In ongoing efforts to make searching easier, Google has started to display song lyrics on the search engine results page. Instead of having to click through to a link, you can find the lyrics to some of your favorite songs directly on Google. According to reports, this is killing song lyric websites – elyrics.net saw a 92% decrease in traffic last year, lyricsmode.com saw a 60% slip, and lyricsfreak.com dropped 59%.
Folks are drawing a connection between Google showing lyrics and the struggles of lyrics websites, saying that Google has gotten rid of the need for this entire category of website.
To be fair, I search for lyrics on a regular basis, and have never heard of any of the websites that have taken a huge hit to traffic, and have rarely seen lyrics displayed on Google from my own lyric searches. In fact it, was actually pretty difficult for me to find lyrics displayed on Google, even though I was intentionally searching for them. It could be that my definition of popular songs doesn’t coincide with a majority of Google searchers.
Since Google doesn’t show every lyric to every song, there is still a need for lyrics websites. That’s all well and good, but is it conceivable that Google could actually get rid of the need for song lyric websites altogether?
Yes. While you can’t find complete lyrics to every single song on Google right now, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to in the near future. If the search engine keeps adding lyrics, there really wouldn’t be much need for lyrics sites.
That makes you wonder what else could Google could get rid of?
It won’t be long before how-to’s are gone. Google will already show you how to make a hard-boiled egg. Simple instructions can easily be conveyed in just a few sentences.
Recipe websites could also be an endangered species. These will probably never go extinct as there are always countless variations for the same dish, and Google can’t post them all, but Google can show the most popular recipe which could hurt traffic to those sites. However, that’s assuming that the recipes get better than Google’s useless muffin recipe.
Poetry websites could be next. Lyrics are already (in some cases) poetry, so it would take little more than a hop for poetry websites to suffer.
I can’t tell you the last time I visited a dictionary website. If you need to find the meaning of a new word, you just Google it.
Translation websites have been dead for a while. Google Translate is easy to find, and usually pretty reliable.
Basically, Google could put the kibosh on a bunch of different sites. Google will still show you search results, but you don’t necessarily need them.
It would be like asking your friend for some pizza place suggestions, and he gives you a good list of suggestions, but he also happens to have a piping hot pizza in his hands. What you want is right in front of you, and there’s no need to go somewhere else to get it.
What does this mean for your company website? It depends how much of your content can be summarized in 40 words or so.
Google’s been saying they want to show people rich content. If yours is meager, more like a handy little service that Google can do just as well as you (hello, lyrics sites!), you’re going to have to step it up.