What did Google Claus bring the web marketing world this year? As we reflect on 2014, we think of all the ways Google has acted like Santa Claus - or, more appropriately, like Santa Claus's ornery brother. (No, we're not talking about Krampus.) Here are just a few of the ways Google has proven itself a "Bad Santa."
- Google makes a list - but takes forever to check it twice. Google's search engine results pages (SERPs) is the "good" list. Where's the bad list? Well, it's out there somewhere, but you can't see it! If your site is deemed unfit for the top spots by Google, or if you've made a mistake in their eyes, they will penalize you. What's worse is that it may take a lot of time for penalties to clear up.
- Google gives you a gift once a year. The problem is, it's the same gift as last year. And it's not even what you asked for! When Google ran its first algorithm refresh in a year, some businesses waiting to be cleared of penalties were underwhelmed with the results. Sure, it's nice to get a pair of socks now and then, but we really wanted something cooler.
- Google reads all your letters. When we write to Santa, we want to hear back. The difference between Santa and Bad Santa - er, Google - is that Santa doesn't read mail that's not addressed to him. Of course, Google revealed this year that it does exactly that to emails sent and received from your email account.
- Google knows when you’re asleep and awake. It also knows precisely where you're located, every moment of every day. (So be good for goodness' sake.)
- Google knows where you live. It just makes it impossible for other people to find you. That's right, even though Google tracks your every move, getting it to tell other people exactly how to find your business can be a massive headache. Think your listings are up-to-date? Sometimes it seems, at the drop of a hat, those listings change, leaving your clients scratching their heads when they show up to an empty building.
- Google loves everyone equally. It just loves some businesses more equally than others. When it comes to its own content, Google definitely plays favorites - and it plays favorites with other businesses, too. So if you want to get Bad Santa to love you, make sure you're doing everything in your power to keep him happy.
- The naughty kids get burned. Santa gives you a lump of coal if you're bad. Google looks at the naughty kids and sets the coal on fire, burning all the bad links they're built and removing offenders from the rankings.
- The real Santa gives you what you want for free. Bad Santa makes you pay for it, and sometimes you get nothing from it but you still have to pay. It's more competitive than ever to rank at the top of the search results, so some businesses have to rely on Google AdWords or Pay-Per-Click (PPC) to get the traffic, leads, and sales that they need. PPC is still a valuable and profitable marketing technique, but wouldn't it be nice to get all that traffic and leads for free?
Just kidding, Google! It's all fun and games - so please, no coal, penguins, or pandas in our stocking this year.
Merry Christmas, everyone!