Google-this, Google-that … judging from the discussion that takes place at many webmaster / marketing forums and mailing lists, you’d be excused if you thought Google was the only search engine on the web.
Take a look at WebmasterWorld, for example: the Yahoo World boards total about 62,000 posts in four categories, only three of which are still active. Meanwhile, the Google World area has eight categories, two of which have at least twice as much activity as the whole Yahoo area put together.
Yes, it’s Google’s world, and as the saying goes … we’re just living in it.
But if that describes you, you’re making a big mistake.
I understand Google may be the search engine that brings you the most traffic, and if so, you’re right to be concerned about your rankings there and how to maintain and improve them. By all means, I’m not suggesting you ignore Google! As if…..
What I’m suggesting is that you not ignore the other search engines. Google may be on top now, but who’s to say they’ll be there forever. A 2004 study in the U.S. reported that 60% of Google users would switch to another search engine if a better service came along. (You may say, Wow, that’s a lot. I say — is that all?)
It was only a few short years ago that Yahoo was the No. 1 search engine on the web, and Alta Vista dominated the landscape before that. Things change. Google is no lock to stay in the top spot forever.
With that in mind, you — the small business owner, the small business webmaster — should make sure you don’t have all your eggs in Google’s baskets. Don’t just use Google’s AdWords program — use Yahoo Search Marketing, too. Don’t just optimize your site with Google’s SERPs in mind; build a site that’s good enough to rank well and acquire traffic from multiple search engines. Yes, it is possible, even though the major search engines have very unique search algorithms dictating their SERPs.
In late 2003, Google’s “Florida” update hit like a tidal wave. Message boards and mailing lists were filled with cries of web site owners whose sites dropped dramatically in Google’s SERPs. People actually reported that they were going out of business because their Google traffic disappeared overnight. Can you imagine?
Here’s the takeaway: A business plan that relies on free traffic from an outside source you don’t control is no business plan at all. Spread your eggs around. Changes will come — you can be sure of that. Question is: Are you prepared?