If you haven't lived with polar bears in the past two decades, chasing after all those juicy, delicious seals, you know about Google - the search engine that knows all. Can you imagine the world without Google? How many drunken arguments will remain unresolved, how many pointless facts will remain unknown, how hard research would be, and how difficult your online business will get. Yes, Google is much like a God - all-knowing, judging whether you are right or wrong and depriving you of all privacy.
While most other platforms and websites can be valuable tools in your digital marketing strategy, none is more irreplaceable than the search engine to rule all search engines. Therefore, it's only common sense to exploit all of its merits to the fullest and be Google's most loyal and trusted friend.
But why should you keep such a close relationship with a website? Well, where should we start?
Why Google is unavoidable for your business
Google dominates the internet like a cheetah would dominate a tortoise marathon. Almost every Google stat is in the billions. With over 90% of the global search engine market, this technical giant is a prime candidate for becoming your new BFF.
With its over 70,000 searches every second and more than 5.4 billion daily questions towards it, Google has more users than most other websites combined. Hell, it has more followers than any religion.
People use Google everywhere. In fact, over 63% of all Google searches are done on a mobile device, which shows that people would ask about anything, anywhere, anytime. Furthermore, thanks to the collaboration with Android, 2.5 billion devices are directly connected to the search engine. Thus, thanks to the disturbing yet useful total lack of privacy, Google has information about potential customers like no other platform.
Moreover, Google's browser - Chrome, is also towering over its competitors with 69.28% of the browser market.
All of this comes to show that Google, due to its statistics, the sheer number of users, and its reputation is simply unavoidable in your digital marketing strategy if you want to succeed online. So being best friends with Google is not just recommended - it's imperative.
How does Google actually work?
To explain this in detail, we would need several libraries full of books on this topic. Thankfully, no one cares about the details, so we will summarize it in several sentences and move on to more important questions.
It's essential to know how to communicate with Google since that's the first step of becoming best friends. With its user-first mentality, the search engine strives to show the most relevant, informative, credible, and well-structured information. That's why Google follows three basic steps whenever it generates its results - Crawling, Indexing, and Ranking.
The first step is basically finding out existing pages. Since there isn't a central register of all pages, Google uses crawlers who go from site to site via links, sitemap submissions, and other means. Whenever a new site is registered, crawlers make a detailed review analyzing both text and visual content to relate it to some search results in its catalog. Thus, the better Google can understand your website, the better it will match it with relevant searches.
However, crawlers don't read websites as you and I do. Instead, they read the code, the metadata, and the CSS and take all the information from there. So if you want your website to be crawler-friendly, you should keep your metadata in check, your code clean, and your text and images properly tagged.
The second step is indexing. This is when Google tries to get a deeper understanding of the page. It scans all your content and saves it in its massive database.
The final step is ranking. Whenever someone asks something, Google opens its database and looks for the most relevant answers. Then, it ranks them based on many factors like credibility (or how many people shared this information with a link), quality, and relevance. But also things that don't depend on the website itself - language, location, device, and others.
If you manage to make your website as cozy for Google as a gingerbread house for German kids abandoned in the woods, then you will enjoy the vast benefits of being Google's number 1 friend.
Why is being Google's BFF so important?
If you are after some free traffic for your website, then being Google's best friend has no alternative. Being on this search engine's first page skyrockets your performance, much like a pack of dogs would skyrocket any cyclist's performance.
Being on Google's first page or in the top 10 results is not just important. It's crucial to your business. Statistics show that about 95% of users don't go to the second page. So if you are not interested in marketing to only 5% of the pickiest potential customers who didn't find what they were looking for on the first page of Google, you better start working on your relationship with the search engine. Your loss is your competitors' win, and we would hate to see those pricks on top.
However, being simply on the first page won't suffice. You need to be Google's closest and most loyal friend if you want to use its full potential as a wingman to fix you up with that hot new customer. Being on the top organic spot has a lot of merits. Firstly you get around 1/3 of all clicks as the number 1 result. This percentage is cut in half for second place with only 14% of the CTR and 10% for third place.
Now, if you want to cheat our way into Google's heart and pay it to love you, it won't be the same. Google doesn't take payments to place you on top of its rankings. However, it does place ads on top of the search results, which is basically the same thing, but with a few extra steps. Unfortunately for these poor souls, whom Google doesn't love but just takes their money, only 6% of people click on paid search results. This means that paying for what you can do for free is not just expensive but also ineffective.
However, probably the best benefit is the answer box (a.k.a. the 0 position). It's basically a box on top of the search result that gives you a quick answer to your query. It's mainly used for voice search replies. However, it provides around 12% additional CTR. So if you want to be Google BFF, you need to optimize your page for P0.
When you say the right words, Google will love you
There was a song by Ronan Keating that stated, "You say it best when you say nothing at all." When it comes to Google, you need to disregard this otherwise solid advice if you are trying to become a monk. Google loves when you talk to it, especially with sweet, sweet metadata. After all, as explained earlier, that's how Google knows what kind of website you run and is it worth sharing it with others. Fortunately for you, writing a song, a poem, or a Lord of the Rings fan fiction is quite unnecessary to impress Google. All you need to do is say a few carefully researched words that will make Google fall in love with you and proudly proclaim it by placing you on the top. These few words are better known as keywords.
81% of people do conduct research via Google before making a purchase. These people write particular phrases called keywords, which, if you can guess, you can optimize your website to give them the answer they are looking for. If the keywords you used are exact and you actually are Google BFF, you will get more than 1/3 of all potential customers ready to buy your product on your website.
Short-tail vs. Long-tail keywords, which one is better?
To impress Google, you needn't say a lot. Only a word will suffice if you are simply looking for as much volume as possible. However, no one will look for an item simply by writing that item in the search box. That's why long-tail keywords are much more precise. If you, for example, are offering a ping-pong table, you don't need customers that are looking for a dining table. So simply ranking for the keyword “table” will reach immensely more people. However, just a tiny fraction of those will be interested in your product. On the other hand, if you are more specific, you will get fewer user hits, but all of them precisely look for what you offer. This way, you also won't compete with others, who offer different kinds of tables.
To put it simply, If you go with a short-tail keyword, you will get a high volume of searches, a very high level of competition, low focus on the potential customers, high price if you decide to place an ad on this keyword, and significantly lower conversion rate. On the other hand, if you go for a long-tail keyword, you will get lower volume but also lower competition, higher intent, low price, and much higher CTR.
It won't matter what kind of keywords you choose, and it won't matter if you nail the best and most accurate long-tail keyword if you can't rank as number 1 on Google. But, to do so, you will need some great content.
Google's opinion of you will translate to others
Google is a picky one and definitely not easy to please. You need to play by its rules, talk the way it likes, behave properly, but that's not all. You need to be interesting as well. However, if you do follow up with all its whims, Google will make you not only famous but also trustworthy, credible and will skyrocket your industry authority. To do so, having a great, well-maintained, good-looking, easily navigable website with all metadata in place, with outstanding keyword research won't be enough (We told you Google was picky). You will need to have some high-quality content and keep your website up to date.
While in the past, almost all content was working to your benefit, these days, the internet is full of listicles, pointless word-spills, and all kinds of low-quality articles that are basically retold stories or copied from another website.
Google considers only 3% of all internet content as high-quality, so if you manage to make Google fall in love with your content, you will already be ahead of 97% of all websites.
But why bother?
Well, high-quality content gets six times more clicks than other content, but more importantly, they convert five times more often. If that's not enough, while posting regular content is a daily task, all you need is a post every week or even bi-weekly for high-quality content.
To put it simply, high-quality content increases your credibility immensely, makes you a thought leader, puts you ahead of 97% of all other websites, increases your clicks and your sales, while at the same time spares you time and energy, although the efforts are much higher.
Playing nicely with Google will save you some bucks
When you have the option to present your business in front of billions of people for free, it's pretty easy to conclude that this will save you a few bucks along the way. Investing your time in preparing the perfect website that Google will love instead of wasting money on TV or radio commercials is a business model anyone will agree is for the best.
Furthermore, while playing your ad on TV or the radio or placing it on a billboard, magazine, or newspaper, it has only limited targeting. Yes, you can target by location and interest, but google targets people actively looking for products, just like yours. And while everyone has a preferred radio station, TV channel, magazine, or newspaper, everyone uses google. As mentioned above, Google has 90% of the global search engine market. If it were a game of Monopoly, Google would own everything except the Water Works.
Moreover, Google users actually benefit the ones that don't use money to get on top. So spending money for Google is not just wasteful but counter-productive. As mentioned above, only 6% of clicks go to the paid ads above the search results.
And while other media just want a ready product to place in their free slots, Google actively helps you get more and more users to visit your website.
Google's other buddies, you should befriend
Google's most used feature, without a doubt, is Google search. It's by far the most used tool and definitely the one that should be your focus. However, Google offers far too many beneficial products just to ignore them.
Google My Business (GMB) is often the first thing your customers will see when looking specifically for products or services you offer. Thus the first spots in Google search results are usually taken by businesses that already posted their Google My Business information. However, that's far from everything GMB increases. According to some Google studies, GMB increases organic search two times, and more than 60% of smartphone users use GMB directly to contact the provider.
Moreover, it also allows for Google Maps, with its over one billion monthly active users, to pin your business and make it easier for people to find it.
At the same time, the increasing popularity of Google Lens, which reached 50 million downloads in its first 16 months, shows great potential and the importance of image optimization. This relatively new Google app allows people to simply point their smartphone at something and learn more about it. So having your GMB prepared and optimized will enable interested users to find you effortlessly and make your website more trustworthy.
Being an awesome friend, Google wants to help you as much as possible to be the best there is. Google Trends, Google Analytics, and Google Keyword planner are designed to do just that.
Google Trends offers you insights into your customers' behavior, how they react, what triggers their emotions, and what makes them click on that lucrative "BUY" button.
Google Analytics, on the other hand, will show you how many people visit your website, where they come from (both geographically and on the internet), how long they stay on your website, and where they hang out.
This way, you can collect data on what's interesting to your customers, where they drop off, and are there problems with your website in real-time.
Google Keyword Planner, in the meantime, will tell you which keywords are relevant to your business, which are the most used ones, how many other companies target those keywords, and are they worth your efforts to try and rank them. Basically, the keyword planner is the neighborhood gossip, who knows what others are talking about, what they think about you, and is not shy to share this information.
With all these free tools, one would wonder why anyone would want to waste money on advertising ever again. Nonetheless, Google has thought even for these fellows. Google Ads is the best tool to start your online campaign. It allows you to target precisely the people that are interested in your product or service. Using all of Google's data to place ads on websites and pages, which will reach only people who previously showed interest in your product, is probably the best way to invest money into your digital well-being.
Being friendly with all of Google's buddies is not just highly beneficial. It's actually investing in the future since most of these features are just now starting to gain traction, and in the future years, they show much promise to become even more important.
Your friendship in the upcoming year
Being Google's BFF is definitely not a one-time thing. Trends are showing that the search engine everyone loves is here to stay, at least in the foreseeable future. However, times are changing, and so is Google. Being on top of all trends will allow you to keep your warm relationship with Google and make it even better.
2022 is expected to bring many changes to Google. Probably most notably, Google is going on a diet - no more third-party cookies. This means you won't be able to count on data other websites gathered. However, first-party cookies are still allowed, so you should optimize your data gathering tools and make more use of your own data in the future.
Another big change will be the end of the expanded text ads. This type of ad has been around since the very start of Google Ads. However, its effectiveness slowly but steadily declined over the years, and marketers started using different, more innovative methods. That's why, even though the change is significant, it's hardly a surprise.
Responsive Search Ads are most probably going to fill in the vacuum. This type of ad is performing far better, however, it needs a lot more time and effort to prepare. It has some limitations, the most important of which is that the combinations of Headlines and descriptions have to make sense together, so Google can run them. As with everything else in Google, quality will take hold of Google Ads as well.
Probably the most important change, though, is what Google has prepared for the e-commerce users. New Shopping features will make digital shopping even easier, and if you want to be in the game, you should prepare accordingly. Starting next year, Google will introduce features like discount searching, Google's shopping graph, loyalty programs, and others.
Without a doubt, 2022 will be one exciting year for Google, and if you are best buds with it, it will also be a lot more profitable for you.
Google is a God, who is helpful and not vengeful. However, unlike other Gods, Google is not imaginary and has real powers. Being Google's BFF will allow you to take advantage of this all-knowing engine and save a lot of money, time, effort, and resources in the process.
Being ranked Number 1 by Google will bring you fame and fortune. Up to 36% more clicks, 95% of all the traffic will see your brand, your brand awareness will skyrocket, your trustworthiness will bring you more conversions, and you will get higher credibility. Best of all, you will become an authority in your industry, which means that you will define the trends and not simply follow them.
To manage this, you need to learn how to find proper keywords and keep in mind long-tail keywords are far more beneficial. You will also have to invest in high-quality content since this will push you in front of 97% of the audience.
Fortunately, Google has many friends that are ready to help. Understanding all google apps will ensure you will always be the first result, no matter how people search for your product or service.
You will also have to keep up with Google's changes in the near future since the end of third-party cookies may be challenging to overcome. Nonetheless, the good friend it is, Google is constantly making things easier both for you and its users. So whenever a door shuts, a whole portal is being opened.