Is Google the only game in town?

I know that there’s a lot of emphasis in these articles on Google, but this is about online marketing, and for most industrial and scientific companies, online marketing is about Google. Most of the companies we support get anything between 50% and 95% of their website visitors through Google, either free or paid-for. For most of them, the main reason to be featured on other websites is to gain links which will boost their Google rankings, not for the direct traffic it’ll generate.

Sure, we’re still seeing good response from email marketing, and there are signs that businesses who are prepared to put in the effort might start to see returns from “social media” in the future. But for now, it’s all about Google.

If you’re old enough, like me, cast your mind back to a time before the internet. Then, publicity was all about magazines, trade shows and postal mailshots. Each could produce decent returns on investment if managed well (and indeed, some still can). But imagine if one magazine was the only one read by 95% of your prospects, or if 95% of trade show visitors came to just one event. It’d certainly have made your choice of what to use easy, wouldn’t it?

That’s really where we are with web marketing at the moment. You can build your Google search results traffic through a long-term investment in SEO and website content, or you can buy the traffic with a Google AdWords advertising campaign. But like it or not, Google is the only game in town.

Look at your website traffic statistics. It could be argued that with visitors from other sources being so low in comparison, that represents an opportunity. But for most of the companies whose website traffic I analyse, those other sources are contributing so few visitors that we’d need to double or triple what you get from any of them to match what even a 5% uplift in Google traffic would provide.

And that’s why I focus so much on Google here.

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