Google's brilliant business model touches everyone who cares about website traffic. And everyone pays for the pleasure of playing at the Google top table.
We are undergoing an SEO audit action project.
If you've not had one or thought about it, then read on. If you have, then just giggle at some of the things we've found out. But let's step back a moment and ask - what's this SEO thing about?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO should be called Chase The Google or CTG. Why? Because anyone engaged with SEO will tell you - repeatedly - that this is all about optimizing for Google's search engine algorithm. Why should you care?
Heck - we all want to be loved by Google so that when you run a search then our stuff comes top of the search pile. That way we get more eyeballs and everyone is happy. But it is much more than that.
Google is no longer a noun but a verb...we Google things. We don't Bing them or Yahoo! them or even search for them. We Google them. Everyone does, even my missus who, up until about 18 months ago was totally computer illiterate.
Google knows this and does a Grade A job of (mostly) finding what we need using simple searches. It ain't much good at complex searches but that's another story.
That in turn means that everyone with a website who cares anything about traffic must pay attention to Google. This comes at a cost and a not inconsiderable cost at that.
There's a lot to understand, much of it is technical and just to add spice to the mix, Google keeps changing the rules of the game. It's like an endless game of Rollerball where you're playing New York in the hope of winning a chaotic game. But whenever you think you've cracked it, Google sends you back to play Tokyo under a new set of rules and the whole thing starts again.
In our case, I thought we'd done a pretty fair job of getting diginomica into Googley shape. It turns out we didn't do too bad but right now, I'm staring at a 57 point action item list and wondering what I did to deserve this. Nothing it turns out. It seems that even when you've settled on a design that everyone you speak to loves, and where your content is as good as you can get it, there's a shedload of other 'stuff' which just ain't considered. Or if it is then the fixes you apply are half baked.
So here's the thing. Google has done a great job of persuading the world that it is THE search engine of choice. It has been so successful that you, me, everyone with a website that wants traffic, must pay attention to Google and spend money, lots of it, to ensure that we're doing the best we can to rank well in Google search.
Google has been so successful with this strategy that an entire SEO (or should that be CTG) industry has grown up around it consisting of companies that audit your site, produce nice, loooooong action lists which you then have to pay others to sort out. And all of that before Google's algorithms change again, or some other cock up occurs.
I'd say that getting everyone else to do work they have to pay for in order to get a seat at the top table in your house is a brilliant business model.
Oh yes - and on the other end, Google monetizes all YOUR hard work to the (current) tune of $60 plus billion a year.
I so wish I'd thought of THAT brilliant business model. Check the related stories at the end of this one to see more of what I am on about.
Tell me in comments what you think. Good model or what?