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Breaking my Addiction to Google
Google-proofing your business - is it possible?
webcentric




msg:4617353
 1:40 pm on Oct 17, 2013 (gmt 0)


System: The following 10 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4614058.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 9:21 am on Oct 17, 2013 (PST -8)


@Moderators

Feel free to clip this post into a new thread in a new Forum, preferably under the Google Section of the forum index.

@All

Webmasters tend to love to get down on Google, particularly when this mega-corporation decides it can mess directly with our livelihoods and suffer no consequences as a result. So many web-businesses have become so dependent on Google's SERPS, Adsense, and other programs at this point that not only does a change in the wind in Mountain View have the potential to wipe someone out in Peoria, it has the potential to take a whole segment of the world economy with it. I hear people discussing alternatives to their addiction to Google. I see alternatives (diversification strategies mainly) being discussed in various areas of the board but nowhere it seems is there a concerted discussion on the subject of weaning oneself from the teat of this beast.

So, if Google is a problem, and if we want to do anything more than just complain about the problem, then perhaps a bit of a change in focus needs to occur here on WebmasterWorld to get the whole topic moving in a new direction.

Yes, I could start a thread titled "Breaking my Addiction to Google" but where? The subject crosses multiple topics including SEO, Adsense and Adwords. What I'd really like to see on this board is a comprehensive discussion about Strategies for Google-proofing Your/My Business. It's become that dangerous of an addiction!

WebmasterWorld, has become a safe haven where Google addicts can come and discuss their need for more Google but I think what is needed now is a 12-step program for recovering Google junkies (this self-help analogy comes from a recent search I performed on Google for local widgets that returned remote self-help programs instead).

My suggestion is to open a new Forum inside the Google Section of WebmasterWorld specifically targeting alternative strategies to a business model that will live or die on the whims of Google. I know there is a great deal of cynicism when it comes to viable alternatives but the discussion has to start somewhere before there's no one left to have a discussion with.

Yes, it's gonna take some guts for board owners to address this matter head on because it's akin to tugging at the tail of a rabid animal but someone's got to do it. There is a groundswell of voices on this board with a message that's being diluted because it's scattered around in various posts, in different threads across several forums. It needs to come together and WebmasterWorld can make it happen.

That's my humble assessment for the day. Call me CRAZY if you like.

 

EditorialGuy




msg:4617361
 2:24 pm on Oct 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

webcentric, your proposed "Breaking My Addiction to Google" thread could fit here:

[webmasterworld.com...]

netmeg




msg:4617362
 2:25 pm on Oct 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Good luck.

webcentric




msg:4617365
 2:55 pm on Oct 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

your proposed "Breaking My Addiction to Google" thread could fit here:


I'm going to try to not bog down this thread with this topic but to me, this is a problem where all roads lead to Google. Yes, it's a general business topic too but this board identifies the Google category as "So Big - It deserves its own category" for a reason. It's so big that the topic of "Gaining Some Degree of Autonomy from Google" should be a no-brainer companion subject. There needs to be some counterbalance to counteract the trap that so many webmasters have fallen into and the responsible thing for WebmasterWorld to do would be to provide a dedicated place for people trying to find some balance in their business where it pertains to the Google stranglehold on this industry.

Good luck.

Thanks netmeg. I'll take whatever mojo I can get these days including miracles. Having said that, I just can't help myself from dreaming impossible dreams.

Play_Bach




msg:4617373
 3:08 pm on Oct 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

> Good luck.

Yeah, short of government intervention carving up Google into little pieces, I don't see things changing for their unchallenged dominance any time soon.

goodoldweb




msg:4617375
 3:19 pm on Oct 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

webcentric you are so spot on.

I've been thinking/pondering the same since the first penguin release. Hopefully this site owners/moderators will get more proactive on this burning topic soon.

Breaking the habit is becoming a top priority question for way too many webmasters... it is no longer an "if" but a live or die question and require much more attention.

diberry




msg:4617384
 3:42 pm on Oct 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

A couple of months ago, Google dropped me from position 1-2 to 2-3 on one of my keyphrases. One of the sites that topped me is one of the infamous gigantic "how to" sites and used me as a reference, but I can admit they did a nice job expanding on the topic. One of the others was a little blog which also did well, but IMO not as nice a job as I did.

For the past couple of days - which may go back to the 12th or 14th that others are observing changes on - I'm back to #1-2, outranking the blog, and occasionally outranking the big giant how to site. Now, despite the how to site doing a nice job on this topic, the site in general is obviously about "how to" all sorts of things, while my site specializes in the topic and other closely related topics. I'm wondering if Google is trying to work out whether people want the best page OR prefer a lesser page from a domain that clearly positions itself as narrowly focusing on that topic.

Webcentric, that's a great idea - I'm a big fan of looking at your marketing plan/traffic holistically instead of focusing too much on any single stream - but I am not sure WebmasterWorld is the right place for it. Even when we've had threads like the one EditorialGuy linked to, they get bogged down with (understandably) frustrated people saying stuff like, "But still, Google. Because Google, and let's face it, Google."

It might be better to start a little forum somewhere else and carefully invite people you know will agree to stay on topic - saving the Google specific chatter for WebmasterWorld. If I had time, I'd throw something together, but alas.

webcentric




msg:4617388
 3:44 pm on Oct 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

And I'll add one final thought to this and do my best to sit back and see if some traction can be achieved.

I'm not suggesting an anti-Google forum. In fact the discussion would best be served if the charter explicitly prohibited rants about Google. Instead, I'm suggesting fostering discussions about products and services that can balance a webmaster's toolkit and bring some degree of stability to their business model.

To help make this point, I'm going to refer everyone to the following video put out by Matt Cutts and accompanying article which supports the very contention that not having all your eggs in one basket is very sound strategy. It also addresses Google-think about the SERPS in general but the point is that diversification is a valid companion topic to any Google topic in general.

From the horse's mouth...
[searchenginewatch.com ]

If you agree with the concept of creating a place for such a discussion on this board, now might be a good time to let your voice be heard.

webcentric




msg:4617389
 3:47 pm on Oct 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

It might be better to start a little forum somewhere else and carefully invite people you know will agree to stay on topic


"Great minds think alike."

Wilburforce




msg:4617413
 4:56 pm on Oct 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

not having all your eggs in one basket is very sound strategy


That, of itself, is debatable:

Behold, the fool saith, "Put not all thine eggs in the one basket"--which is but a manner of saying, "Scatter your money and your attention;" but the wise man saith, "Put all your eggs in the one basket and--WATCH THAT BASKET." (Mark Twain, "Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar")

However, Play_Bach's point is also an important one: "unchallenged dominance" is the problem, and it probably will take legislation rather than action by small groups to deal with it. It doesn't matter what I do to market my business if my potential customers all use Google and only Google. Even if they see my business advertised on prime time TV, they will still use Google to find it when they get to their computer. Other marketing media are more costly and less effective than Google organics, and the next best thing to Google organics is probably Adwords.

Like ohno, I have a lot of repeat customers (and good word-of-mouth recommendation) but this will always be a diminishing source. For my business to be viable I need new customers who haven't heard of me yet, and who don't know anyone who has. As I - and others - have mentioned before, "google" is widely used as a verb that means "how you find something". I still have enquiry forms filed from a few years ago, and nearly every one has Google in the "how did you find us" box. Fifteen years ago, it was Yellow Pages, and at some time in the future it will no longer be Google, but for now the alternatives are not making enough impact to fill my order book.

diberry




msg:4617452
 6:38 pm on Oct 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

I agree with the no-Google-rants rule.

The thing is, most people are WebmasterWorld are focused on either working with Google or working against it. I want a place where we can talk about working AROUND Google, and when you try to do that here at WebmasterWorld, it gets bogged down with people trying to work out whether you're for or against Google because those are the dominant positions around here.

And that's not criticism. WebmasterWorld is what it is, and I value it a lot for Google-related stuff. It's just that for those of us who focus a lot on other traffic streams, this isn't the right place to get a really great discussion going.

Wilburforce, I'm thinking you've got what you need here at WebmasterWorld, and the proposed forum is probably not up your alley. Google provides less than 40% of the traffic to any of my sites, which is why I'm so interested in discussing non-Google traffic sources. If Google is your site's only serious option, then WebmasterWorld is the best place to figure out your next moves.

Globetrotter




msg:4617506
 9:08 pm on Oct 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Diberry how did you managed to get traffic from other sources? Is it mainly social, or other sites? What if that other sites get their traffic from google? Then you are still dependant on Google traffic (but indirectly).

Nobody wants to link out anymore, but that would be needed to become less dependant on google traffic.

Social works, but even that is becoming harder every day and needs a lot of time to make it worthwhile. I am rather putting my time and content on my own website.

Google also changed the gmail inbox. This makes it also here more difficult te get traffic from your mailinglist.

Bing doesnt provide traffic in my country.

What other options are left?

diberry




msg:4617509
 9:42 pm on Oct 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

It's mainly social media. I built for social media rather than search. I really don't spend that much time on social media - maybe 5% of my work time? The other 95% goes to working on the sites themselves.

My sites are actually not indirectly independent on Google. They were early on, but once you get an established base of regular visitors who network through social media sites, all Google can take from you is their directly referred traffic.

I do realize this approach doesn't work for every site. I deliberately chose niches and topics that had a potential to go viral among growing web demographics. That's not an option if your website is the online expansion of a brick-n-mortar business that sells bedpans.

viral




msg:4617556
 1:35 am on Oct 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

Here is a quick history of some of my social activities.

I moved my personal and some client sites to concentrating on social about 2 maybe 3 years ago. It worked great especially the FB stuff.

The things I liked about FB pages was the almost instant gratification when posting something. I was getting email open ratios of about 1-5% but FB pages were getting 50% and above. So newsletters quickly became Social-centric and it worked brilliantly. Both my own sites and my clients boomed.

But and there is always a but... Around about the start of the year, I am not sure what happened but the activity rates on FB (un-promoted) posts went down to about 20% or below. Still better than my email list but there is a steady and constant decline.

However if you promote those posts the interaction goes way up! and I think this is what is happening. Webmasters are now so comfortable with promoting posts that the available real-estate on a persons timeline is being fought over pretty hard and FB is finding it hard to allocate free (unpromoted) posts any space.

I have one client that is a local pub. They do amazingly well promoting special events through their FB page however recently the price has skyrocketed. Partly due to their quality score going down but also other pubs (some of which are my clients also) have started doing the same.

I am in a unique position as I am watching 3 different pubs fight it out over FB sharing. Before anyone criticizes they all know I am working for all of them!

The Timeline real-estate has diminished a lot in that niche for this town and I am now having to get them to get my clients to stagger their promotions (not compete as much)and that is helping reduce promotion costs. However it doesn't help with the other pubs in town who are not my clients.

From what I can tell FB is caught between trying to take your money and trying to give the users a decent experience and they are finding it hard.

So what does all this boil down to? yes Social is great and people you really should be doing social in your niche. You can use it in the same manor as your email list but with a higher interaction rate. However it is getting harder and harder in this arena also.

Anyway there is some personal experience for those who haven't gone properly down the social route.

webcentric




msg:4617590
 3:55 am on Oct 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

webcentric, your proposed "Breaking My Addiction to Google" thread could fit here:


I proposed a forum, not a thread. :)

I agree with the no-Google-rants rule.

The thing is, most people are WebmasterWorld are focused on either working with Google or working against it. I want a place where we can talk about working AROUND Google


We'll this discussion has landed it's own thread which is pretty much what I expected. Fact is, there are just too many pieces of this puzzle for a single thread and all we can really do without the whole thing disintegrating into a maze of topics is to talk generally about things like social media. Just about the time the discussion turns to getting traffic from Facebook, someone's gonna want to discuss generating revenue with Media.net. It's absurd to try to have this kind of a topic crammed into a single thread. When these post were moved, the thread should have been titled "Petition to Open a New Forum on Alternatives to Google." That's my 2 cents after another grueling day at the office.

viral




msg:4617591
 4:04 am on Oct 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Webcentric I see I got carried away and yeah you are right we need a separate forum for this.

webcentric




msg:4617600
 4:49 am on Oct 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Viral
I see I got carried away


Not at all. It's all helping to make a point and it's the kind of discussion that at least some want to have.

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