The Google Hiccup

After several days, Yahoo! will finish
.

I haven’t noticed any major changes in Yahoo’s search results so far. I can’t
say as much for the Google Shuffle
. The method by which the search engines rank
sites is constantly changing as they strive to improve the accuracy of their
results and to prevent search engine spam. So such fluctuations in search
results are fairly common but they aren’t always drastic.

One of our clients had top three- to five- (and many first-) place rankings for
targeted keywords for which we’d optimized their web site. Literally overnight,
those rankings disappeared in Google’s search results.

My first reaction that this was a Google update and that the results would
return to normal in a few days. That, of course, is no consolation for a frantic
client, especially when there is a direct relationship between
rankings and sales.
The client still ranked well with
and
and
and
but the fact is, most
traffic from search engines comes via Google. A drop in Google rankings equals a
drop in traffic volume to your site.

We ended up running a
campaign
to drive sales until the Google results stabilized, as they subsequently did.

The last time I saw such dramatic disruption in Google’s search results was
during
. At that time, we had a law firm client’s top ranking
results fall off the map as Google seemed to favor directory sites such as
over individual law
firm sites.

Then, as now, the client had a small Internet marketing budget that was devoted
to the fundamentals,
.

But this should serve as a cautionary tale to not put all of your Internet
marketing eggs in one basket. This issue dramatically illustrates the perils of
depending upon one primary source for your web site traffic. When planning your
Internet marketing budget, think about diversifying your traffic sources. Such
sources can include such direct marketing tools as a regular email newsletter, a
regularly updated blog, and creating outposts on online centers of gravity like
and
and
in order to build
followings among those audiences.

Establishing relationships within various online venues will help to inoculate
your online presence when Google sneezes.

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About David Erickson

David Erickson is principal of e-Strategy Media, a digital marketing consultancy based in Minnesota. David has extensive experience in digital marketing and is often used as an expert source by media and asked to speak on the topic before organizations and to sit on panel discussions.