Has Google killed SEO?
Ahh, the good old days. Online marketing used to be so much simpler.
I have fond memories of clean websites with proper structure. I remember when assigned
keywords on the right pages complemented branding campaigns that could rank effortlessly in the SERPS. Oh how times have changed.
Today, the current state of our industry offers a stark contrast to those straightforward beginnings. Yes, times do change, but some of the latest updates have created a cause for genuine concern amongst my clients who wonder what the future holds. Could recent ‘advancements’ in online marketing potentially have a negative impact on our business?
In the past year, Google has added countless new ‘features’ designed to enhance the user experience. Google decided these features are necessary for the future of its platform, but along the way, managing a website is becoming more complex for SEO’s and more expensive for businesses to implement.
As Google continues to roll out changes through the years, it’s easy to be blinded by expectations. The industry simply follows and quickly implements Google’s suggestions. Meanwhile, we ignore that these “new features” offer a quick pat on the back (like CTR boost or higher rankings) while allowing Google to use our content and branding to help create a “pay to play” model within its search engine and platforms.
Is our inability to see past the Google “Gospel” allowing Google free reign to force its own regulations on us while manually choosing which sites should rank on top of the SERPS?
Digging Deeper in Search of Answers
Prompted by concerns from my own clients in the drug rehab and restaurant vertices (whom I believe to be particularly vulnerable to these changes), I recently dug a little deeper into the current SEO situation and discovered that some “features” in the SERPS are clearly having a negative impact on free organic traffic.
It appears that Google’s promise to provide the best results for its users may, in reality, be providing the best PAID results for its users.
Could it be that Google’s current SEO structure and strategy is creating a money grab?
I believe there is cause for concern. So let’s take a closer look at some findings based on my SEO work with drug rehabilitation centers and restaurants
Example 1 – Drug Rehabilitation Centers
The drug rehab industry is a confusing and a unregulated market. A fluctuation of rehab facilities owned by investor firms is causing a stir with insurance companies — resulting in massive costs for online advertising. Meanwhile, Google’s most recent regulations for paid advertising in this competitive market has weakened many of the “certified facilities”, rendering them unable to make sufficient changes needed to overcome these issues.
After seeing an abundance of deceptive and misleading ads for unregulated drug rehab services, Google and Facebook now require mandatory “certification” for any drug rehab that wishes to participate in any form of paid advertising services within their platforms.
Even though these certifications are approved and vetted by the National Association of Addiction and Treatment Providers and the National Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse, the cost for certification is steep.
Following is a screenshot from LegitScripts, a third party vetting these certifications.