Ok, I'm going to post this knowing full well that what I am about to say is completely against what all the smart people would say. In fact, it even contradicts what I say much of the time. And it directly counters a comment made today by one of my most "favoritest" people in the SEO world, Debra Mastaler. Sorry, Debra, despite the fact that you are "right", I still feel compelled to take an opposing viewpoint today.
For millions of people to depend on one search vehicle for the majority of their revenue is unbelievable. If Google died tomorrow, what would they do?
She's right, in that she's not wrong, but there are circumstances that I'd just like to point out.
Yes, I often tell people that diversity is important, both in traffic and revenue streams. The more diversified you can be, the less risk you assume. But sometimes, SOMETIMES, you just cannot get beyond the amount of traffic that Google can send.
I have a couple of sites that receive half a million extremely targeted visitors from Google on a monthly basis (for one keyword phrase that ranks well - one phrase for each site, that is). Let me tell you that I would love to be able to replace that traffic with other sources, but it is nearly impossible for me to get half a million visitors each month elsewhere. Even if I managed to get on the Digg home page every day, I wouldn't get that kind of traffic, and it certainly wouldn't be usable traffic.
Losing that Google traffic would be disastrous, financially, and yes, I've lost that traffic before, so I know what it costs me. Sure, I've managed to diversify enough that I can get by if necessary, and Debra and everyone else makes a good point about that. But please, just realize that sometimes, there's just not enough diversity in the entire world that can make up for the loss of some amazing Google traffic.
Yes, I have to face the fact that it can happen. I have to prepare myself as best I can for the heartache of losing that kind of traffic. And I have to have as much diversity in place as I can possibly muster to help me slide by without that traffic.
But I didn't create the situation in which Google holds the key to so much traffic. I didn't create the situation that makes that kind of traffic so enticing. It is my responsibility to be as independent of that traffic as I can possibly be, yes, but please have just a little sympathy for those who might not be as independent of it as they would like. It's not easy to be independent of it - and sometimes, just sometimes, it is next to impossible to replace that kind of traffic.
Ok, go ahead and flame me now. I'll understand. It's the "right" thing to do. And Debra, sorry to take an opposing view, but remember that I still think you're the greatest, k?
UPDATE - Ok, it looks like Debra's article was modified and no longer includes the quote I cited, but the concepts behind what I said do still stand. Google still remains the number one single source of traffic for a large majority of webmasters, regardless of how they try and diversify.