Facebook Beats Google in 2011 — Where will you come out in the battle for attention?

Facebook and Google battle to get the most users

We've got a reputation to defend -- hey, where did everybody go?

If Google went away tomorrow, would your business survive?

What if people stopped searching the World Wide Web of sites to find what they need?

Could this really happen?

Here’s what a few vocal observers have to say on the business value of Google:

Anil Dash, Three’s a Trend: The Decline of Google Search Quality says:  people are “modifying their sites to serve Google better”, reducing the quality of content for people, because content is being churned out to rank well for search engines, not human beings.

Maki of Doshdosh.com wrote about an experiment in Marketing Your Website Without Search Engines.  He built “a couple of sites” with a focus on word of mouth promotion and not search engine rankings: “It forced me to go out and represent my brand. This is me, I own this website. Hello, here’s what I do. Take a look. Here’s why this will be interesting… and so on.”

Maki does say search engines are invaluable.  But there are “a lot of visitors out there just waiting for you to show them your site.”

Jacob Nielsen, in Reputation Managers are Happening, says that agents that track quality and credibility will be “core to the success of the Web. As we get more sites, more content, and more services online, users need a way to learn what is credible and useful.”  Like gated communities, these services provide rules and structure that make us feel safe enough to do business.  Nielsen discloses he wrote this while on Google’s advisory board, so he isn’t about to fault Google for slipping search quality.

As 2011 begins, Facebook has more users than Google.  The Washington Post reports: “In 2010, Facebook pushed past Google to become the most popular site on the Internet for the first time….”  The Post itself saw its traffic referrals from Facebook increase 280% per year, according to an article by Damon Kiesaw.

People aren’t going to give up searching the Web all of a sudden.  But these observations hint at a growing dissatisfaction with Google search as a “one best way” to find trusted places to do business.

Establishing an environment of trust is the first step in doing business online.  John Hagel of McKinsey & Co (quoted in Gated Communities in Cyberspace) may have said it best –  “Community precedes commerce.”

Your website doesn’t have to build trust all by itself. See how you can integrate it within trusted communities such as LinkedIn or Facebook.    Find out about social networking integration options — contact Joanne at BlueJProjects

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