Although search is something that is part of the vernacular, if you’re stuck for an answer, you will generally Google it.
The digital footprint of the business is more important than ever and there is a staggering amount of localized information that has been collected by Google for so long. Losing access to this would be inconvenient and potentially dangerous.
The impact extends from small and medium enterprises to larger organizations and community health care providers. There’s a lot of organic indexed search around local health services that would evaporate.
Why is Google so dominant?
Google has put so much time and resources into understanding how consumers want to receive and consume information. It’s familiar and easy to use, which makes it such a dominant service.
The reality is, it’s not as simple as another search engine platform stepping in and taking over.
From the businesses perspective, having to update your search provider across the community would result in plenty of searches slipping through the cracks.
It’s not to say that Bing or Duck Duck Go can’t provide the same experience as Google, but stepping into the shoes of the behemoth would be no small feat and there would be pressure to continue to provide critical services.
For example, not-for-profit suicide prevention charities, such as R U OK and Beyond Blue, who get a lot of traffic from people searching specific things that are connected to their state of mind. This isn’t something that these organizations just spun up in a week — it’s been months, years – if not more in the making.
Evidently, one of the biggest issues is the investment that many businesses have put into Google, its platforms and services that goes beyond the optimization for Google search. The thought of pulling the plug on that revenue and findability would have such a profound impact.
So, whether the threat eventuates or not, it’s apparent that businesses need to be more open to understanding where the most impactful and effective revenue can be generated and perhaps start to consider ways to diversify these streams.
For businesses, once they have set up their paid search capabilities and have the process operating smoothly, it’s an extremely cost-effective way of acquiring new customers. It’s an excellent tool but there are many other strategies that can provide comparable or sometimes more competitive solutions.
In the e-commerce world, things like affiliate and influencer marketing are proving to be effective. These methods, particularly for those that have larger budgets, can deliver exceptional results.
What are the alternatives to Google?
Businesses can focus on the product, service or experience they’re providing to customers. Allocating time and budget to improving these elements could be a good place to start and help with conversions.
Going back to the basics, word of mouth referrals are still the most effective and cheapest way to acquire new customers. Consider tactics and structures in this space that would help gain exposure.
Organic search and inbound is great for businesses too as it’s a relatively easy way to tell your story and bring in organic traffic for people looking for solutions to their problem, though it does take a bit of time to set up and you have to be prepared to invest in quality and play the long game.
Paid social ads could be considered for certain types of businesses, depending on their customer targets. It can be dependent on the sales funnel and ability to convert enquiries into leads and leads into customers.
For many businesses, simply having access to expertise on new and existing technologies can be vital in understanding how and why customers are acquired. There are many methods and tools, often it’s about investing in dedicated services that can assist with analyzing objectives and providing the right solutions
Ian Hammond started Hamma.digital as a way to build on his experience working on some of Australia’s biggest digital transformation projects in a way that could capitalise on the ever-changing fast-paced nature of digital and marketing. With more than 10 years of experience as a content and creative strategist, he has worn many hats over the years — creative copywriter, content strategist, and creative strategist, before consulting on broader digital projects and starting Hamma.digital.