Reducing Your Website’s Dependency On Google

Updates to Google’s algorithm wouldn’t cause quite the stir they do if sites were less dependent on one marketing channel. Google isn’t the only option for getting traffic to your site, though the world sometimes behaves as if it is.

Why Google Isn’t The End-All And Be-All

In the past people may have designed websites or blogs with Google in mind. But now social media is shaping design and function if not to the same extent now, then soon will be.

Reducing your small business website or blog’s dependency on Google is essential for the long term stability of your business. It will protect you from future search engine updates and reduce your site’s dependency on lower quality ‘casual’ traffic. You don’t have to have been on the sharp end of a Google update to know it makes sense.

I also think that it’s getting harder to find what you want on Google than it was 3 or 4 years ago. Although Google aims to improve the user experience, long tail searches seem to yield less meaningful results.

How To Diversify

The way forward has to be to diversify your online presence. It’s the only way to future-proof your website or blog.The big thinkers on internet marketing suggest a number of ways small businesses can get started:

Get Mobile

Optimise your site for use on mobile phones –Garnter predicts mobile phones will be the most common platform for browsing the web by next year. By 2015, mobile phones are predicted to become people’s primary device for surfing.

Social media sites are already geared up for the mobile phone revolution. Your site or blog should be too.

Develop A Presence On Social Media sites

It can be daunting starting social media from scratch. Using Facebook and Twitter is what most suggest is baseline activity. Others can be tackled
at a later date but don’t ignore Pinterest. It’s growing more rapidly than any other social networking site.

Facebook

Facebook looks set to expand its search engine capability at some point. Most small businesses benefit from a developing a Facebook page. It can be tempting simply to post content and leave it at that. But aim for a more conversational approach. Some of the free apps that are available may help increase involvement with your audience.

Also find and network with other related businesses. It’s an often overlooked way to pick up traffic. The charity sector does this well.

Google+

Google+ is owned by Google and the view of some is that Google is weighting some elements of Google plus (not +1s) to rank content and authors. Google+ also seems to have a business rather than social leaning. Google+ users are also described as very committed.

Pinterest

Believed by some to be an excellent source of referrals – better than Google+. But because it’s visual in nature it will suit some businesses better than others.

Twitter

Build connectivity by with businesses in related categories. Hashtags represented by # define keywords and topics

There is now a whole ecosystem of sites supporting social media. Try using Listorious to find categories that dove tail with your business on Twitter or find out more about using hashtags.

Create News

Even a small business can do newsworthy things. Whether it’s supporting the local community or sourcing unusual products or delivering services your
peers can appreciate.

Blog Regularly

Blogging by itself may not generate traffic (after all people have to find you). But if you start sharing your content on social media sites you have a winning combination. Blogging takes effort and should be planned for best results.

Be Seen

Get out and about online. Find time to contribute on other sites related to your business Sign up for a digest of relevant media which will help you to keep up to speed with current events.

Make Your Content Work Harder

Well content was likely to feature somewhere on this list, wasn’t it? Think about how 1 piece of content can be spun out with different treatments. Whether it’s case studies, lists, interviews, videos, think about how you can encourage visitors to stay longer on your site and share content with others.

Summary

You may not have the time or inclination to do all of the above. And perhaps you shouldn’t try. There’s always a danger you spread yourself too thinly. The point is rather you seek to develop traffic from more than one channel. I’ve used Google as an example here, but the same would be true of any referrer. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

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