Organic Results on Google a Shrinking Commodity

August 14, 2013

The free ride is over. Google seems to have decided it is time to make the most of AdWords, the Tutorspree Blog illustrates in, “How Google is Killing Organic Search.” The post begins by praising the Google of the past which, writer Aaron Harris accurately observes, “won search by providing the best organic results users had ever seen.” Since then, though, the company’s profit motive has been slowly strangling unpaid, organic search results.

The post begins with an visual presentation. Harris took screen shots of some different Googley searches and calculated the percentage of each results page devoted to organic results. The low numbers (all under 15 percent) are particularly galling, he says, for local business owners who bought into Google’s promises that well-structured pages would mean high visibility. The post concludes:

“Google is building a new version of the search engine that made it great. This time, however, it is a search engine exclusive to the garden of Google products. If you compete with Google in any way, you’re in its crosshairs. Your chances of ranking high enough to garner traffic are virtually nil and getting smaller.

“The scariest part of this is that, if you sell something using the internet, regardless of whether or not you see yourself as a ‘local’ business – or think you’re competing with Google – Google sees you as competition. Searching for ‘Camera’ or ‘Buy a Dress Shirt’ gets you a nearly identical split of screen real estate as that of ‘local’ searches. Nearly everything leads back to a Google product except for an ever-decreasing amount of ‘Organic’ real estate.”

I wish I could say I was surprised, but Google is in business to make money, after all. They do seem to be more directly focused on that goal lately. Will the approach pay off, or will users turn to other search alternatives?

Cynthia Murrell, August 14, 2013

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