Archive for June 1st, 2011


cthulhu is your special SEO friend

Remember Squidoo from a few Friday SEO Site of Weeks ago? Well, we were trolling the forums over there when a particular thread caught our attention. It was a plaintive cry for help from a person who was pretty new at all this. They had published some content awhile back, and had grown accustomed to a certain amount of Google search traffic. As a result of the recent “Panda” changes, much of their traffic went away.

I’m sure the poster is a very nice person. Definitely stressed, confused, and angry about losing all their traffic. Which I can relate to. But here’s the thing. We hear that sort of complaint every time Google changes anything. It usually goes something like:

How dare Google take away my traffic! This is an outrage! There should be laws protecting well-meaning web business people like me from these bullies! They should be forced to index my site and return my keyword ranks and traffic to the way they were!

Which is an attitude that has always rubbed us a particularly wrong way. Luckily, this response showed up, and it summed up our thinking pretty cleanly.

cthulhu wrote:

  1. Google does not owe you traffic. You get traffic from Google if Google thinks your site is the best result for some particular query. If you want traffic from Google, do your best to have the best site for search terms that get traffic.
  2. Doesn’t matter what flaws Google may have, they are still the main game. About 70% of all search traffic worldwide comes through Google. This is a fact of life. Perhaps a sad fact, perhaps a happy fact. But a fact nonetheless. You can either deal with it, or you can give up any hope of that traffic.
  3. If your web business model depends on search traffic to survive, it is a very shaky business model. Search traffic comes and search traffic goes. It’s nice when it’s there, but it is not reliable. Never has been. You need to develop other traffic sources if you want long-term success. In-bound links from sites that attract people who might be interested in your site also. Email campaigns. Content that is useful, funny, pretty, entertaining, exciting, interesting, cute, whatever enough that folks will show up no matter how they find you. If you make content that web users find attractive they will come. And you know what? If you do that, and people find your content useful in some way, odds are very good that the search engines will too.

We would also add this: Google is not, nor should it be, a public utility. It is a corporation, run for the benefit of its shareholders.

Okay, we’re not sure about all that business about depending on search traffic. After all, if you run a web business, you should definitely plan to draw a large percentage of your drop-in traffic from search. But the rest, we think, is true. Don’t put all your eggs in the search basket. If you start getting good Google traffic, don’t just sit back and relax. Don’t assume it will last past tomorrow.

And mainly, don’t blame Google. It’s their game, and if you wanna play, you have to acknowledge who’s dealing the cards.