I am deep in the in the weeds at the intersection of Google Search Console, Analytics and Adwords along with other tools at the moment.

Organic rankings don’t mean as much as they used to as Google continues to grow the percentage it takes of global commerce flows.

I am looking this morning at a keyword phrase that in theory ranks a page at position 5.5 in Google, but the CTR to the page is just 2.4% of all impressions. In theory, the link is judged reasonably relevant. In practice, the organic link is almost never seen. Because ads.

In our own business, we have had customers ringing us saying they searched for us in Google and don’t understand how they arrived at a completely different website when they believed they were going to ours.

We tell them they had probably clicked on an ad. They had no idea.

But that’s not all.

When, for example, a business takes out expensive offline ads, say, in print media advertising, for example. It often means individuals by force of habit go directly to Google to search for the advertiser and then Google stacks more ads on that results page.

All of this means that Google not only takes books revenue when businesses advertise directly on Google but from much of offline marketing and advertising.

Small companies need not only to be visible on Google et al, but more importantly, for the long term, small companies need to imagine and execute plans to develop customers and prospects in ways which avoid the toll gates completely.

Our regulators don’t deeply understand just how much Google and Facebook have inserted themselves into the flows of world commerce and how they use all of the tools and intelligence at their disposal to maximise their revenue and profits.

Though written in an entirely different context and time, these specific words of this poem, September 1913 by William Butler Yeats, keep coming to mind.

What need you, being come to sense,

But fumble in a greasy till

And add the halfpence to the pence

And prayer to shivering prayer, until

You have dried the marrow from the bone;