|Traffic alternatives to Google?... survival in 2013|
Ok, I can take a hint. Thanks to the Google zoo (and who knows what else), I've been forced to find other traffic. None of the traffic alternatives so far has been anywhere near the same level as what the search engines used to send my way, but you gotta start somewhere!
The reality for commercial sites like mine is that, if they can, the search engines want those eyeballs. Tough break if you happen to run a dictionary or wiki site for example, where Google now gives away the info for free!
Tough times for many sites, but especially tough for those sites (like mine) that benefitted from Google queries. Today it's a different ball game. Gone are the days of ever increasing search engine traffic. Now, it's a volatile state of flux with very little logic other than brand bias and AdWords spend.
From what I can see, there is currently only one realistic alternative to Google for getting any significant amount of free traffic, and of course that's Bing (which also powers Yahoo). It appears to me that Bing still rewards quality and value with high rankings.
Yes, Bing (and Bing-powered search sites) combined only have about 25-30% of the total search share, but they are no longer losing ground to Google, and may have even started an uptrend. In any case, 25-30% is certainly worthwhile in many cases. So I don't think Bing should be ignored, assumimg that it doesn't follow Google's path to worse and worse search results.
Unfortunately some webmasters have harmed their Bing/Yahoo rankings by trying to please Google. Some have made drastic changes to their sites, and some have even tried to get backlinks removed. I haven't done any of this myself, and the Bing rankings for all of my sites have actually been improving. On one Penguin-hit site, the Bing/Yahoo traffic is now almost as much as the Google traffic, and on my other Penguin-hit site, it's about two-thirds as much. It's still a lot less for my non-penalized sites, but who knows when Google might penalize them too.
P.S. My sites are informational, and the situation might be different for commercial sites. Maybe someone that knows more about this could comment about any differences.
There is really no one stop traffic referrer as potentially powerful as Google. While Bing and Yahoo are worthwhile - and in my niches convert better than G - as mentioned their volume is typically a quarter to half. Which leaves building back links for qualified traffic not SEO benefit, marketing via SM et al, etc. Basically more work and more time to build a more diverse set of traffic flows.
I remain amazed that my sites continue to do well in G - I've been diversifying for years - as all the changes in algo inputs/thresholds, ads on top of results, enterprise business elbowing in, Google properties and service partner inclusion, continual increasing good and evil competition... As a strictly numbers game my run, as with many of us here, has been exceptional. While I appreciate it and hope and work that it continues I certainly don't expect it to do so. The numbers are against it.
Google just indexes the web, they aren't the web(do they have even one non-promotional content writer on staff?). Build for visitors and don't focus on Google so much or you'll become jaded as they attempt to swallow the web.
My site was hit by Panda and during that time Bing carried me by sending more traffic than Google. I've managed to recover but I can't get those hours back and am not sure I want to give that much effort to make Google happy again so take the above with a grain of salt. Focus on building great content that people will love and you can't go wrong.
> So I don't think Bing should be ignored,
> assuming that it doesn't follow Google's path
> to worse and worse search results.
@aristotle - Agreed. Unfortunately, for my niche Bing and Yahoo! are even worse than Google for crowding out organics with their ads and properties. Typically only one organic shows on page one, sometimes it's none. The trend from the search engines that I'm seeing is more marginalizing of organics, not less. Won't be surprised in the least if it winds up being a flat out pay to play listing process like the old days again.
For e-commerce sites, the answer is pretty simple: Become an advertising expert. (And be grateful that you're in a business where, if you're smart, advertising can yield a positive ROI.)
Things are trickier for information sites (a.k.a. "publishers" in the traditional meaning of the term). Sure, it helps to diversify, but--like it or not--organic referrals from the No. 1 search engine are likely to remain important for a long, long time.
As far as Google is concerned, I genuinely believe that its search gurus and engineers want to get things right eventually. (Authorship markup and Google's authorship-related patents may hint at positive things to come, at least for writer-publishers who add value to information instead of merely serving up facts that could just as easily be displayed in a box on a Google SERP.)
Currently my traffic referrers other than google are this.
content syndication on other niche sites in my niche.
Of course if you can somehow get lots of good traffic-sending backlinks, then you won't be so dependent on search engines. For example, imagine that you could get a thousand backlinks that each send you 20 unique visitors per day (on average), then that would add up to 20,000 unique visitors per day.
|For example, imagine that you could get a thousand backlinks that each send you 20 unique visitors per day (on average), then that would add up to 20,000 unique visitors per day. |
Imagining is easy. Reality is the hard part. We get thousands of unsolicited links (many from big-name sites that are related to our topics), but they supply a fraction of the traffic that we get from Google, Bing, and Yahoo! on a typical day.
Traffic quality matters, too. There have been days when we've received thousands of referrals from Reddit or major news sites, but most of tho resulting visits are in and out. I'd much rather have visitors who are interested in--and, even better, actively researching--our topic.
I hope you don't mind me suggesting that you look at which traffic converts the best and try to boost in that area (if feasible).
My facebook traffic converts way better than my organic traffic - but I get such little facebook traffic that it hardly makes a dent.
Well as always, you have to go back a step and ask yourself - do you have a niche, or topic, or take, that lends itself to alternative methods of traffic? Are the people you're trying to bring in hanging out anywhere else BUT Google? For me, Facebook has been great, and some of my topics have managed to get easy press from local newspapers and television stations. But for some of my B2B clients, print catalogs and a healthy email list are much better fits (we may try some LinkedIn PPC at some point)
You gotta go where your audience is. And if your audience is mainly or only in Google, then you either gotta BE in Google, or you have to replace or expand your topic to include people who don't just rely on Google.
Right now I'm pouring everything I got into is giving my users a clear and strong reason to come BACK. A lot of sites aren't doing this. I think that's a mistake.
|And if your audience is mainly or only in Google, then you either gotta BE in Google, or you have to replace or expand your topic to include people who don't just rely on Google. |
We're in Google, often on the first page of the SERPs. We just need more #1 to #3 rankings, which we had pre-Panda.
|For me, Facebook has been great, and some of my topics have managed to get easy press from local newspapers and television stations. |
For our information site, which many readers use to research purchases, the two best sources of traffic are:
1) Search engines (not just Google, but Google obviously is the big kahuna, especially outside the U.S.), and...
2) Related sites, including hugely popular forums where moderators and members often link to us when answering other members' questions.
We've had quite a bit of press coverage over the years, but in my experience, referrals from newspaper stories, magazine articles, radio interviews, etc. attract the merely curious (as opposed to readers who are researching where to spend their money). For us, the value of press coverage has less to do with traffic than with credibility and links.
|Right now I'm pouring everything I got into is giving my users a clear and strong reason to come BACK. |
We get a lot of repeat traffic, but the nature of our topic means that readers don't have a reason to visit month after month, year after year. They do their planning or research, spend their money, and then go away until the next time they have a need for the kind of information that we offer.
For some topics and sites, content and search are natural bedfellows. We into that category.
Sorry to hear it.