Saturday, March 29, 2014

Google: Excellent Servant, Horrible Master

I admit it... I use Google a lot.

I guess I am used to it and—for the most part—I usually get the information I'm after.

And when I need to check the meaning of a word, for example, I automatically enter "define," followed by the word into the URL/text field in Google Chrome. Plus I have all my important bookmarks neatly organized, and the same goes to the several apps I regularly use.

I gave up on Explorer several years ago (do not remember why), but have not looked back. And the same applies to my trusty Eudora email client. Once I got used to Gmail, that one fell to the back burner a few years ago.

So yes, Google has been an excellent servant, for the most part.

One exception to my search habits happens when I am looking for something to purchase. In those cases I check eBay first followed by Amazon, so I can compare prices and check availability. Google, Bing, and other search engines, come in a distant third place for such duties.

However, if you depend on Google for organic search results as a small business, they are the master, and they can be quite horrible in that capacity. They seem to have absolutely no mercy for the small businesses that end up being hurt or destroyed in their algorithmic wake.

As a former small e-commerce merchant, I had my run-ins with Google's algorithms, and even though they kicked the living crap out of me, I managed to survive. Granted, at the end I was exhausted and sick and tired of the constant "floggings" imparted by their algos, so I sold the company I founded before Google even existed.

I don't consider it giving up. I simply was burned out and tired. Don't misunderstand. I was still profitable and able to get by when I sold my biz, but—like most entrepreneurs—I did not build a business to simply "survive." I built a business to "succeed."

After taking a long hiatus in order to clear my mind and recharge my batteries, I am getting the itch to start something new, again. I have no idea as to what it may be but I am in the process of considering several possibilities.

One thing is for sure; when I'm ready to move forward I will make sure I don't have to depend on Google (or anyone else, for that matter). As a matter of fact, I am not even sure if my new venture would involve the Internet at all, but even if it does, I'll make damn sure that I don't pin my hopes on search engines in order to be successful.

If you are a small web store owner that's been affected by Google algorithms, I'd like to hear your story, so feel free to comment, or contact me through LinkedIn (LHernandezJr).