When you think of “apple,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? If you answered “Mac,” “iPhone,” or anything else related to the tech powerhouse, you’re likely not alone. When a Google search for “apple” is performed, the entire first page is ripe with results pertaining to Apple, Inc. The same is true for the second and third pages. The reason for this is simple: SEO has massively increased to allow for certain companies to dominate organic search. Even a word as common and simple as “apple” no longer holds the same meaning when typed into a search engine. SEO’s surge in importance, especially in our current age, means that certain companies can take even the most basic words and turn them into revenue-generating marketing tools.
While “apple” yields results for a titan of the tech industry, it’s far from the only food-related word to have an alternate meaning in organic searches. When “chocolate” is typed into Google, the results that dominate the first page mostly consist of candy companies, such as Mast Brothers and Jacques Torres Chocolate. While these results are certainly more directly related to the word in question, they still clearly convey the preeminence of corporate branding over information when related to organic search.
The fact that both apples and chocolate have been staples of American cultures for decades speaks volumes to the magnitude by which search engine optimization has grown. Just a few years ago, a Google search for “apple” would very likely have produced results for the red and green fruits. This could also signal SEO marketers taking advantage of other common words in search engines, whether it pertains to a company name or a service offered.
SEO’s reach extends beyond food, as other household words have been transformed into SEO tools. Take “box,” for example. A common word that calls to mind packing, moving, and storage, box brings up many results when typed into a Google search, none of which have to do with a box’s core uses. Instead, a search for “box” brings up the company of the same name – a cloud storage company offering content management solutions for businesses. Another result included in this search is a company called Boxed, which offers bulk shipping and delivery services – much more in line with the traditional definition of “box.” It isn’t until the second page that results for this definition show up.
Even everyday words like “chair” have received the SEO treatment. When typing “chair” into a Google search, the first page no results for the item itself, but rather companies that sell chairs, like Target and Wayfair, and marketing messages about why their chairs are the best to have in your home. This clearly demonstrates SEOs effectiveness at turning even the most mundane, basic item into a brand vying for the coveted top spot in an organic search.
Along this same line, it’s hard to find on the first page results for a Google search of the word “house”. Rather, the results consist of House Brand, House industries, the TV series House, and even the U.S. House of Representatives. From the food we eat to the places we live, SEO has clearly demonstrated the ability to brand a wide variety of common terms.
The dominance of SEO is not just limited to products like boxes and chocolates; there are even words associated with nature that SEO has managed to own. When the word “cloud” is entered into a Google search, the initial results are full of websites and information on cloud storage and computing, and the companies that offer those services, such as IBM and Verizon. From the ground to the sky, many words in our common vocabulary have become SEO buzzwords for one company or another. While there are still words that correspond to their traditional meanings in Google searches, it may only be a short matter of time until SEO’s influence encompasses a majority of the English language.
This rapid growth in SEO’s power is remarkable for another reason as well. In the past, marketers and SEO experts used certain buzzwords to separate their businesses from others and put themselves at the front of every organic search. The need to create a specific list of keywords may soon become obsolete. This practice is still employed, but with search engine optimization utilizing more common words, the need for unique buzzwords may not be as prevalent in the future. Soon, buzzwords and common vocabulary may very well go hand-in-hand.
From the food we eat to the natural sights we see every time we look out the window, SEO’s influence has expanded in a huge way. While this is certainly great news for marketers everywhere, it may also lead to more competition. With certain companies dominating Google for particular search terms, and even bearing the names of everyday objects and products, it may be challenging for other companies offering similar services to make it to the coveted front page of a Google search. Furthermore, we may even see more companies pop up bearing the names of everyday objects. Apple and Box are likely far from the only ones.
The present is bright for search engine optimization, and the future is even brighter. With digital media consistently on the rise and the necessity of Google searches, SEO and its importance will only continue to grow. This growth could take shape in a variety of ways, such as additional terms becoming more associated with brands, or companies trademarking a common word for Google search dominance.
SEO has always evolved along with technology, and the next step in its evolution remains to be seen. In a short time, it’s managed to redefine the way we think of certain words, and turn even the most mundane objects into brands that generate a massive profit. It’s possible that SEO may cause us to look at our very own language in a new light, as words like “apple” and “chocolate” no longer call to mind a delicious treat. We may think of words based on the brands they represent.