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SEO content stolen by Google! After 20 years of collaboration the party is over between Google and the many marketing agencies that have, since the start of the World’s largest and best-known search engine, made it possible for Google to function at all. What is the situation: Google links less and less search traffic to external websites, keeping users within their own answering environment which does not make either the user or the (commercial) organizations happy. Now that we are on the eve of a new SEO era, the time has come to look back on the years of collaboration and ask:  how did it come to this?

Google = TOMA

Ask any average entrepreneur or businessman what they consider the most famous product from Google to be? It would be a good bet that the majority will mention the search engine of Google. This answer is of course spot on. The reason is that in addition to the many other services of Google, the Google search engine, or to be more precise the Google Ranking in that search engine, has had Top of Mind Awareness (TOMA) among most commercially-oriented entrepreneurs for more than 20 years.

Being at the top of Google ranking

Start a conversation at any coffee machine about the marketing of the organization and you can be sure that the SEO ranking comes up as a subject. Everyone wants to be ‘at the top of Google’. That is also our experience as a marketing agency. This need is therefore – not only for us, but for many other fellow marketing agencies – the reason for existence. You can say that we, they, and Google have been maintaining each other for more than 20 years. Why would that change?

Guaranteed Attention

Because for many organizations a place at the top of the search results is the ultimate marketing goal. A place at the top guarantees us the attention of the Google user, even if only for a short while. But hey, sometimes ‘just for a moment’ provides just enough attention to get that oh-so-wanted click through to the website. Because at the end of the day that’s what the (commercial) organization is all about: generating traffic to the website and lure visitors into that online funnel.   

Good exchange, good deal!

In exchange for that top spot in the Google Ranking, we as marketing agencies, deliver the very best content by ensuring that it is relevant, current and attractively structured. We write textual artworks in which the keywords are intertwined as much as possible (but without being annoying). We not only make the texts attractive, but we also fill the websites with suitable meta tags, we engage in link building, and we produce the best long and short tail plugs. In short we produce the content with which Google`s “You ask, we deliver!” principle is highly prioritised and fulfils this promise. 

20 year itch

Since last year (exactly on our 20th anniversary of collaboration), Google has been sending less traffic to our websites. What has happened? Google answers frequently asked questions to the search engine themselves. They put their own content at the top instead of the (paid or unpaid) content of its partners. It is therefore no longer necessary for the user to click through to the underlying website. In this way we not only lose the traffic, but also our source references because Google doesn’t provide them in most cases. For the users, the search results have changed from a choice menu with options, to a ready-made answer model.

A third has already been lost

The consequences of the unilateral divorce plans of Google are not something one looks forward to. What we are talking about here is that at least 30% of all Google visitors no longer leave the Google environment. Whereas Google used to be a transit station for visitors, it now appears to have become the end station for millions of users. On mobile devices this percentage rises even higher to more than half (54%). And we are only talking about the regular searches. With voice search assignments (okay Google …) there is a direct referral to an answer without any further options being made available.


The Google User has become, as it were, a guest at Hotel California:

“You can check out anytime you want, but you can never leave”.

Free will disappears

This trend will not only result in an impoverishment in traffic for sites, but also an impoverishment of the content provided. As a marketer, why would you make all that extra effort to produce attractive content if it is not appreciated and rewarded with traffic? But that is perhaps not the biggest problem. This entire trend means that the free will, the free choice of the Google user, is slowly but surely disappearing. Google increasingly determines (and narrows) what the users see, read, use and buy. Google is no longer an equal partner who needs us, but a dictator who imposes his will on us all.


Holistic resistance

Is there is an antidote for this? Fortunately, there is. In fact it is one that makes us very happy as a hard-core marketing agency. The door for integrated, holistic marketing is set up across the board. If we as marketers ensure excellent marketing campaigns in which cross-media tools reinforce each other into one larger whole than the sum of the parts, then we are on the right track.

New decade

We are leaving behind those times at the coffee machines when it was only about a high Google Ranking. Now we are going for excellent content that is based on research, on smart PR, on originality, on creativity, on cause-and-effect scenarios, on optimum timing, on perseverance.

With 2020 at our doorstep, we are entering a new era in which we are leaving behind our regular tour guide ‘Google’ and embarking on our own adventure, off the beaten track, with ‘not-on-the-high street’ solutions, and with organic principles as a travel group.

We are already looking forward to it! Are you traveling with us?

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