Reports are out that Google is revamping its services to allow search users to find flights, and buy tickets in a broad approach unmatched by the average travel site.
And the airlines are going to love it because it won’t cost them a thing to get noticed. So, obviously, the first on our list of businesses that are going to get knocked off by Google:
Right now, Google essentially drives traffic from its flight searches to sites like Priceline and Expedia. But, in an interview to the Irish Independent newspaper, the CEO of European budget airline Ryan Air’s categorically stated that Google is set to launch a flight price comparison service in March that will “blow everyone else out of the water” and will drive sales directly to the airlines.
Travel sites make their money by providing a service that aggregates the data from their airline partners and, in some cases, they even sell the tickets on behalf of an airline. However, they have to have agreements in place with the airlines with pre-determined fees and commissions. That means that the airlines are in a direct business relationship with each site. They pay for positioning, promotion, and drive commissions.
In Google’s world, it just wants the data. It gets the data, it provides a search service and it drives the search traffic to the airline, nothing is exchanged except data, which is in the best interests of the airline.
Google will make its money from search ads because, it always does.
Price comparison sites don’t really add a huge amount of value these days for three reasons:
1. Amazon is about as good any site out there for finding you the best price online and the right merchant to get it to you, all delivered with Amazon’s patented One Click solution.
2. Google is about as good as any price comparison site to show you the range of prices on offer for most things.
3. People are not as worried about finding the cheapest price as they are to find a trustworthy seller.
Google does price comparison (just type, best price for laptop in the search bar and see what happens). And, Google does trustworthy seller, too. Google will also send you to Amazon. It’s a done deal.
And it gets even better when you start to search for those things that are a little off the mainstream (try searching for the best price on a catheter in Amazon and on Google).
No one is going to miss SEO experts. They are, essentially, useless now. Sure, they can pull out all kinds of stats and try and convince you why you need to have better SEO , erm, statistics, but it only matters in so far as how Google Search sees you, and it matters very little in mobile, where most of the growth in traffic is happening.
SEO gives you nothing in Google Search other than making sure that your data is probably crawled by its search bots. It can’t help you get better rankings, and it’s not rocket science. Google has made it as simple as possible for you to figure out how to organize your site and your content for it to give it its due worth.
The kicker is that your due worth is, now, highly dependent on how well your content, or your site, or your business is engaging a web audience. It’s not driven by the size of the audience, although if you are at the top of the traffic tree in any category it guarantees you will get noticed.
However, let’s just say you were reviewing catheters. you’d need to make sure that your engagement with catheter enthusiasts was up. How do you that? Just be good at catheter reviews.
That’s free SEO advice, people. Just be good at catheters. Make sure that catheter lovers and influencers on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter love you. Make sure you have high quality catheter content. It will be high quality if people are spending time reading your catheter content, referring it to others, and engaging with it in some manner.
In other words, Google is not going to help you grow your business. All those businesses that rely on Google Search and SEO to grow, or even to exist, well, they are going to die, in some way or another.
The recent Rap Genius debacle is a case in point. Sure, Rap Genius has made amends. Sure, they can claim to be back in Google’s good graces, but that’s a company with some heavy VC backing that needed to pull out of a tailspin, fast.
Not every site can react to Google in that way. And not every site has the resources or the money to change how it attracts an audience. To a certain extent, SEO promised sites free traffic and growth.
Now, Google is making everyone pay, one way or another, to get traffic and grow it.