OK… so after logging on to my computer fairly late on a Friday night (beer included) I was greeted with the above message from our dearest Google (No I didn’t search for this explicitly but it helps the theme of the post…).
The most prominent thing that caught my attention at the time of reading was the inclusion of shared endorsements which really does seem like another push toward forcing users of the search engine to participate in their growing monopoly of demographic data along with other recent modifications (such as the necessity to login to post YouTube comments or the whole concept of Google+ as a whole). The timing of which is also very interesting in light of their recent announcement that we could be looking at 100% (not provided) within GA in the very near future… but as marketers what can we take from this?
I think an on the fence approach is definitely needed in this instance. As digital marketers we have all had our inner voices exclaim “Why are you doing this to me Google…”, which leads our minds in to automatically pointing our reasoning towards the “Google is a Business” outlook, “they are trying to push me into using AdWords so they can squeeze more from my pocket”… but lets step back to the original proposition from Sergey and Larry:
Has this been achieved?
Probably a question open to endless debate… but after all these recent updates I think that they are closer to this than ever. The key phrase in this statement is “UNIVERSALLY ACCESSIBLE”, which dictates that the information fed back is as relevant as possible to the user in question, and there is no way that this would be possible if there wasn’t any accessible implicit knowledge on the user. So as marketers can we blame them for the path they are taking? The fact that so many of us have continued to rely on the positions of keywords for so long has ultimately lead to wide spread abuse and dirty tactics that have hindered Page and Brin’s mission, so the logical step is of course to remove our reliance on such data altogether, which has been happening gradually over the last few years.
Think of your audience. What? Why? When? Where? Who? and How? Depart the focus on the search engine and utilise your resources to provide the best answers for your market. Answering such questions without knowing the questions themselves may be difficult, but if your business is based around quality of service, then the knowledge and experience to know the questions before they are asked is already there.
So answer them, and use the tools at your disposal to maximise coverage of your expertise and reap your rewards without looking at a keyword ever again… SEO is organic, natural selection will play a big part.