How Google Plans to Steal More of Your Traffic

Seattle Skyline
At the SMX Advanced Conference in June of 2014, Danny Sullivan had a Question and Answer session with Matt Cutts. During this session, Matt did a live search demo that, in my opinion, demonstrated that Google wants to take the search traffic it’s currently sending to other websites and keep it for themselves.

I’ve embedded the video of the complete session below, but the part I’m concerned with starts at 47m 40s–which is hopefully where the video should start.

Matt asked the following questions:

  • Where is the space needle?
  • I want to see pictures.
  • Who built it?
  • How tall is it?
  • Show me some restaurants near there.
  • How about Italian?
  • Navigate to the first one.

Matt was using the Google Now app, and I’ve attached screen shots for each of the searches below (click to enlarge).

IMG_2097IMG_2098IMG_2099IMG_2100IMG_2101IMG_2102

Why is this important? Matt did seven searches, and none of the searches resulted in traffic for anyone but Google. If you are a site owner or web publisher, this is important to realize. Google is not only indexing the contents of your webpages, but it’s trying to learn and understand what’s on them and absorb this information so that they no longer need you.

It’s not just location information or encyclopedic content, either. For example, look at the query [How to make hard boiled eggs].

How to make hard boiled eggs

How to make hard boiled eggs

Think about that the next time you put schema tags on a recipe page or any other structured data.

In my opinion, Google wants to become the computer from Star Trek: it wants to try and understand your question and give you the answer. And they don’t want you to leave Google unless it’s to a site that’s paying for it. Don’t believe me? Try [best hotel san francisco]. Everything shown in the black bar keeps you on Google, as does the hotel price comparison.

Best Hotel San Francisco

Best Hotel San Francisco

I’d love to tell you there is a glimmer of hope or a work around, but there really isn’t. Unless you are a brand and driving [brand + keyword] queries, Google wants to drink your milkshake.

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