ANearly five years since Google banned its search engine from displaying ads when queries contain the phrase “cash advance,” the loss of business attributed to this has likely been nil for the small business financial space. businesses.
According to Google, although there are between 100,000 and 1 million searches for “cash advance” each month on average, only 1,000 to 10,000 searches per month are specifically for “merchant cash advance”.
People are about 10 times more likely to search business line of credit, Business loan, working capitalWhere business credit cardaccording to Google estimates.
This is somewhat in line with the findings of the Federal Reserve, a recent study of which determined that 7 times more business owners seek out a loan or line of credit than they seek out a merchant cash advance.
But putting that aside, the ban on paid advertising for anything related to cash advances has had an advantage for some lucky companies. Without advertising, Google has inadvertently (or perhaps intentionally) elevated local searcher funding providers to the top of the organic results. This means that listings on Google Maps that contain keywords that match search queries reap the benefits of being prominently placed at the top of the page and potentially capture all clicks with it. The end result is an old-school SEO war to win what little research there is.
Compare that to a search for sba loan where paid advertising is fair game. In the era of PPP and EIDL, it’s perhaps unsurprising that there are on average between 100,000 and 1 million searches per month for this keyword. Many of these searchers probably won’t qualify for an SBA loan, so perhaps the best solution would be equipment leasing or invoice factoring, two queries that are on par with merchant cash advance in average monthly searches, which means the volume is relatively low.
But how does a low volume of research turn into a high volume of generated funding? Well, another factor has changed since Google implemented the cash advance advertising restriction in 2017, and that is that Google isn’t as relevant as it used to be. Business owners are more likely than ever to discover a potential source of capital from social media or a fintech platform they already have a relationship with. According to a recent study, 25% of people said they had actually used Alexa, Siri or another voice assistant to find information about financial services, signaling a major departure from the way traditional search was done.
All of this means that restricting paid advertising to a niche keyword on Google is unlikely to make any difference overall. Chances are, you might not even know this restriction existed. Bing, on the other hand, has no qualms with cash advances and allows paid advertising on them.
Last modification : May 31, 2022
Sean Murray is the President and editor of unbanked and the founder of the Broker Fair Conference. Connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter. You can see all future Banked events here.