| This 197 message thread spans 7 pages: < < 197 ( 1 2  4 5 6 7 ) > > || |
|So Long Google And Thanks For All The Fish|
Two months ago I sold my main business. It was a website that depended 100% on free Google traffic. We had owned the site since 1995 and after I visited a conference and found out what Google wanted to see to rank well, it started making money in 2001.
Over the years we tried everything we could to generate additional traffic outside of the organic traffic from Google. In our sector the ROI was just not there and we were literally throwing money away. So we just sat and happily watched the money come in. And boy did it come in. Google LOVED us.
We knew that the income was essentially a gift and tried hard to not ramp up our monthly spending, but these things happen. You always seem to want more as you make more without thinking of what would happen if the money stopped coming in. That's just human nature.
So we kept chugging along and bought our dream home in the Wine Country. Our bills increased as we advanced our lifestyle and things were groovy. Yet I always felt strange about our income stream. I always felt as if I was not in control. Of course I was not in control, Google was and I allowed it.
I allowed the free income to continue. Who wouldn't? Google had us by the you-know-whats and I allowed it. But I had many sleepless nights fretting about our rankings, and I began to check our keywords way too often, almost to the point of an obsession. It was affecting my mental and physical health but I really had no other choice but to try and find other sources of income while maintaining the money-maker site.
So 2010 was our best year to date. We had incredible rankings for top keywords as we had for many years, but for some reason, we were exceptionally successful that year. We had not become totally complacent, we had developed other websites, but none of them made close to the money we were making.
Then came Panda. The time I had feared for over 10 years had finally arrived and Google no longer loved us, they liked us, but the heavy petting of the past was over between us. Our income dived by 45% which was tough to swallow. My wife and I talked it over and we decided to sell the business/website. We were fortunate enough to find the perfect buyer and we were free of our Google lust shortly thereafter.
Now I can sit back and read the reports of Google being evil and Panda being some sort of horrible conflagration beset upon the unknowing public and shake my head.
Panda should be a lesson for EVERYBODY that depends on traffic from search engines. If you depend upon free traffic, you should know that it WILL go away at some time. It may take 10 years, it may take a month or a minute, but it will go away, at least a portion of it will and there is nothing you can do about it. Sure you can try whatever remedy you read about here and other places, and they may work, but you are still getting free traffic that can go away at any time. Do you really think that 10 years from now you will still be getting free traffic?
I watch people complaining that they have families to feed and a mortgage to pay so how could this happen to me? Well, ya know what? You have nobody to blame but yourself. It was FREE money and it ended. You allowed it to begin and to end just as I did.
I apologize if this seems harsh, but sometimes a smack in the face is more helpful then a sympathetic pat on the back.
Our next business will not depend on any search engines to be successful. It'll be our hard work that either makes or breaks the business, not some damn algorithm. So goodbye Google and like Douglas Adams, said - So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish, or in this case, money.
travelin cat, congragulations on making the best choice and wish you all success in your new google independent business model on the web.
But I qualify the words "free traffic" with double quotes because nothing is free. Webmasters allow them (Google) to crawl and index their websites as they send traffic and google crawls and indexes their websites as they had to serve their users who make them money. Though there wasn't any binding relationship between the two parties, there isn't anything free in this arrangement. Webmasters bartered content for traffic that google sent their way.
In this kind of barter economy, Google decides now and then to dump certain websites and their owners in favor of others.They could do that because they have established this kind of economy on a massive scale on the web and they aren't dependent on any individual webmaster or groups of webmasters. They source their content from diverse suppliers and that makes them immune to these outcries from a subset of webmasters (who aren't popular).
Yours is a perfect example of what webmaster should do going forward. They shouldn't be too dependent on one source of traffic.
But there is nothing free in this barter economy and I am guessing that this is just your way of saying goodbye to them and not necessarily to thank them.
|Swapping is the increasingly prevalent informal bartering system in which participants in Internet communities trade items of comparable value on a trust basis using the Internet. The most notable disadvantage to electronic barter is inherent in Internet commerce, that of trust. How can consumers have confidence that they will receive what they bargained, or paid, for? Although the Internet based consumer market has by its continued existence and growth demonstrated that it works, there is never a guarantee of satisfaction in consumer to consumer transactions. There is no absolute defense against fraud. However, it can be argued that when a person barters there is less incentive to deliberately mislead. Neither party is paid; each party receives something that would only then have to be converted to cash |
Umm, it's called a monopoly, we are all dependent on one source of traffic.
You should have loyal visitors like webmasterworld.com. I don't think webmasterworld.com is dependent on Google. WW stays even though Google sends zero traffic.
|we are all dependent on one source of traffic. |
Please define, who is this "WE" of which you speak?
I get traffic from Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, Yandex, bookmarks, directories, links on other sites, etc., I am not part of your "WE".
Multiple traffic sources have to be cultivated, it doesn't happen by itself.
Relying solely on Google is just lazy, shortsighted and a suicidal strategy for the long term survival of a site.
|You should have loyal visitors like webmasterworld.com. I don't think webmasterworld.com is dependent on Google. WW stays even though Google sends zero traffic. |
Are you kidding? g### adores wmw. Put up a post, and it will be indexed before the page has time to refresh. That's how I found this place. Look up one thing, another thing, another thing, and after a while you notice that the best answers are all from the same site. But you can't get to that point if people don't have a way to find out you exist in the first place.
|Relying solely on Google is just lazy, shortsighted and a suicidal strategy for the long term survival of a site. |
Something to think about when anyone talks about "whitelisting" robots. <fe>All the important search engines are already established, so there's no point in wasting your bandwidth on the upstarts, outsiders and wannabes.</fe>
|Something to think about when anyone talks about "whitelisting" robots. <fe>All the important search engines are already established, so there's no point in wasting your bandwidth on the upstarts, outsiders and wannabes.</fe> |
Whitelisting doesn't mean ignoring upstarts whatsoever. My recommendation is to wait until they are a viable player, at least in Beta, before letting them put a drain on your resources. For example, the hundreds of toy nutch crawlers (wannabes) people have running amok, not worth the bandwidth unless one of them actually goes public as a SE. Likewise, the flood of toy crawwler crap from AWS (Amazon Web Services) isn't worth allowing access at this time. However, new promising spiders like Yandex and even Blekko have been allowed on my whitelist.
Sites that whitelist and ignore things that come knocking do so at their own peril, just like sites that blacklist, both methods require monitoring to be effective and keep a site healthy.
Besides, just because a site isn't in the initial index of a new SE doesn't mean it won't get indexed quickly once you whitelist them when they're ready to be a primetime player.
This is roaming too far off topic, but the OP has pointed out the perils of relying on a single SE, you have to expand your traffic sources to keep a site viable, but that doesn't mean let any old crawler access your site nor does it invalidate the process of whitelisting crawlers.
It's all in the execution whether it's a success or not, more simply put, the devil's in the details. :)
This just shows me how messed up everyones thinking is. It is not "free traffic" and "free money". Google would be nothing, completely NOTHING without our content they use for "free".
All revenues derived from said traffic are generated on the backs of our content, whether adwords or adsense it is all on the backs of our content.
Before you even sat down to play Google has beat so many of you at chess.
Man o man this is some messed up thinking.
My take :)
I can see the point of those who say its not free(zero cost to webmaster) traffic from Google seeing as they do a lot of work and expend a lot of reasources to build these sites.
However, i think what the OP is also pointing out is that
where a business entirely reliant on walk in traffic like organic traffic(free not paid for traffic) it will have problems where it has no control over access to the free traffic.
A bit like those towns that get abandoned when the rail route no longer has to go around the mountain range and goes thought the brand new tunnel under the mountain instead . rail workers move away, no train stop overs, perhaps some utilies to be cut off ,,,,
I never quite managed to get on the Google loved up list , so i've been trying to develop SE independent stuff for a while, but its tough.
|This just shows me how messed up everyones thinking is. It is not "free traffic" and "free money". Google would be nothing, completely NOTHING without our content they use for "free" |
Wrong again. Scooterdude got it right.
It's free traffic in that it came to your site without you spending a dime for it. You must forget costs you incurred when you created your site. Those costs were necessary to launch your site. But to make money you need traffic, and when you get traffic that costs you nothing as in organic traffic from Google, it is free.
If your site makes money based upon the traffic, then the money is also free. Simple algebra. Traffic=$$
Also, I was not talking about how Google benefits from our content, that is part of their business model, not your business model.
As IncrediBill pointed out, there are other sources of traffic, but if you depend on Google traffic you are getting free income from their free traffic. How can you not see this?
I find it fascinating that some people will just not face this fact, and it is an undeniable fact.
My post was not to change anyones in-place business plan, it's too late for that. I was hoping to give people a real world experience so they can think their plan through before implementing it.
I'm beginning to understand that many people are confused by the use of my term "free money". Try and think of it as "gift money" and perhaps you will see that in fact, your traffic is a gift from the search engines.
|Also, I was not talking about how Google benefits from our content, that is part of their business model, not your business model. |
You spend time and money in building the content which is bartered for traffic. If you aren't going to get traffic, you aren't going to allow them to crawl and index your content. This again uses resources from your end.
It is neither "free" nor a "gift" as long there is some consideration involved. The consideration need not always be monetary and it is so true in this barter economy.
incrediBILL is an advocate of whitelisting bots. Why do you think he whitelists?
He doesn't want to let in bots which benefit his sites in any manner. If crawling of his sites by googlebot isn't going to benefit his sites, why should he whitelist them while ensuring other lesser known search engine bots do not gain access? He is very clear on why he maintains a whitelist.
|My recommendation is to wait until they are a viable player, at least in Beta, before letting them put a drain on your resources. For example, the hundreds of toy nutch crawlers (wannabes) people have running amok, not worth the bandwidth unless one of them actually goes public as a SE. Likewise, the flood of toy crawwler crap from AWS (Amazon Web Services) isn't worth allowing access at this time. However, new promising spiders like Yandex and even Blekko have been allowed on my whitelist. |
Why do you keep saying "free money". It's like real estate. You buy yourself some nice land (domain), then you develop the building (website).
Shops don't pay their customers to enter their store, so they get this "free money" too. This should be no different. You are in the wrong paradigm of thinking.
Then like any other bricks and mortar store you advertise and get your target market to know about you. In this case your target market are the people searching for your best related keywords, and you optimize for said search terms.
And now Google has suddenly stopped people entering your store.
And yes, sure there are a lot of sites that do not "need" Google because they get so many repeat visitors anyway but
1. how do think those visitors found the site in the first place?
2. They won't keep returning forever
3. Even major sites like Amazon and Ebay still thrive from Google referrers.
4. If Google loves your site, then the rest of the referrers are negligible anyway.
|1. how do think those visitors found the site in the first place? |
Whatson, I don't think you are right as well. There are so many ways for them to know your site and you don't need google for people to find your sites. They can find them through any other SE or through a social network or through an ad on TV or radio or in so many other ways.
The problem is some people believe that Google is unilaterally conferring benefit to your web properties by claiming it to be "free traffic" from them and there are others who believe that if Google isn't there, there is no internet.
|Are you kidding? g### adores WebmasterWorld. Put up a post, and it will be indexed before the page has time to refresh. That's how I found this place. |
Well I found a link to WebmasterWorld on another forum. I would say that I haven't found a single useful piece of SEO information on Google - it's all been gleaned by trial and error, and from reading forums and from following links - from one blog post to another, or a forum link to a blog post which links to another forum or another blog post etc etc.
Think of how we found out about the Google guidelines pdf. And PotPieGirl says [warriorforum.com] that she found the document on the Warrior Forum - someone had uploaded it there a few months ago.
Very old school.
This is one industry that doesn't rely on Google to disseminate information. There's food for thought in that!
In all honesty I came across WebmasterWorld in a newspaper article. But I would still believe that the majority of new visitors come from Google.
In any event the vast majority of websites in the world will have Google providing the majority of their new visitors.
Face it they are the make or break of 99.999% of websites. Any they just broke me (pun intended)
I think it's clear that depending on one source for anything isn't good for your business. You can't expect to be stable if you have one traffic source, one client, one supplier, or one employee that you can't run your business without. When you only have one of anything that you rely on for your business, that's a point of failure that could bring everything to a halt.
I understand the frustration around Google organic traffic but it's up to webmasters to deal with it. Don't blame Google for anything since this is a free market. Google will run their business the way they want to and you can do the same. Yes, some may have put a lot of work into building their organic traffic, but that's their choice not Google's. Google provides this organic traffic to sites at no cost and have no obligations to send traffic to anybody. Even if you paid for traffic from Google for 10 years, they can make a choice to stop doing business with you. At the same time, people can stop using Google for their searches and these people don't owe Google anything. Overall, the point I am trying to make is this is a free market and everybody can choose to do what they want.
I have a site that generates a great income that 95% of the individuals in the US don't make at a full time job. It's all organic traffic and fairly maintenance free. I have tried over and over again to diversify the traffic but Google organic traffic is still 85-90% of the overall traffic. This worried me everyday for 2 years as I worked to diversify my traffic, which never happened and I gave up on that idea for now. Given the circumstances, I now spend 10-20% of my time on this business while working on something else that doesn't rely on organic traffic. Everything is still going well with the first business, but I am mentally prepared that it could be gone any day. And when it happens, it's my fault that I created a business that I failed to find alternate traffic sources for.
Right now, my new business relies only on paid display traffic. This type of traffic would never work for my first business. The business model for the new business was created around the traffic instead of the other way around. In about a year, this new business is now making about the same amount of the first business. It's not nearly as maintenance free and hands off (which is just the nature of paying for traffic), but there's also a lot more potential since you can grow paid traffic a lot quicker than organic traffic. Also, display traffic can be bought from a lot of places, which is great. Google is buying companies to try to dominate that industry too, but they are still really far from having a monopoly like they have with search.
The point of my story is to diversify. Diversify from having one traffic source to multiple sources, from one client to multiple clients, from one business to two businesses, or even from having online only businesses to online and offline businesses. I know this is easier said than done, but it's definitely the right direction to go in.
The ironic part is that Google themselves pretty much fail to diversify their revenue stream from search. But then they are such a giant that we just can't compare ourselves to them.
[edited by: directwheels at 4:59 pm (utc) on Oct 22, 2011]
This whole notion of Google doing us some sort of favor by sending "free traffic" so we can make "free money" is off the mark in my opinion.
In the beginning, things were kind of ideal: We (the webmaster community) created the content which cost us time & money; Google then crawled our sites and provided to their users a synopsis of the content, with a relevance ranking, to make it easier for their users to find what they were looking for.
So far, so good, and with every passing day this model made Google more & more popular with the public and the press.
Then Google added their hugely successful PPC model, so a certain part of the screen real estate began generating income for them.
Again, most everyone understood that and accepted it without complaining ~ like us, they had every right (and need) to generate an income stream.
Then things changed ~ Google became the most influential and powerful internet company, overwhelmingly dominating the entry point for most websurfers. They were/are/will be the gateway. They became a verb, as in "you can Google that address". To survive on the internet without Google became more & more difficult. Not impossible, but difficult.
Then things changed some more ~ they began laying down the law: They let it be known that link exchanges could hurt you; they wanted rel=nofollow; they began looking at factors that were outside of your control, such as who else was on your virtual servers; and yada yada yada.
At any point in the chain they could implement one of their much beloved penalties, so without notice you'd wake up one morning and would wonder what in the heck happened. They told you nothing ~ as any dictator knows, that's an extremely powerful control mechanism ~ potential terror without reason.
Then they changed some more, as they bought up companies and integrated those urls into most search results. They added more sponsored listings. They shrunk the on-screen real estate for the organics to lower and lower percentages. They favored certain big-brand "trusted" sites.
They began gathering data about you. They know what sites you own; they know your surfing history; they read your gmail. They've got your profile. They know more about you than your neighbors.
And much of the webmaster community watched with dismay as their daily traffic numbers went down down down. Jeez, what a surprise.
By this point, the symbiotic "partnership" of the early days was LONG dead. It is just taking some of us much longer to figure that out.
Google is not your friend. Google is not your partner. Google is not a service that you can depend on, and they haven't been for a long long time.
To survive in the PardaWorld, you must learn to live without Google. It's the only way. Otherwise, like the OP, you fold the cards and sell your site to someone else who may give it fresh energy. And if they quickly die, you'll be glad you got out when you did, and got what you could.
Whew, dodged that bullet.
That's life in PandaWorld. And so anyone still in this game thinking that Google will dependably be there for them in the coming years is, in my opinion, very possibly doomed to extinction.
Getting out while we can is looking better & better all the time.
do you all accept that no matter what you say here or agree with like minds, it will change nothing with google
does anyone here have a contract with google to recieve x amount of traffic
publishers who publish books an news papers developed mulitiple income streams over millenia, many have come an gone, but books still get published in one format or the other
so for me, there is a pressing need to find an engaging viable, model which converts resources deployed into product and profit effectively,in this changing environment
|I'm beginning to understand that many people are confused by the use of my term "free money". |
? I think your confused, "Free Money" means "Free Money".
You are expecting folks to understand what you meant and not what you said...
The irony in all this is that the vast majority of us sing from the same hymm sheet. We hate the way google owns us, we worry about traffic,
we worry about monopoly,
we worry about algos,
we worry about panda,
we worry about changing our sites,
we worry about intervention and regulation,
we worry about whether google is within their rights,
we worry about our bills,
we worry about our staff,
we worry about worrying now.
So - the irony - we worry so much - we know so much - we own so much. Collectively we OWN the web - and yet we are owned.
So what do we - the OWNERS OF THE WWW DO?
We are like a hunted herd of zebra where the lions just wander round eating us. But is ok because its not my turn today.
Google does NOT own the WWW - they appear to - but they do not.
We do and our combined strength should be put to use IN FAVOR OF ANOTHER ENGINE to split the traffic.
Its either that or we all die.
But - I know - its right there in our faces - all our knowledge and all our skills - and yet we are too far apart from each other to beat our worries.
We have to combine our strengths to make this situation right.
Like it or not - we need a revolution of sorts - or we just die.
I wanted to add - google are within their rights to crap on us all - and believe me - we are within our rights to crap right back at them. But only together.
|our combined strength should be put to use IN FAVOR OF ANOTHER ENGINE to split the traffic |
The problem is that you are never going to get consensus on which engine to promote!
Take me for instance. I rank best on Yandex.com - really really well, hogging #1 and #2 for some competitive terms.
My next best is Google - where I rank quite well - not as well as I'd like to, obviously, and no where near as well as on Yandex!
Then Bing, where I don't do as well as in G.
Finally I don't rank well at all in Blekko and DuckDuckGo - they prefer all manner of spam to me!
So of course my choice of the alternate engine to promote would be Yandex.
But others may prefer to promote DuckDuckGo, still others may prefer Bing, and those doing well on G at the moment will push G as hard as they can!
See the problem?
Say four engines made it and each got equal share - Yandex, Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo. Because their algos appear to be so different, you would have to choose which to optimise for. So you have to consciously say "I'm going to forgo 50% of traffic". And even with two engines you absolutely have to rank for to stand a chance, you would always be second guessing yourself that what you do for one engine doesn't hurt you with the other.
The all-or-nothing with G sometimes feels easier as you have the potential to make a killing if you crack it.
The only thing that we need to do vis a vis the web..is link to who we want to , how we want to, and link to what we like ( content and sites ..even sometimes outside our particular site or sites "niche")..then people ( visitors and us, because we, each of us, is someone else's "visitor" will find interesting things, products, and content and information, on one another's sites , without always going through Google, or Google's "approved" ways of linking ) ..convincing webmasters to hoard links..via the FUD of "link juice"..allowed Google to provide the iron and webmasters made their own shackles..
You don't need to "combine" into anything to liberate yourself from search engines , Google or any other..just link to what suits you, what interests you, and to stuff you like..and forget the "follow/no follow" crap ..only cost to you?
The occasional line of html somewhere on a page or pages..tell your visitor "hey I like this" or "if what you found on my site interested you, maybe this will too" ..or say nothing ..just link..
Little by little you'll get and you'll give traffic that doesn't come direct from search.. combine this with direct ads , bought and sold, ..and all the other things talked about here in various fora as ways to get the word out about your site(s)..
But link..and don't spend all your time asking for back links from each one..just link sometimes..the way it used to be..
I never listened to Google about "no follow"..I always added in some links to what I like,even if it had nothing directly to do with the sites, along with the ( SEO, on site topic type links ) links..never used "no follow" ..never did me any harm..
Blindly doing what Google says, makes you and your site, "Google's poodle".."don't be Google's poodle" ..;-)
And don't promote any one search engine over any other..if every one linked out naturally for themselves and their users and not for search engines ..eventually no one search engine could be dominant ..
As to who goes first ? I've been doing it this way since I started on the web..and like I said ..it has never hurt me, or my sites, if anything it has made them ride higher in serps, and more able to ride out things like Panda ..
[edited by: Leosghost at 7:24 pm (utc) on Oct 22, 2011]
Those who do well in google know that they will not last.
I am number 1 in google aswell - but this ill feeling I have (the same as the OP wrote about) makes me want to change things.
I am number 1 in Binghoo aswell - so the algos there are not really worrying.
I want to split the traffic.
So - people should choose the engine to push themselves - which may well suit them - and very few others.
We need to BITE BACK at google - at the very least get them to stop their shoving us off the serps with ads.
People say that google owe us nothing. This is true.
What people are missing is that they SHOULD treat us with respect. Like it or not sites and engines cannot live without each other.
I want people here to realise that google have NO respect for us, and that it is our RIGHT to slap them back in the face.
Who the hell do they think they are crapping on us like they do?
I see no problem in fighting them at all - we are millions of times bigger than they are by measure of humans and websites alike.
Our target should be to split their traffic until they give us some real estate back in turn for all that WE HAVE GIVEN THEM.
Its basic respect.
We OWN them - we should show them how strong we can be.
|Those who do well in google know that they will not last. |
you are speaking for yourself there..
Respect ? why should anyone respect crappy sites or sites built using stolen content..
We don't need to band together ..some sort of webmasters union ..ridiculous!
The way to reduce the effects of search engines is to link to sites ..at the moment most people find things through search engines..because webmasters listened to Google and stopped linking to each other unless it was to impress Google..
btw..their shareholders own them ..
Less hyperbole and histrionics..more thought..and these threads would be able to keep the sort of value that was in travellin_cat's original post..
Leosghost - I am not speaking for myself. How is this the case - when others have already stated that fact many many times.
The quality of the site has nothing to do with the fact that adwords take up all the space. Excellent sites are shoved down now. Or are you blind?
I did not say "webmasters union" - thats just something you blurted out.
The way to reduce the effects of a search engine - is not to link to sites - thats just more blurt.
Travelin cat gave up - or didnt you notice?
you sure as hell are not speaking for me..and I'm doing well in Google..
And you keep saying "we".so you think you are speaking for all of us ..you are not ..just for the vocal minority here..how do you propose that webmasters "bite back" ..? unless they all did something concertedly ' which implies some sort of organisation or structure or "union" ) then it won't even be noticed ..neither by Google , nor by users.."Bite Back "..more histrionics and noise..
You may need to look up what blurt means and how one can use the word grammatically correctly ..
Given that I have been doing what I suggest for nearly 10 years now..I certainly didn't just "blurt it" out..and one cannot say "just more blurt" ..blurt is not a noun..
If some people's posts are like their sites I'm not surprised that they have ranking troubles if algos and humans are looking for content that makes "sense"..
travellin_cat didn't "give up"..he like many of us have better things to do than post to those who do not to see or do not want to see or just want to make noise..
Go "bite back" at Google ..let us know how you get on..
|I am number 1 in google aswell - but this ill feeling I have (the same as the OP wrote about) makes me want to change things. |
I am number 1 in Binghoo aswell - so the algos there are not really worrying.
I want to split the traffic.
You want to split the traffic between Google and Bing, and I want to split traffic between Yandex and Google.
See? We are already at odds. That's the point I was making. The "we should combine" thing doesn't work because it's not clear who "we" are, and it's not clear who should benefit from this action.
P.S. Notice how Google features in both our scenarios... That's probably the reason why they'll continue to dominate.
I wouldnt worry AlyssaS - noone will do anything - its best to just wait until we die and make the most of what we have before google shunts all the natural serps off the screen with their ads.
(I use the term "natural" in a loose manner BTW)
|We do and our combined strength should be put to use IN FAVOR OF ANOTHER ENGINE to split the traffic. |
You first :).
I'm on the gravy train until I'm kicked off. I'd like it to be different, but realistically, it ain't going to be - because nobody will go first.
Maybe someday I'll robots.txt block Google. But not right now.
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