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50% of traffic to me from Google, good or bad?

     
1:55 pm on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Hi I get 50% of my traffic from Google search.

Is this good or bad? Over dependence on Google?

What should I do? Thanks
2:28 pm on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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That's not crazy bad but I would certainly work on diversifying. We worked very hard over the last few years to get traffic from sources other than google, we've just recently got our numbers in a little better shape, just under 30% of our traffic comes from google now.
4:51 pm on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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What would happen to your business if you were kicked out of Google search results? Could you survive? IMHO that is the simplest test to figure out if you are too dependent on Google.

You can lose Google search traffic if Google changes their ranking formula, or if your competition outranks you, or if your server accidentally blocks Googlebot, or if your competition does SEO sabotage and many other ways. The more you diversify, the better chance your business will survive in the long term.

I also would focus less on traffic and more on revenue/profit sources. 50% of traffic can sound big but does that 50% convert into revenue? Worst case the 50% of traffic that comes from Google is 100% of your revenue. If that is the case I would feel very uncomfortable. I prefer having as many revenue sources as possible (search engines, forums, blogs, email, even direct mail campaigns).
5:03 pm on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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It all depends on your point of view. The people here who complain that they can't get Google traffic probably envy you!
9:53 pm on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Some of your "non-Google" traffic could be people that originally discovered your site through Google, then bookmarked it and started returning through the bookmark. Or they could remember your site's URL and type it into the address bar. Or they could send emails to other people to tell them about your site, and you could get traffic that way. Or some of the people that discovered your site through Google could link to it from their own sites, and from then on you could get traffic through those links.

So a lot of your current "non-Google" traffic could be traceable back to Google originally.
10:26 pm on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I was just thinking that was good then I realised that you meant all traffic not just search!

A couple of minutes with a calculator on recent stats gives my main site an rough 35% from G.
11:17 pm on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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IMHO, it's better to have "too much" Google traffic than too little. What's wrong with being successful?
12:29 am on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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What's wrong with being successful?

Nothing - unless it relies upon the whims of a third party over whom you have neither influence nor control.

Putting all your eggs in someone else's basket is not a good strategy.

...
12:59 am on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'm not sure where you live, but 50% of your traffic coming from Google may not be that bad unless you are getting very little traffic overall. But such an answer to your question is difficult without specifics. For example, some businesses do terribly bad in social circles and video in others can be a waste of time. Considering Google holds a monopoly over search and video, think of yourself lucky that you are not entirely dependent on Google. Many people are and of these people many have no idea how to market a business on the various mediums to reach potential customers.
1:22 am on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Putting all your eggs in someone else's basket is not a good strategy.


But the OP isn't putting his eggs in someone else's basket, the "someone else" is doing it.

Still, if success is worrisome, there's an easy solution: Block Googlebot and watch Google's percentage of traffic drop. (Take that, Google!)
1:34 am on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Take that, Google!

It has nothing to do with Google-bashing.

I don't see the current lack of competition in search as Google's fault, but I do see it as unhealthy for webmasters.

Where I live, there is only one basket to put the eggs in.

...
1:43 am on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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There is NEVER only one basket to put the eggs in.
2:33 am on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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There is NEVER only one basket to put the eggs in.

I appreciate where you are coming from Netmeg, but I was specifically talking about search.

And where I live, nobody bothers with Google's "competitors".

For organic search traffic, there is effectively only one basket.

I see no sign of that changing anytime soon.

....
5:45 am on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Believe it or not, many businesses are undependent in their nature.
The Internet industry is no different than many other markets/industries. Here we have a monopoly in the web search - Its name is "Google" and most websites are 'Google dependent'.
The fact that their (Google's) search algorithm can't screw specific website without screwing thousands more, and look ridiculous, is what makes many websites survive and ..flourish.
10:01 am on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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For organic search traffic, there is effectively only one basket.

And it just so happens that the only search basket (Google) controls so much of the internet that many businesses are dependent on Google for their digital existence in one way or another. Sure, there are other companies that can produce a lot of traffic (Facebook, etc.), but mass droves of people do not go to Facebook to find a local plumber. These people go to Google. The only way to avoid Google's stranglehold over the internet, for many businesses, is to maintain a strong offline presence as well.
1:38 pm on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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mass droves of people do not go to Facebook to find a local plumber

Correct - back in the day they went to Yellow Pages or a similar printed directory.

Any business with a phone line got a free listing, and there was no chance of an algorithm change consigning them to oblivion. Such directories still exist online, but relatively few people use them - Google is the overwhelmingly popular choice with the public, so that is where the customers come from.

Until there is credible competition in search, many small businesses (especially in Europe) are effectively dependent on the automated whims of one third party, and in the long run that is not a good place to be.

I don't see it as Google's fault, it's just how it is right now.

...
5:31 pm on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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It's no big news that Google is dominant in search. The OP's concern was whether getting 50 percent of his traffic from Google is a problem, and what (if anything) he should do about it.

If it is a problem, it's a problem that many site owners would kill for. We're constantly seeing posts here by people who feel that they're getting too little Google traffic. I don't recall seeing any threads titled "Google loves me, how can I make the love stop?"

On a more personal note, our site's Google organic traffic is running more than 250 percent ahead of the same period last year, which means Google's "share of traffic" is way up. (Other sources are up, too, but not by as much.) Is that bad? Should I block Googlebot from our pages to keep Google's share of traffic below an arbitrary percentage? Would I sleep better at night if I relied less on Google traffic but earned half as much money? Would "Google, Google, go away" be a rational business strategy? While I'm at it, should I get divorced so I don't have to worry that my wife might become tired of me and run off with another man?

Unless site owners are ranking decently in Google for reasons that aren't likely to last (e.g., using questionable SEO tactics), they should count their blessings and keep on doing what they're doing: building good Web sites that please users and attract citations (a.k.a. links) from other Web sites.
6:30 pm on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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they should count their blessings

Blessings are for worshippers, not businesses.

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6:45 pm on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I find it funny that there was so little google bashing in this thread that EG had to manufacture some.

If it is a problem, it's a problem that many site owners would kill for. We're constantly seeing posts here by people who feel that they're getting too little Google traffic. I don't recall seeing any threads titled "Google loves me, how can I make the love stop?"

The OP is talking about a % of traffic, NOT volume, not sure why you're trying to muddy the water.

Should I block Googlebot from our pages to keep Google's share of traffic below an arbitrary percentage?

How is that relevant to the discussion? NOBODY but you is talking about reducing traffic from google.
8:24 pm on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The OP is talking about a % of traffic, NOT volume, not sure why you're trying to muddy the water.


The only people who seem to be trying to muddy the water(s) are those who refuse to address the OP's questions.

We already know that Google has a dominant share of the search market. The OP isn't asking for yet another discussion of Google's clout in the search business; he wants to know if he has a problem and, if so, what he should do about it.

If we assume that the owner does have a problem (something that's open to debate), the simplistic answer to the second question would be "Increase your traffic from other sources"--which is easier said than done if the OP has a topic that lends itself to search traffic. Why? Because the things that help to get organic traffic from other sources (direct links, social media, etc.) also tend to help the site owner get traffic from Google. If Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, etc. love you for legitimate reasons (not because you cheated), Google probably will, too.

Something else to consider:

For some informational topics, and in some markets (Germany, for example, where Google has a 90 percent market share), an astute site owner might be worried if he didn't get a lot more than 50 percent of his traffic from Google.
8:44 pm on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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How is that relevant to the discussion? NOBODY but you is talking about reducing traffic from google.


Not directly talking about it, no. But by implying that the OP should diversify, you are also implying that there is something inherently wrong about having a high percentage of your visitors coming from Google.

Hypothetical:

Website gets 10 000 targeted unique visitors a day. 2 500 from forums and citations, 2 500 from Bing/Yahoo (but not Google), 2 500 from repeat visitors, and 2 500 from Google (25% of the total). The website owner comes here and says "hey guys, 25% of my traffic is coming from Google, is that bad? and other webmasters say "no, that's very good, keep going!"

A week later his website gets a huge spike in Google traffic. While still getting 2 500 from forums/citaions, 2 500 from Bing/Yahoo and 2 500 from repeat visitors, his Google visits spike up to 13 000. Suddenly he is getting over 63% of his traffic from Google. He again comes to this forum and says "hey guys, I'm getting 63% of my traffic from Google, is that bad?" and suddenly he is told that he should try to diversify some more.

Suddenly there is something "wrong," even though his situation is considerably better than it was in the first example.

The above scenario makes absolutely no sense, and yet this is what you are non-directly implying by suggesting to the OP that he should "diversify" without knowing anything else about his/her business.
8:56 pm on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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in some markets (Germany, for example, where Google has a 90 percent market share), an astute site owner might be worried if he didn't get a lot more than 50 percent of his traffic from Google.


Might, yes. With discussions like these, so long as they stay on topic, astute business owners can find out if that might is true or not.

To that point, as I stated earlier, we now get less than 30% of our traffic from google. Our volume of traffic from google is very good. We did not reduce our volume of traffic from google to achieve a lower percentage of traffic from google, we got more traffic from other sources.

I can not say whether or not the % of traffic the OP gets from google is good or bad. But I can say for sure that I have never had any business that got 50% or more of its customers from one source. Dependency like that is a recipe for disaster.
9:50 pm on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Dependency like that is a recipe for disaster.

Indeed, and it should be no big news to anyone running a business.

Unless, perhaps, they have been too busy counting their "blessings".

As for addressing questions in the opening post:

Over dependence on Google?

Any dependence is over dependence.

...
10:22 pm on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Dependency like that is a recipe for disaster.


Indeed, and it should be no big news to anyone running a business.


Instead of pontificating, why not offer a solution?

You might also want to read hasek747's sample scenario.

I'd also point out that what may be right for one business may be unrealistic or a poor idea for another. An e-commerce site, for example, might want to diversify by advertising--not so much to reduce its "dependence on Google" as to reach prospects who aren't being reached through organic search. An information site wouldn't find that solution practical, as a rule, because the economics of Web publishing are different from the economics of e-commerce.

As for me, I'm happy to profit from the additional traffic that Google is now sending my way. And while it might be nice if Infoseek, Altavista, HotBot, Webcrawler, and other search engines from yesteryear suddenly came back from the dead to diversify the search market, I'm not going to turn up my nose at Google traffic while waiting for someone to invent a time machine.
11:10 pm on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'm not going to turn up my nose at Google traffic

Neither is anyone else.

The function of business is to exploit revenue sources.

But if you are dependent on one your fate is out of your hands.

All you can do then is pray to the source for a "blessing".

...
11:17 pm on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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This is a risk management question, and a solid answer would require a lot more information.

Organic search traffic, in general, tends to have a higher risk of loss, but lower cost per visitor, than other types of traffic.

OP is asking if 50% organic search, solely from one source, is too much risk.

To get to a credible answer, you would have to calculate the number of visitors, cost per visitor, and the net margin, per visitor, for each type of traffic source (ppc, organic/google, organic/bing, social, etc).

Stick all that in a spreadsheet, along with calculated totals. Then do some "what if" and see what happens to your business when you zero out specific sources.
11:18 pm on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'm not going to turn up my nose at Google traffic


Again, no one has suggested turning away google traffic.

There is no scenario where it is not a benefit for a website to get traffic from a diverse network of sources.
11:26 pm on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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There is no scenario where it is not a benefit for a website to get traffic from a diverse network of sources.


No one has suggested that it isn't desirable to get traffic from multiple sources. But telling the OP that "You should have more diverse sources of traffic" isn't a useful prescription. If the OP has a topic that attracts organic searches, and if he's been successful in creating a site that search engines find valuable, he'll almost certainly get a high percentage of his traffic of his traffic from the company that dominates search. (Or she will, as the case may be.)
11:42 pm on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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It's easy to have the "right answer" when the question isn't well defined.

Arguing over an ambiguous question isn't useful.
11:43 pm on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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But telling the OP that "You should have more diverse sources of traffic"

You appear to be referencing something someone has said, but I can't seem to find the quoted statement in this thread.


almost certainly get a high percentage of his traffic of his traffic from the company that dominates search.

And this is based on what? Do we have some data somewhere showing that a common factor among successful websites is a high percentage of traffic from one source?
 

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