How Google Wants to Destroy Small Business Online

E-Commerce site owners: Watch this video at least three times, and take careful note of what Matt is saying and what it means for your future as Google sees it.

The future , as Google sees it, does not include you. Do you see how Matt smirks with the sort of look that says “without unique content, your shop is worthless”? Do you  see the sheer chutzpa of Google, claiming that you need unique content to be a legitimate retailer in their index? What differentiates Tiget Direct, NewEgg,  Best Buy and J&R? Do people buy from them because they have unique reviews and great content or a great reputation and decent pricing? I don’t know about you, but I don’t buy stuff from online stores because of a great blog or some nutty social marketing campaign.

In Google’s world, New York’s Diamond district would be reduced to ten shops that each had free courses on choosing the right diamond, how to know if your diamond is right for you, and personal assistants to help you from start to finish on your purchases. These shops would be publicity whores and would hire full time PR firms to make sure they were in the newspaper every single day. There would be no competition based on price or important things like free shipping or product guarantees, but solely on how the storefront looked from the outside.

There is a legitimate function in commerce of having multiple stores selling the same items, at similar prices, without anything functionally differentiating between them. They can all be cookie cutter stores, that look very similar, but as long as there is significant demand for products, there will always be room for competition based on pricing and service, and not unique content.

That function disappears in Google’s organic results – if you haven’t spent a billion dollars in branding, you’;re not worthy of the index, even if your pricing is better and you sell the exact same stuff everyone does. Google’s policy is not only pro big branding budgets, it’s fundamentally anti-small business.

Sure, they’ll let you compete for penny margins in Adwords, but then they’ll turn around and ban you without further notice. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. But wait, you’re a big brand? Quality Score doesn’t apply to you. You get  out of jail free.

If your business is not a major brand and depends on Google for the majority of its traffic and sales, I suggest you start diversifying your traffic, and working on your brand. The future does not look bright for small business online, folks.


  1. good point ari. a couple notes:

    1) ecommerce sites still have the “shopping” tab as the place to compete based on price and reputation only.

    2) local results also have their space and i don’t believe original content quality/quantity plays a big roll in those rankings.

    BUT, if you are a small online retailer that is not geared towards a local market, you ARE screwed, at least on the regular search results.

    Similar behavior is expect from real estate agents. It doesnt matter if they agent is trusted by his/her community and delivers/sells more than any other agent in his/her area, they still need to have a blog on his website to be considered first page worthy. the only exception is for those who started their websites long before the rest did – those guys remain on the first page.

    overall, the future doesnt look bright for small businesses online…

  2. Eddie,
    The shopping tab is second fiddle – unless it’s integrated with the core results, as that happens sometimes.
    Local, in the states for competitive keywords can often be dominated by brand franchises (RadioShack, for example)

    The future is incredibly bright, just perhaps not in google:-)

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