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Don’t ever bank on free traffic, build on it

Don’t ever bank on free traffic, build on it

Maki wrote a good blog post today that for me spoke about marketing and creating things of value that have the efffect of creating converted users; that’s, people who will buy into whatever it is you do or are trying to achieve.

Be it via a comment, a hit of a subscription button, an add to favourites action , a credit card transaction or a link through to what you wrote or advertised, the bottom line is that without any of these sorts of actions, the likelihood is that you are either writing for yourself or selling something that is overpriced and overvalued or just not worth discussing.

Don’t rely on search engines

Free search engine traffic is great. A most welcome bonus that if used correctly, can help build a following, but that’s where it stops. If you are obsessing about building your rankings then your target sight is off kilter, you are looking at the wrong part of the equation.

Posts like the ones from across the blogosphere today and in the previous weeks regarding PR and paid links should be a wake up call for anyone who is serious about earning a living from a website online. If you remind yourself that your free traffic is very likely to be a transitory thing, if you tell yourself everyday that your free search engine generated traffic is likely to disappear tommorrow, then you’ll be doing yourself a huge favour.

Search Engines are not automated non policed systems, they do employ people to look at certain things and do take actions against people as and when they see fit.

You can complain until the cows come home but at the end of it all, rightly or wrongly they can do whatever the hell they like, when they like and how they like. There is no court of appeal, you can’t storm parliament, go on strike or sit out in the road, neither can you chain yourself to a fence either, if they kill your site and you care about or genuinely need or rely upon the traffic they send to you, then as harsh as it might sound – without a plan or loyal following you might as well just shut up shop, or get used to talking to yourself!

Yeah yeah, so what’s the plan then smarty arse?

Well…but of course there are positives, you don’t have to sit around burying your head in the sand hoping that you are never hit, you can at least try and adopt a meritocratic world view and build real traffic, *your* traffic, people who visit you because others have discussed you in some way because you are doing something or selling something or just saying something that adds value to the world and the playground in which you are kicking your ball around in. Be it via word of mouth or some href piece of html.

Take a look at these blogs here, all of whom have seen a reduction in their visible toolbar PR

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Then look at their webstats and their site metrics, look at their published subscriber numbers. Look at their Alexa, compete and technorati numbers. Look at the people who are commenting on their stuff, look at how well they are linked to and on what sort of terms. Then ask yourself why that is, I tell you what, I’ll save you the bother with the answer, as the answer is simple – All of the above are quality resources with something to say, it really is that simple.

Maki’s right

Google is an factor that is outside of your control. Sure, you can follow their rules or adjust your behavior to fit in but that still doesn’t put Google within your palm. What do good entrepreneurs do with uncontrollable factors? They create what-if contingency plans to accommodate for possible loss

Sigh – I’ll leave you with this little Portishead track, cos it kinda has a few on target lyrics, ‘you don’t get something for nothing, gotta try a little harder’

Rob Watts
Kickstart your business today - Get an SEO Consultation or just talk to Rob about your online aspirations. With over 20 years experience in building traffic he's pretty much encountered most markets and scenarios

10 thoughts on “Don’t ever bank on free traffic, build on it

  1. Andy Beard

    Somehow I received 8000 page views to one article from sources other than social media and Google πŸ˜‰
    As you can imagine it is not going to dry up, and it could have been more.

    I might have even converted 1% to subscribers, but it probably isn’t in Google’s interest to improve Feedburner too much.

  2. robwatts Post author

    Cool – I was impressed with the commenting levels on that post and did wonder, thanks for sharing Andy.

    Who ever said that dark clouds have no silver linings πŸ˜€

  3. Matthew Anton

    Great read and it’s true, yet I’m a victim of obsessing over SERPS myself. Sucks that Google is the only dance in town that brings organic traffic cause once they sandbox you for a keywords your traffic plummits. I would advise anyone reading this to consider other alternatives of traffic just as Robwatts states

  4. robwatts Post author

    @Paula-I was sorry to see you hit this way,I enjoy reading your monthly monetisation reports,perhaps I missed something but hey, penalising your blog was harsh

    @Matthew – Thanks Matthew, yes well it is, especially when you happen to blog about the type of stuff some ofus like to discuss. It seems like they want it all for themselves,maybe they don’t acquire enough cash already :S

    @Maki – YVW Maki, thanks for firing the synapses!

    I could have sworn thatI was at least a PR10 πŸ˜‰

  5. Tinu

    lol @ smarty arse… True words… there are so many people whose entire businesses are built on Google’s whims and successes or failures. I *heart* my Google traffic – but since I optimized for my search terms to prove a point, not for profit, most of the traffic they send to me aren’t buyers anyway. If a meteor hit Google, I’d miss my AdSense income more than my traffic. πŸ™‚

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