The Right Way to Think About Google
Sometimes we wonder if Google only likes testing how strong our shock absorbers are. They come with changes from time to time that keep us on the edge of our chairs.
When Google makes even the slightest of change, our brain neurons goes hullabaloo out of worry, we are here and there trying to figure out what these changes mean to our websites and search rankings. Content creators watch out for how such changes affect their pages, linking strategists watch out for changes that will affect link building, PPC strategists watch out for how the changes will affect landing pages, and so on.
The greatest of such surprises in recent times was the Google Authorship Program. It was one of the most laudable projects ever at linking and promoting content makers and their contents. The program was originally set up to help link contents with their authors and the G+ later on to help link content to users. With little or plenty changes here and there, many made effort to meet requirements for authorship and Google upped their ante by boosting users’ profiles on their skills and topics of specialization with source authentication. You can imagine how much Google oiled the egos of content providers when search listings started to show both the authors’ picture with a profile byline.
Statistics even showed the program achieved one its objectives of improving search results. Despite all the positive outlooks, the Google Authorship Program was cut abruptly even after we assumed it has crossed the Rubicon. One of the excuse for discontinuing the program was that the number of authors who used the authorship program was not remarkable, plus, the program did not really show any spectacular changes whether in increase or decrease in users’ clicking pattern. Also the program proved there were less verified authors in the different professional fields than had been assumed. Long and short of the authorship story, Google Authorship Program has stopped and the cross referencing that Google does with your website and Google+ account and the author’s images that appear beside your listing on Google search results will no longer continue. We are only left to speculate on how this step will affect our profiles, our ratings and all.
We have somehow recovered from the Google Authorship Program shock, however, they created another ripple in our just settling waters by announcing that they are restructuring under a new company called Alphabet with the URL: abc.xyz.com. Google says it will be a new Holding Company under the new mother company. It further split its many businesses between Alphabet and Google. Search, ads, maps, apps, YouTube and Android will still be managed by Google while its other businesses such as Calico, Fiber, Nest and its investing arms such as Google Capital and Google Ventures will be managed separately from the Google business.
Here we are again racking our brain about how the transition will work and how it will affect us. Though that should not be news because companies do that all the time but the new and out-of-this-world domain still keeps us wondering; every stakeholder in the content sharing world is still trying to figure how and how Google’s changes affect them for good or for bad. Just as the floods of changes come, flood of emergency experts spring up to launch their analytical skills and give us answers to many questions we need answers for. As a new content maker, it is difficult to know every possible implication of search engine. In the real sense, it takes both virile and vibrant analytical know how and a considerate amount of experience to make meaning of Google’s changes and what probably its next step would be. This is why not every analyses or perspectives on Google’s every shift in position holds water.
Some can be used while some simply have to be discarded. You are not alone in your fears, your business depends on your search rankings; however worry and a plethora of analyses and counter analyses won’t change five certain things which remain sacrosanct whether or not Google makes changes or not. These points will help reduce the stress that Google changes induce in you.
The first way to view Google is to keep in mind the question “what is my plan if this goes away?” This question should resound anytime you use a tool from Google or any third party you have no control over. It will simply do well to forecast the odds that might happen to whatever tool on whatever platform just from anytime you start using it. This will inform an alternative plan in case your tool and your search ranking disappears into thin air. Nobody thought the Authorship Program would be cut short, but it was discontinued eventually. How prepared we were when it did is another story.
So, if Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google disappears tomorrow what will be your plan B. This means it pays to always have an alternative plan, call it plan A, B, C or D. Always have something to fall back on. Rule number two to never forget is that Google owes you nothing. Google runs its business and we benefit from it but that does not mean we have any right appended to their business. Of all its services, ranking is not our civil right; it is only a benefit we enjoy.
Google will not even promise they will accept large amounts of money from you to run advertising on their AdWords platform. What gives us the false sense of entitlement is probably the fact that we put lots of work on the search engine, but it is not so. Realize Google really owes you nothing and you will feel less frustrated or angry when next Google pulls its next card on you.
The third rule of engagement is that you owe Google nothing. You need to ask yourself if you work for Google, do they send you a pay cheque or are you in any contract with them? The answer to the three questions is an obvious No! Then living your life for Google utterly depends on you. You can either decide to continue to make your style really yours or abide by Google’s thoughts on best practices. The decision is up to you after weighing the pros and cons and keeping Google in perspective. Simply put, there is no sense in changing every detail, every template, and every format in your work just because Google wants it or might want it that way. Remember Google owes you no search results.
Preferably, go about using your social media sharing, links, and publicity to reach real people, that way you can be the envy of Google and that way you will probably get its attention.
Rule four is strictly to use the tool for what it is good for. We cannot really deny the fact that search results are helpful mostly for some topics and business models. The authorship markup on content was recommended because it was quick and easy to do with Genesis, and its potentials were great. All of our SEO recommendations work that way. If you can tweak your content without messing it up for your human readers, and without putting every hour of your day into it, go ahead and do that. Use a few simple tools that will let you get your content optimized efficiently. And if your company has the resources to hire a strong team that devotes all of its time to search, that’s fine as well. But don’t do it if you can’t genuinely afford it, and don’t do it if you can’t weather the inevitable storms. Recognize that search is a long game. Put it in its proper place. Use other ways to connect with and engage your audience. And if a great search placement shows up over time, that’s terrific.
The fifth rule is serving the audience first which is the most important of the five rules. Your audience own credit cards to buy your products and services but Google robots do not. It is better to put efforts into serving real people who will eventually become your customers. Make your world a hub that caters real and big time for your audience by creating contents that answer their needs, fascinations that hold them spellbound, and issues that interests them. This way you get real attention. Your audience give you real-time success and that is where everything comes from while Google is just an avenue for your audience to find you.
If you compare the variables, then your audience deserves more of your time and effort than Google does. We should know every time Google makes any change, things change but nothing really changes and nothing is likely to change. Google will keep implementing changes, how the changes will affect us we do not know but it is left to us to develop a sustainable approach for remaining relevant to prospective members of our market, and our already captured audience, as well as sustaining the relationship we have with them. That’s true success, whether you are a Start-up in Nigeria or an established business in America; it applies across board.