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Google supplying all my traffic
Is anybody fed up of 90% leads through Google?

 10:34 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Are any other webmasters out there fed up of relying on one single resource, namely Google to provide all of their SE traffic? Having run a site for six months I am consistently finding that 90% of my traffic comes from Google (including Google adwords) and the remaining 10% from other search engines and directories.

It doesn't seem quite right to be so dependant on one single resource as from my companies point of view we suffered terribly last month with the index reshuffle. Has anyone out there had any luck diversifying the leads they get through across the different search engines or should we all just accept that Google is the biggest player so the only one worth worrying about?

We've participated in PPI for engines such as Ask Jeeves and have over 200 backlinks for the various spiders to follow but still no real traffic from anybody other than Google. I would like to hear from people who have managed to gain a sizable number of hits from the alternative engines such as Altavista & Ask Jeeves and how they managed it.

Thanks all

Chris Holgate


jeremy goodrich

 11:12 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well, this part:
>>>>alternative engines such as Altavista & Ask Jeeves and how they managed it.

Is a bit off, since Altavista doesn't really provide anybody traffic. The alternatives to Google are mostly:

MSN (directory & PPC & Inktomi)
Overture PPC
FindWhat PPC
LookSmart PPC

What you need to do is look at *everything* that could provide an ROI, then do tracking systems that analyze all the data flowing through your website.

Sure, I don't like being dependent on Google, so I'm not. For one site, I've got great "word of mouth" and the volume of people that simply type in the domain name is much better than any search engine's referrals (those are nice too, just not as large). ;) And nope, didn't do any offline marketing, just viral.

*if* you are interested in diversifying your internet marketing strategy, then you need to open your eyes to everything that isn't Google.

Just make sure any paid avenue you chose provides an acceptable ROI.


 11:18 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi Chris

You can get a lot of traffic from paid sources. Obviously the best source depends on where you are and what you sell. I think we get about 20% of paid traffic from Findwhat and Espotting combined. Not bad for a couple of no-names. I also find that paid traffic gives MUCH better results in terms of sales. Unfortunately Google is still the boss, but their Adwords program is very fair and allows even lower priced ads to get a showing, albeit less often.

I think you'll also be seeing some changes soon now Yahoo is nearly sure to boot Google out as their free SERPs provider later this year. If you start optimising your site for Inktomi, you'll most likely be right on the money when things heat up.

Good luck!


 11:52 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi Chris,

Looking back at the last 6 months, 33% of the referring domains for my main site is from non search engine sources. IMO, this reflects the true value of links.

35% has been from Google

15%, from Yahoo, 10% from MSN and the rest from AOL, AV, Hotbot, etc.

This has changed dramatically though in the past 2 months. While my overall traffic is up about 10%, MSN referrals has been slowly increasing and now equal Google, each acounting for 30%, with Yahoo at about 10%. Links still account for about 25%.

I wish I could take credit and say I did something specific, but the truth is I havent done a thing since just before Dominic. With Google making changes, I didnt want to over react, over seo or out-guess, so I stood pat with a site that serves the purpose of my users. I think this longterm, consistent approach is the only way to really win. SE algos be damned.

With multiple SE balls in play, the next several months will be volatile, so if you are a company site that can't afford to rely on the whims of free serps, then Adwords and Overture are the only guaranteed traffic.


 11:53 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

You can get a lot from Jeeves but I think there you really really have to rank well. Jeeves caters to the equivalent of "I feel lucky". Being 20th on Jeeves is worthless, being literally first is worth a lot, being top five is pretty good.


 3:57 am on Jul 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

I don't think anyone likes having to depend on Google for their FREE search-engine traffic.

Especially now that Google seems to be going through so many changes/problems.

So you're not alone.


 6:44 am on Jul 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Having run a site for six months I am consistently finding that 90% of my traffic comes from Google (including Google adwords) and the remaining 10% from other search engines and directories.

I am a bit confused. You get NO traffic from non-search engine sources? Wow, your site must have some MAJOR problems. I had a site that was used specifically to track CPC / PPC traffic. It had two links, which NEVER produced traffic, and 33% of the traffic came from "NO REFERRER" , i.e. users typed it into the address bar, or had referrer logging turned off.

If, however, you are saying 90% of your Search Engine traffic comes from Google, well, that is different. I say diversify. I never get doing Adwords when you already get good Google traffic, particularly NOT if you don't get much traffic from MSN. I say, look @ Overture, eve Look$mart. Diversify as much as possible, that is the key.

<edit>typos typos typos</edit>


 7:22 am on Jul 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

I can't say I get sizable hits from anyone but Google over 11 sites totalling approx 10,000 uniques a day with 30 - 40% being search engine traffic. Of this 30 - 40%, 90 - 95% of it is from Google. I am counting AOL and Yahoo in on this since they are feed from the Google trough these days.

I have checked my position regularly in the other major players. In most cases I have the same if not better positioning. In the last week one of the more active sites has had 3 visitors from Altivista, 1 from LookSmart, 1 from Lycos. This site is number one across the board in all of these engines for the primary keyphrase of this site.

Unless you have one heck of an advertising campaign, are a major name like Walmart or something, or you just have an obscene about of back links, good luck getting traffic from something other than Google.

The only time I have ever seen anything give me better traffic than Google was a Niche Directory for a Niche site.

<added> I would like to make one finaly note. There could be a ray of hope, if you want to call it that, I am starting to get competing hits from MSN. However, should MSN pull off their toe to toe with Google and win, I am not sure how confortable I would be with them at the Helm of SEs. </added>


 7:29 am on Jul 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Guys the point is not why most traffic is originating from google. If your clients visit google then, it is useless trying to focus on other SE at the expense of google.

As long as those 90% give you good business, then you have to make an effort to increase site hits not %.

This is not an investment portfolio...this is advertising, spend more in places which are used by your future/old customers.


 7:44 am on Jul 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi Chris,

There have been a few posts about this recently; and at the end of the day it comes down to your own perception risk and how you manage that risk.

There is a chance that Google will be gone tomorrow, or if not gone, suddenly move to a paid inclusion model for top SERP. You don't know.

It may be a risk that you are willing to take. If you are not willing to take it then you must work to ensure sufficient referrals from other sources in order that you can still eat if Google goes titsup.

My personal opinion is that I would be happy to bet 100% of my income on Google's existence and free traffic were I to be a sole trader, but if your businesses has grown sufficiently large to be taking on employees then I don't really think there is any need to be relying on Google.

Remember that hundreds of businesses in different industries rely completely on other companies for their own survival, there's nothing new or unique about the dotcom / Google situation.


 8:17 am on Jul 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Here's a recent related thread:



 11:05 am on Jul 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

So far for this month:

- Google 5034
- MSN 2191
- Yahoo 1174
- AltaVista 416
- Google (Images) 344
- Other search engines 146
- AOL 141
- Lycos 60
- Netscape 31
- Looksmart 18
- Excite 14
- Overture 14
- AllTheWeb 11
- DMOZ 10

Altavista seems to be getting better each month, so while others are writing them off, they've now got significant enough to bother about for me. The high MSN traffic is partially due to a lot of Zeal entries - one of the advantages of being a non-commercial site. While I have had pages in Ask/Teoma, it's never been many, so I can't comment on their effectiveness. The site has been spidered for free in AllTheWeb/Ink etc...

These are the stats from the site in my profile, so feel free to roam around. It's optimised for Google, but ranks well in the others.

The only things I'd recommend are keyword rich internal text links, good quality back links and lots of content - but I guess you've got this sorted anyway if you're ranking well in Google. Try using a keyword research tool to expand the phrases your optimising for, even if you're just dropping them in your title tags.

Nmsdesign's comment about concentrating on your best current referers is only half the story. That's akin to only optimising for your product name because that's how most of your customers find you. It might be because you rank highly on your product name and not for anything else.


 12:01 pm on Jul 17, 2003 (gmt 0)


Some very good comments above for you to read through, my suggestions are this. Pay for a few pages into Inktomi, keep looking for new links to your site, keep up Ad-Words but check that you are not buying keywords or phrases that you already are top 10 for in Google, look at Overture PPC.


 12:02 pm on Jul 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Here's mine so far this month.

- Google 77%
- Yahoo 18 %
- AOL 1.2%
- Other search engines .75%
- MSN .75%
- Netscape .34%
- Virgilio .16%
- Kvasir .07%

Unfortunately I am very reliant on the 'Google/Yahoo/AOL' partnership as you can see. Looks like I need to do some more MSN optimising and submit a few more pages to Zeal - that worked for a while when my Google hits weren't so good - maybe I can get their visits beating AOL again :-) My problem with Ask Jeeves is that it won't index any of my pages with url strings - I'm not willing to fix it just for them considering my results will likely be behind a lot of paid results anyway!


 12:27 pm on Jul 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google provides about 25% of my site's traffic, which is a little less than the number of direct referrals. At the moment I'm #6 for my main keyword, and if I was #1 the extra traffic from Google would push that percentage a bit higher. If Google vanished it would obviously hit my traffic and sales, but that's not likely (I hope!). What's more likely is some reshuffle of listings that moves me up or off of the first page of results.

Diversifying isn't much of an option because the other search engines just don't generate enough traffic. For example I'm #3 for my main keyword on Altavista (3 places higher than on Google), but so far this month I've had 34 visitors from AV for that word, while Google has given me close to 800.

For me, word of mouth and links are the way to go. One site that links to me gives me five times the traffic that AV does.


 5:41 pm on Jul 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

There are lots of ways to diversify other than looking at other search engines.

Look to non-SE sources. I'm now up to 3 links that each give me over 1000 referrals a month and a few more that are closing in on 1000. Sending out newsletters and sponsoring forums can lead to a lot of traffic.

Diversify your site within Google. Don't be dependant on your "main big important" keyword. If you lose that one keword you are screwed. Don't be dependant on any particulare page in your site either, as the missing index threads clearly show.

Diversify your number of sites. Have a few different active sites around to save your butt in case the main site gets pulled. They can sell the same thing, related items or even totally different things. They can be informational sites that are realted to your main site that have sponsoring banners pointing back to your main site. In that case you would at least be advertising on a page that would be getting good results.


 7:11 pm on Jul 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Strategic redundancy is what some call it.

I have to say I am a little concerned about on overdependence on one major source of web site traffic.

For one, there might a wealth of info and opportunity out here one might miss (search data etc)

What is latest on that story in the Wall Street Journal about rivals positioning themselves to take on Google in the searchsphere?

Makes for competitive and more efficient search alternatives, I think.




 10:07 pm on Jul 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google is only about 30% to 40% of my traffic. 15 % booked marked. 10 yahoo and 10 msn 5 aol the rest is links.
I have the #1 spot on all my search terms on google but 1 and I'm #7
If you add up aol, yahoo and google about 50%. Is this how ya'll do it?


 10:31 pm on Jul 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

When I stated at the beginning of my post that Google provided 90% of my traffic, I was referring to search engine traffic. In reality, including bookmarks and the URL being typed in directly, Google accounts for around 50% of my total traffic; this still seems surprisingly high though.

Thinking about PPI on Yahoo and Looksmart to diversify my results.


 11:10 pm on Jul 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

About three months ago my sites got most of their traffic from Google. However, the Dominic update destroyed my rankings. I went from top 10 everywhere to top 200. I had hoped that it was a momentary problem with Google but the rankings still haven't improved. Google still accounts for 25-30% of my traffic but now sites like MSN and Inktomi are providing 30-35% of traffic, where my ranking were pretty much unharmed. I hope Google gets back to normal. The serps are terrible. I imagine I'll be getting a greater percent from the Google alternatives if Google doesn't such itself out soon.


 12:23 am on Jul 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing this:

1. search.msn.com 78
2. search.msn.nl 8
3. www.google.com 4
4. search.yahoo.com 2
5. search.netscape.com 1
6. www.google.ca 1
7. webferret.search.com 1
Total 95

These are SE traffic out of last 100 visitors
(I have cheap stats (free))

Its like this for a couple of days in a row already.
I think its kind of amazing what MSN is bringing in.


 12:26 am on Jul 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hardly would say that I am "fed up" with it.. Neither should you be! Would however like to see more traffic from the others as a safe guard incase "G" forgets us one month or something happens as our business would suffer without the "G" leads.

Again, the words "fed up" are a bit extreme... :)


 12:29 am on Jul 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have to admit - I don't even care anymore about this stuff. It's like the weather - if it rains, it rains. I've been through different variations - google has been at times 90% of my traffic and 10% of my traffic.

It might be possible to guess why it happens, but its almost completely impossible to do optimize that makes a lasting impact.

Just try and make the experience good for your user and hope that they come back, and develop quality links, quality relatinoships, etc, and don't sweat the rest..

Good luck!


 12:38 am on Jul 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

<Look to non-SE sources. I'm now up to 3 links that each give me over 1000 referrals a month and a few more that are closing in on 1000. Big Dave

I not here to bad mouth anyone but I keep seeing the same things, look for other ways of getting traffic besides Google. OK then if you get good links from other sites then where exactly does their traffic come from?

I think everyone is dependent on Google in one way or another, however when Yahoo start serving up Ink results the "search engine world" will change and everyone had better hope that they rate equally well within Inktomi. I guess we will just have to wait and see what MS comes up with.


 12:09 am on Jul 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

I read the title of this post and I had to chuckle. "Is anyone fed up of 90% leads through Google?". FED UP? My goodness, we should be happy that Google provides us the traffic and visitors they do! I know it's not good to rely on one source, but while it lasts...*music* "Don't Worry, Be Happy!" :)


swampy webber

 2:02 am on Jul 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have to agree with a couple of other posts here. The thread could have also been called - "If not for google, I'd only have 10% of my traffic." I am also getting 90% of my traffic from Google but I also don't pay them to drive all of that traffic to me.

I think another title for the thread is "I don't know how to optimize pages for inclusion in engines other than Google" or "Why I don't pay for inclusion"

Any way you spin it - Google is providing the majority of traffic for a lot of us. The trick is for us not to forget that we need to have plans to fall back on if Google isn't there tomorrow.

Gotta run now ... Googlebot is visiting :)


 3:21 am on Jul 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think another title for the thread is "I don't know how to optimize pages for inclusion in engines other than Google"

It would be a worthwhile thread.


 7:46 am on Jul 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think ppl are mixing up issues. The Thread is about percentages. I maybe #1 on all search engines and still receive 90% traffic from google. That does not reflect on my SEO abilities but on the fact that search volume on google is very high for my kws.

Very good comments by BigDave.

Patrick Taylor

 8:24 am on Jul 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Reliance on Google/Yahoo/other Google "powered" search engines? Not a problem for me. It's the only search engine that either seems not to want to list me in any way whatsoever (some of my sites) or refuses to update their cache from months ago (most of my other sites).


 8:31 am on Jul 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

It may be safe to assume this indicates the old SEO marketing slogan "80% of all internet traffic is from search engines" is true and that most people are searching at google.

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