Do you remember the cries from search engine optimization (SEO) workers everywhere about Google’s search engine changes in January 2020? Basically, they were upset because Google made the ads appear more like organic search results. In a prior update, Google got rid of the ads on the right side of the page and increased the number of ads at the top of the search results page. It also made ads at the bottom of the page blend in more with the organic search results. Some Google Ads (formerly called AdWords) users have reported an increase in clicks on their ads to the tune of 15% or more.
What The Changes Meant For Businesses Invested In SEO
When you combine the ads with the map results, shopping results, or travel booking section, everything you see without scrolling down is ringing Google’s cash register. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it means that much of the money businesses spend on SEO is wasted. Most people never scroll down at all. In many cases, they just click the first link they see.
That might have been bad news for your business if you were spending a considerable amount of money on SEO. However, Google may end up rolling back some of the changes, depending on how some of the antitrust lawsuits filed against the tech company pan out.
2 Lessons You Can Learn From This Fiasco
You may or may not be doing much with SEO or Google Ads. After all, many companies have replaced their Google ads with Facebook ads. However, the backlash Google faced from the SEO industry is the perfect time to remind you of 2 vital business lessons, regardless of which media you prefer to advertise your business.
Lesson #1: Never put all your eggs in one basket. Many people put the vast majority of their marketing dollars into the SEO game. People have built entire companies on the promise that they can get your business to appear at the top of a Google search results page. Google’s changes are not ideal for either group. I know many people who bet all their marketing dollars on SEO through Facebook, and if you look at the path Google Ads has taken over the last 20 years, you can tell Facebook is literally following in its footsteps.
Lesson #2: You should always have a well-rounded strategy to nurture your leads, get referrals from customers, and sell more to existing customers. This is paramount to your success. Even if you rely primarily on one type of media to generate leads, be sure you make enough front-end and/or back-end money to outspend the competition. Then, you win.
Beyond The SEO Basket
Many people have lost businesses or will lose them this year and next because they broke these 2 rules. Some probably went under because of Google’s ad structure changes. Others floundered because COVID-19 disrupted the single way they got customers (e.g., people who only sold at trade shows or only got their business from speaking on stages, etc.).
But business doesn’t have to be complicated. There are laws of business that few companies can break before it backfires. Follow those laws, and you’ll be fine. If you break them, it’s at your own risk.