Speaking as one who has focussed elsewhere than Google for years to steadily increasing effect it is possible to wean one's self from the 'Google is my universe' addiction.
And as a bonus when sufficient individual shifts occur behemoths notice, adapt, or die. However, having already moved on such will be of minor consequence.
I agree with you with one exception that you keep leaving out in your analyses.
If I want to succeed, I can't ignore the competition.
Let me tell a story to explain. Let's say we live in the g##### bizarro world. In the g-bizzaro world, there are only 3 sources of traffic -- g organic, g PPC and the non - g advertising network.
I decide g is unethical and I'm not going to be party to helping them expand their business and I don't want to take the risk that they will turn on me one day. I place all of my advertising with the non - g advertising network.
My competitor decides that he'll find other strategies to avoid being penalized by g##### and continues to take advantage of free organic. Just to make the example simple, he incurred no costs for outside services to manage SEO. My competitor uses g organic, g ppc, and the non - g advertising network and but spends 30% less than I do because organic more than makes up for the reduced traffic on ad spend. We'll assume no cannibalization to, once again, keep it simple -- in this case he manages cannibalization and cuts his spend to 30% less than mine because he can get it free from organic and advertising would just convert free clicks to paid clicks. We'll assume that our traffic is identical after I change my ad mix.
As a result of our choices, my competitor's cost of advertising is 30% less than mine. He uses that additional revenue to improve customer service in areas where I'm week. He also develops free apps and can afford to hire a copywriter to provide information that visitors really find helpful.
As a result of his efforts, word of mouth, comments on review sites and comments on social media sites, my competitor's traffic grows. As a result, g organic gives him a ranking bump that helps traffic grow even more and g PPC increases his quality scores so his cost of advertising is further reduced.
Meanwhile at the ranch, I think that I'm sitting fat and happy because I got rid of g and it will just be a matter of time before everyone else sees the light and g will change or go out of business.
Cash flow problems begin to develop -- very slowly at first, very fast as I near the end of my ability to pay my bills. By then it's too late to take strategic action to affect revenue, so I cut costs. Where? Let staff go, it's the only variable I have immediate control over and I have to pay vendor bills or the vendors will take legal action and I'll incur even more costs in legal and related fees, penalties, lost credit rating, etc.
So where do I cut staff? I have to fill orders and manage the warehouse or revenue stops altogether. At the hint of problems with filling orders, my customers will quickly leave and go to my competitor because they hear my competitor is doing some really cool things to take care of customers.
As a results, I cut where I can -- customer service goes which causes even more customers to leave.
Somewhere along the line my competitor leaks to the industry news sources that I'm having trouble and traffic has dropped off dramatically according to Compete.com. Customers run so fast it makes my head spin. There's no time to do anything all day long except answer calls from irate vendors and try to keep them in the game.
The whole thing spirals out of control and my business fails. The only thing I need to manage at that point is to make sure I have enough money to pay the bankruptcy attorney.
Another variation of this story would be that I work for a Fortune 1000 company and my boss fires me because of under-performing channels.
Either result doesn't work for me.
This is exactly the strategy I help my clients execute and point at their competition. It's not about getting traffic -- it's about strategically acquiring traffic that will put the competition out of business. A 2'fer. Increase revenue and put your competition out of business which will further increase traffic.
If I'm retired and not dependent on the income from the site, then no problem. Except, I gave away a lot of revenue for no good reason that I could pass on to the grand kids.
Bottom line -- g##### needs to change their unethical business practices. The general public needs to know about their unethical business practices -- I've tested this, the public will change search providers if they know about it.
So, back to the question asked in this thread -- How Can We Stop Google From Preying On Hardworking, Honest Website Owners?
Edited by chuckfinley, 30 August 2013 - 06:25 PM.