The Penguin update hit a lot of sites. That’s an understatement if ever one was made. It hit sites that were link building in a way that they had learned from someone who didn’t know how to teach it. Personally I had a few sites hit that didn’t use bad link building strategies. Some of those were maybe collateral damage, some were sites that well-meaning friends had sent me links from. At the end of the day, I can remove them and move on.
I also had a few sites rise in search that probably didn’t deserve to rise. No one’s really talking about that side effect and you’re not hearing too many people complain about it.
On some sites, traffic is down fairly dramatically, on others it didn’t touch us. At the end of the day, the way forward can’t be to whine, complain and blame Google for your losses… or mine.
There are a lot of simply outrageous sites rising in search, and some of the search results are ludicrous.. I think that will change. Realistically, some of the bad content and high spam websites are gone too and maybe we needed that.
Webmasters who used what they KNEW were questionable techniques are sitting in Google webmaster forums blaming Google for everything from not being able to pay their bills, to not being able to afford their kids medicine. Now I don’t know about you, but there is one person that I can blame and that person is me. I’m also the one who can change the effects of the Penguin update and rather than whine, that’s really what I choose to do.
What Really Happened?
On the one site on which I lost traffic, I made an serious and a very amateur mistake and I’ve been in the business for a lot of years. I knew better and so did you. The blame for that mistake doesn’t belong to Google, it belongs to me. I put all my eggs in Google’s basket. Google is a notoriously fickle helpmate. For those of you who rely on them, to the exclusion of all of the other traffic driving methods, you’ve just learned a very valuable lesson and it’s time to step back from Google and move on.
What Have We Learned?
One thing is clear from Penguin, Panda, and the many other updates out there and that is that being reliant upon the traffic that you will get from Google is simply not in your best interests. Common sense tells you that after falling down, dusting yourself off and picking yourself up again, and then falling again (if you did) that you need to depend on traffic from more places than just Google. When Panda hit last year, many people cursed their own short-sightedness for depending on Ezine and other article marketing sites. They should have taken that evaluation a step further and realized that if they were not dependent nearly entirely on Google, what Google did to Ezine wouldn’t have touched them. But we didn’t take it the step further that we should have done.
We went back to depending on Google primarily, we put all of our eggs into that same old basket and when it broke, if it did we had a lot of broken eggs. . . and in this case, a great deal less money. How can you change that dynamic and get your own traffic, so that you are less reliant on Google than you are on your own alternative methods.
Free Traffic Isn’t Something Only Google Can Give You
Some of the most common sense methods today of driving traffic that Google can’t affect are the social media sites. In the long haul, Facebook is probably going to replace Google as the number one way to drive your traffic. If you’ve got a Facebook page, get moving and use it. Likewise Twitter, Wooxie, Pinterest, and multiple other social media sites. As the saying goes, “Fish where the fish are.” Social media sites today are where the fish are. Get a reasonable Facebook page built up for your site and use it to drive the traffic that you want and get the responses that you need. Work with Twitter and Wooxie and Pinterest and RedGage. Get your traffic rolling from fifty places, not just one.
Google isn’t your only option for free traffic and it may not even be your best option for traffic given the many algorithm updates. Making your own traffic stream is your best option. Those inbounds aren’t going to help your page rank, granted, but you’re not eating your page rank, you’re more interested in traffic and conversions. Build your own traffic stream. Do what you need to do to be relatively well optimized on Google , but more than that, herculean efforts aren’t necessary any more. There is more than one search engine, Play to them all to some extent but build your site for the people who want to read it or buy your goods.
Go find those people anywhere that you can. Don’t depend on Google to bring them to you.
Just a little side note folks..a marketer friend and I had this conversation a few days ago, and we both agreed that SEO and marketing people actually gave Google the power that it has. If you had not played to Google to begin with, taken their algorithms and tried to get a better placement, and worked hard to make your site rise, Google would be just another site trying to look bigger than they are. It was your effort which put Google in the position it currently enjoys. If it hadn’t mattered to SEO providers and marketers, Google algorithms would be just one more piece of code that no one really cared about. YOU gave Google this power over you and only you can take it away and find your own path out there.
Who Do You Really Work For?
You may not like it, but really think about that the next time you blame Google for your site loss and your traffic loss. You gave them that power to begin with. Now take all of those marketing skills and know-how and put them into creating great traffic from secondary methods. Pinning all your hopes on one thing, trusting all your income to Google is no different than working for a boss in any sweat shop around the world. My paycheck doesn’t say Google and neither does yours, so don’t spend all of your time working for them.
It’s About Multiple Traffic Streams
Depending only on Google isn’t good sense and it isn’t good business. Make your own way out there with logic and common sense. Forge a new trail and find your own traffic, because depending on getting it from one place—from one search engine–just like putting all your eggs in one basket– will always be a mistake.