by: Jan Loyola
Years ago – before 1995 to be precise – to effectively market your brand to your consumers and actually generate sales leads, you would have to accumulate a sufficiently large budget for marketing purposes. Your only choices then were television, radio, billboards, telemarketing and email. Consumers have seen your ads through these channels, or heard of you from someone else, before they learned of your business and visited your website.
Then Google launched its search engine in 1998. Through their Pagerank system, they revolutionized how online businesses appeared on searches and received traffic. With Google’s large search engine market share (66.4 percent in February 2012), online marketers have learned to prioritize them when developing or enhancing their SEO strategies.
A business website who fails to appear on the first two pages of Google’s search result for its niche keyword is less likely to succeed, which is why attaining the number 1 spot on a Google search has become the goal of all SEO planning, which is not at all that easy.
Google’s constantly evolving search engine algorithm can practically make or break a business. Companies whose tech and SEO teams are not able to adapt quickly enough with the changes ended up several pages behind their competitors. Algorithm changes such as the Google Panda of February 2011 affected 12% of search terms, which in turn greatly impacted the traffic and subsequent revenue of the businesses of affected websites. A well known company afflicted by the upgrade is the established content publishing company Demand Media. Because this upgrade promoted sites with relevant and original content, it would also be safe to say that Google is one of the reasons why inbound marketing is slowly overtaking outbound marketing.
But Google’s search engine isn’t all bad news for business. By developing SEO strategies to capitalize on the search algorithm, startups in minor niche markets are able to generate sales leads in numbers they would have otherwise been unable to produce due to lack of marketing budget. In 2010, Google generated $64 billion of economic activity for American businesses, website publishers and non–profits. It is now possible for smaller businesses to grow substantially in size and revenue within a short period of time, some of which are even able to tackle larger, more established brands in their niche.
Google has also made it easier to manage a small online business through products like Google Analytics, Google Keyword Tool, Google Alerts, Google Places, Google Adwords, Google Apps and Google Reader. With the help of Google, anyone who wants to sell a service or product can become a successful entrepreneur.