One highlight of the PubCon speakers’ enclave on Monday afternoon was the discussion of how search engine marketers feel about Google. One SEO said that working with Google was like sleeping with an elephant. The elephant is warm and big, but you have to be very careful and quick when that elephant shifts in the bed.The observation was accurate, but I thought something was missing.
As the discussion followed complaints and stories of poaching clients, the light bulb went off – online marketers are the Lando Calrissian to Google’s Empire.
I’m not saying that Google is evil. It’s a company with a mission – to have/organize all the world’s knowledge. Knowledge is power, so this is like stating that you want to take over the world, just as the Empire rules the galaxy. They may have the best of intentions, but Google is clearly the organization that defines the rules.
Lando told Leia, “We are a free station and do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Empire. Our operation is small enough not to be noticed, so you might say we’re enterprisers. Most of our trade is, well … unofficial.” In other words, our little operation is so small and covert that nobody has bothered to take us over yet. The implication of some kind of impropriety hangs over SEOs just as it hung over Cloud City, but both SEOs and Lando are just trying to make a living.
Google is starting to recruit PPC clients to drop their third-party provider and work directly with the search giant. Right now, they’re going after big media buys. But as they need to show continuous growth, they may start to focus more on smaller shops. Your own Cloud City may come under their radar.
And when the Empire’s eye falls on you, because their power and reach is so extensive, you have no choice. At first it’s one client, your Han Solo in carbonite. Then it’s another, and another – the demands for Leia and the Wookie as well. Because you have other clients, you may give up these prizes. Or you may see that the negotiating and handling was all for naught because you can’t survive on the small clients you have left. You order an evacuation of the station entirely.
Right now, there isn’t a strong Rebel Alliance for you to contribute your talents to, no way to become a captain of the opposing side. The way to avoid becoming Lando Calrissian is to not follow the search engines but to drive and create traffic outside of them. SEOs need to find or create their Rebel Alliance.
Image courtesy of Two Four Flinching
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