I ran into a buddy of mine the other day, and during our “catching up” conversation, the topic eventually turned to his manufacturing business, and I asked him if he felt his site contributed positively to his company’s strategic vision. He quickly began complaining about how they couldn’t figure out how to be ranked organically in Google, that Google requires them to pay to get on the first results page for their chosen keywords, and who does Google think they are anyway, etc. It was quite the emotional rant, and one I am afraid I hear and read quite often. These rants usually remind me of my niece who frequently tell her aunts and uncles “you’re not the boss of me!”
Unfortunately I didn’t have much time to discuss my view of my buddy’s Google opinion that day, so I thought I would take some time to address it here.
Fact is this; Google is the boss of us… if we want to rank high on their site. I frankly don’t have a problem with it, but many do. Google suggests how our sites should be optimized so they can best provide their clients (all those that come to Google to search) the most relevant search results. Google’s power to make these suggestions is provided by those of us that use Google to find what we are looking for, nothing more. Google did not put something in the water, nor are they blackmailing the president, the public simply liked the results obtained in the past, and continue to trust Google to deliver appropriate search results now. Google’s ability to guide our optimization efforts has been earned through the years and is presently sustained by a primarily satisfied public.
The ire aimed at Google for these optimization requirements/rules can be quite humorous at times, but it is hardly justifiable. Most (and hopefully none) of us would ever consider walking into Walmart and setting up a table in the front of the store to sell our products to Walmart customers as they pass by, and we wouldn’t expect Walmart to allow us this access to their customers. And even though most of us have no idea what is required to get a product approved for sale in Walmart, most of us would assume Walmart has a very systematic methodology in place to properly consider and approve new products. Additionally we would also assume Walmart is predictably careful when they determine where in a store a product will be physically positioned, as they want the product easily found by as many customers as possible. I have personally been through this Walmart process, it is quite an ordeal. I didn’t find it enjoyable, but we did it anyway to hopefully get a chance at Walmart’s clientele. Despite our best efforts, Walmart chose not to take on our product, and while we were disappointed, we didn’t then decide to circumvent the new product evaluation process and somehow sneak our product into their stores anyway, I doubt anyone would.
So, I say “so what” if Google asks us to jump through a few hoops? If we want the opportunity to sell to THEIR clients, much like Walmart, we should expect Google to require our sites to comply to their suggestions, so they can more easily position our sites properly, and facilitate the client/seller introduction. It is in our best interest to do so.
Now I will admit, if Google was the only game in town, then I would probably be on the ire gang band wagon, and suspicious of Google’s monopoly power over us, but with Yahoo, MSN and others also in the search game, each of the SEs are motivated to make their search results as relevant as possible, to rank our sites as high (or low) as they deserve, or run the risk of losing market share, or being forced out of the market completely. The requirements SEs place on our sites are simply the hoops SEO tools help us jump through, and as long as we are willing to do the work, then we can expect to see a trend of positive results in our rankings. No tricks, no shortcuts, just honest optimization, earning our position.
Those that don’t like what the SEs requests are probably going to be upset to discover you actually have to complete homework assignments to graduate from school, you have to register to vote, you have to file articles of organization to start a company, you have to use an iPod to listen to your iTunes library, and you have to put a postage stamp on a letter to get it to go anywhere, but that is unfortunately the tough world we find ourselves in… what an insufferable drag.