Why Google’s Web Accelerator Is (Very) Bad For Your Business
How It’s Hurting Your Business Now – And It Could Get Much Worse
Google’s production is truly a thing of wonder. They are constantly churning out new tools that are truly fascinating, even useful. They’re also very controversial. Google Maps’ expansion to include street views of addresses has angered more than one resident. The prospect of people finding out you don’t live in that Brownstone you’re always talking about isn’t a welcome one.
Google’s Web Accelerator goes one step further by striking truly home – in your business pocketbook. Basically it boils down to 2 big reasons why it could hurt you, especially if its popularity spreads. You might be saying “Only 2 reasons? That’s it. Doesn’t sound like a big deal.” Maybe, but that’s like saying the only 2 things bad about being shot is that you might get hurt or die.
How Google Accelerator Works
Basically what the Accelerator does is this – when someone searching on Google decides to click on a site’s listing, instead of actually going to the site, it shows you the cached version of it from Google’s servers. What’s wrong with that? Plenty.
#1 Any changes you’ve made since the last time Google visited are invisible to the visitor. What does that mean? Any special offers, new copy you’re testing, corrections you’ve made – that person sees NONE of them. Suppose you have a new special offer that’s converting like gangbusters. The guy using Accelerator won’t see that offer if it’s not in Google’s cached version of your site. That’s a lost sale. Considering how much traffic to sites comes through Google, that is a potential disaster for businesses, at least temporarily.
What if you posted a wrong price by mistake, but Google got it cached before you corrected it? That’s could be a lot more complaints from those seeing the cached site long after you’ve fixed it and posted an apology.
There are countless scenarios of how this could create mountains out of molehills. And the problems that are already mountains? Let’s just say you might want to invest in some oxygen tanks. Let’s take a look at the 2nd reason.
#2 If you use Analytics, you’re going to miss a lot of data. And that’s bad. Think about it. If people are being fed a cached version of your site, they’re getting it from Google’s servers. Not yours. In other words, all activity is taking place where you cannot see it or track it. How are you going to know what is or isn’t working if a large slice of your traffic isn’t actually on your servers?
Sure, they’re on your site, in a way. Maybe they’re even buying from you in the end. But you have no idea what is pushing them to take that step. You’re flying blind basically. Is that what you want? I didn’t think so.
The implications here are endless. The one thing in our (business’) favor is that the Accelerator is a download and it’s not actively being ‘sold’ by Google. Yet. But that may not last. What can you do? Not much right now. Hopefully it won’t gain much ground, but even losing some could hurt you and me. Let’s stay on top of this.
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Article written by Jonathan Cook