Regardless of our feelings, it is unwise to ignore Google. It has 67% of search market share (September, 2011). Your Google traffic is your company asset. In the nearest future Google will be the main source of your traffic.
To continuously benefit from Google traffic, practice good SEO, speed up your website, and produce good content. Still, with the penalties and algo changes, you might become vulnerable. Google also makes mistakes that can cause you serious problems.
Improve your site's relevancy to Bing and Yahoo. Follow these tips to protect yourself from Google traffic drop.
What is your dependency on search?
Let's figure out where your traffic is coming from. Go to Google Analytics -> Traffic Sources -> Overview. What is the percentage of search traffic? You will see Search traffic to be about 60%-70%.
Go to Sources -> Search -> Organic. Click on Source - Where are you getting other traffic? If you see traffic coming from images.google, start posting more images. If you see traffic from international search engines like Baidu or Yandex, track the visitor flow and plan on expanding your international presence. Of course, plot your global expansion only if it helps your business.
Most importantly, you have to analyze conversions. Go to Conversions -> Overview. In Advanced Segments, select Non-paid Search Traffic. Note what converts best for organic traffic.
What are your visitors reading on your website? Is it the same for all visitors or differs by source?
Define your assets
Next step is to look at your content and define it - what type of media you are using, who the content is for, what the benefits are to the consumer. From your unique sales proposition, state why people like your content and where those people are on the internet.
Learn more about your audience. Find their hang-out places. Follow your fans around and look for ways you can be useful to them. What are their habits? Which content do they consume? Do they participate - comment or join in? Do they link? Are they proud to be a part of your community and add "Proud member" badges to their sites?
When you know more about your audience, you will be able to target your content in the favorable form, and distribute it in the forum where your potential customers hang out. That way you will built a community of your company advocates who will (hopefully) promote your content because it is so useful to them.
Expand your reach
Produce more content that your audience wants. Become newsworthy. Participate in more forums. Become active on social media. Discover social bookmarking and consider using Digg, StumbleUpon, and Reddit.
Revive your email marketing. Invest in link building. Granted, it is a part of SEO, but if you have useful information for a specific audience, links to your site are an indication that your audience likes your content.
PPC can be very beneficial to drive traffic to your site. However, it involves additional resources and it might not be for you. If you are running AdWords campaigns, audit their performance and try to improve them. Having better returns on the traffic you are paying for can go a long way.
If you are a local business, evaluate your presence on Google Local. Check how your business is listed on local search engines using GetListed.org. Learn how to make your presence more prominent. Get a Google Plus Local page and Google Plus Business page. Add your business to as many maps as possible.
If you have resources start a micro site, if possible. If your business has a following related to your product or service, microsite can be a great home for that community. You will have to support two sites and build them both up. But it will be worth it if you do it right.
Don't forget mobile. Make your website mobile-friendly. Best way to do it is by employing responsive web design. Make it easy for your mobile visitors to go through your conversion steps. If possible, create an app that integrates with your company products, services, or something else entirely. Your mobile traffic will keep growing. Best to be prepared for it.
Consider starting mobile marketing - SMS, mobile PPC, coupons. SMS is the most delicate of all because it can create hate towards your company. Mobile PPC and coupons, on the other hand, can be extremely effective.
The only way you will be able to reduce your dependency on Google traffic is to diversify your online presence. Do not rely on your target audience to go look for you. Make yourself found. Join their communities, answer their questions, give them what they are looking for outside Google search - and you will be less dependent on it.
At the same time, use all the tools that Google provided you to strengthen your business online. Use Google Plus Local, Google Plus Business pages, Google Earth maps, AdWords PPC advertising. Your overall activity will establish you as a viable asset and will reduce the possibility of a mistaken identity error.
Utilize your other channels to expand your reach and bring relevant people to your site. Your best performer is your email marketing campaigns. Your best investment is in mobile traffic. Your best potential is in social media.
How do you battle dependency on Google search traffic?
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