Marketers Begin Search For World Without Google

    October 29, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

After Google’s little message to the link-selling public last week, there seems to be a consensus: It was more of a warning shot than actual penalty, as traffic was not affected; and it is a reminder to diversify.

It’s also a stark reminder of Google’s power. Like it or not, Google can strong-arm you into doing what they want you to do, if you need a presence in the search engine results pages. If not, then – if you don’t need Google – you should be running a seminar called "Life Without Google."

For most everybody else, the warning shot was nigh on bursting your eardrums. Once the din was done, webmasters – especially those of marketing sites – looked around to find everything except their toolbar PageRank still in tact. It was sound and fury signifying, well, something.

The most obvious thing it signified was that your toolbar PageRank is virtually meaningless, and is probably why Google slapped it. It’s an attention-getter without causing any direct harm. Reports from around the blogosphere have reported no affect on traffic afterward.

But what if – if nobody listens to the warning – Google did start taking out these same marketing sites with paid links and cross-linking schemes? Would they crash out of existence? Is Google that powerful?

Search Engine Guide’s Robert Clough, whose site dropped from PR 7 to PR 4 over the past month, hasn’t decided how much he needs Google.

Are we willing to risk losing the traffic Google sends simply because we don’t buy into this crazy notion? Will we nofollow every paid link just because Google demands it? At this point, I don’t know. It’s a decision that will be made based on what is best for, and with the input of, our readers, advertisers, contributors and employees.

A tough call indeed. But Debra Mastaler at Search Engine Land suggests it’s time to stop sucking at the Google teet and diversify, so that, if you want to be truly independent, you can create a world without them.

You’ve heard the line: it takes seven impressions before a user takes action? It’s even harder on the web where a person can click away and reach a competitor in seconds. It’s not always possible to find and advertise on all the sites your buying public visit. Since many people report assigning credibility to sites they see both on and offline, it’s a good idea to start looking for offline advertising venues.

Google isn’t the only site on the Internet and it’s time we stop treating it as such. Start looking for online sources within the traditional and web2.0 areas, experiment with all until your find the right mix.