Net neutrality laws in the US could potentially be repealed by the current administration. If that happens, your company’s approach to online marketing and SEO will be changed radically.
Net neutrality is not just a buzz term. It’s about a level playing field between internet providers, so all consumers can access information and businesses can compete equally, regardless of how much money they have. Take it away and major corporate ISPs will hamper and swallow competitors.
The result will mean slow internet, like in the dial up days, and limited access for consumers – unless they pony up according to the rules that will be imposed by the giant organizations. If you currently use Netflix, for instance, you can access movies and shows easily and quickly. Without net neutrality, an ISP company like Comcast could throttle your connection to Netflix while allowing you faster connection to its own streaming service. Your once perfect streaming experience would be buggy and slow while Comcast’s became powerful. You would lose choice and ISPs could even block websites outright if they wanted to, or just change your access.
Difficult Access, Plummeting Rankings
Right now, net neutrality and SEO don’t seem like a big deal. That’s because US consumers can access any part of the internet as easily as they want. The law protects that. If that law goes, consumers will have to pay more for faster download speeds and greater access. Kind of like buying a season pass to a theme park, but the gold plan has restrictions while platinum is unfettered. Now put that in terms of search engine rankings. Pay one plan and consumers can instantly open the big name sites that are supported by the ISPs, but opening yours will be throttled and difficult. They’ll have to pay another more expensive plan to get an equal experience. Considering people currently shy away from pages that are slow to load, what would canceling net neutrality do for your online hits, sales, and then rankings? Yikes!
Uneven Playing Field, Stacked Deck
Net neutrality and online marketing go hand in hand because, with neutrality, everyone is playing on the same field. Businesses can compete. Competition challenges them to do better for consumers. Your business has a fair shot for SEO and rankings. This makes the mega companies equal to the mom and pop shop down the street, at least in terms of online access. If net neutrality goes, this will die.
The wealthier companies will be able to stack the deck by paying ISPs (or allying with them) to slow access to certain sites, or even block access. Thus competition would be eliminated and SEO would be affected because searches will change based on the access of providers. You’ll effectively have your marketing claws removed.
If there is no more net neutrality, SEO will become a pay-to-play service offered through a very limited and tight network of ISPs. Those providers would then also offer website design and SEO services and be able to block out competitors.
It’s Mobile Too
Net neutrality and online marketing are important in the mobile arena. Think you’ll be protected if your mobile data provider isn’t officially an ISP? Think again. Not too long ago, T-Mobile tried blocking its customers from accessing video sites like Netflix while offering its proprietary video service free. People hated it, it wasn’t legal, and it failed. If net neutrality is thrown out, think how your online marketing will suffer. Mobile access to your company will be at the whim of a few companies.
You can bet that many businesses and consumers will be doing everything they can to pressure the current administration not to repeal net neutrality. And SEO and online marketing companies will be leading the charge.
Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Results Professional Marketing and a clickable link back to this page.