Give All Your £ to Google
03 July 2019 7052 Views
In the last ten years Google's revenue, largely from pay per click ads (Adwords), has grown by 527% (Source: Statista). In 2008 it was $21bn. In 2018 it was $136bn.
In the same decade, Google's share price has risen by 660% from $142 per share to $1,068. The company's worth is now over $750billion.
If you own a business, you have most probably paid a big part in this success. Anyone that uses marketing and advertising to promote their brand or service will either have used Google; is using Google or will do. By contrast, most other forms of advertising are shrinking in revenue - except Facebook, Google's even uglier sister.
B2C businesses like estate and lettings agencies, mortgage brokers and conveyancers are particularly susceptible to lining Google’s pockets given how many there are competing with each other for a share of consumer spend that is certainly becoming more astute. There are 21,000 estate and letting agencies in the UK (Source: Ibis); 3200 conveyancers (Source: Law Gazette); and 5200 mortgage brokers (Source: Money Marketing).
So you can see how Silicon Valley is rubbing its hands at 30,000 businesses in our sector jostling for position as they all increasingly realise that they must be seen. ‘Best estate agent’; ‘cheapest mortgage rates’; ‘low cost conveyancer’ - not only are these search terms expensive when resorting to Pay Per Click but they also get more and more so as Google works out that there’s increasing demand. The modern day equivalent of a masked man on horseback at the side of the road pointing his flintlock at you as you round the corner in your gilded carriage.
And there’s a real-world example from my Emoov days - in 2009 when I launched the business it cost us about £2.50 if someone clicked on our Google ad having searched for ‘online estate agents’. By November last year that cost had risen to £35.00 – a 1300% hike. But by then we had managed to unhook ourselves from the narcotical lure of incessantly filling Google’s pockets. Because we had discovered a different approach – we got clean.
Because, you see, Google isn’t all bad and in fact they reward you if you help them given that the very essence of a search engine is to deliver immediate results to those searching but results that are also highly RELEVANT regardless of whether the results are paid for or sponsored. For without relevancy you would be served posts for Tiptree preserves when you wanted to know traffic conditions or articles on 1960’s pop bands when looking for documentaries on insects. Relevancy is the backbone to the Google concept and the way that they ensure such is via things called back-links…
What are back-links?
Well, I could just say ‘Google it and see’ but here’s a brief explanation:
Back-links are mentions of your business name on other websites whereby when clicked upon, they direct the user to your website. For instance, if Properganda.pr posts an article about Channel 4’s Location Location Location, it might link the phrase ‘Location Location Location’ to the Channel 4 website so that visitors can pop over and gain further context on the story.
So, Google sees these connections and quickly works out that Properganda, a property PR firm, is hat-tipping another property website. Consequently it scores the recipient higher because it’s clear that a relevant third party website is saying ‘Hey, look at these guys – they’re ok’.
When Google decides which results to display first on page one of its site (naturally that is - orgaically), much although not all of that split-second decision is made by assessing the number and quality of back-links pointing to that website and, more recently, the mentions that the business/brand has all over the internet. The more links and mentions, the higher the Domain Authority and the higher your position will be – also known as SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). And just to demonstrate why this is important – it’s said that over 30% of searchers click on the first natural/organic (non-paid) search result that they see with 55% of clicks accounting for the first three results. If you’re on page two, as all but ten companies will be, you may as well not exist as far as Google are concerned. Unless, of course, you PAY to be a sponsored ad at the top of the page instead and which as we’ve discussed, is how Google are now worth getting on for a trillion dollars.
Where is this all leading to?
Yes, I’m going on somewhat – apologies. However I needed to explain the ‘SEO – How it works’ bit first.
There used to be a shortcut to having hundreds and thousands of back-links whereby you could buy them from unscrupulous ‘link-farms’ nestled away in the dark corners of cyber-space. Aldo known as ‘Black-Hat’ activities. But Google cottoned on to this tactic pretty quickly and now dishes out penalties to anyone that does so because this cheating circumvents relevancy. Famous penalties include Interflora, Overstock.com, JC Penny and even BMW for manipulating links relating to the term ‘used car’. Expedia too were penalised and consequently lost 25% of their website traffic.
No, the answer to gaining more website traffic and more revenue is not to stuff Google’s pockets with your cash nor is it to cheat by acquiring illicit back-street citations. The solution is to build your online reputation and back-links naturally and legitimately and the only way to do that with relevance and at scale is to be written about by proper journalists in proper publications at volume. In other words, PR.
PR coverage gains multiple brand mentions and links from online news sites, trade publication and blogs for your business. Done in the right way, you can quite quickly grow your ranking and visibility without resorting to huge PPC costs or running the risk of being sand-boxed by Google. Legitimate stories, articles and mentions are what Google is looking for when ranking sites and in a busy, cut-throat space like property with its thousands upon thousands of competitors and thousands of potential key-phrases being used to search for companies and services, if you’re not being mentioned online, you risk becoming anonymous.
Properganda is a PR firm that specialises in media coverage for property companies. An agency that is run by property people for property people. We know the industry inside out and all of the movers and shakers, especially journalists.
On average we achieve 40+ media mentions each month per client and a bunch of back-links (in June one particular client received 84 links as the result of the coverage we gained them). Our customers include estate agents lettings agents, conveyancers, mortgage brokers, PropTech start-ups and growth businesses, co-working spaces and so on.
In the words of the CEO of one of them recently ‘You guys are absolutely smashing it’.
Want some? (Or you could just buy shares in Google instead?)
T: 0207 856 0185
Written by Russell Quirk, Co-Founder, Properganda PR