April 2016 April Fools Joke – Is SEO Actually Dead? Google to Expand Ads to Entire First Results Page [tweet this]
Unfortunately, we need to inform our fellow SEOs that the end has come for our industry.
Although we haven’t received confirmation from Google, even after multiple requests (go figure), we’re about 95% sure that they are going to be expanding their PPC ads to the entire first page of search results.
So, in the not-so-distant-future, being listed on the first page of Google will only be accomplished by buying PPC ad space. This will essentially put many SEOs out of a job, as Google is effectively making organic SEO a thing of the past.
Why We’re so Sure
Earlier this past month, we began seeing some anomalies in Google’s SERPs. During some market research, a few of our queries turned back results pages that were entirely PPC ads. We thought it was a glitch! But it didn’t behave like a glitch. Besides, we all know that Google isn’t the kind of company that allows glitches like that to occur over a period of time.
We believe this started in mid-level markets, including Atlanta and Austin, along with a few others, and we’re beginning to see it affect other markets, as well.
We immediately reached out to Google but never heard back, and it’s become pretty clear to us that we – along with some others on forums and private message boards we corroborated with – were seeing some strategic market testing on the part of Google.
When you think about it, it’s really not so hard to see this coming. With the changes earlier in the year — Google creating the Alphabet parent company and splitting Google search off, as well as the changes to the layout of search results pages in early March, when they removed the sidebar ads and went from 3 to 4 ads at the top of the first results pages — it’s pretty clear now that they have been gearing up for this for some time. And, given that the majority of the $70 billion that Google generates is from their PPC business, it’s not hard to see why they believe that this is the most profitable way forward for them.
But isn’t this Bad for Google?
We expect to hear this a lot. Though it’s easy to see how these changes will lead to a short-term boon in Google’s profits, couldn’t it have a negative effect in the long-term? We don’t think so.
To put it simply: PPC ad quality has simply surpassed organic listing quality. If this had happened years ago, we would have been shocked, because the quality of organic results was just far superior to that of paid results. But today, paid results are just better.
So it’s very understandable why Google would do this. After all, Google is looking to provide their users with the best experience possible and, right now, ads do the trick.
What’s the Future of the Industry?
As far as Black Fin is concerned, like most digital marketing companies we’re going to have to seriously reevaluate and pivot our business model.
As we’ve come to grips with the likelihood of this over the past couple of weeks,, we’ve realized that, above all, we love working with attorneys and small business owners. And because of that, I am proud to announce that we have acquired 40 acres in Kazakhstan to build out our new sheep herding and wool textile business. In fact, our lead designer has just sent me the designs this morning for a line of handmade wool suits designed specifically for attorneys — which will allow us to hopefully maintain some of our client base.
So — It’s a somber day and it’s been a fun ride. I hope that our fellow SEO colleagues can find their true passion out of all of this, just as we at Black Fin are approaching this as a hopeful blessing in disguise.
Thanks for reading, and good luck to you all. See you on the other side.
And send us your measurements! Black Fin Suits™ will be here before you know it!
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