is you get to see if any particular keywords are being searched more or less over time. It'll make a decent comparison metric to WordTracker or Keyword Discovery, but not a whole lot more.

There are a few other tidbits of information, such as regional search patterns and what not, and this can be used for some additional keyword research. But other than that... yawn.

Is it smart to know whats going on in the world of search? Of course. Understanding various signals that the search engines look at and attempting to weight those signals through trial, error and testing is extremely valuable.

But more important than what the search engines are doing today, is looking ahead to what they want to be doing, or what they should be doing. And to do that, you often have to look no further than yourself.

What would you do if you were a search engine? How would you rate the value of a website? The engines are not smart enough to make assessments like the human mind, but they are trying.

Somehow we have to balance what we know of the engines today with what we expect the engines to do tomorrow. One thing we can always be sure of, Google and the other search engines don't want to return results that their users feel are irrelevant. That means that so long as we work to build sites that are relevant, and highly valuable to our target audiences, we're on the right track.

You don't have to know the minute detail of all of Google's patents to know what the search engines are going for. That information is always valuable, but also keep in mind that Google is not your target audience. They are just a means for advertising. Getting strong advertising placement is great, but only so far as you're able to sell to your audience once they are delivered from your advertisements.

If you can't, then Google doesn't want you in the results. If you can, but not as well as someone else, then that someone else will likely have a better advertising position. On the other hand, if you can provide a good user experience, quality information, and go out of your way to delight your visitors, then you got just the type of site that Google wants in the top positions.

August 14, 2008

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.


Great stuff,
I'm glad I'm not the only one who isn't obsessed with Google. There's plenty of traffic to go round in my view.

I agree, Stoney. Too many business owners want to know the latest gimmick or trick to get to the top of the search engines. They need to realize that providing good quality, well-organized information, is a much better strategy not only with regard to Google but also for converting visitors into customers.

Another insightful post. To me the best line you have in the entire article is that Google is not your target audience. Where you rank on Google is important, but only if it's helping you to connect with your specific market.

While I agree that you need to be one step ahead, ponder what the search engines are to do next, I can't help but "obsess" over Google. Google is the number one search engine in South Africa, while people know of Yahoo! and to a lesser extent MSN (most don't even realise that they are using it when they do) Google drives all but direct traffic to the websites. Not healthy... but that's just the way it is.

But as you put it, rank well in Google the others aren't far behind. This is true in many cases, but I believe Google are far ahead when it comes to local search - at least here in South Africa.

For the record I'm still an fan! :)

Nice one Stoney.

cheers to the future

I think the tendency to obsess will depend on what's at stake for most people. If the stakes are huge and you're in a fiercely competitive arena, then it pays to obsess not just over google but also over getting your website right in all other respects. The pursuit of one objective (eg rankings) doesn't need to be at the expense of another (eg delighting your customers) so achieving all the objectives will provide the highest pay off. This year's olympic winner of the 100m sprint on the track will be obsessive about every aspect of his preparation from his shoes to his diet to his room security.

"Google is not your target audience. They are just a means for advertising."

What a brilliant comment and reminder Stoney, and a refreshing read to boot!

I confess too , i am obsessed by google..:)

Yup for me, I like MSN as the main search engine to target even though it only gets about 10% of all the search traffic (hopefully rising). Also it seems to be the easiest to rise in ranks as you start marketing...I don't worry about big G anymore, at least not right away. I hope my new blog on water softeners and tips will quickly climb in MSN's ranks first, then eventually in the big G, as I get more relevant backlinks which can only come with time.

Thanks Stoney,

Let's see how Bing fares...

Comments closed after 30 days to combat spam.

Search Engine Guide > Stoney deGeyter > Why I Don't Obsess About Google