These days, practically every word that comes from the mouth of Matt Cutts – Google engineer and unofficial spokesperson for the world’s largest search engine – is bound to make Internet marketing news. It’s not surprising, then, that he didn’t disappoint recently when he hinted that businesses should strongly consider using a mix of both search engine optimization and social media marketing when trying to win new customers online.
Although we agree with the sentiment wholeheartedly, it might seem like a strange thing for a Google employee to be saying. So why is it that Google doesn’t want you relying on Google?
To really understand why, there are three things you have to know as a business owner or marketing manager:
1. First, relying on any single Internet marketing element is bad business. If you doubt this, just ask anyone who’s ever been a victim of the infamous “Google shuffle.” Although the world’s most popular search engine often gets singled out for these types of mishaps because it carries so much weight and has so much power, the fact of the matter is that any single strategy (like pay-per-click, social media marketing, email newsletters, etc.) can let you down suddenly and completely if you don’t have any backup plans. In other words, bad things tend to happen when all of your traffic and customers are coming from a single source.
2. Second, placing too much emphasis on search engine optimization leads to an ineffective business website. This is probably more to the point that Matt Cutts wanted to make. In the last few years, we’ve seen an explosion of websites that are search optimized to the point of being essentially useless to actual human beings. Because social media runs on attention, rather than keywords and links, it’s a truer gauge of the quality of your content and pages. Or, to put things another way, a site that does well in terms of social engagement is probably better positioned for future success on Google, as the trend moves farther and farther from traditional SEO.
3. And finally, you should always be exploring new options and ideas in Internet marketing. Another reason not to be too reliant on Google is that there are just so many other options out there, and new mediums for meeting customers popping up all the time. Who is to say that one of them couldn’t be just as powerful, effective, and profitable for your business? Add in the fact that most social sites don’t have the intense level of competition that Google’s organic rankings do, and it’s easy to see why the alternatives can quickly become very attractive.
Google might not have had the health of your specific company in mind when they hinted that paying too much attention to search engines isn’t a great idea, but the point couldn’t be more clear – if you really want customers coming to you over the Internet, never put all of your eggs into a single basket.
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