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Life without Google

26 steps to a successful site without google



6:11 pm on Aug 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

What I would like to see is contributions from successful webmasters on what should be done to have a successful website WITHOUT relying on google traffic. I see many comments throughout the forums about people bemoaning being dropped, sandboxed, or otherwise ignored by the se giant.

What I am proposing is an antithesis thread to Brett's 26 steps to a successful website with google alone.

26 steps to a successful website in 12 months without google.


9:17 pm on Sep 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I thought I would start if off with some obvious steps and see if anyone can contribute ideas. We don't need these ideas to flow in any direct order but at the end we can align them in logical manner.

1.write and distribute articles
2.find as many directories as possible and submit.
3.submit to all search engines you can.
4. press releases(although I have heard the press release is dead)
How about it? Those that say to get over whining about google and improve your site in other ways, promote elsewhere...what are your tips? I challenge you.


9:34 pm on Sep 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I am assuming you mean the free google listing?

That is a difficult one.
A successful website without google would be very difficult if you are looking to make serious money from it.

You could get by with

Overture campaign
Google adwords
Yahoo Directory
Yahoo search
Paid advertising
Word of mouth

We are top on most search engines for generic keywords, but nothing comes close to our google conversions.

This thread will be interesting.



9:39 pm on Sep 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The goal for any website should not be to just to get traffic but to increase the value of traffic.

1. Should contain valuable information to the surfer.
2. Should contain a content creation system (user generated content)
3. Should have a number of sticky elements (reasons for the surfer to return tommorrow). Such as Forums, Calculators, news, articles)
4. Should contain significant motivation for people to link to the site.
5. Should appear to be updated daily
6. Should encourage two way interaction with the site. Give the surfer reason to contribute to the site, such as forum, submitting articles, membership systems.
7. Have a revenue system that is as subtle as possible. Your site should not appear as a money machine. This is done by promoting things that are useful to the surfer.


9:43 pm on Sep 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

This isn't very different from how I would release any site with or without Google. So lets get on with it...

Wen all of the above on-site features are in place,

* Find all the relevant forums and drop your URL.

* Work through your personal network. Moth-to-mouth.

* Press releases might be dead, write a news-letter with nice images and send it off (personally) to webmasters covering the same area as you.

* Have your "club", "member area", "subscriber section" set up from the very beginning. Make sure people register so that you can remind them of your existance. But don't hide any of the substatial content from unregistered visitors. Just make sure the registered ones get extra value.

* Make sure you communicate your domain url in every kind of communication with potential visitors, on- or off-line.


9:52 pm on Sep 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

The Press Release may or may not be dead but media exposure is not. Try to be a guest on TV or radio talk shows, get to know the person who books guests and be persistant, have a well developed "talk show presentation." Make a list of programs you'd like to guest on and methodically pursue a booking.

Have visible signs with your URL ready in case you're allowed to show it on air. Calling in to a talk show to promote your site is tacky but if it fits well into the topic it can work.

Do your best to see that any celebrity who might be interested in your site is aware of it. I know this is difficult but a single mention of your site in the right place can bring in a lot of traffic. I have seen nice spikes associated with on air mentions.

Develop relationships with journalists who might want to write a feature about the subject of your site. Or you could write one yourself and give it to a lazy journalist who will run it under their byline.

Make sure that everyone in the field in which your site operates is aware of it. A post card mailing can be effective, but remember that direct mail is a brutal business.


9:59 pm on Sep 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The problem I see with this question is that almost all of the 26 steps, and most other things you would want to do for a google oriented site will be the same if you are relying on traffic from the other search engines.

For that matter, some -- but not all -- of those steps would still be important even if you weren't hoping for a single referral from any of the search engines.


10:42 pm on Sep 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Speaking as a web site owner whose web site was banned from Google for the last 9 months let me tell you it is very very difficult to replace lost traffic from Google. We had high rankings in MSN and Yahoo. We had a massive Overture campaign. We spent $15,000 a month on adwords. We advertised on TV. We dropped thousands of leaflets. We did online PR. We did magazines. We did email newsletters. We are an established business with many repeat customers. despite all this our web site traffic dropped 70%. Google is very powerful. Don't lose it.


2:02 am on Sep 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

The last two posts and a message I got in sticky mail had a good point about making up for the lost traffic of google who, as we all know can provide the heaviest traffic. Even tho these are all great tips and great advice...how about some tips and advice on possibly picking up more traffic from the remaining search engines out there.

Possibly ideas on diversifying your web site. Other ways to multiply traffic from the other se's.


5:32 am on Sep 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

> Possibly ideas on diversifying your web site.

Ok, try this... Think beyond your native language.

Translate your site into different languages, and then target/submit to search engines that use those languages natively. Expand your market! If you can't translate your whole site, translate/build some tightly-targetted pages for each language. On other pages, put links that run your page through an online translator. Personally, I recommend FreeTranslation [freetranslation.com]. Read this thread, Are all free online translators created equal? [webmasterworld.com], and note the last post, mine. But!, also note the third message, from encyclo.

(I'll let a cat out of the bag: You know, with some preplanning, work and trial-and-error testing, you can build one website but have seven (or more!) copies in each search engine! Sure, it's "duplicate" content, but it's not really duplicate content - to any search engine, anyway - since each "version" of your site is in a different language. You add ten pages to your site - to the SEs, you just added 30, 40, 50 or more. Mind you the caveat: increased spidering by the SEs via a third-party server - the translator (so be nice!). There's a number of ways this can blow-up in your face - I speak from experience - so I highly discourage doing this to your 100,000 page site in one go, especially if it brings you mucho dinero.)

One other thing I'd like to mention: We're all smart enough - I hope - to know to not put all our eggs in Google's, or anyone else's, basket, but don't let the SEs take your eggs for their basket. If you're starting a new site, then hopefully this thread will be a great resource to prevent that. But if you've a site that's getting a significant amount of its traffic from any one engine, then you must SEO for the others and ignore your main source.


5:40 am on Sep 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

its difficult one.

First disallow googlebot to ensure you will not get any traffic from google ;-)

Yahoo paid listing
Microsoft Small Business Directory
Dmoz listing (to get more exposure from other than google directory)
Niche directory of your subject or create one if it doesn't exist.


5:55 am on Sep 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

One of our sites is a wholesale site. The truth is it has never done as well in the serps as our retail sites. With the traffic we do get it is a profitable site. There are a few other methods we've used to make money from the site. Note, I did not say to improve traffic.. to make money.

A few well placed niche directory listings have worked for us. These aren't free, and in at least one case they get their traffic from Google. (OK, so that was about traffic) In addition to the web directory, they also sponsor a printed trade catalog.

We sell a widget that's easily promoted at fairs and events and in retail shops. By getting about a bit we have developed good leads. If I can come to a event in your city and generate another new customer then I'm happy. Business cards are good, we leave samples.

I take a lot of phone calls, and I always ask a new person how they heard about us. A frequent answer is that a friend told them. Taking care of your customers should be the number one step to creating a successful site without Google.

Almost forgot to mention Overture. I set up a few keywords there a couple of years ago, and they have consistently provided good leads.


9:36 am on Sep 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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How about starting a new search called unavailableatgoogle.com!


10:15 am on Sep 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


My site (from 1997) has been living without Google for sometime, almost. On 3rd Feb. 2005 I lost around 75% of Google´s merry referrals. Then on the 22nd July lost most of the rest.

But very "converting" referrals still arrive to my site from Yahoo, Wanadoo UK, MSN etc..

And we don´t need to invent new SEs. They are right there in front of our eyes. We just need to start promoting the SEs which send us referrals. Thats all.


2:53 pm on Sep 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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That is genious.. im being for real -- unavailableatgoogle.com


3:07 pm on Sep 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

That is genious.. im being for real -- unavailableatgoogle.com

On August 8 I purchased a similar--more concise I think--domain.

In order that the many visitors to my site not mistakenly try to find it later on Google, every page bears "Not found on Google." My original thought was to link this text to a site where those of us not found on Google can congregate and air our comments.

This is still in the rumination phase...


5:13 pm on Sep 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Life without Google

Depends on the area you operate in.
In my case if I was not well ranked in Google then I may as well not be on the internet.
Google is responsible, on average and over about 15 sites, 95% of my traffic!

Lest people think it serp related, my MSN and Y etc serps are as good, if not better, than those on Google.
The reality is, in some areas nearly everyone uses Google.


5:59 pm on Sep 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

The reality is, in some areas nearly everyone uses Google.

Indeed, that is precisely why Google's methods are so odious. Consider the effect of a Google ban on your sites, whether deserved or not. Consider the effect if their "Guidelines" are murky when it comes to your particular situation and making changes that may or may not help is prohibitively complex.

Consider that in any case their time scale of "getting you back in the index in a few months" will virtually kill the habits that were bringing traffic to your site and even if everything (serps, PR) is restored in a few months the traffic patterns will take much longer to restore.


3:53 am on Sep 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yes let us be honest here, there is no life without google. They just drive the most of free searching engine traffic, but their traffic is of more quality, that is conversion rate, than other searching engines and PPC campaigns.

Ok let me rephrase my openion, there is a life without google, but life is much greater with them that's for sure.


4:39 pm on Sep 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I agree with grandpa's thinking... and extend that to "traffic /= money" (traffic does not equal money). But it can almost equate to money in many CPM-ish ways... "traffic ~= money" :-)

There are many original out-of-the-box thinkers here on WW, and there are also many who want some sort of formula that can be followed to allow mailbox money. I am in both of those camps, but realize "change happens".

I used to rock the serps when Altavista was king. Change happened. I can still use the same techniques to rock Yahoo!'s serps, and do. Not a lot of traffic compared to the same ranking in Google. But I think change will happen, as with Amazon/A9's photos, and the odds that search will be further integrated into the OS, browsers, chat/IM, and other apps.

But outside of the fun of having thousands of people interact in some way with our content (our creations), we want money from our time. Does it have to be earned online? No. But that's not why we are here in the forums

Things I haven't done, but should have:

1) Put a bumper sticker on my car promoting my site(s)
2) Change the license plate (tag) of my car to promote
3) Issue more press releases, external and internal
4) Build more brands that people will refer others too.
5) Have a flyer or card in my pocket at all times to
give to people, to promote the services of my sites
6) Set up a page that I would use as *my* start page
(and others would use also, with tweaking)
7) Get an intern or 2 to work my sites regularly
(perhaps on a commission or results-based bases)
8) Put a focus on getting in local newspapers, tv,
etc., and extending to the national and international
outlets. (basically Slashdotting via the media)

There are more items on my list... running out of time right now.


5:40 pm on Sep 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member txbakers is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I operate a very successful web business and I've never concerned myself about Google or any other search engine.

I do old fashioned marketing to drive people there. I attend trade shows, I advertise in key publications, I make phone calls.

I used to used targeted email marketing, but gave that up several years ago due to SPAM issues.

The thing is, though, my web business is unique. I provide a service, rather than try to sell a product that everyone else is selling.

Still, if I'm looking to buy a particular brand of candy for a trade show, I'll use google to find it.

So, if you're relying on selling merchandise that can be found in lots of places (commodities) you'll have to be very creative without google.

But it's certainly possible, and in my opinion, not worth worrying about. If you base your business plan solely on whether a Search Engine can find you, you're in big trouble as a business.


4:42 pm on Sep 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

txbakers...I agree with you mostly but there are different kinds of websites. How about sites based on brick and mortar businesses trying to expand by creating a web presence. Said site cannot seem to achieve rankings in google. Life without google...so how do you optimize or diversify for the other se's.


10:29 pm on Sep 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member txbakers is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

sites based on brick and mortar businesses trying to expand by creating a web presence

They would do it the same way they built their brick business. I would contend that they could indeed do it without relying on Google. Anything a SE sends would be gravy, but they should rely on their regular marketing approaches.


11:55 pm on Sep 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

:-) Do Yahoo, MSN, or AskJeeves rely on Google?

Actually, I don't think eBay or Amazon had searchable urls in their early years.

So, get a good buzz out there and worry about SE's later.


5:30 am on Sep 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yes, my site still makes money without Google. In fact I could make money with just the traffic from MSN, ask.com et al, I don't even need Yahoo to turn a profit. With Google though it was an embarrassment of riches and I was getting very complacent with all that cash rolling in.

But after the dust has settled I am left with a USEFUL site that people return to, and it will still be so after Google one day crashes and burns (I think it will, slowly, very slowly).

So if Google is foolish enough to ignore my site now I will certainly not be very sympathetic when their fortunes fall.


4:07 am on Sep 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

its difficult one.
First disallow googlebot to ensure you will not get any traffic from google ;-)

LOL, Now for the next big question, "How do I open a business without having to have customers?"


4:21 pm on Sep 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I placed a post on google community forum "I think google adsense is the first and foremost like a dramatic spectacle. It belongs with a theatre, ballet, opera and the dance." but no one has replied yet. What you people guess?

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