A new bipartisan proposal takes aim at Google and would force it to break up its digital advertising business if passed.

There are two bills awaiting a vote in Congress that could potentially reshape digital and search marketing. Today we're talking about the one that is most relevant to us, the American Innovation & Choice Online (AICO) Act. If this bill passes, we're talking about a lot of potential traffic being opened up for everyone.

For an easy to understand summary, I'd highly recommend the segment that John Oliver recently did. It's a nice breakdown of what's happening, why it's happening, potential macro impacts and current threats to the anti-trust bills. It's well worth a watch if you haven't already.

We're going to get specific about how it could impact us if it passes.

Billions in clicks and potential visits could be opening up if AICO passes

The American Innovation and Choice Online (AICO) Act can change everything we know about digital and search marketing. Big Tech companies like Amazon, Apple and Google have the ability to retain their monopoly simply by directing traffic toward the products/services that they own. And this is possible because they have the largest amount of traffic in their respective niches.

See the summary from Axios:

The bill would ban Big Tech companies from favouring their own services in an anti-competitive way.

  • For example, Apple would have to allow apps to use their own payment systems.
  • Amazon could not preference its in-house label products over third-party sellers'.
  • Google could not surface its reviews over others in search results.
  • The Senate bill is a companion to a similar House bill approved by the House Judiciary Committee as part of a marathon markup last summer.

Read the full article from Axios here.

What does this mean?

What does this mean? This is big. It's hard for me to wrap my head around all the ramifications. But the most relevant change for us in search marketing would be that Google would have to change what it shows at the top of search results.

Currently, 65% of searches will end up on a Google Search Product - an astonishing market share.

Organic search is the most significant driver of traffic across the internet. Giving up a portion of that market share opens up a tremendous opportunity for businesses worldwide.

How's it impact us?

Billions of clicks would likely open up at the top of the search that had previously been going to Google Widgets, e.g. structured snippets, Q&A boxes, People also ask.

For you, our clients, we'd start redoing keyword research to understand the new opportunities popping up. We're not talking about a few clicks here and there, we're talking about options that could double or triple traffic.

If you've been working with us for SEO, you'll have heard us mention how competitive SEO has become - A huge part of that is how much of the first page Google takes up. A change like this could open up opportunities for many more businesses that weren't there previously.

Final thoughts:

Anti Trust Bills will likely keep coming up even if this one doesn't get a reading before the US Congress breaks in August. This is part of a growing trend, and I'm so interested to see how digital will differ 1-2 years from today.

Insight Online is a digital marketing agency in Auckland, and we'll be providing you with SEO resources, news & updates this year.

If you haven't already, check out our other SEO resources in the Marketing Association's Resource Hub. If there's ever anything you might like to see, don't hesitate to contact us! We're always happy to have a chat.

Written by Kim Voon, Managing Director, Insight Online