Will Google Be Around in 2 Years?

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My search marketing career started in 2003, back when the keyword meta tag rained superior and search engine submissions still counted for something. Back in 2003 if someone asked me if Google would be around in two years I would have laughed. Fast forward to today, and the same question is asked, I’d pause and think about it. Will Google be around in two years? Will people still search for content through an engine that sorts through the indexed web?

Roger McNamee gives a compelling Ted talk named Six ways to save the internet. In this talk Roger tells the theory that index search is on the decline. He makes the statement that because the internet is full of garbage, searchers are searching for content on third party websites. The image below is a screen shot from the trend of people using index search compare to other types of sites (Wikipedia, Twitter, etc). I highly recommend taking 20 minutes and watching the video. It shows that as to today the amount of people searching through an engine that indexes the web is equal to the amount of search volume on third party (other) websites.

Roger mentions that due to the decline of index search Google will lose revenue, but they will make up the loss in other areas. The direct effect of this is that Google is losing the “biggest player on the internet” status; this is something that they will not be able to regain control of.

“Is this happening?”, “What other ways will Google try to make money?” I asked myself. After thinking about it I came to the conclusion that it is happening right now! Google is expanding outside of index search and ad serving to make up for the loss generated from this trend. They are doing this because they are losing market share in the search world.

The two big changes that jump out at me, and I’d like to know what you think here, is the $1 per call charge for using tracking numbers in the new pay per call adwords feature. The second is Googles move to encrypted data in Google Analytics, yes I think that they will end up selling it.

Roger McNamee makes several strong points that outline the shift in how people search:

1)      Index search is like a word processor, it was once the best thing in the world, now it’s just another thing we do

2)      Google provided leadership and commoditized content in the beginning of the game

3)      People have chosen non-commoditized content in overwhelming amounts

4)      Because things are going mobile, people find their content through apps

Is Google going down? Are people finding content in other ways? Did the social and mobile movements change the game for SEO’s? Yes!

Top search engine rankings are critical for the success of a modern business. There is no doubt in my mind that this will hold true for years to come. However, I do argue that as marketers we must identify the trends, and adapt to them. The social and mobile movement changed the way people find content. In some cases, people are not searching for content that they want, the content is finding them. How do you optimize against this?

Gabriel Gervelis
Gabriel Gervelis is the owner of Gervelis Search Marketing. You can find him on Twitter - @seo_pro,
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  • Jake bosworth

    2003…and you didn’t know if Google would be around in two years? ha ha haha ha ha!

    Very weak article. Would have been informative a few years ago- thanks!

    • Andrew Dawson

      You have a terrible personality.

      • Jake bosworth

        Just speakin’ my mind, Hawk.

    • http://www.gfwebsoft.com Glenn Ferrell

      Re-read it. He actually said the opposite.

      ” Back in 2003 if someone asked me if Google would be around in two years I would have laughed” means he did know.

      • Jake Bosworth

        Well now don’t I feel foolish!


  • http://ersante.com/blog ManDan

    For more years and years, Google becoming more arrogant and arrogant. That is the truth, my friend.

  • http://www.limekitchenandbathroom.co.uk Lime

    Google have shown the ability to move, change and adapt and to do this with the speed of a much smaller company
    I’ll bet they’ll be as big as ever in 2 years and with a few surprises along the way

  • http://www.bible-verses-about-love.com/ Bengo

    Thought provoking article, Gabriel. However, I suspect that search (in the traditional way that we understand) will be around, and be popular, for many years to come. It’s just that the web is getting more layered, with more choices for how people will interact with it.

    • http://www.blinkdigitalhealth.com Gabriel Gervelis

      I agree with you. people search for many reasons. for some search solutions wikipedia is the best solution, for others, Google is. I don’t think search is going away, just changing a bit!

  • Ethan

    This is definitely an interesting article, but I’m not sure you can even ask, “Will Google be around in 2 years?” Maybe a more interesting question would be, “Does Google have a sustainable future?” or something to that effect. They are definitely diversifying their product offering in different markets, building a strong user base that they can eventually monetize (think Google Analytics Premium).

    • http://www.blinkdigitalhealth.com Gabriel Gervelis

      Great question! “Does Google have a sustainable future?” I think they do, and it will be very interesting to see how they adapt to the changing digital landscape. I see Google Analytic Premium on the horizon. Also, it looks like they are getting into the PPC management game.

      • Ethan

        As a follow up, you might want to do an article that explores the “Cost of Being Google” and reviewing their income statement, cash flow and balance sheets:

  • http://www.gfwebsoft.com Glenn Ferrell

    Google will only be around if their search results are relevant. As long as Google minimizes ads above the fold, I think they’ll survive. However, if they allow “ad-creep” to fill the space above the fold — rather than relegating those ads to (say) the right sidebar — I think their survival is questionable.

    There is a great debate on this (also on SEJ), that even Matt Cutts has weighed in on.


    • http://www.gfwebsoft.com Glenn Ferrell

      Looks like the culled my link. Search for “Has Google Declared War on Small Businesses and Publishers?” on SEJ.

      • http://www.blinkdigitalhealth.com Gabriel Gervelis

        Glenn – yes this is a great question backed by a great debate. I don’t think Google will be able to support the company on AdWords revenue alone, not with social ads competing for the same ad dollars. Google Boost, AdWords Express, Tags, and other services are starting to appear. Google is shaking things up a bit !because index search is loosing market share.The next few years are going to be interesting!