Let’s be blunt: Google doesn’t give a damn about you, and it doesn’t give a damn about your business.
Even if you’re spending £20,000 a month on AdWords, they wouldn’t even notice if you shut up shop.
Sure, you’d get the usual automated emails asking you to re-start your campaigns. You might get emails from their “reps” (i.e. “salespeople”) offering to “help you” (i.e. bleed you).
But you know what I mean. For them, there are big advertisers that matter and, as much as your parents love you and tell you you’re special, you’re not one of them.
It’s nothing personal. It’s just business.
But it’s your business and it’s personal for you. And it’s personal for your family if the quality of their lives can be harmed if your sales plummet.
Which they might soon do, because…
Google is planning to kick 63% of advertisers off the front page
At the moment, Google typically shows 11 ads: 3 at the top left, 8 on the right.
But do you know that they’ve been testing showing 4 ads at the top, and no ads on the right?
So, if that becomes standard, that’s a 63% reduction in available ad slots.
Why fewer ad spots is money in the bank for Google
Why are they doing this? Because it’s likely to make them more money.
If you’ve read my recent book on search engine marketing (download a free copy here), you’ll know that ads on the left typically get 10-20 times the click rate of ads on the right.
So that extra ad on the left is worth more than the 8 lost ads on the right.
Not only that, but fewer spots is likely to mean a fiercer bidding war. And that will increase the cost per click in most markets. Which is good for Google.
And, finally – the 3rd benefit – it would push the organic rankings further down the page… and, in many cases… the top organic listing won’t even be on the first fold of the page.
How serious is that?
In 2012, Wordstream did a study that showed, for commercial searches…
- Paid ads took up 85.2% of the above-the-fold pixels
- Paid ads received 64.6% of the clicks
- Organic listings only had 14.8% of the above-the-fold pixels, and 35.4% of the clicks
(See chapter 3 of my book.)
If you add an extra ad to the first fold – pushing the organics further down the page – what happens?
I’d guesstimate that organics will go from 14.8% of the first fold, to around 5%. And from 35.4% of the clicks to, at best, 25%.
That’s a reduction in SEO traffic of around 30%.
So, if you’ve built the future of your business on SEO, your business doesn’t have a future.
Use Google, but don’t need them
I’m not suggesting for a minute that you should walk away from Google. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t make hay while the sun shines.
If you’ve got SEO rankings, great! It’s free money.
Same with AdWords. AdWords will continue to make a lot of money for many advertisers for years to come. (For example, shopping ads won’t be affected by this.)
It’ll just be fewer advertisers, and the cost per click will be higher.
So, take advantage, but don’t allow the survival of your business to depend on them.
Googleproofing your business
Imagine you could double the revenue you earn from your existing traffic. If you then lost half your traffic, all it would do is take you back to where you were before.
That might sound hard to do, but it’s usually achievable through a combination of:
- Better conversion
- Earning more per sale
- Increasing your average purchases per client
- Offering higher ticket products and services for clients who want to spend big money
That’s one way to reduce your Google dependency – simply need fewer new visitors. The other way is to add more ways to get traffic.
Are you ignoring other traffic sources?
I’ve long said that, in most markets – especially B2B – search engines are just the tip of the iceberg.
It’s the people who are both actively looking to buy, and are looking on search engines.
It’s not the people who know they have a need, but aren’t yet looking. And it’s not the people who could greatly benefit from your product or service, but don’t know it.
Fortunately, those people can be targeted with things like Facebook ads, or LinkedIn ads.
And, of course, who says you have to restrict yourself to online marketing? If it’s a big ticket item, direct mail and postcards can be great lead generators.
One of the reasons businesses became “Google dependent” is because you only need one thing – PPC or SEO – and you can get a lot of traffic.
That means you only have to learn one thing… or hire one person… and you’re rolling.
I’ve just given you a long list of things to work on.
You might be thinking, “Yeah, sure, I’ll do all this on top of all the other things I’m doing. It’s not like I’m busy running a business…”.
So here’s my offer: I’m looking for a couple of clients to do this for.
- Increase your enquiry rate
- Improve your lead conversion
- Increase your margins
- Increase your back end sales to existing customers
- Create a “ladder” of products and services at higher prices
- Add more traffic sources
- And, of course, knock your PPC account into shape.
B2B clients would probably be best. Either that, or people selling high-ticket services.
And, of course, you need to have a successful business. This isn’t turnaround work.
If tripling your sales would add at least £500,000 to your profits, then I think we should have a chat.
But, first, read my book, as that lays out the approach I’d take with your business.
If you’re interested, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange a time to have a chat.
Best wishes and have a happy new year,
PS If you haven’t read my book, do yourself a favour and download it. This is now urgent information.
If Google rolls out this “4 ad” format, my book will show you what you have to do to survive and thrive.
However, it’s not an overnight process. Massive success rarely is. So now is the time to get started.
And, if you use AdWords, think about hiring me. This is going to expose those advertisers with inefficient accounts. If you wait until this is rolled out, because this is such a game-changer, I’m likely to be working round the clock for existing clients.
Be one of those clients!
PPS If you have friends or family with online businesses, let them know about this because they need to be prepared in case if Google makes this format the default.