diberry - 10:38 pm on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)
This thread has a lot of missed points.
Basic business sense: the environment is always changing, so always have multiple options and multiple backup plans. I knew this, but for me it wasn't always possible because I could barely afford to buy and host domains. While I always had multiple income streams, I found organic free traffic was the only kind I could hope for. And that meant a huge percent of my visitors coming from Google. I have no shame about that. Short of robbing a bank, there was nothing else I could have done.
Then my sites started making money, and I thought, "I'll buy some text links!" People had been doing that forever, before Google even existed. Just as I was starting to do this, bam - paid text links were bad, and Google might dump me for them.
As far as I can tell to this day, the only choice I had to avoid dependency on Google was to go ahead and buy text links. But I couldn't afford to buy enough to be sure they'd replace the traffic lost if Google penalized or banned me. So Google was still my best bet.
My sites are modest. My income from them is nowhere near a living wage (I also work full time). I'm saving the money I earn from them on the assumption that someday Google will cut my traffic, and I'll need to buy some marketing. I'm not ready to buy marketing now because I haven't got a clue how to make it work for me and I still can't spend enough to try 12 different marketing techniques in the hopes that surely at least some of them will work. But I'm saving up for that day. And in the meantime, I try to cultivate dedicated visitors to the sites and create something they will recommend on FB and so on - which they do, and some months I get more traffic from social media than Google.
You can call that Google dependence, but it's just realism. Unless you can afford to market a site, you're stuck relying on organic traffic, and that means mostly Google. But if you realize that's the situation and do what little is in your power to do about it, well, that's the best you can do.
For now, I keep playing nice and following Google's rules. But I don't spend much time analyzing keywords and trying to figure out what more I can do to please them. I just keep trying to please visitors, and that's as independent as I can be from Google right now.