netmeg - 1:43 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)
just look at the number of unhappy campers in this thread alone
I certainly wouldn't take that as representative of anything other than the number of unhappy campers on WebmasterWorld. Most of the world knows nothing about this Google stuff, and cares less. Yea, your brother in law may complain he can't find something in Google, but statistically, that means nothing. Even if 10,000 of your closest friends say it, it still means nothing, as a percentage of total searches.
do you try to get by on the assumption it's only transient traffic, noindex everything to get rid of the traffic or gear up to deal with it?
Just because it makes good money doesn't mean it's a good business plan. Let me repeat. Just because it makes good money doesn't mean it's a good business plan. At the very least, you take what you make off Google and invest it in other channels.
I used to work for a company that got this fantastic contract to supply equipment for a couple years. It was huge - way over what they normally would sell. The owner accepted the contract, and ramped up personnel and inventory to meet it. Everyone in the company was focused on making this one customer happy, to the point where there just wasn't time to pay attention to the other customers or try to get new ones. But it was okay, because everyone was making money and getting paid well. And the customer was really happy with everything, and assured the company the contract would be renewed. Guess what? Near the end of the contract, the big customer got bought, and the contract wasn't renewed. The company went out of business about 18mos after I left.
"Don't rely on free traffic" is easy to say - but that's only possible for some business models.
I keep hearing that, but so far nobody's brought me a niche that can't use other channels. And just because you can't afford both content AND marketing doesn't mean it's not a faulty model. All it means is you can't afford both content and marketing, and if you want stability, you're going to have to solve that problem, eventually.