Trying to be found on Google is hard, and stressful.
Especially when you’re a small business.
This blog is directly correlated to my rant-like article on what small businesses are supposed to do when digital marketing.
I decided to sit down and interview the CEO, Scott Sanderson, and the lead programmer, Robert Purdy, to put in perspective how complicated Google can be.
I started with Scott.
The first question was blunt “Why is Google so hard for small businesses?”
He categorized his answer with three reasons:
“Google is a dynamic platform; it changes all the time”
“Google is all about data and if you’re a small business, managing your data across the internet can be very challenging because it’s manual”. Consistent data is crucial when Google looks to rank a business
“When you are trying to run an advertising campaign with Google, buying words and words combinations… you have to pay a lot of attention or waste a lot of your money fast with not a lot of results by buying the wrong words and paying a lot for them”
Scott then summarized the overall problem: “When you are a small budget company… hiring consultants or trying to train someone or in fact trying to do this yourself in really really time-consuming and expensive.”
This is such a big issue because Google is too big. It’s necessary for a business and it’s growing at an exponential rate. In terms of advertising, it is more effective and cheaper than almost any other avenue, especially traditional ones.
The CEO didn’t stop there and wanted to explain that there is hope for small businesses with my favourite quote of the interview. “[the landscape] is changing, automation is levelling the playing field.”
I wanted to go deeper and find out the specific issues that he sees small businesses having time and time again.
He started by explaining all of the different settings within Google. Without direction, he says: “You can end up spending 5,10,15 dollars for one-click through and it will eat up your budget”.
This causes people to doubt Google. A large business can pour a ton of money into their efforts because they can find a way to make it work, but now with automation, as Scott puts it: “Small businesses are going to be able to compete in there just like everybody else.”
It’s about giving small businesses a chance to be found because the giants are already taking over.
I then interviewed the lead programmer and king of the 70s middle part haircut, Robert Purdy. (I would’ve shown you guys the haircut, but Robert claimed to not have a headshot or any picture of himself whatsoever, sorry.)
He answers the “Why is Google so hard” question by describing how many courses and agencies exist to help small businesses understand it. There’s a whole industry revolved around helping businesses advertise online because this stuff isn’t simple. Robert knows there wouldn’t be an OctoHub if it was easy.
He begins to take the perspective of a “user trying to figure out what’s available through the API”, and the frustration really comes out after listing off 10 problems he’s already had today with this very programmer-esque line “if I was a layman it would be a nightmare”. I’m a layman and it did indeed sound like a nightmare.
Robert then describes his experience as a developer and it’s incredibly frustrating and getting help from Google is basically impossible.
Google has an extremely user-friendly search platform for searchers. Being the one who is trying to be found is a different story.
I wanted to ask Robert the specific problems he sees from small businesses. He answered fast: “getting started when setting up a Google ad campaign”.
His reasons were very similar to what Scott said in you can burn through your budget quickly with no results. Robert knows how complex starting a campaign is for anyone, and trying to do it by yourself can be like throwing your money into the ocean. The main alternative is to hire an agency, which for a small business can be simply unaffordable.
That’s why Scott and Robert have been working on OctoHub. A software solution to make Google simple for all of the “laymen” out there trying to get more customers for their small businesses. Their genuine and passionate answers told me how dedicated to making Google not only manageable but effective.
Author: Jack Lavorato
Jack is a summer intern at OctoHub, starting at the Ivey Business School at Western University in the fall. In his free time, Jack enjoys playing Golf, Basketball and writing a blog of his own where his comedy really shines. Jack also feels weird about writing in the third person and pretending someone else is writing this “about the author”. He hopes people think the “comedy really shines” line was written by a third party.