Every now and then a report of another victim of Google search engine algorithm changes.

Upon reading such reports, I tend to assume that the victim sailed too close to the wind, as Rap Genius seem to have done in 2013.

Alternatively, having lead product management and traffic acquisition for a vertical search engine in the past, I am just gleefully happy that such fate has not befallen my product.

Recently, however, the stories tend to be more alarming.

Either because they seem to hit services genuinely considered as valuable, such as Metafilter, or due to real or perceived conflict with Google’s own products.

All Platforms Are Doing It

While the bulk of the attention is on Google, focusing solely on the search giant is unfair. Much the same cycle apples to Facebook’s News Feed.

In ecommerce, Amazon continues to be even more brazen in its strong-arm negotiation tactics with the like of Hachette and Macmillan or in its petty vendetta with Brad Stone, 2013 laureate of Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award.

Organic Does Not Mean Own

The key problem in situation like above is the misnomer of referring to Google, Facebook or Amazon traffic as organic. In a sense, the designation can be correct, but only with the prefix of the platform in front.

Put simply, the traffic might wax (and wane!) organically. The traffic might be healthy for your business. Nevertheless its owner remains the platform that originates it, not you.

What Is to Be Done?

There are two choices when confronted with prospect of a drop in organic traffic from a dominant platform in your domain.

You could wait for the giant in question to change its mind. The thing is, you could be waiting for a long time.

Alternatively, you can focus and invest in your own – traffic sources, users, differentiation or business models.

As hard as it might be, at least you are in control of your own destiny.

In reality, there are plenty of options for focusing on own channels. At bonusbox we are committed to providing a real alternative for ecommerce merchants dedicated to building sustainable, loyal consumer audiences.


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