google-proof your business website
Credit: Mark Knol via Flickr

When Google Goes “Poof!” — Tips for Google-Proofing Your Business Website

google-proof your business website

Credit: Mark Knol via Flickr

Does your online business live or die by the hand of Google? Would your business website or blog cease to have any reach or influence if your search engine traffic from Google were to evaporate tomorrow? Would your income disappear? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, it might be time to Google-proof your business website or blog.

It’s never a good idea for any business venture to become too reliant on a single third party — especially one with the power to wipe you out on a whim (or an error). Don’t laugh. It can happen.

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Yes, Google is a big deal right now, especially when it comes to the company’s search market share. But that doesn’t mean they’ll be around forever, or forever at the top of their game. Remember Alta Vista? Remember when Yahoo! wasn’t playing second fiddle? Remember when every Average Joe seemed to use AOL? My, how things can change! Chances are good that in time Google too will be replaced as the dominant search engine. It’s an industry that thrives on innovation, and today’s “nobody” could be tomorrow’s game-changer.



kill the king

Despite that, Google being unseated as the Web police, judge, and jury should probably be the least of your concerns. It won’t happen overnight, and I’m not saying that you should stop working to get traffic from Google and other search engines. The real concern should be about your individual site.


If Google were to tweak their algorithm, would you have to completely rethink your SEO work and invest more resources into regaining your rankings? What if they decided that one of your now “white hat” link building techniques was suddenly a no-no, and your rankings were penalized? What if it was a glitch that sent you plummeting to the depths of Google Hell, with your site nowhere to be found? Even if you regained your rankings eventually, how much business and money might you have lost in the interim?

What is a Google-Proof Website?

When your website is “Google-proof,” you don’t have to worry about such things. A drop in rankings might affect your traffic, but it won’t affect your business as a whole. Essentially, you’re equipped to weather any storm the Google gods might hurl in your direction. Heck, you might not even notice.

The owner of a Google-proof website knows not to rely on one primary outsider. They diversify. They not only diversify their traffic sources, but they also have multiple income streams. They don’t rely solely on their search engine traffic for ad revenue, and they know the value of branding.

Tips for Google-Proofing Your Business Website

Let’s talk more about branding, why it’s important in Google-proofing your websites, and a few other things you can do to avoid a sudden downfall just because you might not want to play by all of Google’s rules.

  1. Build a strong brand. — The most important thing you can do to Google-proof your website is to develop your brand (your name, your image, etc). The idea is to have people think of you before they need to use a search engine. Think of your favorite news site. Do you only get there when you search Google first, or do you type in the site’s address and visit it directly each day? For many, if not most, it’s the latter. That’s the benefit of a strong brand, and it’s why most very large companies don’t have to rely on Google for the bulk of their traffic — their visitors go to their sites as type-in traffic instead. When you become a go-to source in your niche or industry, you’re automatically Google-proofing your business website in the process.
  2. Advertise. — One of the most direct ways you can drive traffic to your website or blog beyond search engine traffic is to advertise. Purchase banners, cost-per-click (CPC) ads, cost-per-action (CPA) ads, or any form of advertising relevant to your site (hint: that might mean advertising your company or site URL offline as well).
  3. Create impressive content. — When you offer amazing content (blog posts, news features, photos, designs, tools, videos, etc.), you’ll attract natural links from others in your niche or industry. While those links can help you out in the search engines, more importantly, they lead to direct relevant traffic to your site. Even if your rankings disappear, those links (and their direct traffic) won’t.
  4. twitter - social media
    Get involved with social media. — Will social media be a Google-killer, or does it just feed the beast? Either way, there’s no arguing the ability of social media tools and users to increase your traffic, exposure, and links. The trick is using the best social media tools (social networks, Twitter, social bookmarking, forums, blogging, etc.) to reach your own target audience. Social media has the potential to take any content viral, exposing your site to more visitors in a week than you’d get from search engines to that same content over a much longer stretch of time. Use it to your advantage to keep the traffic coming in regardless of where your rankings stand.
  5. Increase your income sources. — Would Apple, Amazon, Wal-Mart, and other major companies be as successful as they are now if they only sold a single product? Probably not. Multiple income streams insulate them from a single potential failure. Think of your online business or website similarly to these retailers. If pay-per-click (PPC) ads are your only income source, what happens if the bottom drops out because you lose traffic (therefore losing clicks)? You’re probably going to take a hit in your overall income. If you have diversified traffic going to a site where you earn through diversified income streams though, you’re as insulated as those bigger companies are. For example, you might have some PPC ads, some affiliate links and banners, a few private sponsorships, an e-book or other product of your own that you’re selling, and a premium section of your site which all bring in some income. If one were to go away, the others would pick up some of the slack.

There is nothing wrong with getting search engine traffic. Any kind of targeted traffic can be good for your website. The key is to let that search engine traffic be supplemental rather than your sole or primary source of visitors, and to monetize your site in ways that don’t rely too heavily on your search engine traffic remaining stable. When you do those two things effectively, you’ll have a truly Google-proof website on your hands.

What other steps do you take to Google-proof your business or website? Do you rely too much on Google? Are you okay with that? Would you still be okay with that if Google suddenly stopped sending traffic your way? You can join the conversation by sharing your Google-proofing tips and advice in the comments.

Written by
Jennifer Mattern
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