Why Google is Not Your Friend

by Nick Nichols, Search Marketing Expert

In my Internet marketing workshops, I always ask this question, "What business is Google in?"

Invariably, people say that Google is in the search engine business.

Often, it’s a revelation to people when I inform them that Google is in the advertising business and uses its legendary search technology to motivate people to choose Google over the alternatives so that Google’s Adwords advertisers will get exposure, clicks and, hopefully, more customers.

Google Adwords are the paid search listings that appear at the top and on the right side of many Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

Google only makes money when people click on those ads, known as "Pay-Per-Click" (PPC) advertising. Google makes nothing when people click on the so-called "organic" or Google+ (Google Plus) Local listings. Therefore, Google will covertly continue to do everything in its power to make it extremely difficult for businesses to rank highly for and compete for free with search terms that make money for Google via its Adwords program.

Google is continually tweaking its search "algorithm" — the collective programming that determines how Google’s search engine works. Although Google claims it wants to deliver the search results that are the most "relevant" for its users, the fact is, Google cares more about delivering relevant Adwords ads than it does relevant organic and Places results.

Should small businesses and service professionals use Google Adwords?

While it’s possible to get results using Google Adwords, creating and managing an Adwords program is very difficult and time consuming. And if you’re not extremely careful, you can lose a lot of money very quickly with an ill-conceived Adwords program.

And then there’s the question of credibility. More and more people are recognizing Adwords ads for what they are – advertising. People’s trust of advertising has been eroding for years. One study found that 70% of consumers don’t trust advertising, which includes Adwords.

Bottom Line: It’s much better to use online branding than overt advertising to position you or your business as the obvious choice in your category.