Domains, Traffic & the Corporatization of Search Results.
Before the “beginning,” there were corporations. Ads on TV, full page ads in the Yellow Pages, newspapers and magazines. Everyone knew the big guys – ATT, State Farm, Bank of America…
Then the internet came into being. So in this “new beginning” (umm, about 1997-1999), there was net… It was fair to one and all. Little guys went toe-to-toe with the big guys and won.
It was a time when someone like YourFavoriteCarInsuranceCompany.com could create a site and then rank first for car insurance. All was good for the little guys who toiled in obscurity. The playing field was level allowing the little guy to compete against the big guys. Little guys everywhere rejoiced.
Then Google figured out what people were searching for and what the users wanted in their results – i.e., the bigger players. So now GEICO, Progressive and maybe a single keyword rich url CarInsurance.com, assuming it is active with great content, rank at the top of the heap. Now, the little guys have faded back into obscurity again.
While not apparent at the time, this corporatization of search results would soon become the model for all keyword searches.
The Google Mayday update seems to have caused a few major changes, especially impacting PPC landing pages for domain owners:
1) Most PPC landing companies (and the domainers who use them) have seen their revenue go down, some report by as much as 50%+. It was pretty easy for Google to look at the DNS and determine if it was a parking page.
2) Matt Cutts indicating that the searches for long tail traffic keywords, will now favor sites that have greater value (high content, high inbound links, high recognition, visitor utility, quality off site links). You don’t need a secret-agent decoder ring to understand that this generally means results from bigger companies. They have bigger sites, tend to get links, etc.
So, the Mayday update means the corporatization of search results will now pervade into almost every search.
Furthermore, this will impact domain holders in two ways:
1) They will be willing to pay less for dropped domains at auctions, since it will be much harder to recover the investment via PPC revenues.
2) The overall portfolio valuation have decreased due to less revenue being generated.
So, the internet is going into its first cycle, much like short, short skirts, then long skirts, then short, short skirts. As you know, everything old, becomes new.
So here is what is new. We are going back to, before the beginning – big companies will again outrank little companies.
This corporatization of search results will continue with the other major search engines and continue to decrease the revenue and valuation of domain holders (Of course, quality domains will hold their values).
There are some strategies to fight this, but that is for another post…