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Is Google Waging War on Small Businesses?

Google has been getting a lot of flack lately in the SEO community for purportedly favoring big brands in its search results and kicking small businesses to the proverbial curb. According to critics, Google has managed to divert attention away from its questionable business strategies by publicizing projects like its self-driven cars and Google Plus, neither of which generates revenue for the Internet giant. Meanwhile, Google’s revenues have increased by billions of dollars this year and revenues from Google’s AdSense partner network have plummeted. What has Google done in order to grow so much, so fast, and why is its AdSense partner network suffering the consequences?

The Death of Organic Search Engine Rankings

Aaron Wall, a renowned SEO consultant and the founder of SEOBook, mentioned in a recent blog post that when he searched for the query “HD monitor” on Google, he could only see paid ads and links to Google pages above the fold. Based on his observations and Google’s sudden revenue growth, many critics suspect that Google is strategically directing search engine traffic to sites from which they can profit. This seemingly minor change has the potential to hurt many small business owners and affiliate marketers, who depend on high organic search engine rankings to generate traffic and sales. Google’s Matt Cutts even called independent affiliate marketers, “an unnecessary step in the sales funnel.”

Google is likely keeping the prime real estate in the SERPs for itself in order to boost profits. By becoming the largest affiliate, Google can quickly displace thousands of affiliate marketers and small businesses that rely on affiliate marketing income to survive. It’s a scary prospect, but Google will ultimately pay the price by killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

The Future of Online Marketing

People are bombarded with advertising and marketing messages on a daily basis, so they recognize ads quickly and tend to tune them out. Therefore, a good number of Google users are likely to head straight to the organic results when they perform searches. And if people continue searching for information on Google and realize that there is nothing but ads above the fold, they will probably begin to feel distrustful of Google’s search results and start using a different search engine. People use search engines to find relevant information, not ads.

Ultimately, it’s up to consumers to decide which search engine they’ll use, and if Google keeps this up, it’s likely that many people will seek an alternative. The world is ready for a new search engine, and Google’s making it easier for a competitor to take over the market by putting its own profits first.

Businesses that rely on the web for leads, sales, and profits can minimize their dependence on Google by building other sales funnels into their sites. From display advertising to social media marketing to email marketing, there are a variety of other effective online marketing strategies that you can implement. Other things that business owners can do to decrease Google’s power and influence in the online world is use a different search engine, avoid clicking on Google’s paid ads, and try other PPC ad networks besides AdWords.

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