In this Video Tutorial, Semify CEO Chad Hill and President Adam Stetzer discuss and debate over the news articles on Google search results ranking changes for small business. Are small businesses negatively affected by Google search results ranking? Adam and Chad don't think Google's algorithms have any negative effect on web search engine ranking for small businesses, but it may be the aggregators of information who suffer from Google's domain over e-commerce. Watch the video to learn more from the Semify executives on Google trends, who might be impacted in search engine ranks and who needn't worry about their ranking in the search engine.


Adam, Good morning. How you doing?

Hey good, Chad. I'm just reading about the latest Google search results ranking algorithm changes and thinking about google search results ranking changes. What are you doing down there?

Well I read that this weekend. Are you talking about the New York Times article? It was an interesting one.

Yeah. Well there are a couple. I saw this New York Times article that said, Google casts a big shadow on small websites. I think there was some other news recently too. Did you get a chance to read that?

Yeah. I think that everyone obviously-- a lot of businesses have been built around peoples' google search results ranking. So having a presence on page one has enabled a whole bunch of businesses to exist that, 10 years ago, didn't exist. And it seemed like there were two main things. One is you don't want to be a business like-- I think the example was Nextag or Yelp and these other businesses-- who have thrived on being the aggregator of information that Google now has decided hey, I'm going to create content and get rid of the middle man. So rather than going to Nextag or to Yelp I'm going to have Google Places or I'm going to have Google Product Shopping. That was one part of it, right? Isn't that what you got?

Yeah. It was interesting. The Nextag CEO said, yeah, this is Google's world now. So I think he was feeling a little vulnerable that they could just push him out at any time. But I think what you just said, you don't want to be in their shadow. That's kind of interesting because we talk about how the cost per lead from SEO is one of the lowest places to go get it. And we're always advocating for SEO. So you've got me a little confused there about you do or don't want to put all your eggs in the SEO basket.

Right. I was going to say, I think most of our clients, the thing that's different is that most of our clients tend to be the smaller local businesses. And the other part of that article was that someone had a tactic they'd used three or four years ago of putting a ton of content, that was essentially the same, on their website. Google is slowly looking for ways and finding signals that end up polluting, if you will, the web search engine ranking results with sites that aren't as good.

So my point there is that I think for most of the customers we work with, the small businesses, that Google in many ways wants to give them more placement on the pages. So that's a good thing for them. And they're giving them tools like, submit your product feed to me, or use my Google Places tool so that I can put your business closer to the person searching for it. Interesting. So you're saying, there's some business that really have to be a little worried about where Google is going. And there's others that don't. So it's not a one size fits all. That's interesting because I know a lot of people talk about that Forbes article earlier in the year saying, SEO is dead, painting things in a broad brush. Again, that just doesn't make sense with so many businesses thriving off of SEO. So this distinction you're making is interesting. Do I have it right?

Yeah I think so. Big companies that are the aggregators, there's a problem there for these guys because Google is heading into their territory. It remains to be seen what's going to happen because there is a lot of talk of the regulations and how that's going to work. And then there's the small business that Google is trying to give preference to when ranking in search engine. But the one point there is, that things that worked three or four years ago-- if you went out and created 600 pages of duplicate content for your small local plumbing or contracting company-- those tactics aren't going to work like they did a couple years ago. So you have to always be evolving and understanding that this great lead channel you have can't just be-- you can't assume you're always going to have it. Things change, you have to stay on top of the trends, and you have to understand what it takes to get search engine ranks.

That was one of things out of the article that I read thinking, how could this guy have a whole business based on Google and he didn't even understand anything about SEO. It just didn't really make a lot of sense that he would have been so lackadaisical with his primary lead channel source. So that's the lesson I took away from that part of it. His search engine ranks are so important. You'd think he would be glued to that. But I guess I'm still a little confused because the New York Times is saying, Google casts big shadow on smaller websites, and goes on to talk about how ranking in the search engine is so important to them, et cetera. But it's not really smaller businesses that should be worried, is what you're saying. So is that title kind of misleading? Or they just doing some fear mongering?

I think so. I mean, because who's to decide? To us, Nextag is a big website. But I don't know. The New York Times, is that a small website? They had two examples. One that I think I would consider-- I can't remember the other one. It was Nextag and then the other example was what I would consider to be a very small website. So I don't know. What did you think?

Well I think they are doing a little bit of fear mongering just to get the eyeballs. I think what you're talking about makes sense. You need to really consider if you're in Google's way in terms of their revenue stream, and the middle men out there are clearly in their way right. So the small businesses are not as much. Although I think you probably could be, depending on how far Google spreads its wings. And that's when you get into this notion of government intervention. So do you believe at some point the government will get dragged in and label Google a monopoly and start slapping restrictions on them like they did to Microsoft and Internet Explorer back in the '90s?

I don't know. It's a great question. I just don't know. I'm not an expert in that area. It sounds like that's where it's headed because enough people are beating their drums. But I'm not sure where it will end up.

I think that if it did happen it would probably good for the google search results ranking businesses and services in general. Because they would probably scale back and stick to the things that people more traditionally accept them doing, which are some ads at the top-- although that's even growing-- and then adds on the right, and less of the comparison shopping and suggestion things that make it seem like there are starting to compete unfairly with others. But that remains to be seen.

But I guess for today, if you're reading these New York Times articles or the Forbes article that SEO is dead, and you're thinking about how you can improve your rankings in search engine, I think you need to take all these things with a grain of salt. Because we see the data every data shows that there's still plenty of organic search and plenty of businesses in this ecosystem. But you still got to stay tuned, right, because this is a real danger.

Exactly. Keep your eye on what's changing, but don't run away from what's working for you today.

Cool. All right, well thanks so much.

Take care.