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Business Survival, With Or Without Google Organic Traffic
netmeg




msg:4533403
 11:18 pm on Jan 4, 2013 (gmt 0)


System: The following 74 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4533352.htm [webmasterworld.com] by engine - 12:56 pm on Jan 7, 2013 (utc 0)


Everyone by now should realize what the risk is with total dependency on Google. You can't build your entire business (or living) on it because you can't control it. It doesn't MATTER if there are no other options available to you (which, by the way, I do not for one minute believe) that doesn't change the basic truth that what Google gives, Google can easily take away in an instant. And all the sorrow or complaints won't pay the rent.

That said, I have sites that depend almost entirely on Google traffic. But I'm aware of the risks, and they aren't my main source of income. I have other sites that are more under my own control, and while they get organic traffic, they also use other channels (I also run a consulting company as a "day job") That way, my risk is at least somewhat distributed.

Rather than discuss the folly of depending on Google (which, c'mon, isn't really debatable) maybe it'd be more constructive to talk about what other channels you can use. I'm not sure that belongs here in this forum though (not sure where it would go that anyone would actually find it)

For example, I'm taking some of that "free money" that I get from the sites that depend on Google, and I'm having a mobile app made for iOS and Android. More than half my traffic is mobile, so that's an easy call. The first version probably won't be very fancy (mobile app development ain't cheap) but it starts to build my base and I can always ramp it up in 2.0 and 3.0 and so on.

 

TheMadScientist




msg:4533829
 11:59 pm on Jan 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

What you're seeing is a byproduct of machine learning...

I'll post about it later when I figure out how to say/explain WTF I mean in 'plain English' ... Panda is a 'machine learning' algo at it's base ... There's way more to what they're doing and why the results are all over the place than it would seem ... The 'short version' is: They're 'segmenting' and 'drilling down' on things ... How long it will take is really a guess, but mine is two more years at the most until they're at least really close, if not able to, 'switch over' to something totally different than we've ever seen.

[edited by: TheMadScientist at 12:13 am (utc) on Jan 7, 2013]

seoskunk




msg:4533830
 12:03 am on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Yeah Google really should call a spade a spade, a shovel a shovel and a seo a XXXX

Isn't interesting a post essentially about moving away from Google is attracting such large volume

Wilburforce




msg:4533833
 12:23 am on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

What you're seeing is a byproduct of machine learning...


As I said in an earlier post: there are signs that some of Google's current efforts might involve AI, and they are not promising.

Currently #1 for my key term (widget sales) is a site whose primary buisness is competition widget throwing, and although they do sell used, poor quality widgets (on another page with no direct link to it), the term "widget sales" isn't mentioned on the #1 page at all.

If the machine is learning to find widget sales, having been instructed by Google that every site with the exact phrase widget sales on it (or with widget sales in backlinks to it) is an impostor trying to game the system, we may be waiting a while for it to master the task.

TheMadScientist




msg:4533835
 12:31 am on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

To 'make a machine learn' you have to show both the good and the bad results to individual users (or segments of users) so it can tell the difference. Then, visitor behavior would dictate what 'stays' for one user (or group of users) and what doesn't for another user (or group of users) ... The algo itself would have to be 'flexible' based on the behavior of individual users (or groups of users).

IOW: It might not look 'promising' to webmasters for specific queries on specific days, but the algo would have to go through 'those phases' to get where it's going and 'drill down' on 'right answers' for individual users (or user groups) ... There's no way it would be 'right' from the start ... But, I also wouldn't be surprised if Panda is the base of the 'new algo' they're moving to and adjusts it itself based on individual user (or user group) behavior in the not-too-distant future.

Convergence




msg:4533836
 12:43 am on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend"

Who do you align with?
If Bing, Facebook, etc deem the Google as their enemy then start paying as much attention to them as you have the Google.

There is no overnight answer nor can you react as fast as the Google can act. Having a strategy that can be implemented over time is key - not emotional, knee-jerk reactions.

That being said, I believe that TheMadScientist has nailed it squarely on the head. If I didn't know better, I could swear TMS was my clone...

TheMadScientist




msg:4533837
 12:50 am on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld Convergence...

And I definitely thank you for your post, because as you have very aptly stated, I'm 'right there with you', and quite honestly, if this thread and discussion can help save one webmaster from what I see coming, then I'm happy...

There is no overnight answer nor can you react as fast as the Google can act. Having a strategy that can be implemented over time is key - not emotional, knee-jerk reactions.

Excellently Said! I hope everyone reads your statement and takes it to heart, because I see difficulty in maintaining traffic coming for many.

[edited by: TheMadScientist at 12:55 am (utc) on Jan 7, 2013]

Convergence




msg:4533838
 12:54 am on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld Convergence...


Thanks, been a lurker for many years.

TheMadScientist




msg:4533839
 12:56 am on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Not a problem, and I hope you continue to contribute, because even when we have disagreements, the members are what makes WebmasterWorld so great...

I've visited other forums before, and I've read what their members have to say, but, quite honestly, they all pale in comparison to the info presented here at WebmasterWorld today, and every day ... I can read and post anywhere I feel like, but WebmasterWorld is where I stay, because it's 'head and shoulders' above all the rest of the places I've visited and when I want/need info I look for the best, and here is where I consistently find it.

Yeah, I know I just gave a super huge 'plug' for WebmasterWorld, but I think the members who take the time and make the effort to post here deserve it, because it's really the members and discussions here that make it great.

taberstruths




msg:4533841
 1:25 am on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Personally I saw the folly of relying on Google 8 months ago when Penguin rolled out. Luckily I had enough loyal followers and fans that it didn't cremate us. At that point I focused on social networking, syndication on sites with higher PR than us in the same niche, and niche specific forums and bookmarking sites. Today Scroogle is only 1/3 of our traffic vs. 90% however we are almost back to pre penguin levels of traffic. Today we get over 1000 shares of one kind or another from social networks, 20+ free unsolicited backlinks from blogs, paper.li links, and people placing our banner and link on their sites per day. It was harder work at first building our reputation and awareness than just looking to please Google but today it is 1000 times easier and cheaper than it ever was doing it the old way.

TheMadScientist




msg:4533843
 1:31 am on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Today Scroogle is only 1/3 of our traffic vs. 90% however we are almost back to pre penguin levels of traffic. Today we get over 1000 shares of one kind or another from social networks, 20+ free unsolicited backlinks from blogs, paper.li links, and people placing our banner and link on their sites per day.

Awesome! It's so cool to read about what's likely a long-term success coming out of what could seem to be and end...

TheMadScientist




msg:4533857
 4:47 am on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

It was harder work at first building our reputation and awareness than just looking to please Google but today it is 1000 times easier and cheaper than it ever was doing it the old way.

I'm not sure if the preceding quote can be over emphasized ... Thanks taberstruths, hopefully others will find your contributions and success story as valuable as I do, because I think more, rather than less, people are headed toward the situation you were in (or worse), especially if they don't see the 'pit fall' coming and plan ahead for it, now.

taberstruths




msg:4533884
 7:55 am on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

TMS,
In all honesty, scroogle ticked me off. I have made it my goal to get to the point where I can disallow scrooglebot all together. I think I am about a year away from that point.

I have watched people on here bemoan the fact that they lost their rankings, cuss scroogle, and generally have a pity party. They have worked and worked on trying to get those rankings back, tried one trick after another, and changed their sites up, link profiles, ect. all to no real effect. If they would have just given scroogle the proverbial bird, and switched focus, they would have been much farther ahead today.

Now that doesn't mean that the changes I have made because of testing to see if something would work didn't pay off. I got my page load speed down to an average of just over 1 second, bounce rate down to 21% and time on site to 4 minutes. Those are better statistics than any other info site in my niche, and almost as good as the Huff n Puff Post. All of that just made for a better user experience and thus just increased my social signals, earned links, ect.

So the whole takeaway for me in all this was that I am glad I got ticked off and kissed scroogle goodbye like the fickle woman she is that always promises and never delivers.

Play_Bach




msg:4533897
 8:46 am on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

I just did a search for the word "gristle" on my iPad and Google returned the definition in a big block above the Merriam-Webster and Wikipedia links. Good thing I'm not in the dictionary niche! Ouch.

johnhh




msg:4533912
 11:24 am on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

BUT HOW CAN TWITTER FACEBOOK AND PINTEREST BE WRONG DEMOGRAPHIC]
We have an unusual demographic on our sites, judging by the telephone calls we get. This includes people who, shock horror, don't have a computer or internet access, but get given our office number by friends and relatives.
netmeg




msg:4533941
 1:41 pm on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

So then, how will plan for less reliance on Google in the future?

I'm not trying to be snarky, I mean that seriously. If you're really in a niche that has NO OTHER POSSIBLE CHANNEL than Google (which, by the way, I don't necessarily believe, but let's say you are) you must know how precarious your position is.

From where I sit, you have (mostly) two choices. Start developing another niche that's more under your own control, and/or concentrate on building your brand for your existing niche in order to encourage repeat sales/visits from existing users.

This is where developing your own mailing list is a huge bonus.

If your business is dependent on mostly organic search, AND doesn't lend itself to repeat business, well... get what you can out of it, fast, and start thinking about alternatives.

bobsc




msg:4533945
 1:55 pm on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google's unlike anything we've seen come and go ... They're smart, they're committed, they have nearly unlimited cash to back them up and they're after your [meaning anyone who's reading's] traffic.

Don't make the mistake of underestimating them...

###

As far as another search engine coming along goes, who, besides M$ has deep enough pockets to even come close to the quality and accuracy they provide? Facebook, Apple, who else? There's only a handful of companies, at the most, and they're all Years behind where Google is now as far as development goes...

"They're smart" - That's debatable.
"they're committed" - committed to what?
"quality and accuracy" - are you kidding?

Their shareholders might think they're smart, but I[as a user] think their [search engine]results are poor.

TheMadScientist




msg:4533946
 1:55 pm on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

This includes people who, shock horror, don't have a computer or internet access...

Uh, if that's really your target market, then how on earth does ranking in Google help you? [rhetorically]

I'm really doing a 'head shake' at your statements, because if the people don't have computers, then Google isn't doing you any good either, and, if you indirectly market to those without computers via co-workers and other avenues, then, the people you are marketing 'through' are available via the other non-Google avenues, such as social, etc. too...

Sorry, but you can't have it both ways.

Either:
You have an online market, which, if you really put some thought into it, you will very likely find exists beyond Google.

Or:
You don't have an online market, which means there's no need for you to bother with ranking a website in the first place.

* In the US only 6 or 7 out of 10 people use Google, which means you [meaning anyone reading] have a market of 3 or 4 out of 10 somewhere else ... Even in countries and areas where Google's market share is higher, not everyone uses Google, which is actually fortunate, because if everyone did and your [meaning anyone reading's] rankings dropped you [meaning anyone reading] wouldn't have a single alternative, but, you [meaning anyone reading] actually do have alternatives available ... Finding which and where work best is up to you, and yeah, it takes some thought and work to do ... Hopefully that's not something you're [meaning anyone reading] opposed to.

TheMadScientist




msg:4533947
 2:04 pm on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

"They're smart" - That's debatable.
"they're committed" - committed to what?
"quality and accuracy" - are you kidding?

Oh, how I wish this thread were a joke...

Reading the whole thread before posting could be beneficial, because I'm almost positive some of the preceding questions have already been answered, so I'm not going to bother repeating much, but...

No, I'm not kidding, and if you [meaning anyone reading] really want to debate whether they're smart or the quality of their results, try out doing them ... All you [meaning anyone reading] have to do to beat them is get more than 1.3 Trillion searches in a year, have over $20 Billion in the bank and have +65% US market share ... It should be simple if Google's not run by smart people and/or their results aren't what end users [meaning, not you, but rather, nearly 7 of 10 searchers in the US and as high as 9 of 10 in some other countries] think of as quality.

Microsoft hasn't even been able to come up with an answer to beat Google, but maybe they're 'not smart' in some people's opinion either? Who knows, and call me crazy, but even just the fact Google's replaced so many search engines and has the market share they do seems to indicate, to me anyway, they're a bit more than 'just a bunch of dreamers' who have no clue what they're doing.

[edited by: TheMadScientist at 2:30 pm (utc) on Jan 7, 2013]

bobsc




msg:4533950
 2:30 pm on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

No, I'm not kidding...

I think Google was smart - I'm not so sure anymore.

The only thing that I use Google now for is to - check my rankings.

If I want "quality and accuracy" I use Bing[mostly].

[Most]users are addicted to Google[I'm not sure how long that will last].

[edited by: bobsc at 2:32 pm (utc) on Jan 7, 2013]

TheMadScientist




msg:4533951
 2:31 pm on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

You still haven't read the whole thread to see why the results are all over the place right now ... It might change your opinion of things a bit, or maybe it won't, who knows ... But, what I'm fairly certain they're committed to is taking your traffic from you or making money off what they send you ... No big deal if they're not smart enough to do it though.

Wilburforce




msg:4533953
 2:36 pm on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

If I want "quality and accuracy" I use Bing[mostly].


I agree. I changed my default to Bing months ago. Bing's results are not always better, but they have been better for most short search terms for quite a long time.

As for accuracy, my earlier post about Widget Sales refers.

bobsc




msg:4533969
 2:51 pm on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

You still haven't read the whole thread to see why the results are all over the place right now ... It might change your opinion of things a bit, or maybe it won't, who knows ... But, what I'm fairly certain they're committed to is taking your traffic from you or making money off what they send you ... No big deal if they're not smart enough to do it though.

Well, I don't know how Google's results will be in the future[and neither do you], but NOW their results are poor.

As far as "taking your traffic from you or making money off what they send you" - I guess you see that as being "smart" - when I call that "greed".

I'm not sure what they're committed to is - good for the user?

TheMadScientist




msg:4533973
 2:57 pm on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

They've already stated how their results will be in the future ... One Right Answer is the direction they're moving.

But the semantic hairsplitting of the words 'smart' and 'greed' is arguing just to argue, so take the advice in this thread or leave it ... Doesn't matter a bit to me, but I'm not going to engage in some meaningless hairsplitting that doesn't help anyone solve anything, because it's definitely not what I would call smart, in fact, I think it's silly.

[edited by: TheMadScientist at 3:08 pm (utc) on Jan 7, 2013]

Wilburforce




msg:4533974
 3:04 pm on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

One Right Answer is the direction they're moving


...further and further away from.

HRoth




msg:4534006
 4:12 pm on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Personally, I don't find "Google is stupid" to be helpful in terms of finding ways to build my business. Google is a force to be reckoned with. It doesn't matter what we think of their product; millions of people like it, so we have to deal with it.

A couple non-Google/non-SEO things that have not been mentioned are catalogs and newsletters. Years ago I had a catalog and it was not profitable. Now I am redoing a catalog of a section of my widgets, because I have found that indeed, there are people who do not have computers of their own yet they still want to buy those widgets. How did they find my biz? Print ads. A lot of them are in rural areas where there is no good internet service (I've lived in them, so I know they are still out there), but others are actual Luddites to some extent. They don't WANT a computer, but they still want to buy things they can't find locally. I find that the mail-in orders I get, though few, are typically for a larger amount than the average online order. I think I could build this if I had a print catalog.

I have started asking repeat customers who mention they are going to conferences in my niche if they would like to have some samples to give to their friends there. They really like the idea. I just started doing this in November. I also enclose business cards in orders now.

I had an email newsletter in the past but dropped it because it was a lot of work. I was trying to make it too much, as usual. I am going to bring it back but change its nature, so that it is a periodic "specific stuff to do with my widgets" thing and throw a coupon in there.

Years ago I used to post in pertinent forums but quit doing it because the general lack of knowledge and posturing was annoying, but I still get clicks from those old forum posts. I do post on Facebook regularly, and not spam. Personal stuff that fits with my products and always include pictures. Then I post about new products with links on my FB biz page, to which my personal page is linked. It is a good place to get feedback on what you have and what you might sell. Some things that people have requested have really surprised me.

Another project I'm working on--ebook based on my site info and info in my niche.

Things I don't do but other ecommerce folks in my niche do: video talks on youtube about info in our niche and classes online--or even off. A couple people do personal teaching by telephone. This would be too much of a time-suck for me, because I used to teach and always over-prepared, but it might work well for others.

I do think retail is inherently risky and has always been. Google is part of that risk. But I also think we are lucky to have online businesses compared to brick-and-mortar. They have to invest way more money than we do.

This thread is good for me because it reminds me to get moving with diversification. It's easy to get sucked into the daily junk of business and forget the long view that might end up saving that biz.

johnhh




msg:4534024
 4:52 pm on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Sorry, but you can't have it both ways.
Either:
You have an online market...
Or:
You don't have an online market.


What ? Of course you can !

It's just two different segments of a single market (i.e. a group of people that is interested in what we offer ) that need two different approachs with a combined strategy to interlink the two. In fact I could probably split the online market ( defined as access via a phone line or wifi ) as well, mobile and non-mobile devices.

In our case the demographics are such that the mobile area is limited as is social media. Had a nice lady on the phone today saying she could't use the internet as her husband tells her off !

TheMadScientist




msg:4534027
 5:06 pm on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Just so people can see what I actually said in case they hopped in late and haven't read the whole thread yet:
Sorry, but you can't have it both ways.

Either:
You have an online market, which, if you really put some thought into it, you will very likely find exists beyond Google.

Or:
You don't have an online market, which means there's no need for you to bother with ranking a website in the first place.

[edited by: TheMadScientist at 5:10 pm (utc) on Jan 7, 2013]

johnhh




msg:4534028
 5:10 pm on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

I give up !

taberstruths




msg:4534040
 5:54 pm on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Personally I didn't understand how a person could have online customers that were not online either. Why worry about Google if their husbands don't let them search for you in the first place? I must have missed something.

netmeg




msg:4534078
 7:50 pm on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Ok, here are the non-Google channels I'm working with right now, either for my own sites or for my clients.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn (primarily for B2B)
  • Email / Newsletters (you can do a lot for FREE)
  • Email (More complicated stuff with triggers, abandoned cart emails, retargeting, etc)
  • Product subscription programs (sign up, we'll send your consumable products automatically for whatever time period you specify)
  • Promo codes and coupons
  • Direct Mail (catalogs, flyers and postcards)
  • FAX marketing (yea I know, that's what I said, but for older, less digital niches, and entirely opt in, it WORKS)
  • PPC (not just Google's)
  • Contests and Sweepstakes
  • Product Giveaways
  • Blogs
  • Donations and volunteering
  • Press Releases (NOT for SEO)
  • Participating in forums
  • Seminars and webinars (both attending and giving)
  • Strategic partnerships and cross promotions
  • Affiliate programs
  • Quality industry niche-specific directories (that send traffic, not links)
  • Engaging with local media reporters(TV & newspaper)
  • Amazon (I hate it and it's a PITA, but it's unavoidable in a couple niches)
  • Mobile site design and app development
  • Shopping feeds, info feeds & API (both incoming and outgoing)
  • Videos
  • Picking up the phone and calling


Now, I'm not saying that I am actively starting all this stuff this month (I am only one person after all) but these are all programs that are in place, or are in planning stages at the moment.

I'm probably forgetting something. What else isn't here?

oliondor




msg:4534082
 7:56 pm on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Why do you need to discuss ?

When Google won't sent visitors anymore just adwords ! So easy.

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