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Should Google's antitrust woes worry you?

We’re all pretty reliant on Google, right? Well, it looks like the government’s antitrust investigation against Google – which thinks first looked at last fall – is picking up some steam. Should you worry? As before, we say, “Nah.” Despite its legal woes a decade ago, Microsoft didn’t lose much in the way of market share. But, you should plan ahead in case it distracts Google and makes room for some upstart down the road. How?

Put simply, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. There are multiple sources of traffic for your business’s website, including:

  • Direct navigation – Customers find your business lots of ways. One is to type your name directly or visit a bookmark. Make sure you have the right URL. And make sure it’s displayed prominently on all your printed materials. Finally, suggest customers bookmark any page on your site and ensure those bookmarks continue to work in the future (a quick review of “page not found” or “404” errors in your analytics tool can show you where they’re looking).
  • Referred – These are links that point to your site. They’re good for both search engine optimization (assuming they come from high-value sites) and for traffic from potential customers (assuming they come from sites your customers visit). Broadly speaking, there’s no such thing as a bad link (bring on the comments, SEO-types). Link-building campaigns are very worthwhile. Check out SEOmoz for some great tips on link building (this one’s good, too). Oh, and recommendations/links from social sites by your customers count here, too.
  • Email – Yes, email traffic is fantastic. Don’t believe me? See guest poster Brent Doud’s 8 easy ways to increase your email opt-in list to learn why you want more business from email.
  • Paid and natural search – Waitaminnit. Aren’t Google’s troubles what started this discussion in the first place? Yep. But that doesn’t mean search is going away. It isn’t. At least not soon. What you should look at is how you rank on places other than Google and also look at piloting high-performing campaigns on other paid search sites as well.

At the risk of getting into politics, you could go broke easily betting on what’s going to come from government actions. So, don’t bet on this investigation one way or the other. That said, diversifying the sources of traffic to your site will benefit you whether or not this investigation goes anywhere. And that’s a Very Good Thing.

Have you had success using media other than Google? Tell us about it in the comments.

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Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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