Google – Innovator or Innovation Killer

Tue, Dec 16, 2008

Google, Yahoo! & MSN

Let’s be honest – every time we are talking to people about SEO or search engines we don’t say “search engine” or “Yahoo” or anything else; we refer to search as “Google” as if there was only one search engine in the world. With over 63% of the market share it’s no reason why Google has become a synonym for search engine – they practically own the entire market. Yet is it good that one company owns most of the market for search? Are we losing out on innovation and a balanced marketplace since there is no real competition to Google? And, finally, why should an SEO company care?

One of the main reasons an SEO company should care is that when you have an 800lb gorilla in the room, they pretty much can dictate to you how things are going to work. This includes pricing, ad placement and where you fall in the rankings. If Google decides it doesn’t like you it can easily bury a site so far down in the rankings that they can be put out of business. If they decide they need to increase revenue the cost per click can go up overnight with nothing you can do put “pay or not play”.

When there is only one major player on the field they can also make very private demands about your data. Wal-Mart already does this with its suppliers – they know they are the King of retail so they pry into their supplier’s financials and company information without regard. There is no doubt that Google will do the same; in fact they are already doing it to an extent with site maps and their Google toolbar.

In a marketplace with only one player innovation also suffers. The market leader tends to stop being innovative and become complacent. New ideas and new ways of doing search aren’t tried because they have no competition and why change something that isn’t broken? We already see this – when was the last major change to how Google did search?

Competition in search is good for many reasons: It helps foster innovation; it creates an incentive to do what’s right in the community and it helps drive business and SEO. A lot of what we do as an SEO company is done because we know the rules and what the search engines look for. We build quality content, but we also make sure that content is fitted just right for SEO. Without competition the rules can be cloaked, or applied arbitrarily. Instead of getting to the top of the listings through quality content and good SEO practices it could be the highest bidder makes it to the top. Without competition there is a natural tendency for greed and the “throwing around of weight” taking place.

As SEO professionals we have to not only play by Google’s rules today, but we also have to look ahead to the future. Though ultimately we have no control over what search engines end-users use, we still owe it to ourselves to encourage innovation and foster new ideas in the field of search not only for our benefit – but for the benefit of all users. The next search revolution may never happen if we only have one 800lb gorilla in the room.

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This post was written by:

Cassiano Travareli - who has written 90 posts on SEO Blog | SEO Marketing World.

SEO Specialist! Loves everything about Search Engine Marketing.