Massimo Burgio on SearchCowboys: Mind the Google Gap!

by Massimo Burgio, June 2009

This is an article I wrote as guest blogger for, after I collected a series of video interviews at the recent SMX London Conference, where I was invited to make a presentation about Social Media Marketing.

You can find the original article on, but I love this so much that I am (of course) also posting it on my blog!

Enjoy the reading, and follow SearchCowboys!


Mind the Google Gap


What in the world is the Google Gap? It´s not the Google Advertising Professional program and certification – of course we all know what that is – and it is not related to the new Google output like Square or Wave, so it must be something else, though nobody really knows – or, perhaps, everybody has their own definition of it.

Okay, let’s rewind and try to understand why we are investigating the new Google enigma. It all started with the “Searchscape – Latest Stats about the Search Engines” session I moderated at the recent SMX London conference, with a panel featuring great speakers like Linus Gregoriadis, Nigel Townend, Nick Morley and Richard Gregory, alongside the very own Bas van den Beld of SearchCowboys. The panelists discussed the current search landscape, especially in terms of who is getting ahead in the search engine wars for traffic and market share.

The panel has been announced as the place at SMX London where to investigate also a special topic, the Google Gap – described in the conference agenda by the question “Why do so many web sites report a much higher percentage of their traffic coming from Google versus the share of searches that it supposedly has?

Good question, but the panelists didn’t have an answer, as they all focused on big scale search data and comparative trends among search engines.

I couldn’t resist, I had to find out about the Google Gap! So I took advantage of my moderator position and asked the audience of the Searchscape session about it – nobody really took the challenge to answer, so I went on a mission!

Immediately after the session I reached for my camera and started asking “the Google Gap question” to some of the top search experts at SMX London, to discover several interesting interpretations of the Google Gap!

Is the Google Gap the difference between the traffic we measure using Google tools and the traffic we measure using other measurement tools? (big gap there). Is it the difference between the conversions generated by traffic from the Google ad network versus the conversions we get from other ad networks? Or is it the difference between how evil Google claims not to be and how evil Google actually is? =)

Check the video interviews on this page to discover some of the answers from SMX London 2009 to the “Google Gap question”. Sure it seems like there are several several gaps in Google…

As Richard Zwicky said in the video interview, “There are many gaps at Google, whether it is in data they are providing you, in data they are sharing with you, or in data you think you are getting!”. Richard Gregory also thinks it is something about data and brings to the Google Gap discussion another hot topic: click fraud, possibly the reason for the measurement gap also stated by Krjstian Mar Hauksson.

To Andrew Girdwood, Paul Doleman, Rob Ousbey and Bas van den Beld, the Google Gap is about market share: “the difference between the market share Google claims to have versus Google’s real market penetration”. Touché! The disconnection between technology and the human being? That’s the Google Gap theory of Dixon Jones, who claims to be a Google Gap himself, and invites everybody to use other services outside of Google, to make the gap wider!

gsi-logo-oldiesThis section of the site used to be active as a blog, but we stopped blogging at the beginning of 2013. This article is a couple of years old, but we think that its insight still provides value, so we included it in our new site as an “online marketing resource”. A sort of oldies but goldies.

We apologize if some references are not very updated. We “remastered” the blog posts to fit the new GSI site design, and included some updates when republished the content, but we also decided to leave the blog posts mainly untouched, as they represent a sort of “family photo album” for us.

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And, is there a gap in the Google or a Google in the gap? Andy Aktins-Kruger turned the question on me, after touching base on the analytics gap. Anne Kennedy explored the cloud computing gap, sharing her doubts about the delta in the cloud computing that Google claims to use for search and the one they actually use for transactions! Or is it the difference in weight that everybody gains after visiting the Googleplex, for all the free food? =)

More Google Gaps! Shari Thurow‘s Google Gap lies in the essence of Google. Is Google a search engine or a media company, as they claim to be? More search marketers insight on the topic comes from both Ammon Johns and Anders Hjorth. Ammon says that the Google Gap is the “difference between where Google tells you they are and where search marketers who are in the know really know they are”. This statement was echoed by Anders, for whom the Google Gap is the “gap between consumers’ confidence and search marketers’ confidence in Google”.

Hundreds of undiscovered Google Gaps to be found and filled with Google’s own tools? That’s the opinion of Ulf Weihbold. The last interview of the Google Gap series was with Rand Fishkin, who believes the Google Gap is the difference between what Google says they are doing around competitive messaging and what they are actually doing.

My personal award for best answer goes to Mikkel deMib Svendsen who, funny and sharp as usual, stated that the Google Gap lies between “how ethical Google claim they are and how unethical they really are”.

My personal Google Gap? In my experience, it´s the difference between how smart, creative and cool Googlers can be in Mountain View and how boring and sales-y the local Google Sales teams mostly are, especially in Europe… =)

And, as the recently married SearchCowgirl Lisa Ditlefsen said in her video interview: “Mind the Google Gap!” !!!


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