The disruption caused by Google’s recent “Penguin” update is just the latest in a series of upheavals Google causes from time to time as they optimize their search algorithms.
Ultimately, these updates are great on the demand side, meaning people searching for information get better results.
And they’re good on the supply side, too. Legitimate businesses aren’t competing with sites that are more adept at gaming the system than they are at creating compelling content.
But they are undeniably disruptive, and though I do honestly believe Google tries to minimize the number of sites that are affected unjustly – if for no other reason than to serve their own best interests – as a site owner you have to be concerned about being held hostage by forces so completely outside your control.
How can you avoid that uncomfortable position? Don’t rely so much on Google.
Right now, half of you are saying, “Duh!” while the other half mutter, “Easier said than done.” And both are right. Google, as has been said many teams (and repeated here plenty), is an enormous online advertising company with a nice little sideline doing search.
Which means you should be thinking of things this way: Google is an advertising network. Its competition isn’t with search engines like Bing. Its competition is with social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more specialized social sites.
So, for the moment at least, the best way to avoid being dangerously reliant on Google for the bulk of your traffic is to make your content social and drive traffic to your site from the relevant social media networks as well as from search engines like Google.
Again, compelling content wins the day.