What If There Weren't Search Engines?

Gyi Tsakalakis
August 30, 2013

What would your internet marketing look like if there weren't any search engines? How would you go about earning the kind of attention that translates into new business?

One way to make your web marketing more effective is to act as if there weren't any search engines. Huh?

It's true.

You see, most people have forgotten a key ingredient in business development: people.

Business owners publish "stuff" (or pay people to publish stuff) to match keyword queries that they think their customers and clients are using in search engines.

So, you end up getting all sorts of crappy web content for various iterations of a core set of "target keywords."

This is why you'll see attorney websites that have separate pages for:

Chicago personal injury lawyer
Chicago personal injury lawyers
Chicago personal injury attorney
Chicago personal injury attorneys
Chicago personal injury law firm
Chicago personal injury law firms

These pages don't exist because people might actually want to visit them. They exist to "catch" long-tail search traffic.

If search engines didn't exist, these pages wouldn't exist.

Business owners also spend time and money "building links." But what might link building look like if search engines didn't exist?

Instead of Borrowing, Begging, Bartering, Bribing and Buying crappy links for their search "link equity," you'd probably be more apt to earn links that actually sent visitors to your site.

So, spammy blog networks and various other link networks would have zero value. On the other hand, links from being quoted by local journalists and participating in active online communities would become your primary focus for their value in terms of generating targeted traffic.

But just "getting the links" wouldn't be enough. You'd probably have to say something meaningful in order to motivate someone to actual click-through the link to learn more about you or what you have to say.

The "search engineless" world would also have a significant impact on your social media and networking activities.

Twitter handles like @chicagoPIlawyer and facebook pages like /besetchicagopersonalinjurylawyer would become even more silly than they already are.

Instead, because there aren't any search engines to game, you'd be forced to actually do "stuff" online that real people would find interesting or helpful enough to share with other real people they know.

If there was no Google, Yahoo and Bing, you would also change the metrics over which you obsess. Instead of freaking out about rankings, links and followers, you'd be focused on things like subscribers, visitors and comments.

You'd be concerned about what people were saying about you and your business, in the places that potential customers and clients might look for you online.

You'd recognize that what you publish, and how it resonates with your target audience, is one of the most important components to earning meaningful attention from the types of people you want for customers or clients.

Without search engines, you'd be forced to actually add something of value to the web. Instead of taking a scorched Earth approach to filling search engines with pages.

Yeah, without search engines, it would be much more difficult to earn online recognition. It would be so much harder to distinguish yourself from your competition. You'd probably even be forced to do real stuff.

Fortunately for you, we live in a world of imperfect search engines. So you can keep on doing what you're doing...

Gyi Tsakalakis
Co-Founder of AttorneySync
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