Google changes the rules

Googleby Tony Fannin, CEO/Partner, BE Branded  |

As the saying goes, what’s old is new. Google has announced a big change in their data policy, key components will no longer be free. This will effect many businesses, especially small business. Up until now, many small to medium sized companies didn’t see a big need to brand, market and advertise because they concentrated almost all of their marketing budget on Google and relied on getting free analytics for their web sites. Now that’s coming to an end (the free part, that is).

To summarize, Google is going “dark”, which means, all Google search is securely encrypted, and web site owners can no longer look at Google Analytics to see exactly which words people use when searching Google to find their sites. Google has shut off the organic search data, the free stuff. This, in effect, will force many businesses who conduct marketing online to fly blind. Of course, you can have access to this information for a fee.

For marketers who exclusively used organic search for their marketing efforts now find themselves virtually starting over because they neglected other marketing channels. I understand why many chose to do this; it was free, you can lean to do it on your own and it was free. They violated a key principle in marketing, don’t limit yourself to just one channel. With today’s technology, it’s very tempting to do so. Plow all of your efforts into the free or cheap online marketing products and grow your business. Yes, your business does grow, but you don’t build a business that way. Building for the long haul takes much more than just an organic search program.

To build a business, you need all disciplines of marketing to be effective and you need to center those efforts around building your brand. Having a great brand has several benefits:

• Adds 25-35% of revenue you would, otherwise, be leaving on the table
• Helps insulate you during economic downturns because customers retreat to things they know and trust when times are uncertain
• Creates real connection and loyalty instead of just price shoppers who will leave you for a nickel

As you see, what was once thought of as a quaint way of marketing (old school branding, advertising, actually paying for marketing) are going to have to be back in the mix for many of these small and medium sized businesses who relied too heavily on free Google analytics and organic search. Most of the disciplined marketers kept adhering to sound marketing principles which included staying true to developing a strategic marketing mix in their planning and not just relying on the current hot trend. Like most trends, free organic rankings are coming to an end.

To close, don’t cut corners on certain things in your business because it does more harm than good. Your marketing is one of these. The lifeblood of any business is their marketing and sales. The REAL value of any business is their brand. Just ask Apple, Coke, Twitter and even Google.


About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.

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