Black Hats and White Hats
It has been Google’s stated goal to make their index about relevant information for searches. However for years optimization of websites was done with the intent to deceive Google into listing bad websites highly. Driving searches to websites with low usability. SEO professionals were divided into two groups. On one hand the professionals who worked within the limits of Google Webmaster Guidelines. They were called White Hat, because they were the good guys. And on the other hand the rogues who went their own way into gaining as many visitors to the websites they worked for. The latter were called Black Hat. And their techniques were called Black Hat Techniques (BHT). The Black Hatters congegrated on websites like Black Hat World.
Panda and more updates
The Black Hatters have their own argot. They make claims like: “first page in 24 hrs”.
In the past three years Google has made several major updates to their search algoritm. Names of the updates were Panda and Penguin. These updates differed from previous updates and many websites with poor content fell in the Google Index. An example are many price comparison websites. They were not using unique content. Instead they used the e.g. product descriptions of the webshops they were indexing. Price comparison websites fell in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Panda was aimed at Black Hatters using non-unique content and other spammy SEO techniques. But was Google succesful at defeating the Black Hatters. And I say Google WAS succesful.
The proof is in the text of mailings send out by Black Hatters. Read the following sentence lifted out of a Black Hat sales mail:
Black Hat Quote
The process begins like any successful high PR link campaign with the creation of high quality information, regular blog posts, featured blog posts and quality articles make up this content.
This quote show that Black Hatters have begun using what are in fact White Hat techniques. They have lost their confidence that they can manipulate Google and are trying to create high quality reliable content as a way to reach an audience. That is just what Google wants.
Google has achieved its goal of destroying Black Hat.
In B2C eCommerce online marketplaces are growing fast. These marketplaces fill a need bringing demand together with trusted suppliers. Additionally there is the possibility to compare prices. Examples are eBay, Amazon and in Europe Germany’s Bol.com.
In B2B there are few online shopping sites. The biggest shopping platform is China’s Alibaba, which brings the world’s suppliers and global demand together.
I know of no established B2B eCommerce Platforms in the US.
In Europe Germany’s WLW.de online suppliers directory is the main medium for companies looking for suppliers. But they do not do shopping comparison.
Shopping for Suppliers
Recently Google unveiled a new initiative. Google Shopping for Suppliers. It seems to be the first initiative to do what Alibaba does in a Google way. The system allows for price comparison and shopping in a way familiar from Google Shopping. However the service has been set up in a way to enable transactions in a B2B friendly format. Where Google Shopping has strict consumer market oriented Pricing and Payments, Shipping and Taxes policies, Google’s Shopping for Business is open to the possibilty of negotiating these business variables.
Right now Google Shopping for business is oriented towards the US market and has only 3 product catagories:
1. Electronics and Electrical
2. Mechanical components
3. Test and measurement
What it looks like
The display of Google Shopping for Suppliers has the no-frills look of Google Shopping and is a relief compared to Alibaba and WLW.de. The display shows highly relevant product data. For an example check the picture of the result of the query “flue gas analyser” below:
At the 2012 Google Export Event on November 7 the Manager of the GET Teams Karl Ryan introduced the Google Export tools. They are the:
A. Google Market Finder
B. Google Consumer Barometer
C. Google Translate Plug-in
D. Our Mobile Planet
E. Google Analytics
F. Google Channels
G. Seasonability Calender
What struck me is that an Google Industrial Barometer for B2B marketing is missing.
I will elaborate on these tools in the coming weeks.
Last Wednesday 7 November Google Europe organized a Forum about Export.
Specifically the forum was about using Google Adwords in markets outside one’s home market in order to sell goods and services there.
In the morning there were Export clinics in which I was introduced to the GET Teams. These are the Global Expansion Teams. Google has organized its team in such a way that they are enablers of a company’s international growth. All the members of the GET Teams are proficient in three or more major languages. I spoke to people who spoke Italian, German, French, Arabic, Turkish, Chinese and Dutch. The language of the event was off course English.
Later there were two speeches on the importance of Export in a context of a shrinking European economy.
There was a panel discussion by some Internet Export Veterans. They were Martin de Boer of Dutch online travel group Travix, Johannes Schaback of Germany’s shopping comparison sites Visual Meta and finally Olga Safonova of Danish online Saxo Bank.
Finally and perhaps most interesting Google’s Karl Ryan, Manager of the GET team demonstrated Google’s Export Solutions.
Later there were social meetings in Dublin. Both the panel discussion and Google’s Export solutions require elaboration in further posts on thsi blog.
Doing B2B marketing these days means using the internet. Search. And search means Google Adwords. The best way to generate leads and drive sales is advertising on relevant keywords.
This Amsterdam based blog is about international eCommerce, selling stuff over the web.