One of my most trafficked personal sites is an information site. While it gets around half its traffic from Google, it also gets a ton of press from TV station, radio station and newspaper websites, plenty of links from blogs, forums and now Facebook, and a prominent link on the state website.
That's all nice that people can get all this traffic. If you're selling watches, or mortgage rates, or you're a real estate broker or on and on, you're not getting TV exposure. Or anything else. TV stations simply don't talk routinely about your local mortgage broker.
I'm in a competitive niche like that. And I actually have been on the radio this month. And printed in 2 magazines this month. And I've recently been published in a couple of top tier blogs in my niche. And you know how much money that's brought in so far? Exactly 0.
Suggesting that businesses are short sighted because they use Google as a primary traffic source is simplistic. It might be nice in your niche to be able to do that, but quite frankly it's not true across the board.
For many niches, SEO and adwords are very viable sources of monetization, better than many other. And Google in some niches is sqeezing that traffic for their own purposes. If they're not doing it to you, don't dance happily and tell the rest of us we were short sighted. You'd better start squirreling your nuts away, because your time is coming. 2-3 years ago I could run a good business just from my current SEO rankings. Today all you can run from those same rankings is a failing business.
As for what Google 'owes' me, they owe me traffic in exchange for taking my content There's been posts here through the years about how people would one day block Google's crawler if they didn't get the traffic in return. It was always done half in jest. But that block is actually in the forseeable future.
It's not that we're being penalized. It's that Google is eating up the front page space for their own purposes. When they sent me traffic, they could scrape my content. Now if I'm #1, sometimes I'm actually in about the #10 spot. So I'm wondering, why would I be putting up with:
- the repeated bandwidth costs from Google's scraper
- the server load from Google
- the content scrapers
- all the other bad exposure I get. I had some sort of email attack on my server yesterday. Likely they found me in Google.
If my only exposure in Google are adwords and only where I actively sell products, then all that other nonsense goes away. I'm not ready to do it yet, but it's definitely under consideration. I am prepared to block Google's bot if they fail to provide decent quality traffic in sufficient volume.