Never trust your business to Google search

I have noticed a trend in advertising these days  where rather than advertising your actual web site, you are telling users to ‘Google <Insert brand name or product here>‘. This is probably the silliest thing you could ever do when advertising.

The first time I noticed this technique being used was in 2007/2008 with the failed Hamilton Air Show. Radio advertising and mini billboards that simply said ‘Google Airshow’. My first thought was ‘what? Google are doing an airshow?’. Perhaps that explains why the event failed. A raft of businesses have tried it out over the years, even Telecom, and today I heard the latest ad on the radio, for Optik Direct. 28 seconds telling us all about their products and that they are NZ based etc, and at the end of the ad – simply ‘Google Optic with a k’.  So, lets pick apart this method and see what could possibly go wrong.

I can see two main issues here, and one has already reared it’s head: anyone can buy out that space above the search results, it all comes down to money and your adword bid amount (and picking the right keywords, which in this case isn’t very hard to do). And guess what has happened? That’s right, I am pretty sure that Clearly Contacts and Quick Lens have nothing to do with Optik Direct. But, by targeting their adwords to the keyword ‘Optik’, they have jumped right on up there in front of customers that came to the internet looking for contact lens from Optik.

Optik Direct Search Results

Optik Direct Search Results


So, what’s the big deal? Last time I checked, radio advertising wasn’t very cheap, in fact it was pretty darn expensive. They are spending all this money on advertising, yet their competitors have hijacked their advertising for very little cost. Optik are paying the big bucks for the radio advertising, and the consumer is suddenly presented with three options to purchase contact lens from. If I am trying to get customers to buy something from me, I would want them on my website, not looking at a list of competitors.

This leads into the second issue I see with this approach – you have to have an awful lot of faith in your SEO skills to ensure your company ranks at the very top of the search results. Generally, this isn’t easy to achieve. And again, anyone can come along and snatch that top spot away from you. It’s not yours, it’s never guaranteed to be yours either (unless of course you have a very unique brand name, then you might get away with it). Heck, I could write a blog post just like this and fill it up with keywords relating to contact lenses (such as contact lens store, purchase contacts, buy eye contacts, optik eyecare, optik direct, buy contacts online, discounted contact lens, cheapest contacts.. you get the idea) and suddenly the top spot is lost to either the competition, or even worse.

Worse? If I was a competitor with a real grudge I could plaster the internet with claims of dodgy products, fakes, bad customer service, anything I wanted really about Optik Direct, and these could all appear right on up there. Potential customer goes to Google, searches for ‘Optik’ and suddenly they are presented with a list of links with previews about faulty products,  fake glasses, bad customer service.. you name it, with the right set of skills it can be done. Google does not care that you spent $100k on radio advertising a keyword, it’s job is to be indiscriminate.

Even this blog could rate right up in that top spot, all it would take is a bunch of link backs etc and adding in some more keywords (ie Buy Eye Contacts Online and the like).

I guess if you are doing a short (as in a week or two) campaign then you might get away with it, but why take the risk? Already those top ad spaces have already been brought out by Optik Directs competition, so they are riding someone elses wave, for a tiny amount of the cost.

I am not a Google adwords or even a Google expert, and I don’t wear contact lens or glasses. I just think it’s a dumb idea to rely on someone else to hopefully deliver the correct website to your potential customers.

If you are going to advertise your website – advertise your website – not Google search results.

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