Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Google Is Falling, The Google Is Falling!

Today’s CNN front-page editorial, An asteroid for the Google dinosaur?, written by Andrew Keen, who is deemed a professional skeptic, left me, well skeptical.

In short, Keen lets us know there has been a “dramatic shift” in how we find content on the web:  from Google to Facebook.  

In an attempt to enhance this “drama,” and perpetuate the inevitable demise of Google, Keen includes stats from the London Guardian.  

The paper’s director for digital development describes a “seismic shift” in their site’s top referral-traffic source during the last 18 months, from Google (previously 40%, current referral percentage not provided) to Facebook (previously 2%, now more than 30%). 

So, the sky is falling for Google.

Or is it?

If you are marketing effectively, you are converting website visitors into social networks followers and direct email subscribers:  enabling you to continually drive them to your frequently-updated, compelling content.

This is something marketers have understood for years, which is why, despite Keene's claim of a “dramatic shift,” Facebook surpassed Google as a leading-traffic source for major media sites more than two years ago.
However, this is not an inherent condemnation of Google. 

I reviewed the traffic sources for our “non-social” clients, those that do not have direct email or social network programs – their choice, not ours. 

In January 2011, Google referred 26% of their traffic, and in January 2012, Google referred 28% of their traffic. 

Hmm, where’s the drama? 

For “social” clients, those that have ongoing Facebook and direct-email initiatives, in January 2011, Google referred 60% of their traffic, and in January 2012, Google referred 42% of their traffic. 

There we go, using the same type of analysis; I was able to see the light…Google’s googled, if ya know what I mean.

Except… there was a 5% increase in traffic from Google for “social” clients in the 2012 compared to 2011.

Overall, social clients, through their consistent engagement of their audiences and compelling content, increased traffic between 2011 and 2012 by 50%. 

The leading source for this traffic increase, you guessed it, social networks and direct email, which directed 210% more traffic in 2012 than in 2011. 

So, Facebook might have killed Google according to Keen, but don’t tell our clients that, because they are working quite nicely together for them.