Digital Publishing Platforms
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Google is becoming a walled garden. What’s next for publishers?

mural of colorful lion

I’ve written a lot this year about the shifts we’re seeing from Google — moving from search engine to answer to engine and now to a direct competitor for an enormous number of websites and businesses.

Today, I’m sharing the latest numbers from our friends at Jumpshot on Google’s Q3 CTRs (using their recently updated estimation methodology), and providing some context and details about specific sub-sectors of search like “weather” and “jobs.”

Broadly, I believe the narrative for web marketers is clear. The largest source of traffic on the web — free and paid — is becoming a walled garden, intent on not only keeping people on its own properties, but competing directly with those that helped it become a dominant, monopoly power.


If you’re a marketer or a business that relies on Google, there’s still tons of opportunity left (at least in most sectors; sorry Expedia, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and anyone trying to compete against YouTube).

But to stay ahead, you need plans for how to diversify your traffic sources, how to grow branded demand outside of search, and how to earn value from zero-click searches.

Like global warming, it’s the inevitable future whether we like it or not.

by Rand Fishkin, Founder, SparkToro

This article was originally published on SparkToro as “Google in 2020: From Everyone’s Search Engine to Everyone’s Competitor and is re-published with kind permission.

About SparkToro:  SparkToro is a new software company from Moz founder, Rand Fishkin. Its mission is to make it easier to discover the websites, blogs, podcasts, social accounts, and publications that reach your audience.  @randfish | @SparkToro