Sunday, June 14, 2009

Learning to Live With The BOMB: Google Search

Questions about Google's Search Engine, Algorithm, Competition:

Another great question on LinkedIn prompted me to offer some search engine marketing thoughts on the dominance of Google and having to learn to "Live With The Bomb".... Google's Search Engine Algorithm.

Lead generation lives and dies by Google's Search relevancy rankings and evolving algorithms. Google Search criteria are always evolving. We depend upon high rankings to pull in quality B2B leads via Google organic search. In short, the Algorithm can make things very lucrative for us or very frustrating.

A few Google inspired thoughts:

1. Google owns search related patents, but the algorithm is a strategic, dynamic and proprietary tool... while patents offer protection they are public and eventually expire, competition can see your secrets and work to duplicate them once the patent is expired, or worse, create a 'work-around' of the patent and release a competitive product even sooner. This needs to be confirmed, but I suspect Google would not want to patent any version of the search algorithm for public viewing, a situation similar to Coca-Cola keeping the original formula for Coke locked up in a safe, and never patenting the formula.

2. I find Google's search results much better as a general rule, more relevant. They filter better, they handle 'similar results' better, they index more webpages, and they hire very intelligent people to work on making the site ever more relevant for the search engine user. This is one reason why technical and business professionals overwhelming use Google, as high as 80% usage. I often get strange or odd results using BING, Yahoo and all those little engines out there trying to survive or be the next Google.

3. Google is dominant because they had first-mover advantage and produced a great product early on. Everybody else has been playing catch-up ever since. Having praised Google, I have to say near-monopolies make me a bit nervous. I depend upon Google for business, I use it for my personal use search almost exclusively, I use Gmail, Chrome and other exanding bits of the Google empire. I even visited GooglePlex in Mountain View, California (Awsome). I really like Google.... but Google needs a worthy competitor to keep them on their toes and give us customers optimal choices in the market. Perhaps BING or a revived Yahoo can play that role in the future.