By: Joe Last week, Google unveiled plans to shift the company to a subsidiary of a larger parent company, which was to be called Alphabet. In the immediate aftermath of the move, people wondered exactly what any of this meant. Web marketers, specifically those in search, are a bit sensitive to any development from Google. With a few moves, Google can essentially snatch all of a company’s traffic coming from organic search. It’s worth paying attention to. However, after a few hours, it was pretty clear the market believed Alphabet’s emergence was unlikely to have any immediate impact whatsoever on search, SEO and marketing, especially on the B2B side of things. Last October, Larry Page and Sergey Brin essentially stepped aside, handing over the reins to Sundar Pichai. At the time, Pichai received the product chief title, overseeing every major Google Web property and Android – the lone exception was YouTube. Pichai has effectively been the steward of any and all development in those areas since that point. Page and Brin were involved, of course, but Page has been more concerned with innovation for some time now. Formalizing the shift with Alphabet’s launch only solidified Pichai’s role as the top dog in Mountain View. There’s been some usual prognosticating about the future of search and SEO now that Page and Brin are even further removed from that aspect of the company. Ultimately, the last 10 months or so, since Pichai took over, indicate what we can anticipate from search moving forward. Small, iterative updates on the content side of algorithms, with a larger focus on speed, local search and mobile results should continue as the company’s major focus. For the most part, B2B PR and marketing haven’t been noticeably altered by any of the local or mobile search updates. A result or two may be different. However, people don’t use their smartphones to research impulse buys in the B2B space. A slice of pizza or place to buy a new pair of shoes are the desired products for these searches, not an enterprise-class technology solution. The algorithm changes on which B2B marketers need to focus are the occasional refreshes and updates to Panda and Penguin, primarily. We went over how to stay on top of those algorithm updates a couple weeks ago. (Hint: Users are really important.) More speculation after Pichai’s appointment dealt with the possible effects of a leaner, more agile Google. There’s some merit to these concerns. With Pichai solely responsible for the company now, there could be some new directions taken in search in the next few months. It’s fair to keep an eye out there. Ultimately, preparing for any expected move is a waste of time, though. Search, as it stands, isn’t about optimizing for search; it’s about optimizing for people. That’s not going to change. Moreover, Google doesn’t just decide one day to launch a new algorithm. Anything that hits in the next few weeks or even months has been in the works for some time. Some recent comments from Pichai suggest he plans to ramp the focus on users even more substantially, highlighted in this profile by the New York Times. The biggest adjustment right now is likely to come in Google’s – err, Alphabet’s – other companies. Google Fiber, Google Ventures, Calico and the others will likely get a jolt now, with the dynamic duo of Brin and Page free to take more active roles. For search, Pichai’s new power won’t likely change much for the time being. Search will have its adjustments. New algorithms and updates will emerge, but that was always going to happen anyway. Need a hand getting found online? The Metis approach may be right for you.
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