How Google’s greed changed the search landscape for flights and job search. What’s next?

I recently have run into several niches or  phrases where Google has taken an initiative to get a piece of  the money. Thesd seeps have taken  over more and more niches And me personally seldom use then to find what I need.

Google is in these cases an advertiser like anyone else apart from that they are Google. In a few projects the last year it has been Google Flights , Google jobs and Google shopping SERPs that has caught my attention and the results are so different that no traditional SEO (Good content, a few keyword rich anchortext links and decent HTML does the job)

Google flights has been around for a few years, Google shopping aswell. All of the different nt verticals pop up for certain searches with a snippet towards the top of the page. Like the Local top 3 from Google maps or the Snackpack as its referred to Google’s “Normal” search mode shows a snippet from each of these. Good you might think; “”Google is now presenting the best result in traveland that means that I get the best results so I don’t have to use Kayak, Ebay or LinkedIn anymore.If you think one step further and stop seeing Google as the well-doer that does everything right and only want you good.

I searches a few products on Ebay/Amazon/Rakuten and Newegg to compare  the price to Google Shopping

In all but 1 case was another alternative cheaper and faster delivery. The exception was when I searched for a bike. It’s a modern sports bicycle. Google shopping gave me a site that was based in Indonesia, the site did not have secure payment. The prices were a tthird off any other price I could find but that I had to go to the bank and transfer money to a private person in Indonesia as the only form of payment made me resist this opportunity of potentially get a bargain bicycle or more likely lose $2000.

It seems that the quality control of Google shopping leaves some to wish for

Google is by far the most popular search Engine in the USA and for each phrase searched in Google 555 million daily at the moment they have an opportunity to make money. For most phrases they sell Google Adwords (for the beginner those are the top results marked as Sponsored). One single click on these ads can cost the company advertising from 50 cent up to $160 for “DUI Lawyer Miami”. Google knows that if somebody needs a DUI lawyer they need it fast (are in buying mode), the legal process and to involve an attorney and fight the DUI in court can cost from 5,000-50,000 (There is a reason that the old saying “Miami, Come on vacation , leave on probation” does not apply to a drunk Celebrity streetracing a rented lamboghini.

In one of my latest program I worked with an organisation that is spread out over the world but has a bunch of locations where the actual work is beeing carried out. I worked at the HQ to try to figure out how to get the locations to show up for searches in Google Local. The organization made a decision to not use Linkedin and other platforms that cost money to post job on. Also now when Google is getting close and close to their own Job search engine Google still show a big snippet from Google Jobs as well as the paid ads we have gotten used to.

It costs money for an airline to be #1 in Google flights and my organisation had an open dialog with Google’s represesentatives about placement in Google Flights.  a  com any has to be flexible enough to not “do as they always did”

I think this lhenomenom of Google trying to take over the universe and moving forward we probably will see not just Local SEO experts but Job Listing experts and Image search experts (something that already exist) There are always ways to get ahead and in my job that is an interesting challenge to get ahead without paying a fee per click to Google.

My concern is; Where does it end?

The reason that I and Billions of other people started using Google as a  Search Engine moving away from Altavista and Directory based internet browsing was that Google had a far superior Algorithm to guess and present the best Search Results. It was clean , didn’t contain ads in the early 2000s but their unique algorithm that today 20 years later nobody has presented anything even similar.

The travel industry and airlines does not make a great amount of money / ticket sold for $69. It is as low as a margin theyt can keep just to survive and make enough to not lose money on a flight from Miami to New York. They make their money on ancilleries such as luggage, food or special seating. How some third party affiliates can afford PPC is a mystery.

How Google's greed changed the search landscape for flights and job search. What's next? 1
Can you trust Google?

The first organic natural search result is Cheapflights.com. This organic result is below the fold and gets few clicks.

What we have seen has not been an overnight change.If Google decides on monetizing something it’s hard to do anything, Google have a near monopoly and we SEO people got to come up with creative ways how to beat Google and deliver results to our clients.

Many  people see Google’s index as the truth and does not understand the diference between a sponsored and an Organic result.

 What is the limit for how much junk Google can add on as sponsored or subjective knowledge without losing the credibility Google worked so hard to build.

Google launched their search engine in September 1998 as the no bullshit, simple, no sponsored/banner-free and best algorithmic search engine? Google gave us answers on what we wanted to know. Google has since 1998 become more and more advanced. We since then let Google know what we watch (Google bought Youtube in 2006), We have let Google read our communications through GMail. We have even let them into our homes with the Google Smarthome suite with video, microphones and total control. Is there something Google doesn’t know about us?

Now almost 20 years later we know that Google wasn’t the good company that of goodness served us these awesome results.

This summer Google released “Google Jobs”. A feature that shows preferred jobs from Linkedin, Monster and now last Google’s own job board. 

Personally I prefer a network like LinkedIn for networking and job search but I was just involved in a project that only did use LinkedIn and Indeed for management and corporate jobs. This organisation had made a business decision to do so since Linkedin is expensive and the average recruitment cost nearly $4,000, but if you include On-boarding $12,500 . The job industry is worth $200 Billion dollars per year and it is natural that Google wants a big chunk of that money. 

Google launched jobs the summer of 2018 and has more and more included their own job board results. 

When “Google jobs” was launched Google used it as a “favor” to those websites that used Schema markup. (There is a structured Schema.org type called Jobpost where one can add information that a page is a job post and this is, of course, free to use. In 95% of the cases, I have seen every job has a little snippet “job brought to you by Linkedin” and it’s hard to rank The job page against authorities sites like indeed.com LinkedIn.com etc.

In either case, this little job update has to lead to that the recruiting tactic of the project I was involved in is worthless. The management and administrative jobs will show but the real workers and the core of the organization that can be described as a staffing agency has a hard time finding employees. Partly since money is spent on worker recruitment (think job description: burger flipper at Mac Donald’s) but also since the company has not adapted to the new playfield of Google jobs.

Example of a jobsearch January 2019

How Google's greed changed the search landscape for flights and job search. What's next? 2

Google jobs are here to stay. Google also has the service at a subdomain careers.google.com to make it even more clear that it’s Google jobs. I am not trying to sound like a paranoid SEO expert but think twice before you trust every ad or info that Google gives you.

When it comes to the search results Google is luckily only showing the special blurbs for Flights and Jobs and with a little bit of thought, there is easy for an SEO to find alternative keywords to use to still get a steady flow of flight ticket buyers or people looking for “employment” rather than a career and that’s what SEO’s do. Please think again when you trust Google blindly, they are a organisation with shareholders and a profit goal just like BP, Shell or even MacDonalds (scary huh???)

How much can Google monetize and mix in ads before their credibility as a unbiased source of knowledge?

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