In October 2020, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and 11 states filed a landmark lawsuit against Google, arguing that it used revenue to unfairly maintain a dominant position in search and search advertising, and block out competitors. According the DOJ, the U.S. government is finally stepping in to protect access to a free market for customers and Google’s competitors.
Is Google Guilty?
The Department of Justice’s case argues that Google’s anti-competitive practices are harming three groups:
- American consumers who are forced to accept often-controversial privacy practices from Google
- Advertisers who have to pay a fee to Google to reach their customers
- Competing tech companies who can’t succeed amongst Google’s overbearing search shadow
It’s not a secret that Google strives to be the top search engine in the world. Like most companies, one of the top goals is to beat out competitors in your industry. Google search comes preloaded on devices using their Android operating system; and Google pays billions of dollars to competitors Apple, LG, and AT&T every year to be the default browser on their devices.
The Sherman Antitrust Act (1890) outlaws companies from every contract, combination or conspiracy to monopolize.
Federal Trade Commission
The DOJ also claims that Google uses exclusive business contracts to limit rival companies’ ability to put their products on Google’s Android devices, which the DOJ argues to violate the Sherman Antitrust Act.
Google’s Response to the Lawsuit
Legal representatives of Google have rebutted the basis the lawsuit and have argued that consumers can easily use other products. Google and other major tech companies have been targeted by the the US government in recent years; President Trump even signed an executive order to bring social media companies to heel.
“Like countless other businesses, we pay to promote our services, just like a cereal brand might pay a supermarket to stock its products at the end of a row or on a shelf at eye level,” stated Google in response to the DOJ complaint.
How This Might Affect Search
If the DOJ’s lawsuit gets traction and Google has to change it’s business strategy, the result could create a different search experience for consumers. If Google has to change its advertising strategies, it might mean an increase in advertising fees for companies.
If a judge rules against Google and they have to split up their company and/or change how the system is operated, it could mean big opportunities to search rivals like Microsoft (Bing), Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, and Ecosia. Instead of default searches going to Google on your mobile devices, consumers could see different search options.
This is the first time the DOJ has pushed a lawsuit against a large tech company. In a 1998 DOJ lawsuit against Microsoft, a judge ruled that Microsoft violated parts of the Sherman Antitrust Act and the corporation had to divide the company in half and create two separate entities: one for the operating system and the other for the software.
In the world of Digital Marketing, there are unlimited options when it comes to managing your Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising, Amazon Sponsored Ads, Facebook Ads or any of the other viable paid marketing channels available. Intertwine Interactive has been a proven leader not just in Omaha or the Midwest, but the entire US. Whether you are a local business generating leads, a national eCommerce website or a chain retailer looking to improve your foot traffic in-store, Intertwine has the bandwidth and capabilities to grow your business.
What Makes Us Unique?
A common, and fair question often asked – what makes Intertwine unique and why would you as the advertiser want to select Intertwine as your partner? The most true and real answer is stated in the question – we become your PARTNER.
The word agency has always given us the quivers. We feel there can be a negative connotation associated with the word agency. However, as your PARTNER, we are hand in hand with you, your business goals, targets, strategy and audience. We ask that you treat us just as you would an internal resource.
If you have daily reporting requirements, we’ll provide them. If you have weekly stand-up meetings, we’ll be there. If your C-level requests monthly or quarterly business reviews, we’ll create and present to them. The most successful partnerships we’ve developed over our 14 years of delivering top notch digital performance, is when our clients invite us in to become their Digital Partner, not just their digital agency.
Find Out If We’re Right for You
Does that sound like a relationship model that would work for your business? If so, take our test to see if we’re a good fit or just drop us a quick line at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll be in touch within hours.
In July 2020, Bing announced a new URL inspection tool addition to their Webmaster Tools service. The new URL inspection tool replaces an older URL inspection tool and includes a variety of new features that allow the user to inspect the Bing-indexed version of URLs and allow the user to detect indexing issues due to crawl or not following Bing Webmaster guidelines (Seroundtable.com).
What Is URL Inspection?
Have you ever wondered how the URLs on your website are crawled or indexed by Bing Search? Bing’s URL Inspection tool allows webmasters to check and take necessary actions on their URLs. The tool shows webmasters a variety of options including:
- Crawling issues
- Index status
- SEO errors
- Markup data
Bing’s URL inspection tool is comparable to what Google Webmaster Tools offers: the goal is to show potential indexing issues with URLs to webmasters, developers, search engine optimizers and general site owners. It’s important to use both Google and Bing Webmaster Tool services; they’re both free and they give detailed insights on how your URL performs on each major search engine.
How Do I Use the URL Inspection Tool?
Interested in using Bing’s URL Inspection tool? To get started, you need access to your domain via Bing Webmaster Tools and have a desired URL to submit for inspection. Once you submit your URL, Bing’s system will check the URL’s status in Bing’s index and automatically provide you with any available information on that URL. Bing offers detailed card options for information about your URLs including an Index card, SEO card and Markup card.
For more information on how to use Bing’s Webmaster Tools and the URL Inspection tool, visit: https://www.bing.com/webmaster/help/url-inspection-55a30305
In late June 2020, Google announced their expanding a Business Messaging service in Google Maps and Google Search to support all kinds of businesses. This update is an expansion on the original messaging service launched in Google My Business in 2017, only it is improved and expanded to all businesses rather than just US-based GMB users.
New Business Messaging Features
In addition to the expansion of business messages, Google also recently introduced a variety of other special features in Google My Business including:
- Smart Replies
- Visual Product Carousels
- Unique Welcome Messages
- Customer Service Agent
What This Means for Businesses
This update gives businesses a comprehensive messaging solution for communicating with their customers across both Android and iOS devices. Businesses that use the Business Messages tool on Google My Business will also be able to use it on their mobile website for customers to quickly message the business directly from their site. To cut back on wait time, businesses can provide on Google My Business the expected service wait times and answers to frequently asked questions.
What This Means for Customers
For customers, Google has updated it’s popular Google My Business platform to increase advanced usability. Customers can search for products, check business and service availability, get COVID-19-related updates, and a variety of other useful business solutions. To activate Google s Business Messaging option, simply click on the messaging icon when viewing businesses on Google search.
Want more details on recent Google updates? Read more here.
Contact Intertwine Interactive
Interested in effective internet marketing? Intertwine Interactive offers a comprehensive variety of online marketing services including paid search management, search engine optimization, affiliate marketing, and local search optimization. Contact us by phone at (402) 915-1182 (tel:14029151182) or by our contact form.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Google has rolled out a number of features within Google My Business to help local businesses. In March they added the temporarily closed option, which allows businesses to let customers know that they were just temporarily closed and may be offering pickup or delivery. They have also encouraged businesses to provide updates through the posts option in Google My Business. Now, they have integrated support links that enable customers to make donations to businesses and order gift cards through partners without a commission going to Google.
Now that businesses have these new options, which ones are the most important to their Google My Business page?
Hours of Operation
Letting customers know if you are open or not, and what your hours are, is the most important thing that needs to be constantly updated. Once you make the update in your Google My Business dashboard it will show up in organic search and on Google Maps.
Right now, posts are the best way to inform users in a detailed way about things your business is doing. Since there are many questions about how businesses are making adjustments, this is the perfect place to share your changes.
By adding photos of your business to your profile and within posts, you can give customers an inside look at your business without having them step outside of their home. This will add a level of comfort for those who want to see how your business is operating.
Want to enhance your Google My Business profile for your customers? Contact Brad to learn about our
Local Search Engine Optimization service!
Are you a merchant who regularly sells products on the Google Shopping tab? Has the fallout of COVID-19 left your sales diminished and your company struggling? The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has caused challenges to the commerce industry. Physical stores have closed and digital commerce in all industries has become a lifeline for many retailers.
Today Google announced that before the end of April they will be making it free for merchants to sell on Google in the United States. Google plans on expanding this opportunity globally before the end of the year. This change will help merchants better connect with their consumers and provide them with better opportunities to buy from the merchant’s inventory.
What This Means for Advertisers
For advertisers, this update means paid campaigns can now be augmented with free listings. If you’re an existing user of Google’s Merchant Center and Shopping Ads, you will already be taking advantage of the free listings. For new users of Merchant Center, Google will continue to streamline the onboarding process and address challenges over the coming weeks and months.
Now is an important time for advertisers and retailers to make new customers and keep the current customers coming back to them. The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has left many advertisers and digital marketers questioning how to maintain healthy sales and budgets. Read up on the recent webinar “COVID-19 Response Checklist for Digital Marketers,” where Intertwine’s Jake Renter and Wes MacLaggan of Marin Software answer questions related to the effect COVID-19 has had on the digital marketing industry.
What This Means for Retailers
For retailers, the change to Google’s Shopping tab means free exposure to millions of people who visit Google every day. To make your products more discoverable, you must opt your existing product feeds into the surfaces across Google program, which does not require Google Ads to use. The “surfaces across Google program” is an available program that allows shoppers to see product results from retail stores on various Google surfaces including Google Images, Google Lens, Google Search, and Google Shopping. Google is also kicking off a partnership with PayPal to allow merchants to link their accounts, which will speed up the onboarding process and help provide shoppers with the highest quality results.
What This Means for Shoppers
For shoppers, this update increases the number of products you can buy from more stores, all discoverable through the Google Shopping tab. For companies that in the past have depended on physical store locations as their main business channel, Google’s update will present them better opportunities to offer their products to shoppers for free.
Read Google’s original update article here.