Friday, September 27, 2013

The signs that Google is killing the SEO industry

It's funny that the Internet search engine that really defined the work of search engine optimisation practitioners over the last decade is now giving several signs that it wants to kill that industry off.

1. The removal of organic results from the top of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages)
In a post a year ago, I commented on how little of the organic search engine results showed on the page of a normal user's screen for hotel-related searches. Back then I explained how very little actually appears above the 'page fold' on a decent size monitor and asked Google the question:
Are you trying to do away with the search engine optimisation industry entirely?
Well a year later the search giant has answered my question, by showing no organic results above the fold for certain search queries. E.g. "diabetes symptoms".

And with yesterday's announcement of 'Hummingbird' (the search giant's biggest change to their engine algorithm since the 2009 'Caffeine' overhaul), Google stated that  “around 90% of searches" would be affected. My initial take on this was "Great, I bet that means even more paid-for results appearing at the top of the page".

2. The removal of organic keyword information 
Unless you're in the SEO industry you might not have been following the recent developments in the ongoing [not provided] issue with Google.
To put this in a non-technical way... Google used to let's site owners see which words were driving organic search traffic to their site, via the Google Analytics tool they provide for free. However, over the course of a almost 2 years, the percentage of terms you get to see in GA has diminished to the point where now only 20 - 30% of the total are visible... and this is decreasing all the time.

Why? Well there has been various excuses for removing this incredibly valuable SEO source, from the generic "privacy" label through to the mention of "NSA snooping" (That's the National Security Agency, the internal spy organisation, similar in function to GCHQ, to us Brits).

However, despite all this bluster by the 'Big G' about protecting our privacy, Google still provides full disclosure about specific keyword usage to those who pay for it's AdWords Pay-Per-Click service. Thus putting a price on your privacy.

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