Google: The Bad Boyfriend We Need to Move On From

Thursday, 13th Jun

Have you ever been in a relationship where everything seemed perfect at first, but slowly, red flags started popping up? Being a gay man, I have experienced a few of these, and they are never fun to deal with.

How am I translating my dating life to Google? Well, recent revelations during the DOJ hearings in the USA and leaked documents have painted Google as that classic lousy boyfriend: Promising the world but breaking trust and delivering heartache.

Let's discuss what has gone wrong in our marketing relationship with Google and how to regain control.

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The deceptions unveiled

  1. Manipulative tactics: Google has been manipulating ad auctions to inflate prices. Practices such as the Randomised Generalised Second-Price (RGSP) auctions and format pricing have driven up costs for advertisers without enhancing ad quality. Now, we marketers always knew something was up, but we continued to ignore this shitty behaviour by focusing all of our efforts on optimisations to improve ad effectiveness and engagement in the platform. Gone is the romance of a great Quality Score leading to lower CPCs in the long run.

  2. The constant SEO gaslighting: Trust is the foundation of any good relationship, but Google has, over the years, continued to deny or suggest that backlinks may no longer hold the weight they once did. In March 2024, a document leaked outlining how Google’s algorithm ranks content in search. One of the biggest takeouts was that links and authority are super relevant. This was backed up by a recent study identifying that over 96% of websites ranking in the top 10 of Google had more than 1,000 backlinks from unique domains. Boo, to continual deception by Google.

  3. Profit over fairness: Like a boyfriend who puts his needs first, Google has prioritised its profits over fairness. While we always knew this, the lack of competition in web search keeps bringing us back to Google, allowing them to make easy money while hurting businesses and advertisers.

Time to heal and take back some control

While there will always be a need for its ad platform and superior search engine, there is no better time to reassess our relationship with Google. Here are my tips and tricks to balance this problematic relationship and steer our marketing strategies in a direction that benefits us, not just big tech.

  1. Always go back to your audience's wants and needs: Everything we do in marketing should always come back to meeting the needs of your consumers to generate a sale. Returning to this truth means you will make better decisions about your creative and where to place your ads for effective engagement, saving you hundreds or thousands.

  2. SEO number one, experiences outside of SEO number two: We all love content, especially when it inspires us, moves us or helps nurture our curious minds. While I think we should continue to optimise content for SEO, we should also build experiences that live outside the Google search engine and appear within platforms such as news publishers, shopping, forums, or entertainment channels such as video, music and podcasts.

  3. Diversify our media strategies: Relying too heavily on one partner or marketing platform can be risky. Diversifying your media plan to include other options will allow you to build a more stable, less reliant, and secure future.

  4. Build authority and trust: With link building and authority confirmed as a ranking metric, it is time to start assigning media budget and time to growing authentic backlinks through content partnerships, PR, local citations and blogger outreach.

Let's not rest on our laurels: Just as we learn from past relationship mistakes, we must stay informed about industry practices and be vigilant about any changes that may affect our marketing efforts. I hope the above proactive approach will ensure we don't fall into the same traps again and maintain control over our relationship with marketing platforms such as Google.

Interested in how to change your relationship with Google? Contact us, and let's see how we can improve your relationship with the ads platform or within search today.

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