I came across a good post this morning from Greg Niland talking about how to recover after the Panda Algorithm update from Google. As you may know, thousands of sites were devastated by the update, which left many wondering how to proceed and how to regain their once former rankings and traffic. Greg speaks about diversifying your traffic flow so that we (as a collective) are not so dependent upon Google. This will not be the last update from Google, so by diversifying your site, you will not be as susceptible when Google does a major update (MayDay, MayDay!). It may also help improve your quality signals and Google referrals. He offered four ways in which we can become less dependent upon Google for traffic:
This may seem pretty old-school, but I think this is a valuable tool. Everyone still reads and checks their email every day. This is one constant in the www that has remained constant over the years. I would suggest using this as part of your content delivery system. For instance, when you write a blog post or write an article, give people the option to sign up for it in email form. This may not help with traffic to your site or increase time on site per se, but in catering to the needs and wants of your visitors, you are adding value added service and increasing visitor loyalty. Loyal followers convert much easier than a casual or new visitor.
Google is increasingly using data from social sites in the new algorithm and incorporating social sites in to the global/universal SERPs. Not only is social media useful for recruiting new followers but it is a good medium for content distribution as well. Writing strong content and posting links from facebook, twiiter and other sites is an effective way to bring visitors to your web site. Keep people up to date with useful blurbs on Twitter. Sharing photos on Flickr with a creative common license can actually gain backlinks.
Embrace the Google Universal SERPs
I think this is an excellent suggestion. By showing up in as many places as possible in Google News, Images and Shopping you will be included in the SERPS and continue to boost traffic to your site. Even if you are pummeled by a new algorithim update, you can still bring in significant, relevant traffic by being included in these areas of Google.
Link to and from like sites with banner ads. This is a very old-school technique that seems to be reemerging as a viable traffic building strategy. Remember that these strategies are not intended to be used for linkbuilding – this is an attempt to draw visitors in an organic fashion and should be done selectively and to moderation. If you are an SEO, it makes sense to cross promote with a trusted web designer or hosting provider. This is another way to add value-added services for your visitors and can still bring in high quality traffic, even if your rankings slip.
While most of us are still in the midst of recovering from the Panda Update, the take away from this post and the information supplies from Google, tells us that many of the old strategies that we employed to game rankings in Google are no longer viable. The final word from Google is to create valuable, unique content and spread it across a large distribution network to maximize its effectiveness.