Transformational Changes in Online Engagement: Part 1 – Google

Author : , Date : September 11, 2014

searchLike the birth of anything good, there comes a day when the good is replaced with better. Every industry experiences it and every company is eventually shaped by it.

Today we begin a new blog series on “transformational changes in engagement.” Over the last few years we have already begun to see massive changes in how the Internet is changing the way we approach our businesses and connect with our prospects and customers.

We will take a brief look back in the beginning of various online industries and how they shaped our current online engagement and then take a look forward at how future changes will force us to re-consider how we engage with others and build communities.

Today, we will start with Google and the rapid decline of index search and its impact on your business.


Google’s Beginnings

To understand Google, one must understand its beginnings. When they came onto the search scene in the late 1990’s there was a lot of competition:


  • Yahoo!
  • Altavista
  • HotBot
  • Excite
  • WebCrawler
  • Ask Jeeves
  • Dogpile
  • Lycos
  • MSN Search
  •  AOL Search
  • Infoseek
  • Netscape
  • MetaCrawler
  • All The Web.


But there was no clear leader. Content was sparse, comparatively speaking and for those of us who remember using these sites. They were confusing and loaded with news, advertising and all kinds of “stuff” you probably weren’t interested in or needed.

In a CNBC Special in 2009 called “Inside The Mind of Google” they discussed the rise of the company and its controversies at the time. In the show they discuss how these college kids come out with a new application as part of a research project. It appeared to be just a blank page. They asked people to sit down and use it. Because it was just a logo and a box, no one knew at first what to do. They were used to pages being filling with links everywhere and their eyes in overload.

Needless to say, the friendliness of the blank page caught on and it caught on big!

For nearly ten years Google would build its search empire on the user-friendliness of its site. Clean and easy to use was there mantra as it went about the business of “organizing the world’s information and making it universally accessible and useful.”

What Google essentially did for ten years is commoditize the internet and all content. Businesses wanted the traffic from them so everyone conformed to their standards and the Search Engine Optimization industry was created with a goal of chasing the money. Who could really blame them, right? Who didn’t want the most targeted traffic full of new buyers? TV, radio, newspaper ads, magazine ads – none of them could offer what Google could offer and for a fraction of the cost.


Fast Forward to 2009 – Google Search Has a Problem

For ten years Google’s growth was unrivaled in business history. No one had ever seen that kind of growth or profit margins so quickly.

But in 2009 a trend started to develop. Google index search had peaked.

From 2010 – 2012 studies began coming out showing that search had started to decline.

Tech Investor and innovator Roger McNamee came out with a Ted Talk and shared a graph that showed that in 2008 Google Index accounted for 90% of all searches done on the internet. But, by 2011 it was down to 50%. Some estimates today suggest it’s now down to a staggering 30%.

That’s still a LOT of traffic, but it’s nowhere near what it was at their peak.



So What Happened?


In McNamee’s 2011 Ted Talk he referenced a whole new wave of specific ways people were getting information they needed and wanted quickly that Google couldn’t provide because the Internet is so full of garbage. SEO had found a way to manipulate the search engine to give page one results for things people weren’t even looking for; in essence it was a bait and switch that SEO companies had been able to pull off in order to help drive traffic to their clients websites.

Google users were frustrated and Google was even frustrated. As I will share in a moment Google decided to fight back in 2012.




What was the real change that put a dent in index search?

New tools emerged to help me better find what I’m looking for without the hassle of searching forever through sites that were manipulating me to see their stuff that had nothing to do with what I was searching for. Here is a list of some of those new tools:


  • Wikipedia: Information on a specific subject is all in one place
  • Social Media – personal engagement and connections
  • if I want a date
  • Yelp for restaurant reviews
  • if I need to buy a house
  • if I want to go somewhere


The list goes on and on… I don’t’ always need Google for the specific things I’m looking for. These sites in essence became highly specialized search engines that offer me exactly what I want.

Today we can find other ways that we meet our audience without Google. Here are just a few obvious ideas:


  • Via other influential blogs through commenting and engagement
  • Niche websites that cater to  businesses or organizations within niche industries
  • Social media communities where my audience hangs out


One other thing that hurt Google has been the emergence of mobile technologies. It’s very hard to put ads on a small screen. Yet, mobile devices now account for nearly 70% of all internet traffic. Mobile has caused a steep decline in search traffic all together. In fact, studies in Forbes Magazine I have seen over the last year give a direct correlation to search traffic loss and mobile usage.

However, Google is a smart company and they know this. So what have they done to meet their flexible mission statement? They have diversified the company.

Today the own the largest mobile software platform in Android. It’s said that Android enabled devices are nearly 70% or more of all mobile sales. And, because of Google Maps and their satellite systems they are creating driverless cars that are being approved in several states right now. That’s not all, there is much more they are doing…

Their innovation is staggering and in the near future their empire will no longer be in search but in other things.

A report from The Information (paywall) says the co-founder Larry Page has set up a ‘company within a company’ dubbed ‘Google 2.0’ that will look at the tech giant’s long-term future – presumably for when advertising revenue from search traffic (inevitably) dries up.

But let me say this; that doesn’t mean search is going away. It’s not. It will change as it has continued to change. But what it does mean is that we will have to be forward thinking about how we reach our customers.


The Great Panda Escape of 2012




In 2012 a lot of businesses began to wake up to the reality that we have to stop depending on Google for our lively hoods. Many reputable businesses grew very profitable off of the back of Google. But that also mean many less than reputable businesses were doing the same thing.

Google overnight and without warning changed the rules. This caused some reputable sites to immediately see a 30% – 90% drop in their traffic. In some cases it destroyed businesses completely and put them under. Others had to work a lot harder to make it and figure out how to change their business and marketing models.

Over two years later Google is still making major changes to their search engine and too many are still trying to play catch up in a desperate mode of chasing the cash.

The point is that too many became over reliant of Google when there might be a better way?


How Changes to Google Have Actually Helped Businesses


It’s not all bad; in fact I think this may be one of the best things to happen in a long time. As we go through this series we will see the barrel roll effect on how we reach our audiences and engage with them.

Under the old paradigm, we spent either a lot of time or money (or both) performing SEO trying to rank #1 on the first search result page or as close to number one as we could get. It was really a technical issue over a practical one where we want to put ourselves in front of more and more people doing searches for what we have to offer.

That is where the shift is now happening. We are moving from the over technical reliance of SEO to the practical application of relationship building as I written about through many of my blog articles.

As someone who has owned a web design and development company for nearly ten years, I personally think people were stuck in the allure of Google and how can they make us rich? It’s never directly or overtly stated, but it’s there and we got lazy.

We learned in essence to commoditize ourselves and in doing so we were unable to stand out, be unique or attract those to us who knew they wanted or needed us. We were all just blue in a sea of blue.

Unfortunately, most small business owners today don’t have good networking skills, business sense, or an understanding of what business they are “really” in or what problems they “really” solve. They are no longer sure how to stand out and be different.  In days gone by these were normal things that went into business plans.

Business plans were critical because almost every small business had a barrier to entry to overcome and it generally was centered around the need for capital.

Today, you can start a business with virtually no capital, but in doing so you lose the benefit of being challenged to think about your business. That has led to devastating consequences for businesses, their employees, vendors, customers; and dare I say even their families.

Business survival rate is abysmal because in reality business owners started a business and then gave themselves jobs without giving leadership to their companies. Why? Because they don’t know how and have never been challenged to learn how to build a business.

If search is dropping and less traffic is going to continue to come from Google or other search engines, how are we to grow our audiences?

We have the greatest opportunity today to grow our businesses if we do it right! More so than at any other time in the last twenty or thirty years in my opinion.


McNamee shared in his Ted Talk that enterprise software like Microsoft Windows and SAP alone accounts for hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue that are becoming lost for those companies as their older flagship products continue to lose market share. Google is experiencing the same in search. What happens to that money?

A major opportunity is coming for those dollars as new industries and technologies supplant them and open the doors to new opportunities for entrepreneurs.


What are Some Transformational Changes You Can Make to Grow Your Business?

In a previous article I wrote I asked if you were willing to become someone else’s Google?




Major change is coming and already those of us who blog for business are experiencing it in how we write, promote and market our blogs. Gone are the days of just writing and submitting a sitemap to Google through Webmaster Tools.

Gone are the days of just posting our articles on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin and sit back and enjoy the fruit of our posts.

We are going through a massive correction right now and it’s one I think is way overdue. Laziness is being supplanted with real strategies, goals and objectives that are hard work in the beginning but are the foundations of a lasting company.

At the end of this series I will offer a comprehensive way to consider how you can participate in the correction that is already in process to grow your audience and sales. But for now, let me give you a few short ideas:


  1. Stop relying on Google.
  2. Stop building brochure websites that say nothing and mean nothing.
  3. Start making your website the center of your online world.
  4. Start building your community through genuine engagement and networking.
  5. Start making others more important than yourself.


One such site doing this today is Aha Now! Aha Now is an amazing self-development community that is bringing people from rented sites like social media groups onto their own site. They offer incentives and awards to those who write, engage and participate regularly. They have the vision and the foresight to understand the concepts I’m mention.

Another great example is my friend Enstine Muki who has created This is a service that bloggers can use to help one another grow their audiences by adding a widget to their site that allows visitors to see other interesting blog articles on another website. Each blogger is creating a self contained search engine of amazing content that is filtered and approved before showing up on another blog. It’s a fantastic idea!


Today my goal was to expose you to the dangers of relying on Google. I am not asking you to ignore Google, I’m asking you to stop being dependent upon them.

Here is what I’ve learned about Google. Google is reactive, it’s not proactive. In the five short steps above I am asking you to lead the way and be proactive. Get out of your comfort zone and start being a leader online within your niche and industry. Give people a reason to want to follow you, learn from you, and buy you!!!!

If you do it right you will build natural organic backlinks through engagement within a growing community that you create. Google will follow and reward you. But, that’s not your goal really is it? That’s just a benefit!

Every business has a cycle, and Google is no exception. Over the coming years search will become a less dominate factor in their business. The proof is in their behavior with the rise of new technologies and capabilities that they are creating. If search were to remain dominant in their forecasts they would not need to innovate. But the truly great companies are great forecasters and innovators based on current and projected future trends.

Google has changed the world and the way we access information. In the next article in my series I will cover social media and how has evolved and where it is heading. Like Google, you may want to consider where your eggs are all at? Times are already changing and so are user habits on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others.

Are you ready to evaluate how to take advantage of the coming changes? AWESOME! Then let’s learn together where social media has come from and where it’s going so that we can take advantage of what is already here and coming in part 2.


If you have a question or comment, I encourage you to leave it below. I would love to engage with you and learn from you as well!


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Don Purdum

Don Purdum

Don works with businesses to help them discover who their customers are and what business they are "really" in. He is an award-winning blogger and branding / marketing consultant.
Don Purdum
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46 thoughts on “Transformational Changes in Online Engagement: Part 1 – Google

  1. Since I started in the early nineties I have seen the changes in Google. I will not say it is important to be ranked well, but it is not necessary to spend a lot of money on SEO companies that really can’t guarantee anything. At least with social media you are creating relationships and referrals.Word of mouth still works. I have a database of customers and we are tapping into it and calling them and asking for referrals. What is interesting is that is works.

    1. Hi Arleen,

      You bet it works!!!! I have a good friend who generates over $20 million a year in sales and it’s 100% referral and networking. Not one advertising dollar, social media page, nothing.

      Now, just imagine when he comes online and takes the same networking and referral principles with him… BINGO!

      You’re awesome and I’m so glad you took a moment to share this with me. There are lots of ways to do it and one of them ought to be word of mouth – both online and offline.

      I hope you have an awesome weekend Arleen!

      ~ Don

  2. Hi Don,

    You are so right. I couldn’t agree more with you. 🙂

    SEO is important but like you said it is part of the puzzle. There are 200 others to consider to be found on number one page of Google. Most of the ones that find me via Google doesn’t stay in my blog for long. Perhaps around 32 seconds is how long they will come to my blog and so my organic search has very high bounce rate. And so I don’t really care much to please about Google.

    In this book of “No SEO Forever” this author said the same thing what you just said. He said he was so sick and tired of Google changing everything, every time. And so he wrote the book, with the help of his wife editing it. Engage with others. Thru commenting. Create that intimate relationship (like what Rob Cubbon says) and don’t forget to build your Email List. Interact through social media. Etc., etc.

    Here’s what Harshajyoti Das said on his book “No SEO Forever”…

    “Blog commenting is very powerful, especially when you place high quality comments on relevant websites. I am not talking only from a SEO perspective. It does help with SEO, but you should focus on getting all that referral traffic to your site.”


    “Blog commenting will help you increase your domain and page authority. Evidently, authority does pass, even if a link has ‘no follow’ tags.”

    …and that is a good answer. If you solve the person’s problem, you have a follower for life. If you gain their trust you have double follower for life.

    Blogging is not much about you but “it’s about them”. If you’re blogging for personal reason, this might be different. But blogging your business is a whole new ball game.

    Aaaaahhhh…I do include other people’s quotes sometimes. But not all the time. It’s something I need to get into a habit of doing. Thanks for reminding me of this.

    Anyway, thank you for the mention, Don. You have been my biggest promoter lately. *big smile* I hope you have a great weekend.



  3. Very informative essay on the pros and cons of Google and reliance upon them. I have noticed over the years many policy changes pushed out by Google and some have been troublesome and others not. As Google does not as yet determine my livelihood I have not given them much attention. It is good to know that when I do, there is a blog like yours to guide me through.

    1. Hi Tim,

      I appreciate the kind words! Over the last 36 months there have been major changes and there will continue to be.

      I added a revision to this article that makes the point that Google gets it and as a result they’ve created a company within a company that will pursue other endeavors.

      It’s a very interesting study!

      Thanks for stopping by Tim!

      ~ Don

  4. Hello Don
    This is very informative post. I never thought that due to use of mobile phones the traffic and search is decreasing and Google is doing a lot to maintain and do more. Every time we listen that , ‘ There is nothing permanent like change”. This is true in Google’s case as well. But it is good that they are aware of this change and trying many more things to keep them in business.
    I remember in 90’s when we sometime use altavista to search and after many years I remembered after reading this post.
    The ideas that you have given to build community and develop website are very nice. I have to learn a lot , a long way to go, I will read this couple of times to understand it fully. I still have to understand about SEO as well.
    looking forward to Part2.
    Thanks for a great share.

    1. Hi Andleeb,

      Learning in this industry is an ongoing thing, isn’t it. It’s amazing how fast things are changing. I believe most of it is for the better.

      If we move away from relying on a company to helping one another, then we can become one another’s Google. That’s a great place to be! Don’t you think?

      Thanks for stopping by! Part 2 will be out early next week.

      ~ Don

  5. I’m not sure you aren’t underestimating the continued influence of Google. For example, you site Wikipedia as an alternative to Google for searching for information. And yet a very significant part of Wikipedia’s traffic comes from search. A good part of the reason for its popularity is that you can search for almost anything and the Wikipedia page comes up first or second. I would also challenge the notion that mobile negatively impacted Google’s traffic. As someone who managed a number of news sites, I was rather frustrated to find no one using our app and instead using our mobile site. Why was this? Because our audience wasn’t willing to search a separate destination app for the information they wanted and instead were using Google search, which was the primary driver of our mobile traffic. At some point the company that masters the mashup of social and search may be the ultimate winner, but that hasn’t happened yet. I don’t think either Facebook or Twitter search rivals Google, in the same way that I don’t believe Google+ rivals the more popular social networks.

    1. Hi Ken,

      Thank you for taking a few minutes to share your perspective!

      As I said in the article, Google is still #1 in index search. However, a 70% drop is a considerable amount since 2009. They are acknowledging by their behavior that the search model will no longer be their number one money generating tool in the near future. In fact, that’s why I added the article link above about them moving into so many new money generating revenues like building cities…

      I didn’t say that mobile was affecting their traffic, what I said was that mobile was killing their ability to monetize Adwords through a smartphone, which now owns nearly 60% of all internet activity.

      So when you ad in social media in your comment, you are starting to arrive at my point, I believe, that the key to building a business that has a great online presence and high engagement level is to learn how to shift away from these platforms for marketing purposes. What I mean is that SEO is no longer relevant in the near future in the way that it is today. Therefore, begin to build your community of influencers who have access to your audience and you can help one another grow your loyal followers and customers.

      I really appreciate your comment Ken. I hope you have an amazing hump day!!!!

      ~ Don

  6. Hi Don – This post has so much information that I decided I’m going to print it off so I can read it again a couple of times to fully understand everything. I just learned how to use SEO with Yoast but with everything else with the Internet, everything you learn is already old hat. I will be looking forward to the social media post – that’s where I have a tremendous amount to learn. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    1. Hi Lenie,

      That’s awesome! You made my day and it’s 5:30 am, lol… I’m working on Part 2 now and I’ll have it ready in a few days or early next week.

      Thank you so much for stopping by!

      ~ Don

  7. This is terrific information Don! And great advice pertaining to engagement. I truly had no idea that their stats had declined so much. It sure does have an impact when determining alternate means to engage customers/readers.

    1. Hi Jacqueline,

      Thank you! It really is amazing how much they’ve declined but it makes sense when you compare the amount of direct and more importantly indirect competition they have.

      So, we have to work really hard at building our own communities of engaged influencers that can be our own Google. Right?

      Thanks again Jacqueline!

      ~ Don

  8. Wow Don…

    This must have been the most educational post I’ve ever read for the whole entire year. I must have spent an hour already in your website reading your article, including the comments & answers to this post, plus watching that 45 minute video!

    The big business decline happened in 2012 when Panda came to view. I didn’t start my business here till January 2013. And since I hate SEO, never paid much attention to it. I’m glad I started my business mainly on referrals and through social media interaction and blog engagement. So I must be okay. So far so good. Not to rely too much on Google.

    But wow…I am completely dumfounded when I saw the size of Google. I mean I used to work for Apple Computer back in 1989-1992. I should have step in Google instead. *just kidding*

    So here’s my question. How is that possible that search engine will become less and less now that everyone is prone to use their smartphone more? 70% are using smartphone. That little computer in your hand is indeed a powerful tool. I used it all the time when I’m lost. That navigator in my hand is like my lighthouse. When I need of a restaurant at hand, searching for the nearest gas station, and so forth. Don’t you think that now that we are using this little devices, shouldn’t search engine become more enhance and increase its usage?

    Also…I didn’t realize till I’ve seen your video link that using Google for free is really not free at all because they rely on your privacy. Dang. Google knows more about me than anybody I know. So anything I search stays in their queries for good. Wow. That blows my mind.

    Anyway, where is this Part 2? I’m going to look for it. And I couldn’t agree more with everything you said here. Networking and engagement with others is the only way to stay atop in your business online. Google doesn’t reveal all their cards and they are playing the hard ball. Don’t rely on Google because they are so volatile.

    Anyhoo, it’s late here. Have a great evening. I’ll see you later.


    1. Hi Angela,

      FANTASTIC comment!!!! I just got back from Dallas so I’m finally getting to all my commentors, lol…

      You offer a fantastic question! Here is my answer… Google cannot monetize it. If you do a Google search on your phone you realize you only have so much space for search results. They have so much data on smartphone usage and have experimented with Adwords on a mobile platform and it fails every time they try to incorporate an adwords experiment. Facebook is having a similar problem.

      Notice I didn’t say that people weren’t using Google index search on mobile, I said Google is having a hard time making money from it via Adwords.

      Part 2 is being worked on right now. I’ll have it ready the end of this week or the first of next week.

      I so appreciate your AWESOME comment Angela. I hope you have an amazing middle of the week!

      ~ Don

  9. Hi Don,

    I like your view on this. Search will be necessary on one level for quite a while yet the days of old school search, or for us, trying to dominate search, are over. Engagement is the call, for anybody with an online business. Google knows this and is so nimble that they’ll come out just fine.

    I am into relationship building, over link building, or even business building. Building relationships through consistent engagement is where the magic takes place because business building occurs as the quality and number of your friendships grow.

    We can Google proof or search proof our business, or even better, we can prosper through Google, as our networks grow larger and larger….then we can have the best of both worlds.

    The limit is in our imagination, and in any unwillingness to build a friendship wherever you happen to show up.

    Thoughtful piece here Don.

    Thanks so much.

    I hope you had a fun speaking engagement in DC last week.

    Tweeting through Triberr.


    1. Hi Ryan,

      Search isn’t going away anytime soon, but it’s effect upon us and our ability to want to keep up with it has… We just have to come back to the place of remembering that we don’t own Google…. but so many businesses act as if Google owes them something.

      They fail to miss the point that many times search traffic is once and done. They are not apt to be a part of our communities. So, my feeling is that when traffic comes from them it’s just icing on the cake.

      This is a great line in your comment: “The limit is in our imagination, and in any unwillingness to build a friendship wherever you happen to show up.”

      Thanks much as always Ryan and I hope you have an awesome week!

      ~ Don

  10. Really great post Don!

    You know, as I and and r-read this excellent post, when you mentioned several of those companies that are no longer here, that’s when your message really started to hit home!

    Companies like Ask Jeeves or Dog Pile or Altavista etc. I guess they hadn’t anticipated and evolved enough to recognize their own coming demise!

    They never did see the need for change and as a result, they rendered themselves non relevant.

    And then as you also pointed out, sadly, how many countless online marketers made the crucial mistake of strictly relying on Google as it’s primary source for traffic. And as a direct result, when those inevitable updates came, they were totally unprepared to cope with the newly reshuffled deck!

    And finally,look at Google itself, currently undergoing massive restructuring and re-positioning, so that it too can maintain it’s leadership role!

    Yes sir, as you’ve so wisely pointed out; sometimes drastic external changes and massive transition is just what’s needed to force business owners and or entrepreneurs to trim the fat, get lean and focus on the proven, long term business building fundamentals!

    That quite frankly, never ever go out of style!

    Great advice! And a really enjoyable and informative read! Thanks!

    1. Hi Mark,

      Great points! If we just remain consistent and true to business fundamentals we will never go wrong!!!! Thought the winds around us blow, our foundation remains firmly planted.

      It’s never a bad loss if you lose a few roof shingles. But if you lose the house on the foundation, that’s a problem.

      I appreciate your comment and the kind words. I’m looking forward to reading some great articles on your blog this week.

      Hope you have a great one!
      ~ Don

  11. Hey Don,

    Really informative post. It’s amazing to see how far it all came. I remember the days of Yahoo being the major search engine and then Google came in to dominate.

    Anyhow, Google is a forever changing thing and it’s really dangerous for anyone to really rely on it. I really comment those bloggers you mentioned, Harleena with AhaNow and Enstine with for taking initiative and building their own mini-communities so you won’t really HAVE to rely on Google.

    I’ve started relying less and less with Google and I’m trying to do more relationship marketing and things like that. Hopefully that will bring on more referral traffic and organic traffic as well.

    Really interesting post here, Don. Really interesting. Looking forward to the next part.

    – Andrew

    1. Hi Andrew,

      I think you taking a very wise approach personally. As I said, I’m not avoiding Google or not wanting traffic from them, I’m just going to focus on building my community through relationships.

      As that grows, so will my presence on Google and referral traffic from them. If they don’t come it’s no loss and if they do then that’s WAY cool!!!!

      I appreciate your kind words as always.

      Have a great week Andrew!

      ~ Don

  12. I enjoyed the trip down memory lane. Dog Pile used to be my search engine of choice. As someone who’s been online a long time, who took to social networking from it’s beginning, I’m not a typical user. I started blogging for pleasure so never really concentrated on SEO but on blog networks, chat and messenger systems. When I started out making a living online it was natural for me to use a more personal approach using a range of types of networking resources.

    Even though I do searches when researching for blog topics I rarely do so for purchasing reasons. I’m subscribed by email to favorite retail stores and if I want something in particular I know which sites to go to directly, I find out about new business resources through blogs I subscribe to. For items with affiliate commission I’ll find an online friend to buy from.

    I can really appreciate what you are saying about not relying on search. Good customer service has always been important. Now we have the online resources to find and connect with our clients and customers, to discover and satisfy their needs, why concentrate on the anonymity of search.

    It’s good to see the re-emergence of blogging communities like More advanced than the old ones, for sure, but I missed them when Facebook etc intruded and they closed down.

    1. Hi Sue,

      Those were some interesting memories, weren’t they? I’m glad I could bring a few back for you.

      I loved this one line in your comment, it just really resonated for me: “Now we have the online resources to find and connect with our clients and customers, to discover and satisfy their needs, why concentrate on the anonymity of search.”

      I’m going to give some real thought to this one because there is an interesting blog article right there. That’s powerful!!!!

      Thanks Sue, I hope you have an amazing week!

      ~ Don

  13. Don,

    I think you touched on some really important points here. On-page SEO is still important if for no other reason than the fact that it makes for nice, clear writing, but I think it’s best never to put all of your eggs in one basket UNLESS that basket is your personal network. Real relationships are the only thing that aren’t dependent on a company, website or technology.

    Networking will never go out of style because it works. It works more effectively than anything else, don’t you think?


    1. Hi Brittany,

      Amen, amen, amen!!!! I love this line out of your comment; “…it’s best never to put all of your eggs in one basket UNLESS that basket is your personal network.”

      It’s all about relationships. In the end, if we develop them right it makes it so much easier to gain new clients and customers that are referrals. It makes it so much easier when we can see how we help others.

      I agree 100%, networking is THE way to go!!!!!

      ~ Don

  14. Hi Don,

    That’s a very informative article indeed!!

    I came online on the second half of 2012 and I didn’t see much of the changes which you well explained here, but I heard other enterpreneurs who came online before me talking about it and how they got slapped by Google and I know of a couple who depended totally on Google and overnight they lost their business and their traffic which led the wife to severe depression.

    I liked the five points you mentioned and I like what you said: “I am asking you to lead the way and be proactive. Get out of your comfort zone and start being a leader online within your niche and industry”. That’s what we should all be doing as enterpreneurs to become proactive and initiate the change instead of being forced to change.

    Thanks Don for a great article jammed with value and I will defintely be following this series. Have a great weekend ahead.

    Be Blessed,


    1. Hi Neamat,

      It’s really interesting to get your perspective since you came after the chaos! LOL…

      It’s really important that we learn how to lead…

      I hope you have a great week and Part 2 will be out soon.

      ~ Don

  15. Hey Don,

    Well you just gave everyone a great lesson about Google. I came online in 2007 so I have also seen the changes they’ve been going through not even having a site that I worried about ranking back then. I did have articles that would rank well but I also knew a lot of people who were totally dependent on Google and we both know what happened to them one morning when they woke up.

    Honestly I’m glad that Google started making these changes because still today I hate the way the searches are done. I’ll go search for something in Google and I’ll find everything but what I was looking for. I did that just the other day, they throw all those keywords in instead of exactly what I want and it’s crap.

    People have been piggy backing off them for way too long and over time they’ve come to realize all the other sites that we can go to for information instead of them. I welcome the change although at times I find their penalties on other sites confusing. I’ve been knocked down in ranking more times then I care to even say anymore and I’m one of the good guys. Just another reason I stopped worrying about what Google thinks of me and I concentrate more on my readers.

    Thanks for sharing this history with us, great education here, and I look forward to part 2. Until then you have an awesome day and a great weekend.


    1. Hi Adrienne,

      I will never forget the panic the morning in 2012 when everyone woke up and got the news about Google’s Panda update. I watched many of my friends who own SEO companies going nuts and trying to figure out what just happened.

      I literally know of 20 companies that went out of business because their whole business and marketing model was built on Google.

      A good friend in SEO recently shared with me that he believes the writing is on the wall for SEO and that it’s going to be beyond anyone’s ability to help people rank in the not too distant future. Many of them are scrambling now to change their business models.

      We really are in a time of transition and I agree, this is a very good thing!!!!

      I personally don’t worry one bit about Google. I’m focused on building an audience and working to become my partners “Google” as I wrote about in August. We have to start networking better online. If we do that, we will get Google “love” because it won’t matter what they change… we’ll always be doing it right and it will pay off.

      But again, that’s not at all my focus.

      I always appreciate it and love it when you stop by!!!!!!

      I look forward to another phone chat soon. I want to learn more about your services to see how I can help you!!!!

      ~ Don

  16. Hi Don,
    It might be difficult to completely do away with Google. I have always known that despite the ways Google approached changes over the years, its priority would always be to maintain its business interest. Its policies seem to be bias for some companies or users, yet it has worked itself to a level where we now depend on it!

    The web is transforming speedily and it only makes sense that we position our knowledge, training and expectations to meet with the transformations.

    Life on the Internet is not that smooth and this should be understood by every Google user!

    Yes, being proactive is good idea because it sure would help us be in better control of our online engagements – and we don’t have to worry much when Google begins it shenanigans!

    Relying completely on Google is never the best way to survive the Internet.

    Comment shared in where this post was upvoted.

    1. Hi Sunday,

      Google isn’t going anywhere, but it’s influence will will continue to diminish. However, that doesn’t mean they are going away or don’t have influence. They are still huge compared to everyone else and so some perspective is needed, lol…

      We have to be proactive. It’s the only way to truly build an engaging following. We can and will grow our readership and our marketing and sales. It’s phenomenal for me to consider that four months ago I started this blog and website with nothing and look how fast it has grown.

      And, my sales are growing rapidly. It’s incredible and exciting!!!!! It can all be done but you have to do the hard work on your business and then the rest starts to take care of itself.

      I appreciate your comment and hope you have an awesome weekend Sunday!

      ~ Don

  17. Great article Don! I learned a lot about Google today thanks to you. I do believe that with the way technology is moving google searches will be less and less important. Just like with anything it was good while it lasted but if we do not stay abreast of what is effective today, we will get left behind as bloggers.

    Harleena and Enstine are two awesome examples for us to emulate. In my opinion that are way above the curve and ahead of their times. Very innovative with brilliant minds! They continue to teach us the importance of building relationships and communities. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hi Nathaniel,

      You are right… those who are risking their lively hoods on another platform are now jeopardizing their own futures. We cannot afford to be reactive and hope that a search engine will just bring us traffic.

      That’s why we have to be interesting, compelling, relevant and offer our readers a reason to engage with us and introduce to their audience. That’s why it’s good to reach out to influencers and mingle with them online.

      Harleena and Enstine are doing some brilliant and amazing things! It’s awesome to see innovative minds at work!

      I hope you have a great weekend Nathaniel. Thanks for stopping by!

      ~ Don

  18. Don, thanks so much for your great article here…

    I must say that what attracted my attention more than anything else are the 5 points you shared… they are similar to what I learned to be essential to build a business.

    Out of the 5 points, the last one is particularly the most important in my experience and one that I am focusing more these days in y business.

    Thanks so much for being so generous to share these important points and wish you well in every way.

    1. Hi Nick,

      It was all a lead up to those five points, so I’m delighted that you got it, which means I must have done something right in the article… lol…

      In the new economy it is absolutely all about our site visitors, readers, engagers, influencers, prospects and buyers.

      Long gone are the days of just throwing up landing pages and squeeze pages and then people come and buy us. They are too educated now. We have to give the consumer a reason to buy us.

      How do we do that? We have to make it all about them, which means we have to understand them and learn to communicate to their needs and problems and talk uniquely to one person. It’s amazing how everyone thinks we’re talking to them when we do that.

      I hope you have a great weekend Nick!

      ~ Don

  19. Hi Don!

    Amazingly enough, I didn’t know the entire history of Google. I’m pretty dependent on Google for searches out of the blue. I prefer it to Bing. I do understand though that we shouldn’t put all our eggs in one basket and that includes relying on Google. That’s a habit I’ll have to try and break.

    Glad to see you mentioned Aha!Now and Broaded.Net. Harleena’s site is really evolving and I think it’s fabulous. I recently signed up for Broaded.Net and am really liking it so far.

    Thank you so much for stopping by my site earlier and leaving a comment. Once again, it’s great to meet you.


    1. Hi Bren,

      Google has a very interesting and storied short history. It’s really hard to believe how young of a company they really are and yet how dominate they’ve become in all of our lives.

      With that said, they are really no different from any social media company in that they are rented space. We don’t own it and we don’t get to set the terms that favor us. Which means we are always chasing after them in some way.

      I’m not interested in being dependent upon them. I’m interested in growth that comes from a strong community of influencers. It’s working and my business is really growing!!!

      It’s pretty amazing to think that a few different strategies can really get us where we want to go if we just think about it…

      I’m so thankful you stopped by Bren. I’m looking forward to engaging with you more on your website.

      I hope you have an amazing weekend!!!!

      ~ Don

  20. Certainly a comprehensive and in-depth post, Don with a lot of worthy content, which I am sure many determined readers will benefit from. I am already checking out Aha.
    One comment, which I hope you will see as constructive feedback. Your post is way too long. I realize you have lots to share and your passion is evident, but for readers, who are unfamiliar with your content and area of expertise, it is very difficult to absorb so much all at once. Also, you have the Google video at the beginning. I immediately clicked on it only to discover that it is 45 minutest long. So, I was faced with a dilemma: should I continue to watch or go back to the text … by this time I needed to do a bit of rereading to find my way.

    Suggestion: No harm in splitting your post into smaller chunks of learning. This not only makes it easier for your GUEST, but gives you another post …
    I will certainly come back for more. These are topics I am unfamiliar with and want to learn more. THANKS 🙂
    HUGS <3

    1. Hi Judy, thank you for you comment and your opinion. I appreciate you sharing your perspective. However, I’ve learned over the years that the shorter the articles and less detailed they are the less time folks spend on the site and the less engagement is received.

      I write in depth articles around 1500 – 2000 words and that is where they will stay. Sometimes it’s a little more. I do humbly respect your opinion but my audience has grown to want something different than most blogs out there that offer less content and value. And the video does say it’s 43:07 right their in the bar. It’s meant to be a resource that you can come back to and open in Youtube if you like and watch later.

      I do hope you’ll check out Part 2 on social media which will be just as in-depth.

      Again, I do appreciate your feedback!

  21. Hi Don,

    This surely is an informative post about all the changes that have been happening over time 🙂

    Yes, Google is forever changing and so is the trend about how one uses SEO and social media, which often leaves us confused about what really works any longer! You HAVE to think out of the box – think different, be innovative, think ahead, and find ways that connect with people, write helpful posts that are FOR them and find ways and means to help them. Promoting others and giving back to my readers is what I love doing, and that’s the reason we started with the new community and forum – thanks so much for linking to that post of ours. 🙂

    There is certainly a lot of work involved as one’s got to keep track of things and also keep the forum active, so we are working on making the experience better each day – and that happens when you listen to your community members, isn’t it?

    Enstine’s one innovative person and he is always coming up with new things, and he too always listens to his readers and those using his widgets, and making it all better by updating the version – his is working well for most bloggers and I wish him every success with it too.

    Thanks for sharing this with us. Have a nice week ahead, while I head back home after having a nice break with my Dad (for his 75th birthday!)

    1. Hi Harleena,

      Thinking outside of the box has become critical because the shape, size and location of the box keeps changing, lol…

      The key now is how do we create a community that will help us expand and grow with people who will be community minded and help one another grow.

      That’s not Google’s emphasis,nor should it be.

      Congratulations on your new community launch! I’m so excited for you and can’t wait to see what you have in store for us. I will be setting myself up on it and getting involved with you guys.

      Perhaps there is a fun story there to tell????

      I hope you enjoy the rest of your week Harleena!

      ~ Don

    1. Hi Leanne,

      That’s awesome! Yes, making others more important than yourself is the real key to growth in the new economy. We see that when we give others are more likely to give back. When we focus on others and make it about them, they many times will turn and make it about us.

      It’s a push / pull effect, if that makes sense?

      Thanks for stopping by Leanne. I hope to see back for Part 2.

      Have an awesome Thursday!

      ~ Don

  22. Hey Don,
    This is the kind of information we need to come out of a comfort zone of uncertainty and move forward to building a solid and reliable business.

    I call it “comfort zone of uncertainty” because prior to those search updates, so many businesses manipulated search results and made a lot of money. Most of them did not know that while this was seeming good for them, Google was going through tough times that will cause them to try to make a change.

    When I created EasyRetweet in 2011, I wanted it to be a real business. But it soon dawn on me clearly that I can’t build my business on someone’s foundation. That someone for some reasons may decide to change his vision and direction. That was a sharp light in my brain. I asked myself a series of questions;
    – What if Twitter suspends my API ?
    – What if Twitter changes it API terms and stops me from monetizing my platform?
    – What if Twitter does this or that ?

    You see depending on Twitter entirely is in itself a break to growth. That happened to those whose business model bound them to completely rely on Google.

    If we have the understanding that Google is reactive, we will only focus on those factors that will cause it to react to our favor. Google only reacts to what we produce online. If we provide garbage and try to game it, it will react accordingly. If we provide value and met the needs of Internet users, we cannot avoid being Google’s friends.

    I think is a wonderful idea and thanks for mentioning it. I’m thinking on meeting some theme developers to discuss the possibility of integrating broaded in their themes. I think it will be fascinating to just enable broaded and control it in a more flexible way rather than installing another widget.

    You also mentioned aha-now! Harleena and her partner are bringing up what will soon become a hot point of attraction for many. I particularly love her move and I think I have spoken with her on this.

    It’s been a wonderful read Don. This post has both knowledge and wisdom. Keep coming up with such 😉

    1. Hey Enstine,

      The comfort zone of uncertainty – I like that. It says a lot very concisely.

      I think your application to Twitter is spot on. It’s the same idea you mentioned of building your business off of someone else’s platform. By itself that’s a terrible idea. But, as a compliment to other business strategies it is solid concept.

      The key in my mind is to understand where your eggs and baskets are at and what are the risks and vulnerabilities?

      If you gamble too long in the right place, you’re going to lose it all. Just like all of the businesses that suffered in 2012 when Google changed their rules.

      We have to learn to be more forward thinking and to evaluate what is happening in the marketplace; and then be ready to adjust accordingly.

      The consequence of not working on your business and planning for the future is that there may not be a future if all you do is do…do….do. You have to think about your business, know the metrics, and then plan accordingly your strategies.

      You’re comment highlights once again those realities. I may just use your example in Part 2 on social media.

      Have a great finish to your week Enstine and thank you for such an awesome comment!

      ~ Don

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