“Live by the Google, Die by the Google”
Let’s not beat around the bush: Google dominates the search market. Naturally, you want to rank well in Google for targeted keywords. But if that’s the entirety of your search marketing strategy, you need some major rethinking.
“What? Why?,” you ask. Case-in-point: even John Chow gets dumped by Google sometimes. John says his site was down when Googlebot came through last (thanks to an overzealous plugin). He had 193 unreachable URLs according to Webmaster Central.
Apparently, he had far to fall. He went from being #1 to being buried on page 6 for one of his most used keywords “make money online.”
But John’s not so worried–in part because he’s confident his rankings will improve once his site is crawled again, but also in part because Google isn’t his only traffic source. As he says:
This kind of situation always highlight the saying, â€œLive by the Google, die by the Google.â€ For many websites, their only source of Internet traffic is Google. Without it, their traffic is nothing. That is a very scary situation to be in because if Google wants to, they can remove you from their index at the snap of a finger and thereâ€™s nothing you can do about it.
Yes, you should work on getting Google traffic, but you shouldnâ€™t do it the exclusion of everything else. If the bulk of your traffic comes from Google, then you need to work on getting other traffic sources.
John has built up his ranking by recruiting links throughout the blogosphere. Even if those links aren’t helping his ranking so much today, he still has thousands of links to his blogâ€”ways for people to find his site. He is still in the top 10 in Yahoo for “make money online,” and he’s also begun diversifying his keyword strategy.
Interestingly, his site is sponsored by Search Engine Guide, which has also been writing a lot about “diversifying” your search marketing. Yesterday, in fact, Matt McGee wrote an article called “Diversity: Good in Life, Good in Search Marketing.” He used the phrase “defensible traffic” to describe the ultimate goal: creating traffic streams independent of Google, so that if Google goes medieval on your site, you won’t be out of business.
Also on Search Engine Guide, Jennifer Laycock is in the midst of a diversifying experiment of her own: how to market a site completely without search engines. Her Hide and Speak experiment has used robots.txt to disallow all spiders. From there, she’s building up traffic through social media and word of mouth. We’ll definitely be watching her experiment as a great way to learn more about social media and viral marketing (as well as building defensible traffic) in action.