Giving All Your Great Content to Google for Free is Suicide

A person apparently hanging. We only see the legs and shoes. Appears to be suicide. Looks quite grim. In the best he's just jumping down from a stool.*

When I chose to block Google search on this blog some people considered me nuts. After all it sounds like suicide!

Why would someone decide to block Google traffic?

It’s especially an unexpected move for a site about search engine optimization. Actually it’s the exact opposite of giving up. Let me explain!


The great content give-away

Giving your most valuable assets to Google for free is a bad business model. I’d even argue it’s downright suicidal to your business.

When you look around business people try to block Google from stealing their content all over the place.

The book authors and publishers have fought Google and their Google Books search for years. Likewise there were lawsuits by those who didn’t want their images stolen by Google Image search.

When you look at the most successful corporations like Apple, Facebook etc. you will notice that they either block Google or at least try to limit its access where possible.

Average webmasters and bloggers repeat the “content is king” mantra that Google feeds us.

Now even more than ever. The recent content marketing hype is just the latest result of Google’s strategy of making everybody provide them the content they need for free.


Want to get paid for content? Don’t depend on Google!

The technology press reacted with disdain to German publishers who wanted to get paid by Google for the search giant to use their content ion Google news.

It’s not a new fight though, it has been going on for years. I’d like to cite from a New York Times article from 2010:

“Hans-Joachim Fuhrmann, a spokesman for the German Newspaper Publishers Association, said the Web sites of all German newspapers and magazines together made 100 million euros, or $143 million, in ad revenue,”

Sound like much, doesn’t it? Now comes the real money though as he goes on to explain: “while Google generated 1.2 billion euros [sic!] from search advertising in Germany.

‘Google says it brings us traffic, but the problem is that Google earns billions, and we earn nothing,’ Mr. Fuhrmann said.”

A blogger I’ve known from a few years back even got really angry how German publishers want to ban links or something.

He didn’t want to hear the argument that it’s about content not links. He didn’t think that journalists need to get paid especially if Google puts ads around their work.

Nowadays most lucrative search results are filled to the brim with Google ads, many of them hidden ones and referred to as “paid inclusion”.

All the great content you create to make Google your friend is just there to be taken and wrapped by

  • Google Ads
  • shopping search
  • hotel finder

and other Google services they directly earn money with. Google wants to monetize the world’s information, nothing less. You are meant to provide the User Generated Content (UGC) for it.


Google is picky

How to please Google? As a blogger you probably have already noticed that Google will only rank a few of your articles.

You may have written 100 or 1000 pieces of “great content” but only a bunch will bring you significant traffic.

Most of them will just be there so Google has some User Generated Content to put their advertising on. On top there are only a few large sites you can’t compete with anyway:

Creating “great content” all day to feed Google and hope some traffic will trickle down to you is naive.

Also most of the traffic Google is leaving for us is not lucrative traffic that is solely people who do not want to buy something.

In most cases you end up getting informational queries that is just searchers who want to get something from you for free

  • your free advice
  • your images
  • your free time.

Don’t buy the content marketing hype which is just a rewording of the “you need great content” and “content is king” mantras by Google.


Suicidal tendencies

Google needs your great content. For you it’s better to keep your great content for yourself and not give it away.

Especially giving your assets for free to Google searchers who will in most cases never again appear on your site or blog is futile. For

  • artists
  • authors
  • bloggers
  • journalists
  • photographers

Google is simply the biggest content thief around. Make sure to protect yourself from the big Google knowledge grab.

It’s one thing to give away your content for free and another to let someone else earn money on it while you stay hungry.

Giving away all your great content to Google for free is suicide. You won’t earn a living that way. You’re just making the Google billionaires a bit richer.

* Creative Common image by Sherman Geronimo-San