Can you imagine life without Google? Whaaaat? Surely the world as we know it will end without Google, right?! Well potentially, but as a result maybe it’ll open up a whole new world?
The truth is, we don’t know exactly what will happen if the tech giant does remove its ubiquitous search engine from the Australian market, but we can certainly take an educated guess and use that information to start creating contingency plans in case they do.
The Threat of Google Pulling Out of the Australian Market
In case you missed it, Google’s threat to remove its search engine in Australia came in response to the Federal Government’s proposed digital media code.
This would force tech companies, such as Google, to pay local media companies for providing their content in search engines and sharing their content on social media.
Mel Silva, Managing Director of Google Australia and New Zealand, said in a statement that this would, “Dismantle a free and open service that’s been built to serve everyone“.
The Impact if Google Exits
Whilst we hope Google doesn’t remove their search offering from Australia and are very hopeful that it won’t eventuate, let’s get ahead of the game and look at how their exit would impact businesses.
After the best case scenario, that Google will stay, the next best option is the possibility that they will only remove the ‘news’ function. In this instance, most businesses (excluding publishers) will see minimal impact.
If the worst case scenario happens (complete exit and Google ceases to exist in Australia), businesses will have to look to other search engine providers, such as Bing, DuckDuckGo and Ecoasia.
At present, Google holds 94% of the market share, meaning there will be a huge hole in the search market screaming out to be filled; the search requests will still be there, even if Google will no longer be serving them.
Bing is already indicating confidence in filling the gap, however if they do not dominate the market share as Google have, it could lead to fragmented and less reliable search results.
Google Search Ads (AdWords)
If Google exit, Google Search Ads would cease to exist. The prognosis however is not a grave as it may appear; it is possible to import your Google Ads campaigns directly into Microsoft Advertising so they can appear on Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo and more.
Fortunately in this situation the same principles and strategies apply, it’s just the deployment location that changes. It could even be beneficial because it allows for a more diverse deployment of ads, and even a more diverse marketing strategy in general, as it may force you to look to return or consider other channels.
It is generally accepted that most search engines favour similar search signals and indicators in their algorithms, however at present Google has the most powerful.
The good news is your SEO work will not be wasted if ‘white hat’ techniques have been used; i.e. legitimate SEO tactics that are in line with the terms and conditions of Google.
Although it will require more additional work in order to customise for the prevailing search engine/s.
This one is uncertain, as display ads are deployed on the Google Display Network and are thus not contingent in a search presence.
Websites however may shift away from Google Display Network if other search engines increase market share. This will lead to less websites in the network and a more fragmented market.
If Google exit it may decrease the market share of YouTube, as prevailing search engines are unlikely to prioritise or give preference to YouTube (which is owned by Google) content in their search results.
G Suite / Google Workplace
Google Workspace plans provide a custom email for your business and include collaboration tools like Gmail, Calendar, Meet, Chat, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Sites, and more.
We may see businesses consider shifting to Microsoft services should Bing fill a void left by Google.
As marketers, our job is to understand and find our audiences. Whether Google leaves Australia or not, these audiences will still exist; we will just need to find and communicate with them in different places.
This of course will be challenging at first, but as we’ve seen with COVID – those who move or pivot quickly will have the advantage.
Change is inevitable, seizing the opportunity that comes with it is up to you.
Note: This article is not advocating any specific action, but urging you to be prudent and reassess potential over reliance on a single marketing channel.