Wait, what’s happening?

As you’ve probably heard, Google is considering removing its search engine from Australia over the Federal Government’s proposed digital media code.

This proposed code would force tech giants to pay local media companies for providing their content in search and sharing their content on social media, which Google says would “dismantle a free and open service that’s been built to serve everyone“.

“The latest version of the proposed code would require Google to pay to link to news sites, breaking a fundamental principle of how the web works, and setting an untenable precedent for our business, the internet, and the digital economy,” Mel Silva, the managing director of Google Australia and New Zealand, said in a statement.

Addressing the ultimatum last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison didn’t mince words: “We don’t respond to threats.”

This standoff has everyone a little uncertain about what could happen moving forward, and the ramifications from it.  We understand search engine capabilities, and know how Google Ads help thousands of businesses a day to reach new customers, but lesser appreciated are items like Google Maps and API calls into Google services.

Losing these would be challenging for companies that have them embedded into their business process.

Obviously, if Google did pull out, it would leave an incredible challenge replacing all of the ways that Google does help and support our lives.  But any potential Google exit can also create new opportunities “for another player to fill the void”, from other existing search platforms to models conceived in the wake.

Personally, I can’t see them doing this en masse.  The logistics and devastation to businesses would be incredible, it would be a massive PR bungle.  Although, maybe that cost is worth it for Google… who knows?

But if it does happen in Australia, we will survive.

What it would mean for your business?

There’ll be this moment where Australians have to consider another way for accessing the web. Other search engines will become more relevant immediately and can easily replace Google if they leave.

Already we’ve seen spikes in Bing and Duckduckgo usage.  Bing feels kind of familiar already, and works in the same way as Google — it personalises your search, you can download it on your phone and you can make it the default browser.  It feels like it would be the immediate preferred alternate option.

In RDS, we’ve already been helping our clients expand their search marketing on Bing, so we are very familiar with this platform, and in the event that this extreme scenario happened, we feel well prepared to migrate any client’s existing paid advertising campaigns over there.

And what about SEO? Bing also features local maps and works quite similarly to Google, and their algorithms already have websites rankings, so all the content and links that have been built to rank a website on Google, will translate and adjust for ranking well on Bing and most search engine alternatives.

So, while it would be a major shift in how we utilize the internet’s capabilities, if Google did leave Australia, there are immediate easy transition options to minimize the impact to your business.

Should you have any particular questions about this issue, please reach out to us.

All the best from the RDS team 💕


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