Just last week we wrote about the escalating situation between Google (and Facebook) and the Australian government, labelling the government’s moves as a clear threat to the way Australians use the internet every day.

Far from presenting a risk to just small media businesses, Google restricting search in Australia could spell death for hundreds (if not thousands) of Australian businesses small, medium and maybe even large.

Why?

Google is one of the largest – if not the largest – lead generators for business in the digital age, and there’s some 2.3 million Australian businesses relying (in part) on Google search to bring organic traffic through their virtual doors.

Adam Boote, Director of Digital and Growth at LocalSearch, says that Google received just over 91% of all online searches last month (December 2020), with the remaining 9% divided between Bing, Yahoo!, Baidu, YANDEX and others. While some marketing specialists optimise for Bing and other platforms, the vast majority optimise for Google, and for obvious reasons.

If Google were to remove Google Search from Australia – as it has threatened to do – then Australian business is going to have to re-learn how to position itself for search relevance. On top of this, there will be a scramble as local users choose between remaining local search providers, but it seems likely that Bing would probably be the likely major beneficiary of Google leaving.

Why is it so important that Google remain?

Boote says:

Organic Google searches is one of the only online platforms where even the smallest business can compete with the big corporations. Small business owners don’t even need financial investment on their part if they upskill themselves on the intricacies of organic ranking.

If you are a newer business, this could be the make or break for your business.

Now, imagine you don’t have the money to invest in paid marketing just yet, so you’re relying on building your organic — and then the organic methods are taken away.

Where are you left standing?

The short answer will be in a very unpleasant place, as leads dry up, further money needs to be invested in search optimisation and lead development, and smaller businesses without the buffer will simply wither and fail.

Here’s hoping it doesn’t come to that.

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jmave25
jmave25
1 month ago

I have attempted to post “anti-Google” responses before, but have been censored by this site, which is pro-Google. However, no harm in trying to put some balance into the echo chamber this site is becoming…! Dr Jiang, who has first-had experience of Google exiting a market wrote in an article ( https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-01-30/google-leave-australia-what-to-learn-from-china-legislation-law/13102112 ) on this subject wrote, “To be honest … the case between the Australian Government and Google has been a great example to reflect on the monopoly in technology.” Dr Jiang stressed it was important to remember that Google’s “first and foremost concern is not democratisation”, but its… Read more »

john
john
1 month ago

You only have to see what is happening in America to see that Google has too much power. These companies need to be pulled into line, I am sure we can manage without Google.

AdamM
AdamM
Reply to  john
1 month ago

What has Google got to do with what is happening in America? They do not manage a social media service any longer (RIP Google+) and most (all?) of their services do not create (or publish) content. You’ll have to get a lot more specific to make a meaningful point.

LU99KE
LU99KE
1 month ago

France has already successfully pushed Google into an agreement with their news publishers – although it was a watered down version of payment – it was better than nothing. Other EU countries tried going our way with legislation but it failed as Google threatened to pull Google News ( not even all of search ) …. so it will be interesting to see of they re-try something in the wake of France’s deal. It will be interesting re Google in Aus….. as I genuinely do not think Google will want to relinquish that 90% even if we are just a… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew
1 month ago

Who should bare the blame Google or the Australian Government that seems to be pushing these laws through without due diligence?

Pete
Pete
Reply to  Andrew
1 month ago

My business spends $1.7 million a year on Google paid search and $120k on Bing paid search. Organic and brand search bring in 30% of our leads and conversions and the rest are new visitors. Over 5 years we have built our business around search driving leads and conversions. We started with 2 people and now have 33 full time people coming to work each morning to process the leads and orders. If Google leaves some of those people will lose their jobs. There is no way the other search engines can fill the gap. Bing is Microsoft and DDG… Read more »

Adam
Adam
Reply to  Pete
1 month ago

Especially not the ACCC, it seems. Which is disappointing at best.

LU99KE
LU99KE
Reply to  Pete
1 month ago

The issues is not search… as search itself is, as you say, advertising, and yes news publishers lost that battle as soon as the WWW was created. The issue at the core of this is publisher’s content and people being able to access publisher’s content via Google without the publisher getting the “reward” for that. The potential end results being, news publishers disappearing. I think the Government ( rightly ) sees established and registered news publishers as important in a developed society….they play a critical role and whilst they remain an “industry” there are standards and regulations that can be… Read more »

flare
flare
Reply to  LU99KE
1 month ago

Most of the sites that are complaining are paid for sites. They can produce sites that do not have a preview version, and/or write their articles so that most of the “meat” of the article is under the preview.
The sites owners can also stop Google and Facebook from accessing the paid for content.
Maybe I’m missing something but don’t the news sites need this traffic from Google and Facebook et al to get casual users to their site?

AdamM
AdamM
Reply to  LU99KE
1 month ago

“The issue at the core of this is publisher’s content and people being able to access publisher’s content via Google without the publisher getting the “reward” for that.” How does this actually happen though? I can’t read a news article in search results without clicking on the link to the publisher’s site. Maybe Google should stop returning the first line or two of the article content in their search results, although that would make me less likely, not more likely, to go to that article. And in the case of the biggest complainers, Murdoch and Costello, their articles are hidden… Read more »

Mr Andrew J Smith
Mr Andrew J Smith
Reply to  LU99KE
1 month ago

Quality unbiased journalism disappeared long ago. Today I’ve seen from all the major news a story on a pubs giant hamburger challenge, this was originally posted on a Facebook camping page, they even ran with the photo posted on Facebook. Quality investigative journalism, this happens week in week out republish a story from Facebook story that has gone viral.