Issue 14

Summer Edition

Goodbye Google – Is the Search Giant Really the Only Game in Town?

Goodbye Google

Google. If there's one word you could use to describe the Internet in 2013, it's Google. We use Google search to find businesses that we email from our Google mail accounts, before making a note of our monthly expenses on a spreadsheet we save on our Google Drive.

But is Google really the only game in town? Here at FirstFound, we don't think so. Whether you're looking at search, online services, or marketing your business online, success doesn't start and finish with Google.

  • Search

    There's no use pretending otherwise. Google is the undisputed market leader when it comes to search in the United Kingdom. But that doesn't mean it's the only search engine you need to worry about.

    We like to keep our eye on the search engines that you're using, and one thing is clear. Google's lead is being whittled away by Bing. Month-on-month, more people are turning to the Microsoft search engine – while Google's market share for 2013 is the lowest it has been in a decade.

    And as Bing spends more and more on campaigns like "Discover Bing", that trend is set to continue. So the next time you get your monthly report, make sure you check your Bing rankings too. Because it might be delivering you more traffic than you think.

  • Services

    While search made Google a household name (and a verb in the Oxford English Dictionary), more and more businesses rely on services like Google Drive, Gmail, and the recently-discontinued Google Reader.

    But this isn't a good long term strategy, as it's been shown that one in three Google services is shut down, leaving customers scrabbling around for alternatives. So before you store all of your company's accounts on Google Drive, take a look at the following alternatives:

    Email: Gmail might be quick, easy and free – but it can also come across as unprofessional. By choosing a web hosting package with email included, you'll be safe from service shutdowns and benefit from a more professional image.

    Document Storage: Google Drive lets you access your files and documents from any computer, but there are alternatives out there. We recommend Dropbox – a service that lets you store the files you need without worrying about Google's "spring cleans".

    RSS Feeds: If you use Google Reader to keep up with blogs and news in your niche, you're out of luck. The service was closed on July 1st, leaving users desperately searching for a replacement. If you're still looking, we advise you to use Feedly – it's easy to use, and will incorporate all your old Google Reader data!

  • Marketing

    Of course, it's all well and good saying that there are search and service alternatives to Google. But is it really possible to market your business online without involving Google at all? The answer, surprisingly, is yes.

    Pay per click is no longer a Google-only zone. The European Commission is acting to break Google's near monopoly on paid search, and more and more businesses are turning to alternatives like Microsoft AdCenter and other competing products.

    And that's without considering things like Facebook and LinkedIn adverts, or other ways of getting traction on social websites – all of which show that when it comes to promoting your business, there's more to life than Google.

Should You Say Goodbye to Google?

Before we go any further, let's get one thing clear. We're not irresponsible enough to say that you should abandon Google entirely. Google search will still deliver huge amounts of traffic, and AdWords is still the go-to product in the pay per click market.

But that doesn't mean to say that you should put all of your eggs in the Google basket. Just like Facebook overhauled MySpace, someone will eventually knock Google from their perch. So if your business is going to continue to succeed in the future, you're going to need to look around.

Because at some point in the future, you might just have to say goodbye to Google for good.