We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
Do you rely on Google traffic?
In all of the businesses I’ve worked with and all the industries I’ve learned about and all the niches I’ve bumped into… I’ve found that nothing is more susceptible to the fickle nature of the Google gods than coupon and deal affiliates are.
So, it’s no surprise to me when clients who have been with FMTC for six months, two years and even over four years come to us and say, “Our traffic completely dried up. Google just stopped sending us traffic.”
Though it’s no surprise to me, these clients seem to be stunned. And unfortunately, that shock has a much more impactful aftershock: without that traffic, they can’t sustain their business. They have to cancel their datafeed subscription, lay off their staff, shut down their site and find a new job or business venture.
These are massive, life-altering events for multiple people and their families. These events occur because Google simply shifts favor from one site to another for a simple term like “cocktail dress coupons.”
Whether you find yourself with a coupon or deal site that’s in good with the Google gods at this point, or you’re hoping to get there – follow these three rules to save yourself from the adverse effects that an inevitable shift in favor can create:
1 – Assume that the Google Traffic will go away
If Google is sending you traffic, lots of traffic that converts – great. If that’s the only place you’re getting your traffic from, you’re in an incredibly risky spot.
Growth and sustainability in business rely on one key element: control. You don’t need a lot of control, or even control over a large area – but you must have some control. When all of your traffic is coming from Google, you do not have any control.
The illusion of scalability – Getting Google’s attention with one or more keyword can lead to what I’d like to refer to as “the illusion of scalability.” You’re successful with a combination of words, links, tags and formatting – you figure the more you do THAT, the more success you’ll have. And, it’s somewhat accurate. You will likely have some more success – but you will still have no control.
At the end of the day, no matter how many times you put your formula to work or how efficient you become at replicating it, everything relies on Google “liking” what you’re doing. One slight shift in how Google scores a characteristic could completely negate your formula. Not only could the change result in another site gaining more favor than yours, but it could result in Google determining that your formula has aspects that deserve penalties.
Feeding your ultimate demise – While your formula is working, and you believe you can scale it for success, you’ll probably be investing in people, technology and infrastructure to support your growth… if you’re like many of the businesses I’ve seen before, you’ll probably be EXCLUSIVELY focusing on your formula.
On paper, at the moment, it makes sense. But, the second that Google makes a change, you are going to be left holding the bag with staff, technology and infrastructure that are designed to do something that no longer works. It’s not that it needs some tweaks or a little adjustment, it’s a giant factory spitting out a product that the market no longer wants. It’s back to square one to figure out what works now, but not before laying off staff and writing off losses on technology and resources that’ll never be used again.
Diversify. Don’t ratchet up your SEO efforts at the expense of all other marketing channels. Google traffic cannot be your only source of visitors. A diverse mix of strategies is the key to long-term success.
2 – Collect Email Addresses
Collecting email addresses is such an easy step that can yield decades of traffic that you control, but it is so often overlooked.
I’ve written on this topic a million times… email may seem old, “boring” and maybe it doesn’t have the bells and whistles you think you need… but gosh darn it, people like it. More visitors will give you their email address than you expect, many of them will open what you send them and a lot of them will even click on the links to come back to your site.
Unlike your formula for getting traffic from Google – you are in complete control of your email list. Find what works and do more and more of it. Create a formula and build the staff, the technology and infrastructure around your email marketing strategy and it will reward you time and time again.
When Google pulls the rug out from under you, you’ll still have the ability to generate traffic and develop new revenue streams.
(If you’ve been meaning to get around to starting your email marketing efforts, but haven’t had the time, talk to us. Our FMTC Placement Services may be just what you need!)
3 – Identify a Niche Specialty and OWN It
While Google is sending you traffic, learn the most you can about those visitors. Along with their email address, ask them more questions. Offer them content related to their search terms. Did they find you looking for “laptop coupons”? Why not offer them a guide to choosing the best laptop, or a laptop accessory review.
Determine the topics that buyers gravitate towards. Test different ideas, mix themes that you think won’t work, and surprise yourself when they do. Maybe a lot of those laptop coupon seekers are interested in learning a second language… but you won’t know until you put the offers in front of them and see what draws them in and gets them clicking and buying.
Once you identify your niche specialty, work to become THE PLACE that people go for information, recommendations, ideas, etc. Create blog posts, courses, whitepapers and even forums where fans of your niche can learn and engage with you and one another.
Offering coupons and deals for anything under the sun is a fine place to start – but use the traffic you get from Google to figure out what you’ll specialize in. Even if Google stops sending you traffic for ‘laptop coupons”, you’ll have built a list of subscribers who know your site as THE PLACE to go for laptop deals and related topics.
Accept the Temporary Gift but Plan for It to Go Away
If you approach the traffic that Google is sending you as a temporary gift, and not the “secret bullet” to your future success, you’ll fare much better than your competitors. Make the most out of that traffic while you have it, but plan on it disappearing without warning any day.