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Until about a week ago, I really thought that some of the everchanging factors for ranking well were legitimate. Content, speed, backlinks, age of site, optimization and so forth; I truly believed what was written we should pay attention to. I have long felt that a powerful company such as Google can toy with your livelihood, so I continued to research every time an article or someone in the SEO blogs pointed me in the right direction of completing my quest: What is wrong with my site, Pegeen.com, because it is the largest US manufacture of flower girl dresses, the largest site devoted to flower girl dresses, the first site registered about flower girl dresses, heck - when I first had my site, way back then in early 1996, we had to explain to the bank that we needed a way online to charge customers.
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In it's infancy, Google was pretty fair and true to it's mission of producing good "organic search results". As I am sure you all noticed, that is no longer true for small and midsized companies no matter how carefully they follow the "rules".
An article I read in 2018 by Charles Duhigg called "The Case Against Google" put more fuel on my fire. (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/20/magazine/the-case-against-google.html . Duhigg writes: "Shortly after Foundem.com went online, one executive <at Google> issued an order: Henceforth, Google's own price-comparison results should appear at the top of many search pages, as quickly as possible, even if that meant disregarding the natural results of the company's search algorithm." Was this my proof?
Fast forward to 2019, I did a lot more investigation. I was pointed in the direction of checking speed etc on a new site I didn't know about previously called GT METRIX. My speed, at least for desktop, wasn't bad. Mobile needed some work but then I decided to compare with companies beating my score but on the 1st page, thinking I would find them to be near 100%. I was astonished at the results. NOT A SINGLE ONE HAD GOTTEN ANYWHERE CLOSE TO OUR SITE SPEED. The number one (David s Bridal) was a mere 38%! I dug down some 5-6 pages - same thing. My speed in most cases were faster, a lot faster.
Further, I found that ALL of these so called SERPS ahead of my site (we do not advertise) ALL performed with failing or near failing grades for speed optimization - which is supposed to be THE highest factor for ranking high in google.
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I then discovered SPYFU.com and discovered my competitors are spending tens of thousands, some even HUNDREDS of thousands of dollars in pay per click PER MONTH …. Yep, I said it, true SERPS are false, phoney, fake, slanted to Pay For Pay. And although they are not specifically targeting "flower girl dresses" for their sponsored ad, there are even some spending an estimated $600k a MONTH on click ads. What I HAD thought was, again expressed by Charles Duhigg, that Google was "effectively an advertising system that prominently features links only from companies that pay for the promotion" but they would clearly marked as sponsored results. Might I add that this should be better phrased as Google slants their pay per click revenue across all of their advertising platforms as an Organic Search Result outside of the sponsored links.
So, I pose this to congress – even though I get how paying for clicks does raise your rank, isn't this unfair, as in Pay Per Click? Again, I humbly ask that you give this thought. If SERPS are supposed to be clear results of a search without regard to advertising spent at Google, then is my research misguided?
Are we, small businesses, getting further sent to desert wasteland of search results by Google, and most importantly, has Congress in their hearings last quarter asked the wrong questions of CEO Pichai of Google?
"Is the American public being cheated out of genuine search engine results in favor of Pay For Play by Google?"
Well, this article will probably cause my company to drop even further but I refuse to go quietly into that good night. If you would like to see all those pretty graphics to support my claim please contact me though our contact page. This is a shortened version of one I published on my blog. For full details, go to https://www.pegeen.com/flower-girl-dresses-blog/
Marg Hyland, Founder
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