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Is Panda actually the commercialization of the internet?
MrSavage




msg:4334959
 3:00 am on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's not easy to get a thread started here but I will try.

This is an analysis on what you think Panda really is. Afterall, we've all read what Google thinks Panda is or should be. And if you take that at face value, they are indicating something a bit scary. This isn't a bash thread. This is an evaluation thread or an outlook thread. You optimistic? You giving up? You think a new era has begun and your means of free traffic is over?

I'm trying to condense this is a compact post as possible. Some disagree but for me, on the surface and from what I've seen so far, the reaching implication of Panda are beyond what some people are willing to accept. But let me try.

In the world, all things are commercialized. Few exceptions but let's say that whatever there is out there, it eventually get squashed, incorporated and then the dollar is the only motivation.

Let's take Panda. Based on the criteria of websites and based on what I see and have been reading about search results in Google, it's about the big sites. If Google put CNET, offical sites, Wikipedia, Amazon, and a few others on the first page or two of results, then the goal of spam free and top notch quality results would be attained.

For my field, I see this pattern of sites. Certainly sites that can crush me like a bug. Beyond comparison. It's like the guy washing dishes asking the daughter of the president out for a date. It's that far fetched.

Some people here go on and on about how we are complaining about drops in free traffic. Perhaps Google now shares your view. Perhaps they feel that the commercialization of the internet (or their search) is just better for everyone. It's like they have said listen, enough with the free loaders. We don't need you guys anymore. If you aren't popular, aren't deep, aren't updating daily, then you aren't catching a sniff of what you used to get in traffic from us. Sure, there will be people saying they are still getting traffic. Great, but understand one thing. If your niche field gets popular and gets covered on bigger sites, the Panda way appears to be that you are going to get swamped and dropped into the ditch where you rightfully belong your freeloader.

So really, what I'm asking is, does Google Panda spell the end of free traffic. We can enjoy crumbs in a few niche markets, but when certain areas you cover become popular, you are going to sink like a rock. Is Google Panda really just Google saying enough with the guys making money online getting free traffic from our engine and who are beating us at the game and who are providing useless blogs and websites. That's what I'm feeling. Moving forward I'm feeling that it's a change in Google philosophy. Under their new criteria I ask how the hell you are going to compete with big sites. I hope my outlook changes on this and that the index gets filled with more variety than what I'm seeing now.

Right now, for what I care about and write about, I see big sites, pro staff, pro writers, thousands of followers, huge budgets, and on and on. And on that level, mission accomplished according to Panda. Therefore, why should I sit here and expect things to turn around?

I'm upset at the stories about people completely screwed by this algo change. It's very upsetting to me. At this stage of the game, Google needed to understand just how deeply people's lives were relying on their search engine. They have disregarded a lot of individuals and have not done a lot currently to offer hope or guidance. Sure a few crumbs, but where are all the turn around stories then?

I've said this. If we learn what Panda wants, then our sites get back in. Then what? Google has the same scum (I'm scum because free traffic something I rely on) getting into the top rankings. Isn't that what they didn't want? Or is Panda so smart that they will keep ahead for the first time in history of the spammers, the freeloaders and the people who's job it is to get that traffic that they ultimately provide.

Back to my point about commercialization. It's about nothing being free in this world. If you're getting something free it won't last. The internet was supposed to be the last frontier of freedom from that world. You can't compete in the marketplace ultimately with Walmart unless you have a bigger budget or you have some small niche that they don't give a crap about. Sounds a lot like Google's Panda direction. It's what I see, not in what they are so much saying. The proof is in the pudding. But if Walmart started selling what you're selling guess what? You're essentially dead in the water. On Google an idiot like me actually might outrank Walmart. That was then but what about now? I can outrank Amazon? How? Their value is in content, followers, size, reputation etc. That's what Panda wants right? Amazon and not some site that is not even a drop in the Amazon ocean of content.

I'm out. Not forever, but I'm in a serious state of transition and confusion. My next move? I have no idea. Am I alone on that feeling? The way Panda is going, are you trashing your online strategy, waiting it out or what?

 

Shaddows




msg:4335007
 8:19 am on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

To a large extent, I agree. I'm surprised we haven't heard more of the "This is the end of SEO" mantra that gets repeated far too often.

But for the first time, SEO as a differentiated discipline is under threat. Real world marketing techniques have never been more transferrable into the online space. To get to the top, you cannot rely on Script Kiddie SEO. Either you have to be a pretty accomplished SEO (and with respect, that includes only a small fraction of regular posters in this forum), or you need to be well versed in traditional marketing, or you need to be niche. In fact, it's just like the real world.

For people who are not currently a big player in their competitive niche, you need to adapt or die. And adapting has NOTHING to do with conquering the current Google algo. Itís like being a market trader set up next to Walmart. Not a lot of point staying there- you will never get any business. Changing your signage, patter, goods for sale or anything else will not increase your trade. You need traffic that has no intention of shopping at Walmart.

That means selling stuff that Walmart doesn't. It means forgetting you're on the main road (Google) next to Walmart- none of that traffic is coming your way. Stop pitching up in the same location- move to the backroads. There's a lot less traffic there, but some of it will be interested in you. That's a metaphor for diversifying your traffic sources, but it's getting a bit strained so I'll leave it there.

The long and short of it is that the Wild West days are over. Panda is about bringing normal human behavioural patterns to Google. Since real world business is defined by human behaviour patterns, it should be no surprise there has been a closer alignment.

Just remember, more people are employed in small businesses than in the giant corporations. You can still make a living- but not by beating the big boys in a straight fight for unqualified volume traffic.

KJBweb




msg:4335008
 8:19 am on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hm, I can see what you're getting at though I think its more of a re-aligning back to Google's initial goals; the user experience.

Its not just about targeting keywords any-more, its targeting keywords and being able to satisfy the searcher who arrives by the keyword in question too.

If your site puts smiles on your users faces, you can be pretty damn sure you're going to be heading up the rankings and staying there.

Why?

Because it makes Google look good, it makes the advertisers paying in AdWords happy that they truly are reaching their target demographic and in turn you're rewarded with traffic and/or advertising revenue (depending on model).

So if your sites traffic has dropped, adjust your compass a little and focus solely on satisfying your "customers"; you wouldn't stick around or go back to a sh*t restaurant (the website), and the "Good Pub Guide" (Google) sure wouldn't send customers your way for fear of tarnishing their rep also.

walkman




msg:4335026
 8:40 am on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Itís like being a market trader set up next to Walmart. Not a lot of point staying there- you will never get any business.

Especially now that Google is consolidating. Many, many sites will eventually die as Google is cutting more and more traffic to give it to the top brands. Famine or feast means feast for 10-30 sites and death for many others. Google is even changing titles and guessing what you wanted to write on the site and what the user wanted to search.

Its not just about targeting keywords any-more, its targeting keywords and being able to satisfy the searcher who arrives by the keyword in question too.

If your site puts smiles on your users faces, you can be pretty damn sure you're going to be heading up the rankings and staying there.

Maybe one day. Until then let's not get carried away :)

suggy




msg:4335031
 9:05 am on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

The long and short of it is that the Wild West days are over. Panda is about bringing normal human behavioural patterns to Google. Since real world business is defined by human behaviour patterns, it should be no surprise there has been a closer alignment.


Exactly.

You can still make a living- but not by beating the big boys in a straight fight for unqualified volume traffic.


Precisely.


Bottom line is, SEO is dead -- at least as it has been operating. Why? Because SEO is only about 'getting there' (to the top for your phrases) and little else. People are going to need to think a lot harder about why they should be there now and deliver real value and real sites that real people actually want to visit and revisit.

I have learned this lesson from Panda. The implication for me for Panda is that my business just isn't good enough. If the loss of speculative traffic can kill my online store off, that tells me we just aren't good enough; good enough at getting repeat visits and loyal customers. We've been chasing Google's algo when we should have been chasing customer value! Since my moment of clarity that has changed and I think my business will be a lot better for it, google traffic or not.




londrum




msg:4335040
 9:18 am on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

you're assuming that google (and panda) are going to stay top forever, which isn't guarenteed. Bing has been making (small) gains for ages. A couple of years from now google's preferred version of the web might be old hat.

I think that its a bit short sighted of google to return the same sites to the top everytime. People dont search for millions of things. They have a few general interests and search for those. the search terms they use are probably quite limited. If the SERPs never change then they will eventually learn which sites are good... and they will have no reason to go through google. they will just go straight to the sites through bookmarks, or whatever.

for example... if i want to learn the birth date of abraham lincoln i can guess right now (without looking) that google will have wikipedia in the top 1 or 2 sites. so why bother searching on google? i already know what the answer is. i may as well just go straight to wikipedia.

its the same with book searches... i may as well just go straight to amazon.

google are turning themselves into the yellow pages, and i cant see that lasting forever.

mrmobility




msg:4335046
 9:31 am on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

londrum,
I doubt that is the case as many people (my self included) use Google to get to known sites. I would even rather search Wikipedia specifically with Google than bother with their own search, ditto Amazon.

londrum




msg:4335047
 9:42 am on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

i agree with you a little bit, because i use the search box in my browser to get to amazon. but once there, do you use their search or googles? you are not using google because its returning great and amazing results... its just a means to an end. people can just as easily click a bookmark to get there.

what im saying is, a lot of people these days dont use google because it's returning great and amazing results, they just use it out of habit. and if google keeps sending them to the same sites time and again, then that will become a habit too.

walkman




msg:4335054
 9:55 am on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

+1 for Londrum. Not to mention that once average webmaster lose faith on getting 'free' traffic, there goes Google. Not a joke.

Google traffic is not free by the way. It's free if you, more or less, you do a horrible job, not if you work on your site every day. People go there to find 'good' sites depending on the keyword, Google didn't send you their employees or buy traffic to give it to you.

deadsea




msg:4335080
 11:28 am on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)


for example... if i want to learn the birth date of abraham lincoln i can guess right now (without looking) that google will have wikipedia in the top 1 or 2 sites. so why bother searching on google? i already know what the answer is. i may as well just go straight to wikipedia.


I can get the result faster by searching on google. They probably have the result right in the SERPs and I don't even have to click through. Even if I do have to click through, its faster than going to wikipedia and trying to locate their search box on the page.

The only place that I find myself searching and not using Google these days is product search. Until google starts displaying merchant ratings in the SERPs, I'd buy from a site I already trust rather than testing my luck on widgetname.com

almighty monkey




msg:4335096
 12:14 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've not seen, with any of my clients, any meaningful effect from Panda, save for a few duplicate content issues that flew under the radar suddenly being highlighted. (Which, fair enough. Google should of shot them down years ago, they just weren't up to the task at the time)

As much as I'd like to brag and take credit, the reality is that at its core this is down to the nature of my clients. Most of them have small, brouchure style websites. Their site serves a point - usually to try and sell something to a user who is searching for that specific thing, or to inform people about whatever it is they're supporting, or whatever.

A common theme I see amongst people hit by Panda is 'My site has 50,000+ pages of quality content! Why have I been hit.....'. Now, I'm sorry, but if you have 50,000 pages, it's not quality content. Unless your a huge E-commerce site with 45,800 individual products. Or Wikipedia. Your probably not one of these things, though.

Basically, it strikes me that panda has hit people who were creating traffic to chase the audience figures they've discovered through 'Niche Analysis', rather than to chase the audience for their businesses. And that's good! SEO should support businesses, not the other way round! Businesses created because 'I found a niche' were always doomed endevours.

Anyway. Frankly, any businessman who puts their entire lead generation onto one independant third party who has no reason to care that the business even exists is dumb. Spreading and mitigating risk is literally one of the most basic principles of business, and 'all my leads will vanish on the experimental whim of any one of 300 Google Engineers' is a pretty effin' huge single issue. Anyone who didn't see that coming is a dummy.

Also, SEO will never die as long as search engines are algorithms. It is a computer. It runs on rules. You figure out the rules, you optimise for the rules, you rank. Just because the rules are no longer 'GET PR8 BACKLINKS! META KEYWORDS!' doesn't mean SEO is dead, it just means we're probably crap at it at the moment.

MrSavage




msg:4335099
 12:30 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

I completely agree that it's almost like why bother using Google, just go to Amazon, Twitter, Wikipedia in the first place. A big yellow pages somebody said? That's the same "feel" that I have.

The point here is yes, sure you can get your traffic, just pay for it via Adwords. Just like the "real" world, you "pay" for advertising.

So Matt Cutts and company are still going to be viewed as flower lovers now if the trend continues?

Like I said, my feelings are fueled by the people who are deeply affected by what's happening here. I'm mad about that. It isn't just a matter of it's their business they can do as they please. Their core business, the internet goes much deeper than that. This is what happens when one entity becomes too much. A lot of people still don't realize what happened to their traffic just yet or what Panda is. I'm angry that one company can seemingly change the core of what the internet is. If this continues, my feelings towards them could change forever. And yes, I mean forever.

I'm giving this time to correct itself or to realign. I'm hopeful that it will, but I'm certainly not holding out any hope for that. I know how the Panda philosophy is. It's saying it without saying it. Well guess what? I want no part of an internet that is commercialized to this extent.

MrSavage




msg:4335101
 12:36 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

@almighty monkey, with respect you're the one who is clueless or as you say "dumb". The internet is Google. Ever figure that one out? So, "we" are idiots for putting our faith in the internet? That's about as stupid as saying you're "dumb" for putting all your faith into the economy. Guess what? Economies fail. Google was the "economy" here smart guy. They are the only really internet "economy". I see, we're idiots for relying on the only economy available to us. Interesting. Here is where you say, no, you can still use Adwords and get traffic from the internet of there is still Bing traffic. Dumb. If the shoe fits wear it.

suggy




msg:4335104
 12:46 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Running each other down won't forward the discussion

almighty monkey




msg:4335106
 12:50 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

So, "we" are idiots for putting our faith in the internet?


Nope. Just Google. The internet was never a third party. It's like putting all your faith in doing business with one guy - if he pulls out, your screwed.

The internet is Google.


Nope.

There is Bing. There is adwords. There is social. There is video. There is affiliate. Relying on any one of these, alone, is setting yourself up for a kicking.

I want no part of an internet that is commercialized to this extent.


Truly a loss to us all.

One of us here is getting kicked by panda here mate, and one of us has multi-billion pound corporations on his client list. You can take my advice or you can bite my head off. I don't really care which.

londrum




msg:4335153
 1:19 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Here is a really good example of how google is returning the same results for everything

Here are 3 well known figures, in totally different fields, who must have thousands and thousands of sites devoted to each. but google puts the exact same sites in the top 10 for each

"Winston Churchill"
1. wikipedia
3. nobelprize
6. brainyquote
9. time

"Mother Teresa"
1. wikipedia
2. nobelprize
4. brainyquote
10. time

"Albert Einstein"
1. wikipedia
2. nobelprize
3. brainyquote

Nobody can seriously argue that wikipedia, nobelprize and brainyquote have the best and most detailed info on those three figures, because they dont. The nobelprize site, especially, just has 1 pic and a short bio that is a few paragraphs long. and that's the 2nd best site on the entire web for that search? i dont think so.
Any yet google puts them at the top for each and every search.

You just get the same stuff returned for everything you do.

[edited by: londrum at 1:28 pm (utc) on Jul 5, 2011]

mrmobility




msg:4335156
 1:27 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

That would probably have been the same before Panda - even if you discount the huge internal linking power of Wikipedia it still has more back links to the Mother Theresa page than the competition.

Shaddows




msg:4335159
 1:36 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

@londrum
Sure, but if I search for one of those people, and I am confronted by a bunch of unrecognised sites, plus those four, I have two choices.
1) Go for the site I know has sufficient info for a quick summary
2) Click a site hoping it will have better than 'sufficient' information on it.

You might do the second, but the vast majority of users will do the first. So, if you are Google, do you make those users happy, or do you insist that there is some higher purpose than satisfying them.

Conversely, if you did not want a brief summary, and wanted in depth information, you are highly likely to click through several entries anyway- possibly (shock!) onto the second page.

londrum




msg:4335164
 1:41 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

well yeah, i agree, and that is my point. if google has decided with panda to just keep on returning the big sites that people already "know", then that is short sighted of them, because eventually those people will have no need for google.

-- they are like a radio station that always plays the same stuff.

[edited by: londrum at 1:45 pm (utc) on Jul 5, 2011]

deadsea




msg:4335166
 1:42 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Or to refine you search and type "Winston Churchill early years" or "Winston Churchill biography".

Shaddows




msg:4335177
 2:10 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

I disagree- it's actually increasingly important for them to return the big boys.

In addition to the stupid (and growing) number of people that type domains into Google, there are people who know that Google will return results for what they meant. It might infuriate us, but most people are glad to have their poorly constucted queries give them back some some useful results. Most destination sites use traditional IA techniques to index their sites.

For Google to remain relevant, they must deliver up their best guess of what the user meant, from the best selection of sites the user might want to visit.

Which is depressing.

Onders




msg:4335178
 2:14 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

A few good points have been made - but essentially the overriding trend is that traditional SEO is no longer a stand alone way of getting to the top of the rankings.

What Google has been doing (and this shift has been happening for quite a while) is moving towards a full knowledge model, where everything about your company, your product, your website, your clients and your general site visitors is analysed to determine where you should be.

It's very clever, potentially fraught with mistakes, and if you look at how sites were rankings a few years ago, a major and relatively fast change. Traditional SEO was about content, having your infrastructure set up well, and links. It was stand alone. You could do all of these (to whatever extent, or using dubious means!) and rank, whilst still have a rubbish product or service. Sites would rank highly just because they were doing SEO well.

To be fair, that's how conventional marketing worked as well. You could have a pretty rubbish product but spend millions on marketing and you'll get visitors and potentially some sales.

Everything has changed though - people now leave reviews about products and services, share thoughts, talk to millions of other people. Everything can be seen and virally spread. Brands can be almost irreparably damaged by people who all of a sudden have a voice, and can get a following. It's a huge shift towards more power for consumers.

Whether Google's decision to look at every facet of a company is related to this trend or not is almost irrelevant - the fact is, they are now looking at so much more than they used to, perhaps nearly everything a company does.

It makes it more difficult for us - but as someone has said above, it's been relatively easy freeloading for quite a while! There's still huge potential out there, and I don't think this is a case of "we're all doomed". I see this as a wake up call. We need to work harder to preserve (or improve) what we have. We need to focus more on consumers and the product or service we are delivering. If you've got a good company, and you're providing something people are happy with - Google should and I believe will, reward that.

Shame it has got harder, and a sad farewell to just link and content building, my to do list has just got a lot longer!

SevenCubed




msg:4335203
 3:07 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Also, SEO will never die as long as search engines are algorithms. It is a computer. It runs on rules. You figure out the rules, you optimise for the rules, you rank. Just because the rules are no longer 'GET PR8 BACKLINKS! META KEYWORDS!' doesn't mean SEO is dead, it just means we're probably crap at it at the moment.


+100 Very well said.

Those who think SEO is dead are viewing it from the point of offsite popularity rather than onsite mechanics. If you only optimize for offsite popularity you are constantly at the whim of not only Google, but also every site that your link appears on. When Google changes their algorithm you get affected not only by those changes but also by the cascading effect of how Google's algorithm changes also affected those sites. It gets compounded.

But the problem right now is that Google is pushing organic to page 2 slowly but surely. I can still get first place in some instances but first place is going to evolve into position #11 for non-paid results.

As for Panda commercializing the Internet -- it's still too early to know for sure. I think most of us would agree that the search results these days are horrible. That in itself is going to turn the general public off to Google sooner or later. Ultimately Google (or any other search engine) has no choice but to give some front page real estate to organic results or they will sink. If they don't people will soon get into a habit of performing their search then immediately clicking through to page 2 to begin reading results. It will become an unconscious reaction just like Google is now an unconscious choice for search.

They had a very nice balance when they had their ads to the side (or even few spots on top) and devoted space to non-paid websites from which they scraped content to make them into the large advertising agency that they now are. But hundreds of millions in profit wasn't good enough, they want it all. They will never regain my respect that I once had for them -- never, regardless of what they do going forward.

If you want to get friends, family, and associates to change search engines all you have to do is help them understand that Google is no longer a search engine, they are a push engine with self-serving interests. Most people do not like to be taken advantage of and when they truly understand that they are being exploited they lash-back quite quickly. Recently I was patiently working on trying to get a friend to switch to something else other than Google. It was like pulling teeth. If she was the type to have tattoos she probably would have had one of Google. I persisted for MANY months, without becoming a nag.

Today she is a Bing fan! I told her she may still need to return to Google once in a while for long-tail searches (just like I do) so that she doesn't have to quit cold-turkey. What was the turning point? When I explained that Google is trying to put small business web developers like me out of business [gybo.ca...] she immediately revolted seeing the injustice and greed there.

We as a collective community of webmasters, developers, writers, etc, built the Internet. It's our house and Google is only a party crasher. We can take it back and demand an equal opportunity. It will also serve notice to future search engines of where the line is drawn in the sand.

Don't fret about these changes. We can collectively haul Google back in line. Reclaim your dignity. Tell 7 friends and they will tell 7 friends and so on and so on...

I now realize that it's simply a matter of finding a point that really pinches a moral nerve in a friend and then point to the Google practice that pinches that nerve -- because Google has a violation for nearly every situation.

netmeg




msg:4335213
 3:20 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

It ain't about SEO. It ain't about search. It ain't even about Google.

It's about YOU. It's about your business model. Even if your site isn't a business, it's still about your business model (i.e. what you're about, what you're offering, what you hope to achieve, what makes you different).

Until you can wrap your mind around that, you're just gonna spin your wheels.

SevenCubed




msg:4335214
 3:25 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Netmeg I know of locals here that run just like you (and many others) are saying but without SEO the people that would benefit from what they are offering just don't know they exist. That's where we stand right now.

MrSavage




msg:4335322
 6:08 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

If I'm replying here I'm not on the attack on those with differing views. I'll challenge those views though. I'm passionate and hopefully won't come off as being disrespectful. If you call me an idiot though I might name call back.

Netmeg, obviously you have tons of web experience. You are also a credited Adwords expert.

We have a business. That business doesn't have a store front. A lot our income was based on the belief that the internet wasn't reliant on the whim of a search engine. The sad reality is that Google became the economy. There is the "real" economy, and there is the "internet" economy. The difference is the "real" economy has ramifications. It isn't run by one thing but a bunch of collectives. With that said, if the government in the US said, you know what? We need to raise interest rates by 4% or more in one day would do what to the economy? Yes that would make headlines wouldn't it? The problem with what happened regarding the "internet" economy is that it's going without notice right now. The stories of people losing their internet business and life's work has not yet been told. Sure you're going to say like the other ignorant folks that it's our fault for relying on the "internet" economy to run our business that operates on the....yes you guessed it. The internet economy.

Like the real world economy, our online businesses didn't rely on Adwords to operate. I suppose you're suggesting we're idiots for assuming the internet would not commercialize? There must be a lot of "idiots" out there then. You haven't yet heard from them all just yet.

To say it ain't even about Google is bizzare. What everyone is saying is that hey I have a great site full of great content. It's now getting 5% of the traffic from Google as it once did. Nothing but great feedback. You're telling me that there is going to be some huge turn around for people like me? So how do I crawl up from the hole unless I get the 10 people a day to click the +1 so that Google can say hey, we might have a winner here?

tedster




msg:4335326
 6:16 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

What happened to all those people who thought your site was good in the past? Do you offer only a one-time service or product? Is there no reason for past visitors to become loyal regulars?

suggy




msg:4335332
 6:46 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

@tedster -- precisely

I am big enough to admit that we just aren't good enough. If the loss of speculative traffic from Google can so harm my business and livelihood then, frankly, I know we wasted a lot of free traffic over the years.

Pre-panda, everything was fine, because there was always another buyer courtesy of google. But, we didn't do enough to captivate them, ensnare them, turn them into fans.

That's not to say we were rubbish -- our feedback and reviews suggests precisely the opposite -- but, when all is said and done, we were just another X retailer. Like a shop trading off a great location, until the passing footfall stops using our street.

The fact is, over the past 7 years we've spent far more time trying to satisfy google than do great things with the site or our offering for our customers. The result is that now we are buried, few people seek us out. That is the harsh reality and I am now absolutely determined to redress that issue, by being truly remarkable.

I presided over a business failure a few years back. And, the major cause of failure was denial. You can only deceive yourself up to the point where it all comes crashing down around your ears. It's really much better to be your own worst critic!

MrSavage




msg:4335336
 6:54 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Do you know of tracking software that tells you numbers of visitors that are return visitors? It's very well possible that the number I have are a majority of that. If you have a news site, yes, people come every day. I'm not in the news business. What percentage of websites rely on daily return traffic? A forum that writes it's own content? Any site such as mine that is product specific or product related isn't built upon return visitors. Not unless you sell something that people need many times in a year. People use the information to make an informed decision. In my field it's a waste of my time to be targeting or redoing the website in an effort to somehow attain big numbers of return visitors. Possible? Sure. Worth my time? No. I'll find something else to spend my time on in all honesty. If you're not in the news business or forum business, you're truly grasping at straws thinking that changing strategy for return visitors will amount to much. I have no regrets about doing what I did with the site because I know it's fantastic and many people have told me so. That's all the proof I need.

wheel




msg:4335341
 6:59 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Seo is still far and away the easiest and cheapest route for me to build a business.

Through the years I've found two sites where the advertising costs pays a direct benefit in terms of sales. Two. None of the other sites (and I know pretty much all of them) have ever driven a single sale that I'm aware of.

Direct mail, maybe someday but not interested right now. Too steep of a learning curve.

Telemarketing, I just don't like.

Traditional advertising is a failure in my niche.

Plus I sell nationally. Traditionally in my industry salespeople only sold within a very limited geographic area. I don't even compete with anyone locally, I've got like 2 clients locally, I do absolutely no advertising or business development around here. Whoops, sorry, I've got three clients locally - the last one actually found me on Google.

My existing clients eventually buy again, but the buying cycle is like decades.

So for now and the forseeable future, it's Google or wherever the traffic is online. And given the alternatives, I don't really see a need to change that approach.

It's not like back in the 70's when everyone in my industry used telemarketing and direct mail the mantra was 'you better not depend on direct mail, you should also do telemarketing'. If I've got a successful direct mail business, then I've got a succesful direct mail business, end of story.

The reason you need to fear Google is if you're rankings aren't built to last. THis is a risk that CAN be mitigated, though not easily with most of the SEO advice that gets thrown around out there.

Anyone think that wikipedia is leaving the serps anytime soon? If they can maintain a stable presence, so can others.

And if you get hammered in the serps, there's always PPC as a fallback. And in addition, Bing can still drive some amount of traffic. In my niche I could probably run a small, thin business off of bing alone if I focused exclusively on it.

SEO's not dead in my books, not by a longshot.

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