I recently wrote an article discussing key SEO trends to look out for in 2015 and as I did so I found one particular opinion stating that we will begin to see a move away from Google starting this year. Perhaps I’m simply a skeptic with more wool over my eyes than foresight, but I still find it hard to believe that any search engine has the ability to dethrone, in my mind, the undisputed champs of search.
As a marketer with an appreciation for brand awareness and positioning, I’m continually in awe of how Google has positioned itself with us, its target market – internet savvy individuals with a thirst for information. In fact, they’ve done so well with their brand that when someone doesn’t know about a term or an event, they’re not told to search for it, they’re told to “Google it.”
In fact, it’s caught on to the point where dictionary.com, the world’s leading online dictionary, defines “Google” as a verb – “…to search the Internet for information about (a person, topic, etc.)”
The aforementioned article discussing Google goes on to say: “Founded in 1998, the website Google.com has become such an institution that in its short existence, it has changed not only the way we process the endless data found on the information superhighway, but also the way we think and talk about the Internet.”
And that gets back to my original point, regardless of when they were established, Bing, Ask, Yahoo etc. are definitively less prominent in the world of search – sure they have their niche users or purposes, but to suggest that Google is going to give up the limelight any time soon is a tough sell. They’ve been around for nearly 20 years, and in the tech world, that’s a monumental achievement. Google is a dynasty, and the business moves they’ve made over the years have cemented them at the top of the search engine kingdom.
Why? Because they followed the 8 keys to building your brand (as written by Mary Habres):
1. Create a consistent image – Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past 20 years, you can picture, in your mind (more or less), the Google logo.
2. Target a niche market – Generally speaking, at the time they came into existence, “tech-savvy men and women looking for information on the internet” was its own niche market.
3. Separate yourself from the competition – Over time, Google became more than just a search engine, acquiring internet powerhouse, YouTube.
4. Market consistently – While the technical end of search has changed over the years, the user-facing aspect has remained largely unchanged over the years (with aesthetic improvements being the most notable changes to the unknowing searcher).
5. Establish ways to keep in touch with your customers – The introduction of Gmail and Google+ became useful tools for consumers to use, and offered additional ways for Google to stay top of mind with its user base.
6. Get customer testimonials – Google doesn’t worry too much about gathering testimonials at this point… then again, they don’t really have to when people are told to “Google” something they don’t know about.
7. Educate yourself – Since its founding, Google has always employed the services of computer science experts and top-level mathematicians to ensure their service provides the best possible experience for its user base.
8. Give back to the community – Google quietly gives back to the community in a big way. For example, in 2005, Google raised $9 million for Hurricane Katrina relief. They do a great deal more which is explained on their community page: http://www.google.org/community/.
So yes, Apple may be making waves by considering dropping Google from their products and other search engines may be on the rise along with a host of other what-ifs and rumblings in the SEO world, but Google was found on the basics of brand-building and I’m not sure we’re even close to a world where Google isn’t the king of search.