Here at Point It we’re in the middle of our planning phase. It’s a good time because it forces you to turn your attention away from the daily occurrences of agency life and think way, way out there.
Take five to ten years from now. What’s Search going to be like?
I believe it’s going to be a scary time for many companies. In the not too distant future page one of Google is going to be locked down in certain markets and it will be virtually impossible to get on there.
Let’s start with getting on to page one today. Google wants authority sites. That means lots of unique content and quality links. Over time, established players are only going to continue to add content and build more links. The longer this goes on, the more authority they gain. The more authority, the more Google loves them and keeps them on page one. At that point it’s game over for anyone not there already.
What makes this extra scary is that with each passing year, the internet becomes more popular as the channel of choice for shoppers. So if you’re not on page one, fewer and fewer people are going to find you.
In the good old days of brick and mortar, a company could set up a chain of stores on Main Street USA and grab market share in those cities. Where we are headed for certain markets is a single online channel called Google Main Street.
Unless you want to use Paid Search, there are only 10 store fronts, and if you’re not in the top 3-5 forget it. Frankly that’s got to be terrifying for some business owners.
On top of this “lockout”, even being on page one will not be enough.
I believe Google is rapidly diminishing the value of being on page one for two reasons:
- Organic listings are being pushed below the fold by Google’s local listings. Often the top 2-3 listings show then comes the Google 7-Pack, then all else is way out of sight.
- Google’s organic page preview increases the chance that the user sees and visits a site before they get to your organic listing – if they even get there. And there’s also the chance that the page preview of your site is not sufficiently enticing to get the user to click.
The conspiracy theorists in the Search Marketing world think that with a diminishing role for SEO, many advertisers will turn to Paid Search, and we all know who makes money there!
I’ve no idea how this is going to play out over the next few years. But one thing I believe is screaming out loud and clear. Depend on Google at your peril.