Every meeting I go to I find people with tales of woe about their attempts to get to the top of Google. Some people have paid thousands to get there; they have been promised high level rankings by SEO companies. Often such companies can achieve success, at other times they cannot. The frustration is palpable. But what’s amazing is how focused people are becoming on getting their business noticed by search engines. Well here are some facts about Google uncovered in research published by Convera. Around four out of every five people feel that search engined do not understand their queries. Some 90% of people fail to find what they are looking for on each search. Earlier research published by Pew Internet showed that 87% of people have successful search experiences. However, this belies the fact uncovered by Convera that most people have to search with several different queries until they find what they are after. The Pew Internet study, however, does find that the vast majority of people could cope without search engines, using alternative methods of finding what they want. Indeed, half of the people using search engines, according to Pew Internet, are only looking for trivial information. Less than one in five people claimed they used search engines to find anything of real importantce to them. So, what does all this data actually mean? Well, it signals that search engines are nowhere near as important to us as Google, Yahoo, MSN and so on would have us believe. It also means that if the vast majority of people are only using search engines for trivial matters and feel that the search engines do not really understand them, we are going to see a gradual move away from search engine sto other sources of important information. These include social networking sites, vertical search engines for specific industries and professions as well as complex, human edited, sites such as Wikipedia. As a result, if you focus your business attention on getting to the top of Google you are walking towards a dead end. You are also focusing on an aspect of the Internet which has decreasing relevance in the future. If you want to really get attention online focus on getting links from trusted sites, getting recommendations in social networking sites and getting your business known offline.
If you are a “big change” business, then you are like my garden fence. Leaving it unpainted for so long has created much more work, at a higher cost, than if it had been tended to every year. Ignoring reviews of your online activity for long periods also means you make more work for yourself and raise your costs.