Understanding Google as a Rigged Bingo Game

And How We Play to Win

Are Google Search Results like Playing Bingo?It seems like a simple question. How can my business be Number 1 on Google? If I could be found on Google, my business would have more customers, right?

At Chroma Studios, we wish there were a simple answer, we really do. After all, we are a Google Partner Company and we have a certified Google Specialist on staff. Shouldn’t we be able to explain how this works, simply and clearly – along with how to be found on the first page of Google?

Unfortunately, as soon as we start to talk about meta code, rich snippets, alt-tags, optimized content, and keywords, we lose your attention. We might as well be talking about String Theory and the Big Bang.

So, let’s talk about Bingo instead.

Every Search Result is a Spin of the Bingo Cage

Let’s start by admitting that all analogies are flawed and approximate, but if Bingo can help get across some of the complexity of today’s Google, it will be worth it.

In this analogy, the bingo balls are search results and when you search, you spin the cage.

However, it’s no ordinary game of Bingo.

Search Results as Bingo BallsBetween every spin, players can rig the game. You may weight the balls, change their sizes, and alter the numbers. You can even bribe the Bingo Caller to adjust the cage so that the ball you want comes out first (well, if your payout is more attractive than the other guy’s).

It’s a competition of ingenuity and resources, and it keeps getting tougher all the time.

Let’s make things worse. There’s not one Bingo cage you must worry about, there are thousands, tens of thousands – millions.

Now, when you say “I just want my ball to come out first!”, the problem is – first out of which spinning Bingo cage? One of them? A thousand of them? A million of them?

It quickly becomes an expensive, remarkably overwhelming game, and one nobody would play it, if there were not big jackpots that could be won.

It’s Personal – Really!

Personal Search ResultsLet’s start bringing this analogy back to the average Google search.

When you see a list of search results, you probably expect everyone else is seeing the same thing. But no! Their results may be coming out of a different Bingo cage. What you see in your personal list of search results is not what everyone else sees.

It will be close, often similar, but Google knows a lot about each of us and prepares regional, local, and even personal cage spins for everyone. (An easy example is pizza. Your search for pizza is not going to come back with the same list of shops as the next guy even a few tens of miles away).

Even whether you are seeing the results in Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Firefox, or on a different computer than usual makes a difference.

If you see yourself as Number 1 on Google, that’s great, but on how many computers, in what areas, and at what times of day? What you see personally in your search is a part of the story, but not the whole story.

There are simply a lot of Bingo balls rattling around in a lot of cages.

Weighting the Balls to Gain an Advantage

As complex as this system sounds, what does it mean when we make the analogy to rigging the game by weighting the balls?

Well, Google looks at over 200 factors about your website – then measures those against your competition! You can give your website an advantaged by:

  • Adding more content and better written content than your competitor. (A well written 50-page site has more weight than a 5 page, poorly written site.)
  • Having all that “meta code” stuff done well. Keyword research, page titles, page descriptions, rich snippets, image alt-tags, files names, optimized URLs, etc.
  • Making your site mobile, fast, and easy to use on hand-held devices.
  • Engaging visitors with Calls to Action, Info Graphics, Videos, downloadable resources, and more.
  • Number of Backlinks – meaning other websites that link to yours (which they won’t do unless your website is filled with interesting, useful information that inspires them to recommend something on your site to someone on theirs).

There you go. By my count that’s 5 factors. Only 195 to go!

But remember:

  • While you are working on these, your competition is too! Who is going to do the better job?
  • And regardless of how well you weight, size, and rig your “Bingo ball,” it’s still rattling around in a cage. The best you can do is make it “statistically more likely” to show up for some of the people, some of the time.

Paying for Online Advertising

Bribing the Bingo Caller

Of course, you can also bribe the Bingo caller.

In the search world, that doesn’t mean cheating; it just means paying for advertising. You want to show up at the top of the first page of Google results – pay for it!

Even if you have some ready cash, there’s a problem. Your competition is standing in line to bribe the caller too!

It’s worse than that, because the caller isn’t going to take the highest bribe – he’ll take everyone’s money and distribute his help according to a complex system all his own.

Ultimately, that means no matter how much you’re willing to pay for your advertising, if you are not delivering a great experience to your web visitors, it doesn’t matter. You won’t be number 1 on Google.

Factors that influence paid ads include:

  • How well written and designed is your ad, and does it engage attention (clicks)?
  • What keywords and geographical region is the Ad Campaign set for? What demographics?
  • When someone clicks on the ad, how well does the page they land on match the offer being made?
  • How user friendly is the page the searcher arrives on? You have someone on the page now, can you make the sale?
  • Your web visitor is aware of your business now, but they may not be ready to buy until later – tomorrow, next week, or next month. How do you stay in front of them?

Sorry, we know you really wanted the simplest, most straightforward answer. But this is a high-stakes, complex game. If we’ve given you an idea of just how convoluted it is, that’s something!

So, What’s the Short Answer?

Good Digital MarketingYou can leverage Google to benefit your business, in the same way you can take advantage of any marketing venue, including billboards, radio and TV advertising, newspapers, magazines, and direct mail.

Having your website show up online does work, it just doesn’t work the way you think it does.

Your best bet is to hire an experienced Digital Marketing Agency that knows the rules and plays the game every day, for many businesses.

Next, don’t expect your Digital Marketing Agency to make you Number 1 on Google. Instead, work together with the Agency you’ve chosen toward accomplishing some very real, very simple results:

  • Are you getting more calls, more leads, and more business from the marketing you are paying for?
  • Is the return on your investment reasonable? There is no reason you should expect digital advertising to be cheaper or less expensive than any other high-profile venue – radio & tv, billboards, newspapers, magazines, etc. (The Internet is NOT the equivalent of the Church Bulletin or High School Year Book. Those days are long gone.)
  • Are you looking to the future? Google makes updates to how this crazy Bingo game works every day. EVERY DAY. It’s not just a moving target, it’s a bouncing ball.

Interested in talking to the experienced Digital Marketers at Chroma Studios? Give us a call at 724-523-3001 or Contact Us today.

Chroma Studios – A Google Partner Agency with a Google Specialist on staff. Winner of 4 National Awards, including recognition for excellence from the Web Marketing Association, Core Technology Web Awards, Internet Advertising Competition, and Constant Contact Email Marketing.