Or… how climbing the “Google ladder” got a whole lot tougher.
A number of years ago a friend who owned a restaurant was in dialogue with the people who manage the food vendors at JFK airport. There was a slot open, and my buddy was hoping to get his restaurant in there.
Can you imagine what that would do to his sales?
And bank account?
Near the end of the meeting the guy happened to mention how any business owner who got placement at the airport became a millionaire, and then he looked at my friend and asked him “do you understand what I mean?”
My friend, being a bit naive, didn’t.
The guy repeated his appeal, saying “if I can get you a spot here how would you be able to repay my kindness?”
And my buddy just sat there, not knowing what to say…
Why getting on Google’s page 1 matters
After returning home he gave me a call and relayed the story to me. Then he asked me about what the guy meant, and what I thought his chances were of getting in there?
“It ain’t gonna happen, cause that guy was looking for a briefcase full of money.”
And that, as they say, was the end of it.
So what does this story have to do with Google?
Well, they are the millionaire makers. Getting on the top of page 1 for any search related to your business tends to translate into a lot of traffic, and at least the potential for a lot of customer or clients.
And Google knows it.
Now, more than 90+% of their revenue comes from paid advertising. This is the “shortcut” to get on page 1… because rather than optimizing your site for the right keywords and then doing a lot of SEO (and doing it right) to get on page 1 for the “organic” listings on the left hand side, businesses could land on page 1 (on the right hand side) by simply buying their way to the top.
When clicks were $0.10 or $0.25 it made financial sense to take a risk with paid advertising and enduring the “tire kickers” because, if you knew what you were doing (and even when you didn’t) you could remain profitable by solely relying on PPC.
Forget about it.
In some niches or industries a SINGLE click can cost you more than $20. And that’s for ONE click. If you conversion rates for just paid adverting was 10% (and for most it isn’t) at those prices it means the cost for a customer is $200 (10 clicks = $200, @ 10% conversion = 1 customer or client).
So what if you conversion is 5%?
That translates to $400 per new customer or client.
Remember, that cost doesn’t take into consideration what you’re selling, how much you make on the initial sale, and what your margins are. So let’s skip the math and say that, for many businesses, they’ve been priced out of the Google pay per click market. Big companies with deep pockets can (and do!) pay ridiculously high prices PER CLICK just to keep you on the sidelines.
And Google knows this… and loves it.
After all, he (or she) who controls the traffic controls the money.
Page 1 and evergreen traffic
Sounds like a sad story, right?
For some it was… and is. In fact, many internet marketers openly hate Google for their business practices. But let me tell you, given half the chance they’d do the same thing, or worse.
However, it’s not all gloom and doom here.
There’s another little secret (or fact) that very few people know about, and even fewer who are willing to talk about.
So what is it?
Well, back in the day the most popular ads were the ones that show up based on keyword searches on Google or one of their partner networks. In fact, those ads probably comprised more than 80% of all of the paid ads placed by businesses through Google.
However, back in 2007 and 2008 a seismic shift occurred on the web that shook things up for good. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the blog became mainstream. For the first time a non technical person could launch, add, change, edit and modify their site whenever they wanted to without having to fork over big bucks to web developers.
The web, in essence, became mainstream.
Now, on the one hand it meant that a lot more people were online, making it harder and harder to rank at the top. But for Google, all these sites meant that they had “content partners” who were willing to place Google “content network” ads on their site.
For Google, it meant having a lot more places to advertise, giving their corporate sponsors more ways and venues to advertise online. Google was happy, because they raked in more money, advertisers were happy because they got more exposure online, and blog owners were happy because they could make a couple bucks each month thanks to Google.
Nearly overnight content network ads became more popular because the people who “clicked through” were better buyers than those who found a small ad on Google’s search results page.
So what does this mean to you?
Well, sites that have Google adsense on them tend to rank better than sites without ads, provided you follow one simple rule from Google — publish ORIGINAL content only.
See, everything Google does is for a reason. Their primary goal is to provide end users with a positive experience while pleasing their corporate clients who literally pay them millions each month for advertising. Every “rule” change at Google, every algorithm update has this singular focus in mind:
- keep end users happy by serving up “meaningful” results from their searches
- keep corporate clients happy and continually paying for ads
And the wheel goes round and round.
Yet, time and again clients fight me about ads. They don’t like them. They don’t like when content I place on article directories linking back to their website has an ad on the page. It drives them nuts.
And they miss the point.
Google needs reliable content partners, people who run and maintain sites that ONLY post good, original content as a way to promote their business. Do this and Google will work with you. Ignore this, or try to cheat the system by posting garbage, and they will banish you to the hinterlands.
Just like the guy looking for the briefcase, Google is a millionaire maker, and their large corporate clients could eat you for breakfast in a heartbeat.
Is it harder to get sites on page 1 than it was even a few years ago?
However, by marketing smarter and spending wisely it is possible to claim a piece of the Google pie… provided you’re willing to play by the rules…
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