As many of you will be aware, Google rolled out yet another major “update” a few days ago which is referred to as the “Penguin” update. This update has been devastating to many. Even those who say they do not carry out ANY black hat SEO and that stick rigidly within Googles terms of service.
I’ve been popping in and out of forums, reading numerous blog posts to find out just how many people this has affected and to try and identify whether there is a common theme. The answer… “Not really”.
Some web masters are saying that Google must be punishing sites and taking down other websites that share the same Google Webmaster Tools account or Google Analytics account.
So, what things are Google telling you NOT to do?
Here is a list that Google published……
1. Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
2. Don’t use cloaking or sneaky redirects.
3. Don’t send automated queries to Google.
4. Don’t load pages with irrelevant keywords.
5. Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.
6. Don’t create pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans, or other badware.
7. Avoid “doorway” pages created just for search engines, or other “cookie cutter” approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.
8. If your site participates in an affiliate program, make sure that your site adds value. Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first.
The problem is, there seems to be a large percentage of people claiming that they have stuck within those guidelines and yet they have still been penalized.
Some people are reporting sudden traffic drops of around 90%, whilst others are saying their businesses have near enough collapsed overnight and there seems to be no word of whether this issue will be resolved at all, never mind anytime soon.
So, what lesson can we all take from this? Diversify your traffic sources. In modern day internet you cannot rely on any one source. Google is a great source of traffic but there are other ways to get visitors to your websites.
Here are a FEW different sources of traffic…
1. Forums: Find relevant, high traffic forums, sign up and start getting involved. Help people by answering questions and offering advice. You will soon stand out as an authoritive member and people will likely want to see what else you offer. Create a good signature link and test out different ones. Monitor your analytics and see what traffic you recieve and how long they’re are on your site for. Also track your conversions. This could be new subsscribers or even sales.
2. Build your own mailing list: If you’re not doing this already then you should seriously consider doing so. Having a large number of subscribers is great as you can reach out to them with an email. You can send them valuable information and even recommend products that you know will help them and offer great benefits. There are lots of ways to start building a mailing list. If I get enough people interested in hearing more on building a list then I “may” create a report to help you on your way.
3. Quality blog commenting: I’m not talking about blog spamming. I’m referring to adding valuable comments on other blogs relevant to your niche. Read and digest the post and then comment offering your own views, ideas or opinion. Bloggers love to get readers involved! A couple of tips here. Look for quality blogs only that do NOT have spammy one line comments. It doesn’t matter if a blog post has 50 comments as long as ALL of those comments are real, valuable comments by REAL readers. Look for recent posts. When bloggers publish a new post they are ‘active’ and more likely to check for new pending comments to approve. If you comment on an old post they are often ignored. Again, valuable comments attract interest so it’s a great way to get direct traffic through to your own website, or squeeze page. These backlinks will also count and elp towards your search engine rankings because the blog you are commenting on is a QUALITY blog. Don’t worry about your comment links being DOFOLLOW. These days it is all about your overall link profile and it would look unnatural to have only dofollow links. Diversify your links and build them consistantly.
4. Video marketing: Youtube is a fantastic source of traffic. You will notice more and more videos ranking in Googles search results and afterall… Youtube is owned by Google. The great thing about video marketing is that you can ‘warm’ up the viewer before they click through to your website, squeeze page or product. You can also create a series of videos which is great for attracting Youtube subscribers. If bandwidth is an issue for you and your own hosting then you can upload your videos to Youtube first and then embed them on your own site essentially using Youtubes bandwidth.
The list goes on and on. Remember, Google isn’t the be all and end all. Internet marketing goes on… and until the situation with Google is rectified, or at least made clearer, have comfort that there are other channels and methods in which to obtain traffic.
It would be good to hear your ideas for sourcing FREE traffic, and whether you yourself have felt the wrath of Googles latest update (which is probably still being rolled out!), so please do leave a comment.
To your success!