A Google fail with ironic win?

by Jim February 5, 2020

You’re missing out if you don’t buy your brand. I’ve advocated that for a while, but I was reminded of it again this week while searching for a battery via Battery World and didn’t see any brand ads. Ads make speed to purchase simple as opposed to trawling through your site. You may be missing out on sales, so trust your retailer’s instincts when setting up your site and ignore your designers.

What I learned

  • Google is still broken – but you can still use it better
  • Why you need to buy your brand
  • Google often fails as a marketplace
  • Your site designer isn’t always right
  • Don’t ignore the UX


Hey, welcome back, Rankers. How are you going? It`s a cold and wet summer`s day in Melbourne for a change. We love it. I want to talk to you about a couple of things today, about how Google is still broken and about how retailers still could be using it better, even though it`s broken. It came from a search I did during the week. Incidentally, launch for “Get Stuffed Google”, the book, is on the 21st of April in Melbourne. Free grog. If you`d like to attend, you`ll need to email [email protected]

Are you buying your brand?

But back to this. I wanted to talk about this search that I did. There`s this search, which is a brand search. Now, if you are not buying your brand, you`re missing out, because certainly in this case, Battery World, who is the brand that I have actually Googled, they`re not advertising for their own brand. But guess what … So if I`m in a market for one of these batteries, well, I`m only one click away from it, as opposed to going to your site, waiting for it to load, going through those things …

So there`s that, right? So you`re missing out on a sale there. But the reason I did this search for Battery World was because I was looking for a battery myself over the weekend. It was for a modem, and basically, what had happened to my battery is that it had puffed up so it looked like an inflatable pillow you`d take on the plane. But it`s not a good sign for a lithium ion battery, so you`ve got to replace it.

So I typed in the code on the back of the battery, sifa10, and it was at 1500mah 3.8v. Oh, sorry, can`t match any documents. These ads are now appearing. They weren`t there. But these ads are now appearing because I`ve done that search previously and I`m being remarketed at for that phrase. So Google Ads knows that those searches are relevant for product only. So Google says, `What? I don`t know what they are. What the hell is that search? There`s nothing inorganic. But here are some products that match your search exactly.`

Now, when I did that search on the weekend, I didn`t get any ads, so Google completely failed as a marketplace. Now it`s learned from my search. It`s not giving me any organic results, still. It`s just giving me ads based on the products that I`ve visited when I`ve done that search, and the reason I got to those pages on eBay, ironically, because it`s eBay that`s remarketing to me, yeah, not Google, the reason I got to those products was through DuckDuckGo.

Because when you go and do that search on DuckDuckGo, oh look, Amazon, batteries, batteries, batteries, batteries. Look at all these organic results on DuckDuckGo, and they`re all about batteries, right? Google had nothing for that search, and it failed as a marketplace when I did that search as well because it didn`t have any ads. The only reason it had ads is because I got remarketed to after I`d visited DuckDuckGo and then onto eBay.

Trust your retailer’s instincts

So then I did the Battery World search because I wanted to go and buy one today and found out they weren`t doing ads. Then I went to their site, and this is the thing, if you are a retailer and you have it in your gut, you feel that, `You know what, I don`t reckon these nerds and geeks know what they`re doing,` you`re probably right, because this retailer certainly was when I saw him.

So I`ve done that search, I`ve gone into … I`m in DuckDuckGo now, so we`re not going to get all the stuff that we got before, but we get this, and you saw that page load, right? This retailer, we got talking, because I like to speak to retailers, find out what they`re doing, what they`re up to, why they made the decision to be in retail, all those sorts of things. This guy had been in customer service and retail for a very long time and he was a recent franchisee. I`m not going to tell you his name, just in case he gets in trouble.

However, he said, `I spoke to these guys and I said, `Look at this site. How many batteries do we sell a year? How many millions of batteries do we sell a year? How many franchises do we sell a year?“ And the difference between the two was like … well, you can imagine, right? Well, where are the batteries? Where are the batteries on Battery World? You can book a battery test, you can join the Volt. That was his complaint as a retailer.

So if you are a retailer and you keep coming up against a brick wall with your designers, and your web developers, and your geeks, and your nerds, who think they know better than you, they probably don`t when it comes to customer experience and user experience. As he said, `I just come in to get a battery. How do I get a battery here?` Well, you can`t. Apart from all the popups and everything else, and the extra clicks, because then I`ve got to put in my postcode to give me the correct price because these franchise sites deliver all over Australia and they`ve got to the work out where you are, where the delivery`s going, all those sorts of things.

So there`s extra steps you would have to go through to buy from the franchise site anyway, unless it`s done better. But they`re just adding so many steps in the process and the retailers know it, because I`ve spoken to one of them and they know it. So if you are a business owner, a retailer, whatever, and you think your site doesn`t work properly, there`s something not functioning properly, then maybe you`re right, and don`t be talked down by the geeks and the nerds.

Hopefully that`s helpful, and we`ll see you next week, and don`t forget the book launch, [email protected] Please share if you can, and even if you don`t, thanks very much. Bye.

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