Google’s Panda/Penguin update or something along the same lines has impacted the traffic at Value Stock Guide significantly, to the point that what I used to see in an hour now takes the entire day (you do the math). Lately the site seems to be recovering but there does not seem any rhyme or reason behind the traffic patterns. Doesn’t help that the search results are never the same. Seems like Google has been having a lot of problems figuring out what exactly they did. In some instances, I am finding SERPs that seem like a throwback to 12 months ago, so obviously they are switching out data, reverting back to old results that they knew to be proper, etc.
Hopefully they will figure this all out soon and fix their problems. The problem with becoming a mouth piece for established brands, that they have apparently decided to become, is that their search engine in the process will become irrelevant. If the search results are padded with Amazon’s pages, for example, any rational user might decide to go to Amazon directly.
Perhaps why Google’s search share in US is dropping of late.
As for the spam/low quality links that these updates were supposed to address, let’s just say that in addition to this not being relevant to the site, the pages that have been worst affected are the ones that have citational links from educational institutions and government sites. Maybe Google has just decided to override their editorial judgement and decided that they know better.
Depending on one source for traffic is stupid
Especially if the source is as unpredictable as Google. Web is changing and the businesses that are online are now finding that the same marketing and sales tactics apply here as they do offline. Viz.,
- Go where the customers are
- Show them the value
- Let customers do that talking and spread the word
A customer acquired through search is more likely to be fickle as the value is not yet proven. A customer acquired through social media contacts generally becomes a customer only after he is satisfied that the product or service is what they need. Soft selling also means that it is the customer’s idea to intitiate the transaction, which to me seems like a much better way of doing business.
I stopped advertising using PPC on Google Adwords sometime ago, when I realized that my conversion rates from Page 5 of the organic search were much better than my top 4 PPC page 1 listing. Were all the PPC clicks done by competitors trying to suck my budget out? Who knows? Either way, it is a bad bad way of advertising a business.
Let the world talk you up
Social media is the future. It is also the present. Still have not figured Facebook out, the returns on engagement appear to be very low. However, for a stock picking service like mine, Twitter and LinkedIn work great. The reason I believe is that they offer a true 2 way conversation platform, unlike Facebook where their edgerank algorithm acts as a censorship mechanism (yes, you are allowed to say whatever you want. Whether your message will even be transmitted is not something you have any idea about). Not sure what to make of Google+. Have not yet seen much value in it either from ROI perspective or in developing meaningful relationships.
I am paying much more attention to Twitter and LinkedIn.
At some point, I will sit down and analyze Google’s business fundamentals to see if the data supports my impression that they are on a decay. Should be interesting.