Why Google Hates Small Business

It seems Google’s motto “Don’t be evil” does not apply to its treatment of small businesses these days. Especially small online merchants selling products and services.

Hate may be a strong word to use, but it seems more appropriate these days.

Here is why I believe this is the case…

Google Penguin

Back in April, Google released an update to its algorithm named Penguin that was designed to penalize websites with over-optimized SEO tactics with regards to keywords and backlinks. While many sites do practise ethical link purchasingand SEO tactics, there are some websites which push too far and this is why Google primarily wanted to target and mark them as spam websites.

However, many small businesses got swept up in this update, and saw huge drops in their Google rankings. A fair number were put out of business, or severely impacted in terms of sales and their ability to reach new customers.

Small businesses often lack the resources and capital to make huge sweeping changes to their SEO practices, and were left behind after the dust settled. Many hired SEO firms that used tactics that Google deemed no longer valid, and overnight saw their rankings plummet.

Google decided that the collateral damage to small businesses was acceptable for their overall plan.

Google Shopping

Formerly known as Froogle / Google Base / Google Product Search, Google Shopping has become a “pay to play” service offered by Google.

For years, the service was free to merchants, allowing them to list their products. Any merchant was able to participate, and Google Shopping offered results from a wide variety of businesses.

Google decided it no longer wanted to allow this service to be free to merchants. They changed the rules such that businesses now have to bid on products (a la AdWords) to be able to list them in Google Shopping.

Those merchants that could spend the most, and had the budget to market their products effectively, stood to have their merchandise be at the top of the results.

Small businesses were left out in the cold, now being forced to bid high prices for being able to list their products with Google. Google’s defense is this creates a better marketplace for the consumer, and weeds out bad merchants and scammers.

In reality, I feel it has severely limited the selection in Google, and is another cash grab by Google that favors big business.

Google Trusted Stores

When this “free” program launched, it seemed like a great solution for small businesses. A great way to showcase how responsive and trustworthy their company is when it comes to purchasing from their online store.

When it launched, the requirement was only 100 orders per month. Essentially, if you got three to four orders per day, you qualified. Sounds pretty small business friendly.

But in the past few weeks, Google decided to change the requirement to 500 orders per month. That’s 17-18 orders per day, every day. If weekends are slow, you’re looking at 25 orders per weekday to qualify. Fall below this limit, and you’re dropped from the program.

Seems Google only wants to data-mine big businesses for their shipping specifics, and could care less that the program could be a great equalizer for the small merchant.

These three areas show Google clearly favoring larger businesses, making it very hard for small businesses to compete. It seems Google has voted with their “Google” Wallet to show favoritism to those that pay them the big bucks…

Too bad, as Google had always appeared to be a champion for the little guys and gals.  :(

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  1. Tricia says:

    For the past year, we have struggled to conform to the twisted rules Google set for each shopping product. Initially, we thought to ourselves: “Maybe they don’t understand what a small business must do in order to comply with this new change?”
    Eventually it became evident that these were not inadvertent changes, but rather a deliberate campaign to disenfranchise small businesses.
    With no avenue for redress of grievances we have hung on by the skin of our teeth. How many small businesses need to stand up together to equal the power of one Walmart?

    • Michael says:

      Yeah we saw a 40% drop in traffic when they launched the update in September just up to the big month, the timing looks suspicious surly to have every one to buy in to more PPC advertising, which is eating your lunch when you are a small business.

  2. Peter says:

    I wonder how long people will keep up with Google’s crap.
    Their updates are NOT about quality, they are designed to hammer down on Small Business onwers, and push them into advertising on adwords.
    Google has always preached: create quality content that people share and you will rewarded.

    What is the rewards? that we must now buy ads from Google to get some traffic to our site?

    It is time that Small business owners stand up against the immoral practices of Google

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