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29th July 2008 |  Written by Guy Levine

4 Reasons why you’ll never beat Google.

Do you Search or Google? It’s not a particularly important question, the result is the same, however the answer to this question tells you a great deal about how us as users perceive the Search Market. The real question is do we still see Search as Searching or has search become Googling? There are a lot of changes in the Search Market going on. We not only have the three big engines fighting for superiority which has become somewhat of a desperate struggle but we also have plenty of start-ups, the recent of which is Cuil. Google is starting to really dominate a market it already has control over. So how do you exactly beat Google at their own game?

This was the subject of a recent post in Sitepoint, the core of the post actually makes some good points, however rather than 4 ways of beating Google it should be called 4 reasons why you’ll never beat Google. By actually looking at Cuil, they’ve started to rhetorically answer the important question can it actually be done? In their four ways they’ve proved at present that’s not possible which really makes the whole post pointless. Their 4 ways are Creating Superior Technology, Disrupt their Ad Market Stranglehold, Get to New Markets before they do and Be Mediocre but be Persuasive.

Technology.

This is why anyone falls at the first hurdle, Technology alone. Ultimately Technology isn’t enough. Google have spent over 10 years developing the technology that is their search engine. In my opinion someone’s going to have spend 20 years developing something better and personally I don’t think that’s going to happen. Ultimately is that even going to be enough? I don’t think so.

If you look at the history of the web then there have been many elements of the internet that have revolutionised the product itself the two most important of these are Search itself and Social. Google have been the only Search Engine to truly respond to the dramatically changing landscape of the web. Ultimately Search will continue to change and ultimately search as we know is dead.

Google are not relying on their technology to keep them their stranglehold on the market, ultimately Google are investing in the Search of Tomorrow today while all the other engine’s play catch up by investing in the Search of yesterday today. It will only mean one thing that Google’s grip can only tighten and ultimately there won’t be any ways of beating Google at their own game because simply Google are playing a different Game now.

If you’ve been following all the ho yah on our blog you’ll know about Microsoft trying to buy Yahoo and Yahoo instead trying to get into bed with Google, blah blah blah. You also know while all this is going on Google quietly under the radar have bought Digg, which is one of the most eminent Social Bookmarking sites, the question in relation to everything that’s going on is why have they Google done that? Then why are Yahoo and Microsoft doing what they’re doing?

Yahoo, in my opinion, have spent the last several years playing catch up technology wise. Today Yahoo is as reliable as Google, sometimes I find Yahoo more so. Being better than Google isn’t enough. If you look at the market then Google’s share is increasing and Yahoo’d decreasing. In the eyes of the consumer Google already have a far superior product and that’s when we come to the arena of Branding which is the fourth point, being persuasive which is key to understanding everything else so we will deal with it now.

Persuasive

While we’ve hit this point we may as well deal with it and it’s critical in relation to not just the previous point but others. Having the best product isn’t about having the best product! It’s about having the best product in the eyes of the consumer. If the technology gives Google a tight grip then their branding does so much more. Google’s golden ticket is Brand Loyalty, if something else that is better comes into the market then it will take that product many years to prove itself before we consumers will even start thinking it’s possible. The two best brands in Search are firstly Google and secondly Page Rank, and for me that says it all. Google has most webmasters around the world worrying about their Page Rank when actually in today’s landscape it’s not even that relevant.

Ad Stranglehold

Google makes it’s money from PPC, so common sense tells me if I really want to hit Google hard this is where it’s really going to hurt, the wallet. Common sense says tells me it never will. Unless someone can be Persuasive which we’ve just looked at this isn’t going to happen. Firstly Google’s popularity means Advertisers are always going to use Adsense as their main online advertising outlet and in some case only outlet. Google have the best platform and if you look at what Yahoo are doing then there actually tightening Google’s stranglehold.

New Markets

I’m not actually sure this is possible. There are no real untapped markets out there, pockets maybe but markets no. As we’ve already stated the real new market is in changing nature of Search and Google again are completely dominating.

If we’re ultimately asking the question how do you beat Google, well if your living in the real world that’s not possible in today’s Search climate.

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