Google has today been ordered to pay a record (£2.1bn) fine for abusing its dominance as a search engine to boost its own shopping comparison service – Google Shopping – above all other search results on its pages.
The European competition watchdog, in handing out the fine, said the company had breached anti-trust rules.
The company has been ordered to end the favouring of Google Shopping results as per the European Commission probe or face penalty payments of up to 5% of the average daily turnover of parent company Alphabet.
So if Google doesn’t stop showing Google Shopping as the first results, the penalties could be even higher.
With Google saying it “respectfully” disagrees with the ruling and considering an appeal, what does this all mean in practice for companies looking to get onto Page 1 of Google?
Well firstly, nothing changes straight away. If you open a Google tab and conduct a fairly generic product search – say ‘eczema cream uk’ – then lo and behold, the whole top right of the first half of Page 1 is still Google Shopping ads.
So if nothing’s going to change instantly, what’s likely to be the long-term effect?
Well that’s where it could get interesting. Go back to your ‘eczema cream uk’ page 1 and take another look. Sure the Google Shopping ads take up the display spaces on the right, but what about the left and the main body of the page? That’s all AdWords, the only sure fire way to get to the top of Page 1 of Google – PPC, a huge earner for Google…..any chance the European Competition Commission will be looking at that next I wonder?
Underneath the Google Shopping Ads and the Paid for results via AdWords are the only true organic search results on Page 1: so how do you make sure you’re organically on Page 1 of your product / keyword search in future if Google Shopping, and eventually possibly PPC Adverts in general, are at risk?
SEO. Organic, long term, ongoing SEO. Find the right company who understands your needs and your products – and your customers – and build up a relationship with them so they’re doing all the work for you of getting you to that all-important Page 1 position.
If these changes are implemented, a good SEO strategy could soon be your only guaranteed way of getting a Page 1 result: making it even more important to plan ahead and put something in place now!