Do We Truly “Understand” Google?
The term “Understanding Google” perhaps underplays the importance of the remarkable search engine in 2014. Even in its infancy as a research project almost 20 years ago, it is hard to imagine that Google’s developers would have been aware of the far reaching importance that Google would one day boast. Even from a linguistic standpoint, the word “Google” has become an active verb in its own right and claimed ownership of internet search jargon. For example when was the last time you “Yahooed” or “Binged” something? And when was the last time you “Googled” something? The void between such services is indicative of Google’s dominance.
Beyond its initial goals as a search engine, Google has expanded dramatically. Development in the fields of smartphones, social media, cloud computing and even TV have positioned Google as a market leader and one of the most influential, recognisable businesses in the world. Despite its mostly successful forays into new, exciting avenues of business, it is as a search engine that the company continues to thrive and dominate.
For many, Google is a literal first point of call. Whether this be shopping, following the news or streaming the latest episode of Game of Thrones, a Google search often forms the basis of our research. Users today approach Google searches with a distinct urgency depending upon the organisation of the on screen information instead of any subject-specific expertise, so in a sense Google wields dramatic power of the way we consume information.
Reflective of this power, a high search engine ranking has become somewhat of a golden chalice in the world of marketing – not everyone understands it, but everyone wants it. As such, the value of Google prominence has risen astronomically and those who boast an understanding of Google’s search rankings are now an important weapon in a marketer’s armoury. Of course, understanding Google is in itself an evolutionary task as the rules of search engine optimisation rapidly change.
True to its evolutionary and all-encompassing nature however, Google’s Adwords service has found a way to monetise Google search (Adwords provides Google’s biggest source of profit) whilst providing marketers and businesses with a simple, effective method of influencing the results of search engine rankings.
Google’s original mission statement was “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. It is hard to argue that Google has indeed delivered upon its original intentions with millions of people completing countless tasks with the help of the search engine every minute. However, consideration of the development of Google Adwords and the rise of SEO as a potent weapon in the marketer’s armoury poses the question as to how organic the information is.
The question we must ask as consumers is the extent to which we trust the results of our search. As marketers however, we must acknowledge the rise of search engine marketing and continue to envisage a high Google ranking as an achievement to strive towards as a priority.
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