The other night I was at a fantastic event at La Cave au Fromage which I highly recommend for corporate events. Introductions were made, wine consumed and conversation flowed. We got on to the topic of Google and someone made the assertion that Google “steals the last click”. So knowing the affiliate market as I do, I countered with “and the first click and the middle click and really anywhere that people use a paid ad in their journey.”
The gentleman who was arguing that Google was taking credit for that last click countered that Google was trading off others hard work. For example, he said, Renault work hard making an advert about their new Clio car only for Google to force them to use paid advertising and stealing money as people go to Google to get more information about the new car. Thus, since Google is stealing money from business, they are making money only because other people do the hard work for them. Google thus was some sort of leech, draining money without making any effort. Well, even leeches make a bit of an effort and took thousands of evolutionary years to arrive at where they are.
Back when I started doing this SEO malarkey, the world was a different place. I’d been online for 10 years and in the previous 2 had heard more and more reference to something called “mosaic” and something about pages. You could see things on these pages! Unfortunately as someone who used raw telnet on a light computer this just was not possible but the online world was magnificent even without images.
Very quickly things changed and Windows 3.51 entered in to my life and the world got graphical. Google wasn’t around in 1996 but plenty of others were and many evolved in to the space with aggregators like Web Ferret and Dogpile bringing us a wider selection of search results. It was through Dogpile that I remember Google standing out. The results included actual on page text – a revolution!
What followed was a slow growth stage, then a heavy branding and marketing phase and now when certain parts of the world talk about wanting to find something online, they talk about “Googling” it. This came after only substantial marketing and technology efforts and the work that Google put in to their product should not be lightly dismissed.
Google did not simply form itself out of whole cloth and land a finished entity which cost nothing to develop and deploy – there’s millions behind this endeavour. It is able to make millions from its advertising platform because of the combined brand awareness and human nature.
I’m the first to admit to a love/hate relationship with Google. I miss the old keyword-stuffing days when it was easy to rank for anything. I’ll also be the first to admit Google is an effective monopoly in the UK and I think something has to be done. That does not make Google thieves, leeches, or sponges. They worked to become dominant and while I hope it goes the way of IM or Microsoft, we are where we are at the moment.
Google is not stealing money – they are not trading on the back of someone else’s hard work. They are a dominant brand like Coca-Cola, Marlboro, and others. Make the most of traffic they drive to your page by whatever route and get that conversion first time. Don’t blame Google for managing to win in a sector, learn to utilise them as a tool.