Google is Broken and So are We

Google NY hosted an exclusive Google Agency Summit with a topic titled, “Better Together: Cross-Selling SEM to Your SEO Clients”.  I was told it was the first of it’s kind in a “fresh” attempt at outreach to it’s Agency Partners.

I don’t attend Google events too often.  I get enough Kool-Aid from industry blogs.  But here I am, taking a leap of faith, 15 years+ in this industry.  Hopping on the Northeast Corridor and the A train.

The days agenda was to discuss how to cross sell your SEO clients into AdWords (PPC).  Tag-Line – BETTER TOGETHER.  As was presented to the audience, with statistical data and case studies that said removing PPC from an advertisers campaign would result in an 89% reduction in total traffic – 11% would remain.

Straight Up!  Across the board.  50% loss for #2 rankings as well as a 90+% loss for rankings of #3 and below.

Look, it could be true.  It may be true.  It’s probably true.  (I Know Google).


I don’t think it’s true, the point is darker and goes further back:

  • The introduction of each of the latest SERP “innovations”.
    • The introduction of 4 up on Google Ads with no siderail
    • You need more?
  • The Small Business being knocked out by Big Brand penalt”ies”
  • The glorification of owned media/tactical SEO evangelism

But before I go further into it all, let me take you through the day that was, You’re Better Together with SEM and Google.

I was greeted at 111 8th Avenue, New York NY 10011 with triple point security and condescension.  This is typical for Google events.  While, unintentional – certain.  With a final destination arrival at our floor (either floor #14 – #17, doesn’t matter) I passed another level of security to meet my fellow agency mates.

A spread was out.  And I was hungry.  Networking & conversation was easy.  These were my people.  Agency folks.  We chatted for a good comfortable time before assembling in the Spire auditorium and gathering to our seats.  When I sat down it hit me that I didn’t recognize any of the laniards (agencies represented) that I had been talking to.

So, what am I doing here?  Why am I here?  Only 15 minutes passed by and I had an uncomfortable feeling of unease.  While I certainly don’t know everyone in my industry I still have a great grasp of the agency names.  Big 4’s.  The mainstreams.  Ma & Pa’s.

Oh Google, you always surprise don’t you?

Our keynote speaker chatted for a good half hour about her thoughts on how SEM and SEO need to work together.  Google statistics and data on the importance of SEM right OUT OF THE GATE.  $$$.  See, Google doesn’t give a shit about SEO’s.  As a profession they are laughed about.  Controlled and demonized.

Conflict is Google’s Achilles Heal.  We are a Search Engine.  That is our Product.  We want the mass population to use our product and “make it better”.  But, don’t SEO it.  Don’t break into it.

It is with procreational shame I say I am broken.  Tired and tried.

Conflict is Google’s Achilles Heal.

After a session break that lead me on a wild chase avoiding Google Security to catch an e-vape in the bathroom, on the balcony and in the kitchen, us Agency Partners gathered back in for a Panel Discussion.  These are always entertaining.  Normally they have some substance outside of the host – and this one did as well.

The Panel, There’s Always One

The days event was handed off to another “Googler Infant” Jamie Blomquist, former Seer Interactive BD Director, who has been with the company less than 6 months – to handle the days panel of Agency Reps to answer her Q’s and take Q&A’s.

Finally a bit of substance.  Real people talking about how Keyword Planner sucks, how they bill for SEM, how they consult with clients on the importance of SEM.  It was a good session – Three panel members who were agency owners or representatives talking about how they consult their clients between SEO and SEM.  That’s the real discussion we agency folks want to hear.  How do other agencies have the brand vs. non-brand chat?   How do other agencies discuss the vanity SEO ranking importance?  How do agencies work with Google?

As Google thinks about it’s new approach on “working with Agency Partners”, there is much to be learned with understanding that agencies really do want “true” help from Google.  I would love to have a call with a Googler that could give me actionable consultation…

GOOGLE:  Sell.  Sell.  Sell.

Part three of our mid-afternoon was met with an interactive portion.  Ugh..  No…  Don’t call me or ask me to pair up with others.

Kudos Google!  Thank you!  Our interactive session was an online quiz for participants only on a Google form via our mobile phones.  Half of me said, “Yay, I don’t half to overextend myself” and the other part of me said, “How is this interactive?”

But I am good with chilling by myself.

While there were some extremely valuable discussions and connections had during the event this one was the most disturbing by far.  I felt, as a self-made lover of our industry, vindicated yet contrite.  I knew that our Google is never going to help us.  Help small businesses.  Help anyone but Google.

The final session was a “Pitch Off” on how to sell SEM (PPC) to SEO clients.  Mind you, I did not or do not know any of the attendees.  I apologize if I did not meet with you, see you or am unaware of you.

The Challenge!  3 selected participants would pitch a fictitious prospect on SEM (One they already had for SEO).  They already had for SEO?  And this is my reason for exasperation.

Why does Google Care About My Exasperation?

14th Floor Surprise
14th Floor – Google NY Map

See, you invite many thought leaders and industry experts to your space to discuss how to sell SEM into SEO clients (That’s really what it boils down to…) yet you fill an audience of agency folk full of perfidious data to lay our claims against.  And, you say we can rely on Google for support on pitches.

Really, three audience members, who had prizes of chrome books on the line.., did “pitch” selling a fictitious SEO client on PPC in front of 100+ Agency Partners.  These 3 pitchers were all persuaded to sell themselves on, and here is the blood, “everything they had learned from Google that day.”

Is Google taking pages from the Sandler thing?  Where is the pyramid?

Regardless.  Anyways.  I chatted with several Google representatives afterwards to express my thoughts.  They were very receptive and provided “great” feedback and rebuttals.   I seemed to be the only one with negative feedback.  Which is good.  You need to hear that.  Especially if this approach to Agency Partners is new.  It is new.  It is NOT right yet.  No, it is not.  Still.

The Google & Agency Model

The Google / Agency Model is broke.  Always has been.  From Big 4 down to Ma & Pa.  Google doesn’t want to give 100% away to it’s agency partners.  Why?  We make money for Google.  They know that and say that to us.

Why can’t I have one representative for my agency and all my clients?  One point of contact.

Churn…  Spend…  So many other reasons.

“In confusion there is money”.  I am tired of being confused.  Agencies REQUIRE and DESERVE a “true” agency rep model that can assist them for billing, strategy, accounts, and any other need they require.  Google – Wake up!