1script - 7:13 pm on Sep 8, 2011 (gmt 0)
As a recent Google traffic amputee myself (only I fell a bit harder than you - from more traffic per day than you posted to ZERO) I can relate to the feeling. And yes, you're correct - both Bing and Yahoo convert better, whatever your conversion metric is. I see it myself and saw reported great many times before.
I don't know exactly what it is about Google but they punish people for "low quality" sites yet themselves deal us traffic that's sub-par at best. "Fleeting" is how I would describe your typical Google visitor. Always rushed to move onto something else...
Anyhow, all that said, and bravado aside, there's no substitute for Google traffic and they know it. They will never care about individual webmasters, even those operating larger sites, until there's a viable competitor.
This very forum contains perhaps thousands of very wise pieces of advise that go something like this: "build your online business as if Google does not exist". I find it disingenuous even when it comes from people I otherwise hold in high regard. Normally you hear that said by people that have been in the biz for more than a decade, have built-up their presence, link networks (not of the nefarious kind of course), have gotten links from places that by now reject any request for links etc., etc. - perks that come only with age ;)
Normally people (or firms) like these have nothing to worry about their own Google traffic - it'll never go away due to what seems like Google's blind trust into sites that existed before it. So, if you trust that you will NEVER, under any circumstance, loose your Google traffic (and your speed-dial has a MattC record), you will be very inclined to dish out advise like this.
For the rest of us though, there's no chance in hell you can build a viable business if you do not account for the difference between 18,000 visitors a day and 800 (to take your example). How do you size your servers? What size inventory should you keep? I don't even want to go into more technical details like caching, db replication etc.
If Google truly didn't exist, its role would likely be spread among several smaller companies, each only responsible for a fraction of your business. Not only would that be safer for you as a business, but competition would keep the search engines on their toes and I don't think a heavy-handed approach like banning sites without as much as a warning message would be practiced.
I wonder if the Justice Department would give Google as long of a free run as it did to the Bell System as far as anti-trust law is concerned. I just find the parallel striking in that Google itself (at least its impressing internet connections) own it to the 1984 divestiture (involuntary company breakup for those not old enough) of AT&T and subsequent formation of an actual competitive telecommunication market. It took them more than 30 years to settle the first anti-trust suit and another 70 years (!) until the monopoly was shattered.
Anyways, sorry for the long rant, gotta go find a way to earn living, post-Google style!