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Latest Push Down from Google?

 12:31 pm on Aug 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi All,

Before I write - can I just say - this is NOT "google bashing", I am pointing out a fact - one which I hadnt noticed until today - but which may have been around for a while - I am not sure.

Google is destroying its natural serps - slowly but surely - this is killing all websites which rely on the natural serps for their income.

My sites cannot pay google fees for Adwords - there is simply not enough margin - if there was - then I would gladly pay them. Fact - there is not enough margin.

So - today - for the first time (for me) in my field, I see Adwords ads (three of them at the top of the natural serps) this is normal - BUT........ The first ad shows SIX sitelinks beneath it - basically this is almost enough to make it so that the effective space taken at the top of the natural serps is now FOUR adwords ads.

Only ONE site now shows on the screen in the natural serps section.

The steps google has taken to dominate the serps with its own money making ventures are subtle but relentless over time.

The fact remains - it is their right to do this - but guys - WE HAVE TO ACT to defend ourselves. If not - then seriously - google will take the internet off us.

Im not google bashing - it is their right to do as they please - but in reality - what they please to do is killing websites.

Is there ANYTHING we can do at all?

Just read again what they have done (above) with the sitelinks on adwords - the serp is now almost off the page.



 4:47 pm on Aug 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

Is there ANYTHING we can do at all?


1. Never again devise a business that is totally dependent on organic search traffic.
2. Think positively - there are ways to build successful online businesses and you can find them. And Google organic traffic can be a part of that picture, but it will never again be what it was.

As an aside - margins that don't allow for any marketing/promotion budget at all are not, in my view, part of a viable business niche.


 5:28 pm on Aug 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's sad to say but I have to agree with tedster. Unless you are number 1 or 2, then you are gone (and as you pointed out, #1 is nearly gone).


 5:28 pm on Aug 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

MrFewkes this has been going on for some time now. Just may have hit your sector not sure why but I have seen these links for some time.

I do think your correct on some sites just can't pay the price to advertise in Adwords as the cost is really getting out-of-hand.

Ted is right if you want to survive go fish in another pond, play the social game more trun your talent and energy in this area, build a following, build a business from social.


 5:42 pm on Aug 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google isn't your friend, they borrow your content for profit. That's the nature of business though there is a window for working together.

In the long run however you need a site to stand on it's own WITHOUT search. If you work on ways of getting traffic outside of search odds are search will send you more too.


 6:09 pm on Aug 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

@Ted for sites totally dependent on organic traffic. What would you start doing to change that status besides PPC?


 6:34 pm on Aug 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

Cultivate direct traffic, for one. Customer retention practices of all kinds. Here's a thread started by Brett nearly ten years ago that might jump start some ideas:

Mostly Viral Top Traffic Alternatives to Search Engines [webmasterworld.com]

As the search engine referrals continue to fall for most on the web, we are in a scramble to find alternatives. That scramble has become a panic for some that have traditionally relied on the now fading search engines for traffic and repeat traffic.

That was from 2002!


 6:41 pm on Aug 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

That should be pinned to the top of somewhere. I guess not here cause this is the Google forum, but even so.

One source of traffic isn't sustainable, just like one client (if you take clients) isn't sustainable the minute he jumps ship or goes out of business or dies (all of which have happened with various clients over the years - you don't even wanna KNOW what GM did to us)

If there's absolutely no way to find traffic other than organics, you need to seriously consider revising your business model and finding something else. Yea, it's a bitch and a half, but while you're thinking about it, your competitors may be doing it.


 6:43 pm on Aug 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

Excellent Ted, thank you. Brett wanted to know what was missing from that list back in 2002. I guess social media...


 6:59 pm on Aug 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

I wonder if depending on one market might not also be a recipe for disaster...

China is expected to eventually have a middle class of around 800 million people or more. India will one day soon have a huge middle class, too.


 10:19 pm on Aug 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

I wonder if depending on one market might not also be a recipe for disaster...

Absolutely! It's time to rethink the geographic markets served.
Sure, China and India have burgeoning middle class populations that are anticipated to be huge. A marketers dream. Predictably, this will result in a high level of market competition and clutter.
(P.S.: We're already late for the party, and the lines have already formed, but we can still get in).

But, there are also 190+/- other countries with population segments that might be valuable, and easier to compete in.


 11:08 pm on Aug 9, 2011 (gmt 0)


I dont think it will be the size of the middle class but more the culture: will they shop and buy online.I dont have stats but its mainly USA, UK and Canada with online shopping growth and a few other countries following.


 11:54 pm on Aug 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

@tedster, could I challenge you on point 1. Is that like saying don't build a business to depend on the economy. Or like telling a farmer not to depend on the weather? What if you grow fruit? Find another sun?


 12:30 am on Aug 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's like saying don't lean your business against just one prop - one income source. Diversification is essential, or sooner or later you'll be a victim. And yes, if you grow fruit, find ways to diversify around that crop.

Before the web, I managed a chain of stores whose income was strongly dependent on Levis jeans. Over 60% of income and even more of the traffic, because without the jeans customer in the store the other items wouldn't sell either.

All well and good until the skateboard fashions came in and Levis missed the boat on that trend. We saw our income failing and barely diversified in time, partly because we did have a few other lines already established in the market. But if our shops had been exclusively Levis stores, they would have folded.

It was a lesson I'll never forget. A parallel situation - a supermarket right at a major bus stop. They were really abusive and exploitative in many ways, but people tolerated it because it was convenient. However, they did nothing to encourage customer loyalty. And then the city and the bus company moved the bus route... and the store went belly up within a few months.

I'll say it forever. I appreciate Google's innovation very much - it's been a boon to human culture in many ways. But I would never depend on Google organic search as the core of any business. Use it, yes, but diversify your traffic streams and income streams for long term stability. Google owes us nothing. That's reality.


 12:36 am on Aug 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

Fact - there is not enough margin.

This is why tedster called you out a bit in the other thread. the only reason there's not enough margin is because YOU haven't created a successful enough adwords campaign. If your quality score, CTR etc are high enough, you can get your costs way down - well within pretty much any margin you prefer.

I've heard this refrain from others in my niche. They complained that they were paying $10 a click, and I've seen numbers like $50/click. Yet there I was with a $1/click campaign. How's my margins now? And when the competitors opened up the pocketbooks, I used to increase my bid to $2. Bled them dry trying to compete.

That'd leave them complaining about the margins (they'd actually call me sometimes and complain). But was it the margins? Nope, it was them. Margins were just fine.

My analysis, you need to stop complaining and stop looking for a fix. Start looking for your advantages, where yo're smarter than your competitors. And if you can't work smarter, then do what I do and work harder. Lay the blame at your own doorstep, that takes longer but leads to a more probably long term solution.


 1:28 am on Aug 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

@tedster, thanks for saying that. I have a deeper appreciation of where you're coming from. Hope that makes sense. Much respect. I guess is a lot of ways you have a lot more wisdom than some might credit you for. I've tried to adopt the diversify practice, but me thinks that it should be a continually tweaked and emphasized practice. I thought I was diversifying enough, but now I do not believe that to be the case. I would prefer to be a big player rather than a fringe player and that's my goal. Thanks.


 2:20 am on Aug 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

The other piece is conversion optimization. With the same traffic - whether organic or PPC - you can often improve conversions to the point where your sales are double of better. It's not exactly SEO, except that the whole thing is one continuous piece: keyword, ranking, CTR, landing page and then conversion.

Conversion optimization is a big deal and a key tool in the toolbox. Same investment, double the earnings? I'll take that every time. I've paid hundreds for custom studies about what factors improve conversions and that investment has paid off in the tens of thousands or better.

Even after several decades at the marketing game, I still study marketing ideas and especially scientific tests every day. I keep polishing my writing skills. This is my livelihood so I take it very seriously.

[edited by: tedster at 2:43 am (utc) on Aug 10, 2011]


 2:36 am on Aug 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

A few of the well known adwords people have said that if you are going to build a business, start with adwords first, then SEO, then other forms of advertising.

The reason they recommend adwords is that it can very quickly tell you whether you have a viable product / service without having to sink lots of time and man hours into it.

I really wish I had done that years ago. Right now, I am just trying to play catch up on adwords just to see whether the items I have been selling for the last 11 years still make sense.


 3:27 am on Aug 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

Even after several decades at the marketing game, I still study marketing ideas and especially scientific tests every day. I keep polishing my writing skills. This is my livelihood so I take it very seriously.

It is no exaggeration for me to say that I've learned more about business in general (and marketing, and pretty much everything else related to what we're talking about here) in the past five years than I did in the 15-20 years previous to that. Things change that fast. And I ain't done yet.


 10:53 am on Aug 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi Guys
Yes that is correct i have observed Google do that, but what i have observed another thing is that the display of ads are time based mean in a month you will see that the adwords shown above the serps count changes as per particular time for example, the ad count will show 4 sites in the beginning of the month but later in between and at the end of the month the count of ads changes we cannot determine exactly what is the start date and the end date of this cycles, i think Google has watched closely the market for every nich and is now manipulating the adwords count to benefit itself.

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