Google is the most popular search engine on the Planet! It has the bells and whistles, features and functions that people like, but is it the best choice? While I could write a book on why your privacy or a lack of should be one of the most important reasons to not use the Google Search Engine, instead, I’m going to show you another important reason why you should consider using other search engines instead!
If you want to find the most relevant websites relating to the information, products, etc. that you are searching for online, you should probably consider using a search engine other than Google and other search engines that support “pay-per-click” advertising and I’ll tell you why!
You see, most search engines, including Google, Yahoo and others USE to use things like website domain names, page titles, page text, links, keywords, meta tags, and other content from a website to determine how high a website should rank in their search engine for a related keyword or phrase! So, if you were looking for, let’s say a “HughesNet HN7000s modem” then you simply typed that into the search engine and it would search it’s database and display for you the websites and pages that seemed to have the most relevant information about the “HughesNet HN7000s modem” on down the list to the ones that had the least information! That worked very well because the sites with the most relevant content showed up on the first page or close to it anyway, while the sites that may have just mentioned that modem once or twice and probably don’t have much information on it showed up further down on the list! And, of course it makes sense that if a company is mentioning the “HN7000s modem” a lot then they must offer it, or know a lot about it or have people who do, or at least have some knowledge of it or experience with it or something! So, chances are that you could find what you are looking for on that site or if not, they would at least be able to point you in the right direction!
This method of search engine listings and rankings was great because it forced businesses to invest time into their websites and encouraged them to add content and improve quality so there customers could find what they are looking for and so their website would rank well and hopefully show up ahead of any competition that wasn’t as dedicated! Now sure, there were tricks some companies used like doorway and hallway pages to collect traffic that they didn’t REALLY deserve to get, however there were rules in place that would look for that and actually rank a site lower if it was found to use those tactics! It was fair to say the least!
What has changed? Companies like Google and others are using “pay-per-click” which auctions off keywords and phrases to the highest bidder and ranks the website high in the search engines regardless of the website quality and content or whether they even offer anything related to that keyword or not! Yes, any company that can afford to pay Google or one of the other “pay-per-click” companies or affiliates whatever the going rates are for any given keyword, could literally have a one-page website that only shows their business name and e-mail address yet they would still show up on top of the first page of Google Search Engine results!
In the mean time, small businesses like us, who have been selling and supporting the HN7000s systems for over 15 years and happen to be one of the only remaining dealers and service providers for that equipment are no where to be found in the listings and rankings! In fact, we’re currently about 6 pages down in Google for that keyword phrase and it’s been that way for a year or so now and probably won’t improve unless we “pay to play!” What’s worse, is that the listings I found on Google for the “HN7000s modem” were for companies that don’t even offer the HN7000s products or services, many that never have, and some that probably don’t even know what it is! Instead, they simply bought the keywords to take leads away from other companies that actually offer HughesNet HN7000s products and services in hopes of selling them other products and services instead! So much for being able to find support when you need it!
Why should you care? When you search Google for information what are you finding?
Let’s try a search and I’ll show you exactly what I’m talking about and why you probably shouldn’t be using Google or other search engines that support “pay-per-click” advertising, if you want quality results based on content! Let’s say you have a satellite internet system that you need installed at your new cabin in Polebridge, Montana! (We hear about this a lot actually since we have a lot of customers up there!) So, a typical search in any search engine would be something like “satellite installers 59928” since 59928 is the Polebridge zip code!
Now check out the results at http://www.google.com ! (I’ve done the hard part for you!)
As you will notice, you probably won’t see anything relevant to what you are actually looking for at all! All you will see are a ton of National Sales Companies offering DISH Network and DirecTV, that have the high bids for keywords and keyword phrases like “satellite installers 59928” and probably for every other zip code in the U.S. so that they can get National sales from those areas! No, you’ll never find us… your local satellite installer, in Google, yet we are one of only a couple of local companies that even have satellite installers that service the Polebridge, Montana area! So, it seems the oh so powerful Google has let you down! How are you going to find what you are looking for?
The fix is quite easy! You simply start using a search engine that doesn’t sell keywords out to the highest bidder and that focuses on organic content such as https://duckduckgo.com! (Again, I’ve done the hard part for you!) Sure, we’re a few results down, but now you’ve found a “satellite systems installer” that services customers in “Polebridge, Montana!” Yes, we’re there because we cared enough to list Polebridge as one of the areas that we cover and support and we didn’t pay DuckDuckGo a dime to put us there for you! 🙂 Seems the small search engine company is providing a much better service than the big company, course you should be use to that by now right?
Now, keep in mind that this was just one search for one location on one topic! IMAGINE all of the information, companies, products, and services that you are missing out on when all you are seeing are “paid results” from whoever has the most money to spend on keywords? If you are doing research online do you really want to collect information from whichever organization has the most money to buy the keywords, or would you rather get unbiased, fair and balanced information? Imagine the time you’ll have to spend and the pages of results you may have to go through to find exactly what you are looking for! And I can give you example after example of why this is bad news not only for small business, but for consumers in general and also for anyone who is using the internet for research! By the way… how do you think those companies can afford to spend what’s estimated to be as much as 10% of their profits for those keywords in the first place? That’s right… larger markup or more volume and with more volume usually comes less quality of products and customer service! Not always, but sometimes!
And yes, I understand that if I were to spend $5000 a month on a keyword that our sales would increase, but then the other company would spend $6000 a month, and then I would have to spend $7000 and where does it end? It ends when we have to keep raising the price of our merchandise higher and higher to cover the costs of marketing or it ends when there’s no more profit left and a company is forced out of business! I’ve built my business from the ground up, I’ve been around 20 years for a reason and that’s quality and customer service!
So, no, we’re not going to pay Google the hundreds or thousands of dollars a month that they want for us to buy our reputation or search engine position with them! Instead, we’re going to use every dime of that money to spread the word about “pay-per-click” marketing and the search engines who use it in hopes that people will discover what we have and start using some of the many other organic search engines out there that didn’t sell out to the highest bidder! After all, everyone deserves to able to find the information, products and services that they are looking for, and hopefully they’ll be from the high quality small businesses out there that are doing it right and deserve your business!
Tom Mattheisen – Owner of Montana Satellite Services in Kalispell, Montana!