The following post is part of WTWH Media Marketing Lab’s ongoing blog series from MozCon 2017.
Rand Fishkin began his presentation with a story about Celebrity Net Worth, a website that lists the net worth of celebrities, and Google wanting to use their datasets.
Celebrity Net Worth (CNW) had received an email from an organization working for Google. The email asked CNW to share their datasets because there had been a high amount of search queries about it. Google’s goal was to enhance user experience by acquiring these datasets. To keep the story short, CNW turned down the offer. In the end, Google still obtained the data and started displaying Featured Snippets for each of the 25,000 celebrities that CNW had in their database. Which resulted in a traffic decrease for CNW of 65%.
Fishkin went on to explain that Google says to “do a great job answering the searcher’s query and we’ll rank you high,” unless they have their own results; then they get to be first. He calls this “Google Trojan Horsing” and gave a few more examples of Google pulling information from event, job listing, weather, and sports websites.
So, you have to “decide to give Google your content and risk Google using your data to build a feature that kills your traffic or, hold back your unique value and risk a competitor benefiting Google’s opportunities instead,” Fishkin explained. So how do you survive in Google’s world. Fishkin gave the following tips.
Rand’s 10 Tactical Tips to Thrive in Google’s World:
1) Prioritize buckets of KWs with complex task completion requirements
2) Serve “instant answer” content while simultaneously enticing the click
3) Invest in content Google either can’t show in SERPs or that builds your brand when they do
4) Make your internal search and navigation as good or better than Google’s path
5) Drive visitors to owned, subscription channels
6) Leverage RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads) to outrank Google for the searchers who matter most
7) Bias search suggests in your favor through linguistic branding
8) User influence marketing to become the brand searchers recognize
9) Innovate at the problem-level vs. the solution-level (because Google does the reverse)
10) If Google’s already in your space, find what they fail to deliver and double-down
Now that you know Google will likely get their hands on your content whether you like it or not, what are you going to do about it? Sit there and let it happen or as Fishkin would say “avoid the dangerous dance with Google’s devilish proposition.”
Rank Fishkin, the Wizard of Moz, is the founder and former CEO of Moz. He is also the co-author of a couple of books and co-founder of Inbound.org.