Forget the Computer Age or the Internet Age, centuries from now our current time will probably be referred to as the Google Age. This assumption is not exactly a great leap of faith; Google has quickly permeated into mainstream culture to become an underlying factor of everyday life, a tightly woven backdrop to our lives.
But never make the mistake of trying to define Google as just a search engine or you will miss the true calling of this little “Backrub”, which was the original name used by its founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1996.
Google as we now know it debuted in 1998. The name Google is a twist on the word Googol, a number represented as 1 followed by 100 zeros. After everything is said and done, it will more than likely refer to Google’s net worth – monetary or otherwise.
But forget search engine, for regardless of the founders’ intentions or company’s objectives, Google is and has always been the ultimate marketing machine. A massive marketing machine that is just now gearing up and aiming for more and more lofty heights. These heights seem to increase each day as Google quietly rolls out program after program.
All noble ambitions aside, Google is the perfect marketing machine. Google has no equals, and it is very close to getting a stranglehold on the real power behind all marketing, which is information.
Marketing is information. Information is marketing.
Great marketing is supplying the right information at the right time. Google more than any other entity on the web or in the world, for that matter, fulfills this criterion at its very core. Google is re-writing the book on how products are marketed.
Google now has over 60% of the search traffic in the U.S., with a staggering 7.3 billion monthly searches. In some countries, Google’s search share is 80% or more. (Source: ComScore) Those webmasters who have number one keyword listings in all three of the major search engines will know Google is the only game worth playing because it delivers by far the most traffic.
While MSN and Yahoo! are still major players and are listed in the top 5 traffic sites on the web, what most people don’t realize is that (unlike the other two) almost all of Google’s traffic is search traffic. From a marketing perspective, this is extremely important since search traffic can deliver the highest conversions (sales) mainly because it lets you capture the potential customer or client when they are in the right mindset to buy or to perform an action.
Obviously, the key to successful marketing is finding the buyers and clients for your products and services. Google has forged itself as the ultimate “middleman” as more and more of the world’s business is performed in cyberspace. And as everyone knows the “middleman” can reap huge profits and hold enormous power.
Google, within its Adsense program, now offers CPA or Cost Per Action where marketers can now receive larger returns for displaying Google’s links on their webpages. As any professional marketer will tell you, you can get 10 times the revenue by promoting affiliate products rather than the Adsense code on your sites. But by adding CPA and other affiliate products within the Adsense program, Google has made it more attractive to serious online marketers.
Another step in that same direction is Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick, which includes the massive online affiliate marketing network Performics. This means Google can now bring any customer full-circle from initial search to checkout.
This may have dire consequences for large, lucrative third-party affiliate networks like Commission Junction and LinkShare. Online marketing and eCommerce are growing at a blistering rate, and the company that controls the majority of these transactions will wield enormous power. Will make the Medici look like paupers.
Those marketers who have managed to acquire number one listings for their targeted keywords in Google’s organic search are smiling all the way to the bank. Mainly because Google commands enormous trust with the surfing/buying public and this is demonstrated through higher conversion rates. Likewise, those who have mastered the Adsense and Adwords programs will know Google is an excellent source of online income.
Most of the complaints against Google stems from its PageRank system, which is supposed to be Google’s version of online democracy in action, a link is a vote for your page or content. The higher the number of links, the higher your page will be ranked in Google’s index or SERPs – Search Engine Results Pages.
So far Google has played fair, allowing even the smallest webmaster to capture top Google listings if they produce superior or popular content to the surfer. Some would even argue Google’s recent crackdown on sites offering paid links can be seen as evening the playing field for the small webmaster or marketer who obviously doesn’t have the economic clout or resources to buy their way to the top Google’s listings.
Keyword rankings may be the ultimate equalizer and determiner of online wealth. Those who can reach the top positions for their chosen profitable niche keywords will have companies and service providers lining up to do business with them. The fallout can prove extremely lucrative for both parties.
However, few marketers or webmasters forget who is really holding the cards; Google controls all steps along this marketing tunnel with its search listings, Adwords, and Adsense programs. The only dark spot on the horizon could be monopoly issues, but Google probably has enough reservoirs of public goodwill and deep enough corporate pockets to squash any claims.
As Google’s dominance in the search market becomes greater, Google will have control of all segments of the online marketplace. Why should Google stop there, why not go into Radio, TV… as the Internet gradually mutates into a billion+ interactive TV channel universe (as many believe it will) who do you think will be at control central offering you a nice free remote?
Then there is also Google’s planned broadband 700 MHz bid; one can only speculate on Google’s intentions. But Google must find a way to transmit its information at no cost to its users. Could it mean free wireless Internet for everyone on free Google boxes or gadgets of some form, usable and accessible anywhere in the world? Anything is possible because the stakes are so astronomical and the marketing revenue so vast, Google must get its information seamlessly and instantly to the end-user at all costs.
One can only guess at the enormity of the marketing power Google will yield in coming years as the Internet slips out of its teen years. But it won’t be just marketing, the influence of Google on all aspects of our lives will probably grow exponentially and that influence will be huge.
For the true power of Google is only just now beginning to be glimpsed; only as more and more of the Google pieces fall into place will we truly fathom what life will be like in the Google Age. Google’s power, reverence, and respect will no doubt be so enormous it may lead some to make comparisons to a higher power that has guided most of the life on this planet so far. Which could also lead one to muse, at least they got the first two letters correct.