I have long wondered this – and recently, I decided to question their accuracy on this topic over the last few months.
And when I read a Business Insider article titled “What if Google is Actually ‘Weak’ in Search?” article in the Business Insider, I too began to ponder if the tech giant really has a lock on the market I, and many others like me, presume them to rule with an iron fist.
With such a ridiculous headline, and given my background as an SEO who started in social and content strategy, I naturally clicked if for no other reason than to bury this bozo.
But once I did, author Jim Edwards’ question raises even more thoughts that detail the future of user search in the “specified product” niche.
In Google’s lense (no pun intended), the future of search is in smartphones (Android and iPhone) and tablets.
Desktops and portables will soon become dinosaurs. The search engine giant is known for its perception that people search to buy, price check or learn before online conversion or some action similar, is completed. This conversion point is known as the Zero Moment of Truth – or ZMOT.
Here’s an example of ZMOT in action:
A family drove to Seattle from New York, they could likely be on the lookout for a snowstorm along the way.
The car, with bikes on the back, is likely covered in road salt.
In Seattle, the wife grabs her iPhone or Android device and searches for a car wash with wands, to avoid having to remove the bikes or bike rack.
Google quickly shows her a car wash about a mile away.
The concept of the influencer searching today, someone else writing a specification next month and a third party buying the materials in 3 years is an alien concept to the Internet economy.
Yet that’s the business of most “specified products” in B2B marketing.
Mobile devices cannot access all the the design resources and project information / architecture needed for most commercial or institutional projects.
At best, the user gets a phone number to call. And here, ZMOT holds true.
iPads are a different story.
With accessibility of most data and applications of a standard website, architects and product dev leads typically love tablets. But Adobe flash and other popular applications completely fail on the iPad, which of course makes eliminating flash a top priority for any web redesign you do this year.
In fact, you’re lucky if your website is performing at all using flash-based design. So congrats on the job security mulligan. You won’t have another one.
While I don’t see large-monitor desktop systems dominating the user decision process for “specified products” at all, it is proven that mobile device users are dominantly using Google Search for local conversion intent – or the first touch in a multi-screen user journey.
When you begin updating your website, consider each persona that you expect to convert and give them quick, easy access to the information they are searching to find.
Search Engines (mainly Google and Bing) have looked to social signals (via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and many others) to inform an increasingly big part of how they rank web pages.
But with Twitter long being known for too many talking and too few listening / sharing / interacting, Facebook getting dumber and dumber in audience – yet still someone green-lighted the foolish drop in organic reach for business pages, and LinkedIn entering a point of stagnation now that they killed their best content weapon (LinkedIn answers), you have to wonder if Google has been given an opening.
Now let’s see where Google factors into this. Google+ has long been mocked by the mainstream marketing and media, as well as the social media addicts who create nothing but self-embarrassment in their own newsfeeds. But it’s growing, and fast.
Now that Google+ is among the top SEO ranking factors in the Google algorithm, the search engine giant has now integrated YouTube, the second largest search engine and by far the leader in video sharing platforms, into the user profiles – which will only strengthen its presence in SERPs and in doing so, explains why the social network continues to rise … slowly but surely.
But when it comes to lead nurturing, establishing thought leadership and growing both your audience and customers via post-click referrals to social networks … Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn still have very much the stronghold on both validity and conversion rate.
Google+ and YouTube, however, are climbing the ranks increasingly dominant as two must-have tools for effective content strategy … and strong first steps in getting your startup website or new product launch found online.
Regardless of who’s Right –
- Focus on making your website useful, findable and shareable.
- Integrate Google Local with your Google+ page, and connect your website to both.
- These steps in #2 alone will help with getting you found online – add these SEO best practices to amplify the effect.
- Direct your promo efforts to social media channels.
With steps 1 – 4 alone, your agile startup or forward-thinking small business will already have an unfair digital advantage over most.
Comments and questions are always welcome.