Why You Can NOT Rely Solely on Organic Search Listings for Traffic and Revenue

Every time I take a peek into the Web analytics accounts for a blog or especially an online store I see something I consider to be VERY frightening! The percentage of traffic and sales being derived from traffic from only one source is frequently 50-70+%!

Can you imagine what would happen to your blog or business if your traffic and sales suddenly dropped by 50-70%!

Don’t think it can happen? It does all the time. The most famous blogger Darren Rowse of ProBlogger and TwiTip wrote an excellent post about his own experience of losing two-thirds of his traffic and income. He has covered this subject several times:

Do you notice anything about the dates of these posts? Remember in the post just prior to this that I mentioned pay per click bid prices having artificially high minimums? Those coincide with organic listings swinging wildly but mostly dropping. (Some have to go up for others to go down.)

If your business normally sees a major increase in sales – or even makes the majority of sales – during the holiday shopping season what would YOU do if your traffic dropped in the middle of the optimum sales period because your organic listings suddenly dropped or completely disappeared from the first page of the SERPS?

How long have I been warning about the dangers of having all your traffic and sales coming from the same source? Have you done anything about it yet?

Still not convinced? There are others who have recognized how dangerous this is. The featured home page discussion at WebmasterWorld (Mar 27, 2009) is about Making Your Business SE (Search Engine) Proof.  I know you may be busy blogging or running your online store so you may not see all the uproar whenever there is a new Google Dance.

These issues are not new as this excerpt from Gazumped by Google Florida Update from Nov 25, 2003 indicates (note that the date of this post also coincides with the holiday shopping season):

Thousands of web pages have been suddenly demoted in the Google search results, primarily on the main commercial search terms for which they targeted their pages to be replaced by other sites who, in the main, referred to the search term obliquely. Several were the main shopping portals or business directories which gave listings for companies who may provide the services requested, many were not. “

Techcrunch has even suggested What An AntiTrust Case Against Google Might Look Like. For several days now I have been searching for specific posts, forums, or pages to illustrate the current state of online sales. I wanted to provide more real life examples from etailers.

With the enormous number of online stores that would seem to be easy to research. Have no Internet retailers asked for input since 2007 when their sales dropped?  Do they not visit forums any more or ask around among their peers? Perhaps that information is not as easily located if the discussions take place on Twitter or other Social Networks or maybe it is not easily found in the indexes?

Whatever the cause I have decided to publish this post as is and hope that those involved in ecommerce will share their stories and experiences in the comments here.

As always, all comments provide dofollow incoming links. We use both KeyWordLuv and CommentLuv and encourage including relevant links in your comments. Akismet may flag your comment but we do rescue all valid comments.

NEW: Add your Twitter user name to any comment here and it will “automagically” appear in every other comment you have ever made in this blog.

LATEST ON GOOGLE SEARCH ALGORITHM:

ONLINE RETAILERS REPORTING TRAFFIC DECLINES:

  • Answers.com Reports Traffic Down 28% After Google Algorithm Change (Aug 2. 2007)

GOOGLE DANCES:

DEALING WITH DROPPING SEARCH TRAFFIC:

ECOMMERCE PREDICTIONS:

The above predictions are far different than the results of the Merchant Circle Small Business Economic Stimulus Survey (Feb 25, 2009). The answers to this question are of particular concern:

Month over month, how would you say sales and revenue for your local business have changed?

Severe Decline        31.5% (3,411)
Moderate Decline    41.6% (4,509)
No Change              13.6%  (1,471)
Moderate increase   12.3% (1,331)
Strong Increase         1.6%    (178)

Total survey respondents who answered that their sales and revenue had declined: 73.1%

Survey participants who answered this question  10,830
Number who skipped this question   49

Total respondents  10,879

NOTE: The question specifically asks about LOCAL business. We have no way of knowing how many of those local businesses are brick and mortar, have ecommerce stores, or operate exclusively online.

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More Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

  • Tired of focusing on SEO or just want some great new ideas to work on? Check out the 115 Marketing Strategies for Small Business from the Toilet Paper Entrepreneur Blog.
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Gail Gardner

Small Business Marketing Strategist at GrowMap
Creator and owner of GrowMap.com, Gail is primarily known for mentoring small businesses and encouraging bloggers to join collaborations to share skills and support small business.

Comments

  1. Well, First of all, thank you for posting all these resources and links on the post. It is quite overwhelming for me since I just started the blog idea. I agree that organic searches using search engines is a must but I also agree that we should not count on just one form or source just like the post indicates. Nice post with many links.

    Jacky’s last blog post..WWE DVD Archive

    • Hi Jack, If you think it is overwhelming now wait until you get an idea of all the additional factors bloggers can use to improve their results.

      I hope you subscribe and become a regular reader. Do feel free to ask questions you have now in any post. It is much faster than trying to figure out where the answers are on your own. I can either point you to a post, write a new post to answer (since others will also have the same question), or answer in the comments.

      Internet Strategist’s last blog post..WordPress 2.7 Threaded Comments Works In Thesis

  2. @Sean We don’t really have a lot of choice when it comes to getting too much traffic from Google. No other search engine is even trying to compete with them. I strongly recommend going far beyond just search engines.

    Start with Local Search (see the tabs in the header for both Local Search and Special Offer) and make sure every business is listed. Even if a business operates totally online having listings there improves search engine ranking. If a business is located near a major city they can also get business from those listings. Local businesses MUST be easy to find locally so they should make these a priority.

    Then expand to any other source that DIRECTLY drives traffic to your business or blog. That can be anything from blogs to forums to answers sites like Yahoo! Answers.

    Finally get active in Social Media sites. Doing all this is going to take some creativity. If you’re busy running your own business you may need to collaborate with someone else who spends more time online. If you’re large enough you can hire a consultant. If not collaborate with someone like us. We’re continually online and do our best to promote ethical small businesses wherever an opportunity presents itself.

    InternetStrategist’s last blog post..What IS a Social Media Expert?

  3. Another great post, thanks! Too many people rely solely on Google, but then again, Google is the best money-maker of a search engine out there. This post gives you all the reasons in the world to go ahead and make sure you rank on Yahoo and MSN, even though they pale in comparison to Google’s might.

  4. I know all too well about relying only on organic traffic. I had three sites going and making me some good money and all of the traffic was from Google with small trickles from Yahoo. I thought I was safe because I had three sites, then one day site number one tanked out of no where, a few days later bye-bye to site number two. Thankfully the third site held on for a while but it lost some rankings too and its income dipped. While I still rely mainly on organic traffic, I have created a mini-network to help me sleep better at night when Google decides to go out dancing around town. If a few of them drop I am still OK now.

    Ryan Edward’s last blog post..Learn to Play Piano Software

    • @Ryan Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Some will not believe it can happen to them until they hear from more who have been through it. The Google CEO’s comments about the Internet being a “cesspool” of incorrect information may indicate censorship is coming.

      Businesses must take action now. Bloggers need to find each other. Everyone would do well to record their favorite sites somewhere in case one day they can not find them.

      InternetStrategist’s last blog post..WordPress 2.7 Threaded Comments Works In Thesis

  5. Your completely right. I spend all my time making SEO efforts and sometimes my sites vanish away, Google smash them, and my money with them. This so dangerous as it looks.

    ultrattuga’s last blog post..O Boss Continua Em Altas

  6. @gossip guy We were discussing this over on Sire’s site and I recommend publishers immediately opt out of having AdSense targeted to the user instead of your page.

    It is far more likely that someone landing on your page will be interested in ads relating to that page than they will want more information on what they (or even someone else on their computer) searched on sometime.

    Here’s an example. Suppose I search on insurance, find it and buy it. Or maybe I did the search for a friend or client. Either way, I have now moved on and am interested in what YOUR site offers. I would be willing to bet that Google will show insurance ads to that user for a VERY long time because the bids are high and they make more money off those clicks than off some niche subject.

    I definitely advise sticking to tweaking and targeting for specific niches because that IS going to convert better than this new Google idea. The idea is good for Google’s pocketbook because they now have an excuse to display the most expensive ads; however, I doubt they’ll convert nearly as well. While you could make more per click you’ll have far fewer clicks.

    The only way to know for sure is to test both ways. There is no simple way I know of to do that though.

    @Kristian The problem we now have is that 60-70% of most traffic to sites with decent SEO comes from Google so it is even more important to find alternative sources of traffic.

    @guy with glasses Absolutely; we all want as much targeted traffic from as many sources as we can get.

    @Salwa Glad you like it. Special thanks go to Derek of DerekSemmler.com for all the work he did to get Thesis installed and modified. Derek’s a great guy and really knows his stuff. He is also great with product feeds.

    @Matt You’re just the man I want to talk with. It may be that the analytics I look at have great SEO but I regularly see 60-70% of their organic and paid traffic coming from Google. Do you see many sites that have a better mix?

    @ultrattuga Yes, they do that. If they’ll do it to the best known blog about making money blogging (Problogger) they’ll do it to anyone. I wrote this post because it is so important.

    InternetStrategist’s last blog post..Blog Traffic Up 54.87% in the Last 30 Days: Our Proven Traffic Improvement Strategy

  7. Hi InternetStrategist,

    Yes I did notice the new design, looks very nice, I just recently change my blog design too!

    Salwa’s last blog post..The Mass Media Marketing Marathon

  8. I practically look at analytics all day and it all depends really on what your business is. Its really scary having more than 50% of your traffic from only one source.

  9. Awesome post, thanks for all the blogs. I completely agree with you, although organic listings are free while other Adwords can cost an arm and a leg. I would suggest social media marketing as another channel to explore.

    Nancy’s last blog post..Life Insurance Quotes For Planning The Future

  10. guy with glasses says:

    @Kristian-
    You need not forget about organic traffic totally, as it is still very valuable when running a site. You just need to not put all your eggs in one basket.

    guy with glasses’s last blog post..One Hour Eyeglasses: Save Your Money and Wait

  11. Kristian says:

    That’s interesting. I had planned on using exclusively organic traffic. May need to rethink this however.

  12. gossip guy says:

    To respond to your comment about organic search traffic converting:
    I’m curious what will shake out with the new Adsense stuff. I’m pretty sure you already know about it. From a user standpoint, I see a mixed bag. If I’m searching for “red widgets” and land on a red widget page, I expect to see ads for red widget related things. Not ads for puppy leashes since I searched for that earlier. That’s not so good. On the bright side, it might be a way to make social traffic convert a little better as the ads would be targeted to the individual user.

    As a publisher, this worries me. We all spend time tweaking our sites to get them targeted for certain things. What happens to my red widget site when someone shows up and sees dog food ads instead of red widget ads?

    gossip guy’s last blog post..VIDEO: 700-Pound Woman Gets Help After Issuing Public Plea On Local News

  13. Sulumits Retsambew says:

    This is really good article but i have not much knowledge about organic search listing

    Sulumits Retsambew’s last blog post..Tnomeralc Web Design Toys

  14. @cars for sale There is far more to think about than most will ever know. I do my best to bring all the variables together in a concise way to make it easier to understand.

    @salwa We’ll need every method we can come up with the way trends are going. I’ll be by to check out your latest increasing traffic posts too. Did you notice the new design? Derek just finished installing Thesis.

    @Terry Is there much competition for organic listings in your very unique niche? I believe I shared some basics on how to get any page to rank well in the comments above. Those should pretty much take care of getting listings. Just be sure to avoid “bad neighborhoods” (links to bad sites – more on that elsewhere here) and don’t do anything that will get you banned if you can help it.

    The great thing about blogs is there are many other ways to find readers. You’ll have to be very imaginative because I don’t know that many are actively searching for coffee bags. Check out the CommentLuv featured post for another idea and the categories for many other ways to generate free traffic.

    @tina from GoodTherapy Being on Squidoo will send you a certain amount of traffic. You might try supplementing it with the ideas found in the blog post in the featured in this comment and the many other posts here on how to generate more visitors.

    InternetStrategist’s last blog post..Blog Traffic Up 54.87% in the Last 30 Days: Our Proven Traffic Improvement Strategy

  15. Excellent article. Loads of resources in this post.

    While organic traffic is great, you are right that we should not “solely” rely on it for all of our traffic needs and this is exactly why I use other methods aswell like social media, building relationships to help me stay ontop of my game.

    Salwa’s last blog post..Traffic Monday: Ways to Increase Traffic

  16. goodtherapy.org says:

    This post has changed my concept of relying only on organic traffic for all your requirement.
    This is an excellent post. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Wow, you’ve changed my mind. Im new to internet marketing and have been focusing all my efforts on getting ranked in google. I didnt realize there was so much more too it. This blog = bookmarked.

    Terry’s last blog post..New Uses for Old Sacks

  18. Thanks for the article. This is really something I have never thought of before

  19. @Tnomeralc The link is immediately above your comment where it says Blog Traffic Up 54.87% in the Last 30 Days.

    @missouri real estate You do not have to change your current approach to generate traffic from additional sources; simply ADD new methods which do not affect organic listings. In your case I would definitely have a blog (more on what to do with it in a minute). You can even use a different domain to make sure it doesn’t affect your existing site.

    For example, read the post I mentioned just above to Tnomeralc. If everyone in a blogging community used that strategy all the sites involved would see a huge increase in their traffic.

    Here is an idea for highly competitive markets such as real estate. People buy from those they know and trust. Few people set out to make friends with someone because they’re a realtor. They WILL make friends with those who share a common interest, activity or hobby.

    Golf is the perfect example. I don’t know how many started playing primarily for business but I suspect it is a major reason. If you were interested in golf and knew other golfers in your area and they knew you were in real estate when a need for that type of assistance comes up wouldn’t they choose you over someone from the phone book?

    It doesn’t have to be golf – it can be anything. There is plenty of room for a realtor who specializes in horse properties (any interested in that – and there are MANY ways to really excel in that area – can ask me how). Or one who happens to love motorcycles.

    For common and highly competitive businesses you’ll reach more people by sharing a common interest than by focusing on that industry. Sharing blog posts on Social Networking sites is a great way to do that.

    InternetStrategist’s last blog post..Promote Your Business Without Cash

  20. Currently I base most my earning off of organic results. I am worried that it might drop but I am also scared to change my approach becuase I don’t want my change to cause the problem that creates the loss in traffic. I think this is a very difficult and fine line to walk in order to maintain a high volume of organic traffic.

  21. Tnomeralc Web Design Toys says:

    plz let me know the link

  22. @Tnomeralc The sad thing is Google has such a monopoly that everyone is too reliant on their traffic. In your case do be VERY careful not to do anything that will get you banned.

    Then check out my post attached to this comment for one great way to start getting referrals from other blogs.

    @Steve Diversification is so necessary – the thing is, what can we do about Google’s monopoly? Any ideas?

    @tnomeralc The basics of SEO are fairly simple. Target one two to three word phrase on each post or page and use that phrase as the title (use Title tags), the name of the page, in the images, and in the text. Use an SEO plugin in blogs. Add ONE tag / keyword phrase – not tons of them. These tips will make a difference.

    @Rose Don’t be anxious as some readers will come and go because their interests or situations change or they have less time. Just focus on quality posts and comments and you’ll get more regulars.

    @Mike Thank you. We’re planning a major redesign any time now so I may not be posting for a few days. Once the upgrade is done I’ll be adding much more. I hope you subscribed so we’ll be chatting regularly here.

    @Sire Would you believe I don’t really set out to create such major research references; that just happens when I lay out all the points to consider. Sometimes posts even turn into a series.

    I consider it important for small businesses and bloggers to understand the big picture. No business is intentionally targeting only Google – they simply can not avoid it!

    I am glad you’re able to focus on fun. I know I haven’t been around lately and that is just because I’ve been busy. Had to temporarily take a little paid work to keep the roof over my head, food on the table, and get the garden planted.

    Derek is getting ready to install Thesis and some other cool stuff here so I may have to hold off a little.

    @Barbara You’re showing your blogging experience – those are from a while back when I first started seeing these things happening to ecommerce stores.

    With your great community and subscriber base you’ll be less impacted than most small businesses – which makes me wonder about ProBlogger losing such a high percentage of traffic! Hmmm.

    I would think that most blogs with regular readers would be more insulated than the typical ecommerce site that hasn’t learned to use autoresponders and mailing lists to drive repeat sales.

    InternetStrategist’s last blog post..Blog Traffic Up 54.87% in the Last 30 Days: Our Proven Traffic Improvement Strategy

  23. seo service says:

    Where else can I get my traffic aside from organic search listings and social networking? I do experience this now that the traffic to my blogs have been dropping tremendously over the past months and I actually don’t know what to do.

  24. I remember reading those posts on Problogger where he lost a good bit of his traffic. After reading that I become concerned when a majority of my traffic (to any of my blogs) comes from one source. I hope I’m never in that position.

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..About Me – The Most Important Page On Our Blog

  25. I am learning how to do a good SERP.This article help me so much.I’ve never think about this before.

    My next project is about how to make money online by SERP and google adsense? Could you please suggest me how to do? What is the best way? I still have no idea

    satana’s last blog post..There Is Help At Hand for Those Struggling With Their Wamucards Mortgage

  26. You certainly know how to research your topics. This must have taken you a fair bit of time to put together and you’ve done it so well. It just goes to show that it doesn’t matter whether it’s from the real world or related to online the old adage of putting all your eggs into one basket holds true.

    Lucky for me I don’t have to worry about it as my online escapades are more for fun than business.

    Sire’s last blog post..Passive Income With Your Own Online Store

  27. The site looks real good so far. Keep you content updated and I will continue to read.
    Thanks for sharing.

  28. I have not much traffic yet and I’m really anxious on doing everything I can to not lose any one of my regulars. Thanks for the helpful tips.

  29. tnomeralc web design toys says:

    thank you for sharing an idea through this post is very helpful to me I am a new blogger that’s why I am searching some tips and post that can give me some knowledge in Search Engine Optimization and I Appreciate this one

    tnomeralc web design toys’s last blog post..Apple iPhone release 3.0 beta

  30. hey Growmap,
    You are preachin’ to the choir with me. :)
    Business is a lot like investing. One of the “golden rules” is one word… diversify. Don’t just target one search engine, target all of them. And as you say, have a backup if your organic results disappear (though hopefully it is temporary). Oh yeh, and did I say… DIVERSIFY! ~ Steve, the trade show guru

    Steve’s last blog post..Trade Show Booth Staffing Secrets

  31. Its time for me to change my tactics, I guess. My blog lives and dies with SE and not by referring sites and links. Thanks for this post.

    Tnomeralc web design toys’s last blog post..Cavitenio and Cavitenia Bloggers

  32. @Gagan It appears that Google is rolling these changes out to make them less obvious as they often do. One very large (for a small businesses’) ecommerce store that allows me analytics access is seeing an ongoing gradual decline of traffic.

    This reminds me of that old story about putting a frog in water and gradually raising the heat. While small businesses are eventually going to notice, without a major outcry most Internet users will keep patronizing Google to the great demise of who knows how many small businesses.

    The real solution would be to have an independent open source alternative Search Engine developed and then direct a grass-roots movement to get users to switch. While that is a major hurdle it could possibly be done if enough were willing to get behind the effort.

    @Sarah The problem we all have is that we don’t really have a choice. What traffic Google does not directly control (organic search, AdWords, other Internet real estate) they indirectly control by controlling traffic to all other sites.

    THIS is why so many in years past have repeatedly warned about the dangers of monopolies. More and more I realize that the illusion of competition between Corporations that are not actually competitors has lulled most into a false sense of security.

    That has led to what is now almost total apathy towards the dangers of monopolies altogether! Just as Wal-Mart came into small towns, put the neighborhood merchants out of business, and can now charge whatever they choose because they’re the only store in town – Google is now in a position to do the same thing online.

    We collectively created the current economic state through selfishness. When we are willing to save money by buying products at below their reasonable worth at the expense of the poor of other countries – instead of supporting independent small online and local businesses – we created a contracting economy.

    What else could possibly happen? We can either care about others and be willing to pay what something is worth – thereby creating more abundance for all – or we can continue to think “as long as I’ve got mine” and buy cheap.

    It should finally be painfully obvious to everyone what happens when competition drives down prices AND WAGES – AND BENEFITS – contracting the economy and leading to spreading poverty for almost all!

    InternetStrategist’s last blog post..Promote Your Business Without Cash

  33. You bring up a good point about putting most of your eggs in one basket and a very interesting observation regarding the timing of the Google changes. I do think that working on organic search should be a priority for most small businesses if they don’t have a lot of corporate competitors. But all businesses should always be looking into as many ways to be found as possible. That includes PPC, social networking, etc. Also, Isabelle has a very good point in that you should diversify your organic keywords to avoid huge traffic drops.

  34. Great Post , Google results are changing very quickly these days and websites can easily drop up to 20-30 places. So we should not rely completely on search engines for traffic we have to use more traditional methods like building relationships to get more sales

  35. @Mohibkh You’re welcome.

    @Isabelle Yes, having many organic listings is one strategy that all businesses would do well to implement; however, if Google slams your entire domain or decides to add local listings to the top of every search result page that drives many of your listings out of prime positions you’re still going to be hurting for traffic.

    @Brian Thank you. Many years of experience and understanding how computers, databases and search engines work all help. I have been in the computer industry since the mid-’70s and learned to search in the days when boolean searches were the ONLY kind.

    Fortunately for John he was famous before his site got slapped. What about all those who never made it to famous? They must get found in other ways now.

    I am far more concerned for small ecommerce businesses than I am for bloggers although they are also affected. Imagine having a business that has been consistently growing that suddenly loses a huge percentage of business without warning?

    That happens intermittently and I predict it will be happening more often to more businesses. The recent changes that favor specific Corporations over everyone else are bound to have a serious effect as are the ramifications of those changes on the next holiday shopping season. More on that in a future post.

  36. Wow GrowMap, I’m truly impressed with those resources. You are a researching expert.

    I thing a great example is John Chow. A lot of people seem to dislike him but he is a perfect example of loosing ground from Google. Proof that it happens and also proof there is life without Google. Search John Chow on Google and we would think his site would top the list. There’s a whole story about the ‘what’ and ‘why’ but it certainly helps support your post. Not that you needed any support, you are definitely on top of your game.

    Brian’s last blog post..Zero To Three In 90 Days – Thanks Flickr!

  37. I agree, but with one caveat. If you can diversify your organic traffic across hundreds and thousands of long-tail keywords, you will be in a much more defensible position than someone who is targeting one or two high traffic keywords. This is something you can implement now, instead of wishing there was a google alternative.

    Isabelle’s last blog post..Vitamin B3 Cholesterol Remedy Resurfaces

  38. Hi It’s nice information.Thanks for giving me this information.Thank you.

  39. @Wil Search traffic will always convert best and that is why this is so dangerous. There is a very obvious reason for that. Someone actively searching for what someone offers is much more likely to be interested in buying.

    Clicking on something from a Social Networking or other content site is usually done out of curiosity. Even if the person visiting might eventually be interested they are probably not wanting to buy RIGHT NOW.

    We sincerely need more options. An open source search engine sponsored by someone with very deep pockets that is dedicated to staying independent would be the best choice.

    InternetStrategist’s last blog post..Do YOUR Blogging Goals Include Monetization: Benefits Our Readers Receive

  40. I totally agree with this post. Figuring out what to do about it is the tough part. I’ve found that my most valuable traffic comes from Google. I can (and do) work on getting traffic from sources like social networking sites, for example, but people from those sources don’t spend as much time on my site and aren’t as likely to return.

    Wil’s last blog post..8 Alternative Powered Motorcycles

  41. @Kai Lo There are two main reasons businesses focus on search: 1) Someone actively searching is FAR more likely to buy 2) The volume of traffic from search engines dwarfs any amount of traffic you can CONSISTENTLY send from Social Networking sites.

    To survive businesses and bloggers are going to have to use every resource and drive traffic from as many sources as possible.

    @Matt When people talk or write about organic traffic they would usually be speaking about major search engines because those are what are being optimized for by Search Engine Optimization / Search Engine Marketers.

    The other sources you mention are better than regular search and far too many small businesses are neglecting to use them effectively.

    That is why there is so much content here under Local Search and I feature a link to the easiest to understand information on it in the pages at the top right of every page.

    I will link this comment (the word GrowMap above this comment) to that page. You may find some additional places to list yourself by clicking through to the links at the bottom of that page.

    I provide a form to collect all the data you need that includes tips on maximizing keywords and reach and links directly to the submission pages.

    I know YOU know how to get there and find the links; I am so explicit for the new readers who may not.

    InternetStrategist’s last blog post..Buy 1 Cheap Print Ad – Get Free Online Ads

  42. I guess when I say “Organic” traffic, I’m also including the social networking sites (like Yelp.com). A lot of my business comes from Review sites (City Search, City Voter, Google Maps, etc). With the Local Business Center listing, I’m concurrently listed at 1-B and then my regular organic listing at #2 or #3. Its a win-win because I’ve usually got 2 places in the Page One SERP. If there’s a Google Dance, the Local “Google Maps” is there as a back-up.

  43. This is why I focus more time on social networking websites than worrying too much about SEO. Focusing way too much time on SEO is like putting all your eggs in one basket.

    Kai Lo’s last blog post..Squidoo Traffic and Backlink

  44. @Matt While some do gain and others lose, the main point of this post is that having 70% of your traffic coming from the same source is EXTREMELY hazardous, especially when that source regularly shuffles the deck.

    The recent Google updates do favor local businesses and Corporations AND you have a unique niche which probably has no competition from any Corporation so you may benefit. More on that soon. That does not change the fact that you could also suffer.

    Even more important to online retailers – and not as critical for you – is that they have a specific time every year during which being found is most important. As the timing of the drops ProBlogger experienced illustrate, they often coincide with the time they experience their largest sales opportunities.

    InternetStrategist’s last blog post..We Miss The Golden Days of the Internet – Pay Per Click Advertising Circa 2003

  45. Its an interesting article, but its one-sided: my business is entirely dependent on Organic traffic, I’ve never used PPC, and I’m having my best year ever in 2009.

    Although I’m wary of Google Dances, I’ve been treated very well by the search engines lately!

  46. @Lokale Everyone needs to diversify; however, that is getting vastly more difficult.

    @MikeTek What I post is a combination of experience and research. I share the best sources in the most relevant posts. My experience is primarily assisting very small businesses, some mostly offline and others exclusively online.

    The serious issue they all have in common regarding their online visitors is the increasing difficulty of diversifying caused by the near-monopoly of organic and paid search by one company.

    Even when a business has other sources of traffic, THOSE sources are also 60-70% reliant on Google. Although unlikely it is possible that all pages leading to them could be unlisted at once – which is why no business should sell only one product and all need extensive numbers of individually indexed pages.

    Most of the businesses I work with the most operate exclusively or almost completely online. They are highly unlikely to survive huge drops in traffic.

    I am already researching a new post about Local Listings driving organic results down in the SERPs. It will be extremely important to all businesses and especially those that operate exclusively online.

    Internet Strategist’s last blog post..Promote Your Business Without Cash

  47. Loads of resources in this post – my head hurts trying to get it around them all.

    It’s absolutely imperative to develop a defensible traffic stream.

    There are parallels in the business world. If you have a single client or vendor who either delivers or fulfills the lion’s share of your business you have a serious risk. The general rule of thumb is never to receive more than 30% of your business from a single source – I think applying that percentage to the web is a good idea.

    Of course, your website, and traffic, have to fit into your entire business model. There are plenty of businesses who can survive, even thrive, without the web (although the number is declining). For these businesses a drop in Google traffic hurts, but it isn’t the end of the world.

    The point is: take a good look at your business sources. If you’re running an eCommerce business you traffic is everything – and relying on Google not to shift their algorithm is a shaky strategy to say the least.

    MikeTek’s last blog post..8 Resources on Using Psychology for Web Marketing

  48. Thinking this way is useful for folks earning solely on their blogs. I have no problem with that – Polish adsense income is too low to be only source of money. I just have to diversify. Not only Internet but real estate is involved too.

    Lokale Gryfino’s last blog post..Sprzeda? mieszkania 3-pokojowego

  49. @T.M. Harris. Welcome and thank you for your comment. Thanks to the new Twitter field Derek installed I was able to follow you at Twitter – which makes me wonder how you saw this post. :-)

    The worst thing about this issue is that there is no easy way to avoid it because it is due to the virtual monopoly that Google has on search and paid search.

    Internet Strategist’s last blog post..Blog Traffic Up 54.87% in the Last 30 Days: Our Proven Traffic Improvement Strategy

  50. T.M. Harris says:

    Hey, very good article indeed! I think some people need to wake up and realize that they can’t put all of the ‘traffic eggs’ in one basket…especially around Easter! :-)

    Keep up the good work!

    T.M. Harris
    tmharris.net

    T.M. Harris’s last blog post..The “Work At Home” Niche is a LIE

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