directwheels - 4:57 pm on Oct 22, 2011 (gmt 0) [edited by: directwheels at 4:59 pm (utc) on Oct 22, 2011]
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]