Thoughts about Google-proofing your website

Google-proofing – the latest buzz word?

Er, no, actually. The term Google-proofing has been around for years. Here’s an article from Web Pro News dated 2004 outlining how to Google-proof your site by building links.  As they explain, building backlinks isn’t just for building your rank in Google.

They give you a backup source of traffic for those days, weeks, or months when Google spasms out. Something content alone can’t do.

So while content and on-page optimization count, to me links are what separates the men from the boys.

So, even back in ye olden days people were already saying that link building wasn’t just about improving your Google rank.

It’s quite interesting to read that old article, because of course so much has changed in traffic building and Internet Marketing over the last eight years. Except that if you do read it, you’re left with the impression that in fact very little has changed. The same techniques and strategies, which did actually work all those years ago, are still being repackaged and trundled out today.

Google-proofing 2012 – déjà vu all over again

A lot of recent Internet Marketing (IM) offerings, even in this post-Panda/Penguin era, seem to be about gaming Google rather than losing reliance on them. They suggest tips and tricks to outwit Google which “guarantee” high rankings which in turn “will” bring you loads of free search engine traffic.

Much of it seems to be about creating lots of “high-quality” backlinks (on auto-pilot in some cases) and it’s all geared up to improving your site’s ranking in Google, but doing it in a way that fools Google so that they don’t know you’re doing it. This includes some techniques that have been around for years, such as having your money sites at the core and doing the link building via outliers which in turn link to your money sites. All this has been repackaged as revolutionary tactics to use to Google-proof your site. But to these people “Google-proofing” still means relying on Google to send you loads of free traffic every day. What happens when the next animal in the menagerie attacks?

Google-proof your site by forgetting about Google

In my opinion, a real Google-proofing strategy would be better concentrating on traffic building strategies which don’t rely on search engines. Paradoxically several people have written that they do better in Google anyway, when they stop focusing on trying to improve their rankings and concentrate on marketing their websites using methods other than SEO.

Building links is a legitimate way of building traffic but it can be time-consuming when done manually.  Fortunately there are tools to help you speed up the process. Mashable’s 6 Link Building Tools to Boost Your Traffic is worth a read as they’ve test-driven and reviewed six tools and given the pros and cons of each.

However, you should diversify your traffic building strategies. Referring to BuildMyRank’s closure, Search Engine Watch had this to say:

An overemphasis on link building is the first symptom of the need for a wider view. Those foolish enough to be completely reliant on one of the blog networks that Google took down have learned this lesson the hard way via rapidly falling rankings. Then there are those who received an actual warning from Google and now live with the daily fear of being removed entirely from the search engine.

They argue that you should aim to create a footprint of natural backlinks just as a small business would be expected to do, using social media, guest blogging and forums.

Late to the party

Even as late as July 2012, there are some people talking about Google-proofing as though it’s something new. SiteProNews asks, “Is It Time to Google-proof Your Business?” Nice idea, but it’s way past the time to only be thinking about it now. The article also contains six traffic building methods. There’s nothing particularly new in this either – use social media, start article marketing, create press releases, etc.

Conclusion

Google-proofing has been around for years and many people have been doing it all along. But even now, after all the well-publicised upheaval caused by Panda and Penguin, some so-called Google-proofing methods are still attempts to game Google’s algo, rather than reducing vulnerability to the changes in it.

The only surefire way of Google-proofing your site is to build up traffic that doesn’t come from Google. Once you’ve done that, anything you do get from Google will be a pleasant bonus, rather than the life-blood of your website.

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2 Responses to “Thoughts about Google-proofing your website”

  1. Clinton

    Nice article, Kay. I have long been an advocate of not depending on Google, as you know.

    I like searchenginewatch, but there’s a problem with taking traffic building advice from them …and the clue is in their name. It’s not in their interest to talk down search engines or the value of SE traffic.

    Reply
  2. Kay

    Thanks, Clinton.

    If you run a blog about getting traffic, then it’s kinda crucial to look at as many options as you can and not get stuck on the SE mentality that’s so prevalent. When I’m researching for my articles, it can be incredibly difficult to find any content that isn’t harping on about building backlinks to improve ranking. It’s a Sisyphean task sometimes!

    I’ve made a deliberate effort with this new blog not to court the search engines, beyond getting the site indexed. Anything I get from the SEs is a bonus. It’s not the goal. I’m hoping to achieve good traffic without having to pander to Google. I believe it’s possible.

    I might even do some case studies on here in the future. Meanwhile, I know that if Kay’s Traffic does become a success I won’t have to live in fear of an algo change which brings the sky crashing down on my head.

    Reply

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