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The value of Google paid ads

The behemoth search engine Google has, and continues, to define the boundaries of the power of digital communication. Starting in the early 1990s the Internet began to witness the rise of the search engine, an algorithmic piece of computer code that enabled users to rapidly find information about almost any topic. As the competition between Google, Yahoo and too many others to mention intensified, it was Google that started to stretch its binary neck and take the lead, sometimes by hook and occasionally by crook. No different to any successful corporation. Google was everywhere with its aggressive advertising campaigns, and then in about 1990 it became a part of the English vernacular, in phrases such as ‘ have you Googled that guy you slept with the other night?’

The power of Google had become unquestioned but the veracity of the information was an entirely separate issue. Anyone could post anything about any issue at anytime, and it would join the heaving digital masses all competing for the hot spots on page number one of any search. Keywords, content, ranking and SEO started to enter the usual conversations of the business community, as they realized that where your company ranked on Google was more determinant of how it faired financially, than quite often the quality of the service or product. And so commenced the enhanced focus on page one, how to get there but more importantly how to stay attached to the holy page. Developing and jumping onto keywords that were the ones most frequently associated with particular topics led to companies developing entire departments and staff devoted to digital marketing. Huge amounts of the annual budget were being earmarked for digital optimization, and in house coders were being drafted straight out of their computer science degrees. The world had without question forever changed, and the race was now on for who could come up with the fastest, smartest algorithm that could outthink the average human, and predict what that individual was about to think before even they knew.

For those companies, individuals and businesses that, for whatever reason, could not find an organically originated place on page one, they were forced to humiliatingly turn to the ‘I surrender’ school of digital ranking. Unable to legitimately work their way up the ranks they settled for the only option left, that of the paid Google Ad. In their minds it was a better solution to deal with the embarrassment of knowing that the public knew that you or your company were not able to secure a number one page rank on your own merits, but had been forced to pay for the privilege of sharing that spot with the true champions. Nevertheless the company was able to achieve a certain degree of notoriety and in some circles caused conversations to occur. Sadly though, those conversations centered around the fact that those companies had, because of certain innate inadequacies, been forced to pay for the privilege of a seat on page one.

The unseen and unfortunate consequences of this faulty strategy has been that these companies witnessed a drop in their business flow, because most internet users now understand very well the difference between an organic placement and one that is funded with straight advertising dollars/pounds/yen. The question that immediately comes into the minds of these, frequently under 21 consumers, relates to the value of the product the aforementioned company is attempting to sell. What has become very evident within the last five years is that paid Google ads are generally from companies that are not able to generate organic placements on their own merits or the merits of their service/product. This has now began to act against their commercial interests particularly when they are juxtaposed against organically placed companies that have through hard work and the production of high quality content/service achieved page one status.

Google, off course, would not in any way suggest that placing an ad on page one would in any way hinder the reputation or financial interests of the company for through this ‘program’ they are generating billions of dollars in revenue. In fact they would even argue against the use of companies trying to calculate the ROI on Google paid ads, instead suggesting the more important benefit derived from such exposure is the subliminal impact these ads have on the unknowing digital masses. This position is entirely un-provable, sounds plausible and has not been aggressively questioned by the purchasers of these increasingly expensive digital spaces.

The rather sad state of affairs is just begging for a solution, and the answer clearly does include the continued and unmitigated dispensation of advertising budget funds to slick Google commission based sales agents. The direction in which this collection of novices and uneducated digital veterans should head is that of content creation. The arts of writing and speaking are paradoxically more important today than they were prior to the digital revolution, and the companies that attain successful rankings are those that have not only recognized this fact but incorporated it into every aspect of their marketing strategy. It is these entities that have mastered the art of page one, have understood the value of relevant content and developed libraries of keyword rich content and it is these same companies that have risen to the top of their industry sectors based simply on the strength of their page one position.

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