month's Home Business Guest
Columnist is Heidi Perry.
a Google Gazumpee
November, when the Google Dance began, Barry Lloyd of
makemetop.co.uk wrote an article entitled "Been
Gazumped by Google?" GAZUMPED! What a
wonderfully descriptive term. In fact, it succinctly
describes what happened to us when our website went
from #1 to oblivion a few months ago.
gazumped, swindled, cheated out of what was
rightfully ours. Okay, who's to say what search
engine position rightfully belongs to anyone. I mean,
let's face it, getting to the top of the search
engines for coveted keywords is really just a crap
shoot, isn't it? Or is it?
been at this internet game for a long time, a decade,
in fact. Dinosaur days! We don't pretend to be search
engine experts, it's not our forte. Nevertheless, we
have been around long enough to see some patterns
recurring pattern we've observed in Search Engine
SEO experts research and make claims of what works to
get a website to the top of the search engines.
works for a time, and websites implementing their
tactics move up the ranks.
Eventually, the algorithms change, and websites gain
or lose rankings.
experts make adjustments, then back to step one in
the cycle again.
and around we go like mice on the optimization
exercise wheel. Furthermore, we do not foresee any
chance of stepping off of the optimization wheel for
years to come. From our experience, as long as search
engines exist, the algorithms will always change, and
the SEO experts will always have a job.
Search Engine Optimization really necessary?
Optimize or Not...
you've set up a flow of traffic to your website
outside of search engines, there really is no need to
optimize. However, if you want search engine traffic,
you'll need to step onto the wheel. Furthermore, you
need to know there's some pretty fierce competition
riding the same wheel. But, be forewarned. Once you
step onto the wheel, it will become part of
yourregular marketing exercise.
search engine traffic worth stepping onto the endless
experts tell us all the reasons why search engine
traffic is targeted. But, let's put that aside for a
moment and talk about real-world experience for a
minute. In the past 10 years, our websites have
received traffic from every imaginable source. But,
you want to know about search engine traffic, right?
We'll give it to you straight.
engines have sent us some of our best customers. A
significant number have stayed with us for years, and
a surprising number have made purchases on their
first visit - direct from the search engines.
with this is mind, perhaps you can understand why we
have felt gazumped after losing a significant amount
of search engine traffic.
exactly happened to us?
years, we have been building a professional community
where home-based entrepreneurs can network with one
another and find the resources they need. As a
clearinghouse of information, it has been a real task
to organize the thousands of pages of information and
make it user-friendly.
been #1 on Google for years for the coveted term
"home business," among other terms. As
such, we enjoyed traffic that brought us a
significant number of customers and subscribers.
Traffic and sales grew consistently for those years.
Our Alexa rating showed the continued growth by going
from a ranking of 30,000 to almost 15,000 in a year.
the 'Florida' Update.
November, we were still #1 on Google. Traffic and
sales were good.
December, it appeared the Update was good for us. We
remained #1 and sales were at an all-time high.
"We're getting through this just fine," we
gloated. Nothing to worry about.
then things began to change - drastically!
January 3rd, our traffic plummeted to an all-time,
After a quick perusal of our traffic logs, it became
obvious Google was playing with our rankings. You
know, playing the dance floor. Google may have come
to the dance with us as her date, but she left with a
research confirmed that not only had we dropped in
our rankings for our coveted search term, but we were
nowhere to be found in even the top 1,000. What? From
#1 to oblivion? How could that be? The date was
over... Gazumped by Google!
weeks later, typing 'link:www.ourURL' in the Google
toolbar brought another startling revelation. While
our inbound links before the dance were around 800
Google now listed only 69. Now, that doesn't even
make sense after almost a decade online, especially
when typing in our URL returns 2,620 links ( http://www.google.com/search?q=%22homebusinessonline.com%22
). Gazumped by Google!
stop there? Let's add a little salt to the wound,
shall we? It also appeared that Google was only
spidering a few, select parts of our website. No more
deep crawls where all the meaty content can be found.
Gazumped by Google!
where from here?
two months of a substantial drop in traffic and
sales, we are not out of business. Why not? For one,
we have not counted on Google as our sole source of
traffic. We are still receiving decent traffic, but
we could be doing better. I'm afraid we had been
gliding on the coattails of Google for too long.
Sometimes you just need a good kick in the pants.
This wake-up call has been good for us. Like multiple
streams of income, we will up the anti on multiple
streams of traffic. That way, when one traffic source
dries up, it will not effect us significantly.
time to make some well-needed changes to our website.
It could be better. A lot better. We're going to stop
talking about them, hunker down, and make those
believe this dance is not over yet and Google may
decide to return to the dance floor. Considering
'Gazump #2' above, it only makes sense that there are
still plenty of bugs to be ironed out.
get our traffic back and in a big way. If not through
Google, certainly through other traffic sources.
There's more than one way to reach the summit.
is you could spend hours upon hours in search engine
optimization, and while we believe that optimizing
your website is important, it shouldn't be the main
focus. We're of the opinion that websites should
first be built for customers and prospective
customers, and second for search engines. Take a look
at your website from your customer's perspective.
Does it do what you want it to do?
and hop on the optimization wheel. Get it turning,
but don't become obsessed with it.
anything online, including the search engines, are
driven by the market's opinion. When the dance is
over, if Google doesn't provide the very best search
results, the market will go elsewhere. For this
reason, no matter what might happen to us personally
through the Google Dance, the end result will be
better search results - if not Google, then another
way, the market will determine who wins in the end.
About the Authors:
Seasoned entrepreneurs, Dave and Heidi Perry have
started and developed half a dozen businesses and are
founders of HomeBusinessOnline.com and
PrettyGreat.com. Known for their unique insights and
straight-shooter style, Heidi and Dave are editors of
HomeBizBytes. Receive a free issue at http://www.HomeBusinessOnline.com/nsl.htm?hbb=006446