Google Search Results, 2015 Edition
Over the last couple of days I've noticed that when searching for the name of a company or service that also has that exact term as their domain, the top results on Google were taken up by secondary pages related to the company or service and the domain I was searching for only appeared further down the page.
Take this for example:
The first two results are from social media, the Wikipedia entry follows at #3 right before a Google News result. Wattpad.com is the 8th result down, and that's only because there aren't any ads. If Adwords ads were showing above the - ahem - "organic" results, Wattpad.com would be pushed even further down the page.
Google always likes to say that their search algorithm is all about relevance. Apparently, Google thinks the Facebook and Twitter pages for Wattpad are more relevant than the service itself.
Another example (which will remain anonymous) is a label for electronic music for whom I just completed some (non-SEO) contracting work on their online store. Despite having their exact name as their .com domain, they don't show up on the first two pages of Google when you search for it. Instead, several of their secondary properties such as Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram account, Youtube channel, etc. show up.
These observations, combined with this article by Aaron Wall, makes me wonder where Google is headed and what value its search results will have in the near future both to searchers as well as site owners if this trend continues.
I have to also wonder what value these search results have for Google itself. Putting Facebook and other social pages at the top of so many of their results isn't making them any ad revenue, at least not as far as I can tell.
On one hand, one could certainly argue that a Facebook page is highly relevant as that's where everyone's hanging out these days. On the other hand, Google makes its money from advertizing on websites and it's not going to make money from sending users to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any of these other sites as they have advertizing systems of their own and Google doesn't get a cut.
So, as a Google user as well as a site owner without any kind of social media presence, I'm a bit worried about how much traffic I'll be getting from Google in the future. And if I were an investor in Google, I'd be worried about where Google is going to make its money in the near to mid-term future.
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