We all want our websites listed at the top of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs), right? A high-ranking can bring targeted and (mostly) free traffic. More importantly, it brings leads and potential conversions.
If you’re working to get a top ranking, your goal is simple: you want Google to love your website. But the problem with Google’s love is that it doesn’t come with a promise of ongoing fidelity. Google has no loyalty to your business. Because of this, your rankings can become a potential point of failure.
Don’t misunderstand – I’m not saying you shouldn’t work to get a high-ranking in Google. It is just that I see a lot of business owners who work very hard at it and end up inadvertently baking significant point of failure into their business plan. That’s not a good thing.
How Google Can Be a Single Point of Failure: An Example
About a year ago, my website brokerage firm was working with a client who was considering divesting his network of websites. This network had dozens of sites generating a very healthy monthly profit without the need for an extensive support staff. As we were helping him prepare his websites for sale, we performed a comprehensive valuation, and determined the value was slightly over $1 million for the entire network.
Shortly after this, disaster struck. On February 23, 2011, Google released the first of several Panda updates. Overnight, his earnings dropped precipitously, as did the value of his network. In just 24 hours, he lost $800,000 in total value.
The blame cannot be placed entirely on Google. After all, our client was the one who built his business to be dependent on Google. Our client was the one who aggressively pursued a high-ranking in Google, and did not focus on any other sources of traffic.
This begs the question: How dependent on Google is your website? Does the idea of losing your rankings in Google cause you to sweat, even a little? Don’t be fooled by the thought that it couldn’t happen to you. Thousands of online business owners had the same thought before the Florida Update, the Panda Update, the Penguin Update, the EMD Update, and the list goes on.
Is your website overly dependent on Google? It’s time to make a change.
4 Steps to Break Your Google Over-Dependency
At the heart of breaking your dependency is realizing Google is not the only source of traffic on the Internet, nor is it always the best. By focusing on four key areas, you can get some of the same results you’re seeking from that high Google ranking.
- Make “Micro-Conversions” Your New Favorite Word. I will venture a guess that the majority of people who visit your website do not become customers right away. This is a normal pattern for any website, and this is where micro-conversions can play a significant role in your business. The entire concept of micro-conversions is to push people to give you permission to keep talking to them after they leave your website, whether it be through an email list, Facebook, Twitter, or any other social medium that provides the opportunity for conversation. Entire businesses can be built on micro-conversions without any help at all from Google.
- Think Beyond Your Website. If you have an e-commerce business, realize that your website represents just one channel where you can convert users into customers. Amazon, Sears, Shopping.com, and dozens of other marketplaces with significant audiences provide you with an opportunity to sell your goods. Take advantage of these external channels.
- Stop Thinking Rankings; Start Thinking Referrals. You know one key to ranking is links, and a key to lasting rankings is quality links built naturally. So how do you build quality links naturally? One way is to start thinking about quality sources for referral traffic rather than what just provides a good link. If you start thinking of your link building campaigns more in terms of networking and public relations, you’ll likely find that the quality, lasting links build themselves without much help from you.
- Build a List—(And Use it). This can be filed under micro-conversions, but it’s so important it deserves its own point. Once your readers or customers opt in to your email list, you’re able to communicate with them directly, right in their own inboxes. It’s much more direct communication than writing blog posts, or posting updates on social media networks. As long as you’re providing valuable content to that list, the members will remain and you’ll have a built-in audience whenever you want to launch—or sell—something new. In addition, if you lose your Google rankings, you can still build an email list through myriad methods and techniques.
Remember, a high-ranking in Google should be an accomplishment that enhances your website and opens it up for new growth. Make sure you don’t turn that top ranking into a possible failure point. Implement new marketing methods, and your website will be healthier, more stable, and most importantly, a far more valuable asset.
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