An Open Letter To Google From An SEO After MozCon

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An Open Letter To Google From An SEO After MozCon

Written By: 

Dear Google:

This week in Seattle, marketers from across the globe met in Seattle to discuss online marketing strategies, points of view and forward-thinking best practices. I’m happy to report that the state of digital marketing is in excellent condition–especially SEO. Yes, we know that you guys have been tightening the screws on your quality guidelines and have been attempting to get rid of Web SPAM at record speed. But what we’d like you to know is that we SEOs are pursuing the same level of quality that you are. Not because you’ve required it–but because our audience does.

Also discussed was how we SEOs can help Google achieve its goals of better understanding the Web through implementation of mark-up language and better defining our language across the Internet. We believe and support Google’s mission of providing the best possible search results experiences. We’ve even gone as far as adopting Google Plus as a platform and have probably been your biggest Plus evangelists.

Google, you must know that today’s SEO is not simply focused on rankings or click-thrus. We’re focused on optimizing the entire customer journey on all fronts. However, we’re not sure that Google’s doing its part in rewarding that pursuit of excellence. Take for instance, you’ve:

  • Removed author photo snippets, which were intended to make a more compelling search result
  • Scraped and stolen the content that we’ve included in the mark-up tags you asked us to use
  • Taken away our keyword referral data, which helped us create valuable content
  • Given us inaccurate data in Webmaster Tools and the AdWords keyword tool
  • Replaced valuable image traffic to our Sites with worthless citations
  • Penalized and killed innocent businesses that unintentionally violated your quality guidelines

Yes Google, we know that your primary objective is to drive revenue to make your shareholders happy. We get that, and we’re okay with it. What we’re not okay with is you sacrificing searcher experience in the name of ad clicks. In fact, if you really paid attention to what was happening in attribution, you’d realize how important organic is to driving those paid clicks.

Here’s a simple example: When a searcher clicks on a great organic result, that person can be later targeted with a highly personalized display ad that results in Google revenue and a positive user-experience. Additionally, those remarketing lists (built from organic traffic) can help our paid search display the right ads to the right searcher.

As I wrote above, we’re commited to excellent experiences across the board and we hope that at some point, you put forth the same honest effort. Where we begin to question Google’s sincerity about its focus on quality, is when quality isn’t rewarded and is in fact used against us.

Adam Dince
Lover of all things Google

About Author


is a Digital marketing veteran located in the Twin Cities area.


Dana Tan

July 17, 2014at 8:06 pm

Thanks for writing this Adam. It was well-expressed. You left out one other thing that Google has taken away in the last two years and turned into a paid channel and that is Google Base and Product Listings. These used to be free for everyone and produced an enormous amount of organic traffic for anyone doing eCommerce. Since changing these over to paid Google added $500 million dollars the first year alone to its ad revenue just from those ads. Meanwhile, eCommerce shops are left fighting and paying for the scraps. Mom and pop stores with legitimate businesses can no longer compete in that space because they don’t have the budgets or the technical know-how to even know where to begin.

I would argue that Google has not taken away our visibility to keyword data. They’ve just taken it away from people who aren’t Adwords customers. Again, it’s a matter of cash. If you pay, you get to play, if you don’t…I’d advise you to look outside of Google to drive business. That IS possible. People did it for 100’s of years. :-)

Thanks again for a well-written letter.


July 17, 2014at 8:11 pm

Hi Dana,

Thanks for the feedback on the post. Google’s actually taken a lot more than what I listed (e.g., Google Flights). I just wanted to list a few of the examples Google’s done over the years.

I totally agree that we’ve got to think beyond Google. However, Google organic results are an ENORMOUS driver of traffic and revenue for brands and I think we’ve got to keep our foot on the gas and continue to pursue Google SEO for the foreseeable future.

Thanks again for the comment!!

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