Google manipulates search results: A boost for small business?
Google manipulates search results: A boost for small
By Glenn Murray | SEO Copywriter & Article PR specialist *
As more and more businesses strive for a top ten Google
ranking, it's becoming harder and harder to achieve. This is
especially true for smaller businesses that simply don't
have the budget for a big link popularity campaign. But hope
may be just around the corner. If a top ten ranking for your
primary keywords has been eluding you, then read on!
GOOGLE MANIPULATES THE RESULTS
Google is trialing an 'enhancement' to the way it displays
its results. Instead of showing the top ten results for the
exact words you enter, in the trial Google suggests three
related results that you might want to check out. Where does
it display these suggestions? It shunts (or replaces)
results 6, 7 and 8 !!!
In this article, I refer to these results as 'intruders'.
To see some 'intruder' results in action, search for "piggy
bank". Results 6, 7 and 8 are actually 'intruder' results;
they're the top three results for the more specific, less
popular search, "piggy bank lyrics". Google assumes that
people searching for "piggy bank" will probably be
interested in results of a search for "piggy bank lyrics".
On first impressions, it's tempting to think that this makes
it harder to get into the top ten (because now it's really
the top seven, and the last two results may be easily
overlooked). But it may actually make it easier - especially
for smaller businesses. Let me explain why...
THE ADVANTAGE FOR SMALLER BUSINESSES
It all comes down to who can rank in the top ten for the
most popular searches - like "computers", "cars", "doctor",
"pets", etc. For anyone in these industries, a top ten
ranking for these keywords is the holy grail. Unfortunately,
these sorts of searches are presently dominated by big
corporations with hefty search budgets. Most smaller
businesses don't even try to compete. Instead of focusing on
these hotly contested keywords, small businesses tend to
focus on much more specific keyword phrases - like
"computers boston", "second hand cars ohio", "female doctor
new england", "discount pets for children", etc.
But Google's trial may change that. Remember, it's replacing
results 6, 7 and 8 of a popular, broad search with results
1, 2 and 3 of a less popular, more specific search. If the
trial becomes a standard feature, a search for "computers"
might well include three 'intruder' results from a search
such as "computers boston". As discussed above, results 6, 7
and 8 are likely to belong to big companies, whereas results
1, 2 and 3 of the more specific search are more likely to
belong to smaller businesses. Therefore, when the switch
occurs, it's out with the big and in with the small!
In principle the enhancement appears to work in favor of
1) Big business dominates popular / general search results
2) Smaller businesses have a greater chance of dominating
less popular / more specific search results
3) General search results are replaced by specific search
4) Big businesses are shunted out of the top ten by smaller
Now I hear what you're saying: "Why wouldn't the big
companies simply start optimizing for the more specific
searches?" Granted, this is a possibility; but for most big
companies, it would be a monumental task. Big companies tend
to service a large geographic region, and they typically
offer numerous products and services. Even a hefty search
budget would be stretched to the limit if it was required to
bankroll optimization for every single product, every single
service, and every single location. And this is what would
be required to dominate all of the more specific results,
thereby gaining back their number 6, 7 or 8 position. It's
far more likely that they'll simply try harder for a
position in the top 5 of the popular/general search. This
approach would be less complex and probably more rewarding.
THE FINE PRINT
Of course, where Google is involved, nothing is ever that
simple. I've oversimplified things above to make the trial a
little easier to understand. In reality, the situation is a
bit more complex because of the way Google chooses which
search the three 'intruder' results come from. Take the
"piggy bank" search for example. Google assumes that most
users who search for "piggy bank" will also be interested in
results from a search for "piggy bank lyrics". This
assumption is based on the fact that thousands of other
people are searching specifically for "piggy bank lyrics" -
in fact, it's one of the most popular searches containing
the original term "piggy bank". And that's why it gets the
In other words, the intruder results come from popular
searches (less popular than the original, but still
popular). This means you'd already have to rank highly in a
very popular search before you'd become an intruder. So, in
reality, the above "computer" example is a little
simplistic; the intruder results for "computer" are more
likely to be from a search for something like "computers
ibm". In reality, the top three results for "computer
peripherals boston" are more likely to appear as intruders
in a "computer peripherals" search.
The important thing to remember is that if this trial
becomes a standard feature, it will be implemented on all
searches. And the more specific the original search, the
easier it would be to become an intruder in that search. In
theory, it has great potential to help smaller businesses
reach the next rung of the search engine ladder.
Here are some further examples if you're interested:
Search for "add url"
Search for "on demand"
* Glenn Murray is a director of SEO copywriting studio,
Divine Write. He is a renowned SEO copywriter and an article
PR specialist. For more information, please visit
www.divinewrite.com. Glenn can be contacted on Sydney
+612 4334 6222 or at email@example.com.