Is Organic Search Traffic from Google Important to You?

Google Panda Updates
Share Button

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can seem complicated and it can be overwhelming.  If you don’t have the resources to hire a technical SEO specialist, do you have any chance of your website being returned in the organic search results? Should you even try to optimize your site for SEO or should you rely on providing quality content and promoting your website through social media?

You Can’t Count on SEO Alone

A couple of months ago, David Rekuc wrote a guest post (for my blog) titled SEO Gets Social | How to Use Social to Get More out of Search.  As David points out, “If you follow SEO, you know that it’s a constantly evolving discipline.”  David went on to discuss the current trend in SEO which is the increasing impact of social media. He went on to explain the difference between direct influences (like Google+, Gmail, Google Authorship and Structured Data markup) and indirect influences (like YouTube videos, Slideshare presentations, your Twitter handle, Facebook pages and your social “following”).

So, how do you tap into social media? How do you get a following and especially followers who are willing to share your content? Isn’t it in fact good content that your website visitors are looking for? Whether they’re looking to buy something, be entertained, be informed or be part of a community, we’re all surfing the web for a reason. Just do a quick search of either the keywords “Google Panda content” or“Google Penguin content”and you’ll see for yourself the overwhelming number of articles written about the importance of publishing quality content.

How to Survive Google Panda & Penguin Updates

At the recent SMX West (Search Marketing Expo), Matt Cutts (head of the “webspam” team at Google) spoke about the updates that were planned for both Google Panda and Penguin in 2013. (Actually, the most recent update to Panda occurred last weekend.)

Many of you here may already know Adrienne Smith. She describes herself as being “one of the good guys” when it comes to blogging and I agree! She provides quality content that her readers find valuable. She doesn’t purchase links or overwhelm her readers with advertising. So, why was she negatively impacted by Google’s Panda update?

Like Adrienne, I don’t understand why she lost organic search traffic. Thankfully, I haven’t personally noticed a drop but I certainly don’t feel that it can’t happen to me (or you). Neither Adrienne nor I rely heavily on search traffic. It’s nice to have and both if us pay attention to basic SEO tips. Bottom line, we both concentrate on writing quality content that our readers will find valuable.

What Can We Do to Avoid Being Penalized by Google Panda Updates

A recent article on Hubspot, titled How to Survive Google’s Pending Panda Update should provide you with some additional insight. The main takeaways being to avoid:

  • Thin Content
  • Duplicate Pages to Target Keywords
  • High Ad Ratio
  • Empty Web Pages
  • Purchased Links

Adrienne (and many other bloggers and website owners) really believed that they complied with Google’s new algorithm changes. So why are so many people negatively affected by it?

Over to You

What are your thoughts? Were you one of the unlucky ones who have been penalized by Google’s algorithm changes? How important is organic search traffic to you?

Share Button

Author: Sherryl Perry

Welcome! If you're looking for help building an Internet presence that fits your needs and works for you, you're in the right place. I blog common sense articles about WordPress, social media and SEO. My goal is to help small business owners and entrepreneurs understand their core business. Together, we can develop and implement business strategies that make sense to you.

61 thoughts on “Is Organic Search Traffic from Google Important to You?”

  1. When others were talking about content is king some of them didn’t agree now Google, although they have their own ulterior motives, have once again pointed out that if you have high quality content you will be golden.

  2. With lot of content to index, the search engine is changing the algorithms frequently to find good information faster. With each algorithm change many bloggers and web sites are affected because the rules of the game are changing every now and then. What SEO today may not be the one tomorrow. The only way to survive this is to create a niche blog that increases your chance of getting indexed for organic search better.

    1. Hi George,
      Sorry for the late reply. I agree with you that with all the algorithm changes, having a niche blog is advantageous. Just Friday, I read about Matt Cutts’ recent announcement that Penguin 2.0 is being released soon. All we can do is provide quality content and be very cautious of what sites we link too. Overall, I think the new changes are good for most of us in the long run.

      Thanks for dropping by and weighing in on this.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Friday Finds for Weekend Reading – Google Penguin 2.0 UpdatesMy Profile

  3. Hello Sherryl,

    Yes. Organic traffic is very much necessary, traffic from your ads campaign or social media referral is also important but the 70% of your visitors are mainly coming from organic search. I myself mainly focusing on organic traffic since I am not active in Social Media as I am in SEO and I am actually relying on building online credibility by producing high quality content that my readers will like and eventually increase my organic search. 🙂
    Sef Cruz recently posted..Essential Blogging Tips to Increase Your Page viewsMy Profile

      1. Unfortunately not! Haha I’ve just started promoting my website actually. I am currently looking for related blogs where I can contribute a content. Just like what I did on (significance of google authorship-markup..) First off, I will build a strong and online reputation which will hopefully help me increase my organic traffic.
        Sef Cruz recently posted..Essential Blogging Tips to Increase Your Page viewsMy Profile

  4. Hi Sherry,
    This is indeed a great insight. Even though many say Google is King, I doubt that though but being penalized by Google is obviously a great recipe for disaster.

    1. Hi Emmanuel,
      Recently some of the bloggers who I network with have been pointing out they have concerns about commenting on blogs with thin content. Since I’m the manager of a group on LinkedIn that helps a lot of newer bloggers, it’s been brought to my attention that some people feel that they’re worried about commenting on a lot of blogs that aren’t established yet. Honestly, I have not done a lot of research on this particular aspect but it is something that I’m going to be on the lookout for as far as experiences other bloggers are sharing in regards to this.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Friday Finds for Weekend Reading – Week 1My Profile

  5. Thank you Sherry for sharing why some people are getting negative SEO on their site. As what most people here said, SEO is always changing every now and then and we must follow big G to avoid penalty. Although creating quality content is really one of the most challenging job on me as I am not really good in this field, but I am trying to do my best to maintain a blog full of informative materials.

    1. You’re welcome Rusty. Good luck with your blog. Creating quality content while providing useful information should help you get readers. Are you using social media to spread the word? When you’re new to blogging, it can be challenging to get new readers and to engage them in conversation. One of the things that I started doing early on was to comment on blogs where my target readers were. If they were CommentLuv enabled blogs, I’d also follow links that were left there and I started commenting there too. Familiarity helps. Once people get to know you, they’re liable to visit your blog and comment for you too.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..To Blog or NOT to Blog. That is the Question.My Profile

  6. Sherryl — I haven’t noticed much difference in my Google traffic. But while it’s flattering to see Google send you so many viewers I’ve never considered Google my most important source of traffic. First, many people they send to you were probably looking for something else because the bounce rate is higher and the time on my site is so low. My traffic from social networks, other websites and direct is more valuable, with more page views and longer time spent on the content. That’s my yardstick. Did people actually spend time reading what I have to say?
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted..The 12 Elements of Employee EngagementMy Profile

    1. I agree with you about the high bounce rate from Google search traffic Jeannette and i too spend more tie on social media than SEO. Still, SEO has become a habit for me and I believe it actually helps me write. One thing that I never did until I started learning about SEO is to write keyword rich headings. That’s a habit now and I think it’s beneficial for readers too because it really defines my posts.

      Thanks for dropping by and weighing in on this.

  7. Hi
    Seo has always been a worry to me and have just set up another one on word press specifically because you can get so many good plug ins that are not there for other formats and a good seo tool is high priority. Reading about yoasts plugin looks good bet so will hopefully make life a lot easier.

    Great post thanks lee

  8. .If you use white hat link building strategies and you are focusing on quality and content then there really is nothing to worry about.

  9. Great post. I do love me some search, but providing great content is my strategy. And should be everyone’s in my opinion. I’ve had a few blogs and before now all of them focused on immaculate SEO and backlinks. But with Google changes that is not a sustainable endeavor. So for my current site I focus on SEO a little and overall great content. Backlinks, shares, and follows will come when they’re good and ready.
    ~ Johnny Bravo
    Johnny Bravo recently posted..Use Your Professional Brand, EverywhereMy Profile

    1. Hi Johnny,
      Providing great content and building a community are definitely great ways to drive sustainable traffic to your site. I like to keep SEO in the back of my mind because you never know when someone will find you through search and they could become your biggest advocate and/or best client or customer.

      Thanks for dropping by from our LinkedIn group. 🙂
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..What Google Authorship Means for SEOMy Profile

      1. So true. Not to mention that search traffic is often times targeted traffic that brings people looking for exactly what it is you’re writing about or offering.

        Love the group by the way. Such a great idea. See you around.

  10. Hi Sherryl, what Google does with its algorithm will probably always be a mystery. One thing I am sure about, though, is that if writers focus on writing for the reader, they will stay on the right track. And there are so many other benefits to be gained from producing good-quality content. I find content is great as a sales tool and also a way to engage with people in my industry.

    1. That’s sound advice Andrew. Happy readers who comment and share are worth their weight in gold to me. 🙂 They’re much better than a bunch of organic traffic that amounts to not much more than a high bounce rate.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  11. Earn links – it’s not hard, just use some imagination, create real content and build a real business – not links.If you use white hat link building strategies and you are focusing on quality and content then there really is nothing to worry about. If you are doing something other than that then hold on to your seats, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

  12. The ever changing landscape of SEO can boggle even the most experienced among us. I don’t count myself as one of those but I do get what it’s all about. My organic traffic was and is around 30 to 40%. I for one have seen little difference that since the change. I have worked very hard building good content and believe that’s what has been the result of my steady increase in traffic. Like Jeri, I just recently installed Yoast and it has been like magic for me. That said, I do realize that I need to learn more and will make an effort to do so in the coming months. 🙂

    1. Susan, You must be getting a large percentage of either referral traffic or direct traffic then. Installing Yoast’s SEO plugin should really help you.

      1. My referral traffic is around the same 30 to 40%. My direct traffic is the remaining portion. I have never really known if that is good or bad. My web guy thinks that I’m doing well and I should keep doing what I’m doing. That I will get my goal with a solid foundation by doing so. What do you think?

  13. I came into the game right around the time Google started rolling out their updates. The vibe in the online marketing community was one of shock and chaos. It was kind of funny to see so many people in popular blogs talking about how their websites were getting less than half of the traffic it’d been enjoying. I didn’t feel too bad for them because most needed to be penalized.

    The quality of search results are a LOT better as a result of the updates. Kudos to Google.

    I think SEO is a pretty huge deal for my website though. It’s an authority blog (or an authority blog in the making), so I’ll depend on search engine traffic a lot in the future. Because of that, almost every post is optimized on my website. I’m putting the systems in place to be picked up easily by Google as my link profile expands.

    I enjoyed reading your insight. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you Nikki for taking the time to add your insight. I appreciate the time it takes to add value to the conversation and I’ll check out your blog soon. I agree that the quality of search results is better. I enjoy the fact that (when I’m logged into Google+), that I see the author profiles of people who I’m connected to. I find this to be especially helpful because if I recognize an author (who I already recognize as an authority) to be in the results, 9 out of 10 times, I’ll read their article first.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..What Google Authorship Means for SEOMy Profile

  14. Sherryl, this was a great read thank you.

    There’s a saying that has always rung true for me when it comes to internet marketing, especially where traffic generation is concerned – “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket”.

    I think organic traffic from organic search will always be important – we can’t ignore the sheer volume of targeted traffic that we can potentially receive while doing the right things.

    It’s going to be more and more about social as time goes on where SEO is concerned which is great because if we focus on social and get SEO benefits we’re also going to get plenty of traffic from the work we’re doing on social so then we’re not going to be so reliant on Google at all.

    From personal experience things that are playing a bigger part is how detailed your content is.

    There are a lot of factors that go into rankings, but it’s surprising how much easier it is to rank when you write a huge piece of well written and informative content with lots of images/video etc – I’ve found it increasingly easier to rank when I write over 2,500 words on a subject.

    This also helps with reducing bounce rate and increasing time on site which is factored into Google’s ranking algorithm so it’s all boils down to the user experience really.
    Adam recently posted..5 Best WordPress Mailing List Plugins for List Building MagicMy Profile

    1. Adam,
      Thanks so much for contributing such a well thought out and insightful comment. I’ll definitely check out your site. I tend to keep my articles to around 600 to 800 words. I have written a few over 1,000 but I don’t believe I have ever written an article over 2,500 words before. That’s an interesting observation that you find it easier to rank with lengthy articles like that. In the past, I’ve been inclined to break an article like that up into a series.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Top 6 SEO and Social Media How-To Posts of 2012My Profile

  15. Great article Sherryl!

    Am delighted that Google are punishing purchased links. It’s horrendous how people are trying to cheat online.

    Like you I write for my readers and have never written for SEO. Honestly think those it’s OK that who do are punished by Google. Wish Google would also punish websites that sell Facebook likes and other such lamentable products:-)
    Catarina Alexon recently posted..Cheap chic – a recession mega trend?My Profile

    1. That would be interesting Catarina if Google ever tried to penalize sites that sell Facebook likes and Twitter followers. I’m always amazed when I check the profile of a new follower and they are following thousands of people and have thousands of followers and zero tweets. Seriously?

      1. It’s outrageous the way people behave. In Sweden there are an abundance of SEO and Social Media consultants that are taking people for a ride. They are for instance adviced to use instead of, even when they already have their URL.

        Have seen someone with 4,500 likes on his Facebook page that I am sure has paid for the likes. Most likely he was told everybody buys their likes:-)
        Catarina Alexon recently posted..Cheap chic – a recession mega trend?My Profile

  16. I used to follow all these Google updates and changes a lot more than I do now. They seem to be cranking them out very frequently now. I can’t keep up with all of there changes anymore. Whenever you have a computer that decides what it likes and what it doesn’t I am fairly certain a few sites like Adrienne’s will be on the wrong end of things. I don’t know for sure, but I can’t imagine an algorithm being 100% accurate all the time.
    Ray recently posted..Technology At Its Not So FinestMy Profile

    1. I agree with you Ray. I don’t really follow Google’s algorithm changes either. I’m aware of them because I regularly follow bloggers who do keep up on them. It’s also important to me to be aware of what other bloggers are doing and if I pick up a new tip or two, I can pass them on here. Overall, my organic search traffic has risen since I got my Google Authorship verified and that goes hand in hand with providing quality content. That’s the best we can do.

  17. the only aspect which is need to be cover by SEO is good quality traffic…but when the content and the deployed links are not of good quality then its really a hard nut to crack….For making a SEO campaign Successful first rule is dont forget the importance of onsite seo..then deployed links in equal proportion from varied source…Thanks for a perfect post

  18. You can look at Google panda and penguin as a bad thing because it makes it a lot harder to rank in Google and gives us more ways to get penalized, or you can look at it as a good thing because it gets rid of a lot of the completion. Those of us who are providing real value to our visitors now have the advantage in the search engine, and that is very cool.
    shaun recently posted..15 Ways We Defend Our Bad Habits And How To Overcome ThemMy Profile

    1. That’s a good outlook to have Shaun. I’m personally not worried about being hit by either the Panda or Penguin updates. On the other hand, it wouldn’t surprise me if it happens. There are bound to be honest bloggers that somehow lose traffic. I believe that (as you pointed out) providing real value to our readers will give us an edge. After all, a lot of that search traffic ends up being people who don’t stick around and become regular readers.

      Thanks for taking the time to weigh in on this.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Less Obvious Landing Page Conversion KillersMy Profile

  19. The updates from Google created a lot of impact to all site owners. But I believe that this is made by Google in order to give more importance to all blogs that are real and informative enough and punish those who are involved in black hat SEO.

  20. The rest of my organic traffic comes from searches related to lesson plans I still have on my site. I rarely get much search traffic based on my literature posts, but I’m hoping to change it a bit by working on my SEO

  21. I really think it’s nefarious of Google to name its algorithms after cute animals. Or are they trying to be ironic? I have no SEO strategy. In the last 30 days, according to Google Analytics, 25% of my blog traffic has been via organic Google searches, but those visits have an 85% bounce rate and account for 91% of new visits. I have no idea if this is good, bad or indifferent. I’m going to a TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange) conference in June to see if I can “up-educate” myself about SEO, Google animals and other important blogger stuff. (My blog is Boomer travel blog (kind of)) I know that a tight brand is supposed to be better, but some of my more popular blog posts are arguably off topic. Oh well.
    Just One Boomer (Suzanne) recently posted..Philadelphia (Good) Phriday — Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion at the Kimmel CenterMy Profile

    1. That’s funny Suzanne. Maybe Google wants us to think they’re warm and fuzzy. 🙂 Your observation about a high bounce rate from organic search traffic visitors is about par. The time per visit is usually low too. Some visitors will stay though. So, it can be valuable traffic but unless you’re willing to hire a professional or spend a lot of time trying to figure it out, it’s probably best to write quality content while acquiring some basic SEO habits. Well written off topic posts can be very popular!

      That’s great that you’re going to a TBEX conference. Have fun and make connections. Meanwhile, I can’t help but notice that your profile pic doesn’t pop up when you comment on blogs. That is such an easy and important thing to do. Just go to, register the email address that you comment with. Upload your pic and enter the URL of your blog. They, we’ll get to recognize your smiling face.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..How to Use SEO to Improve Your Website Ranking in GoogleMy Profile

  22. None of the sites and blogs I run or manage were ever affected by penguins or pandas or any other animal :-). I somewhat know SEO and maybe for that reason more often majority of my traffic comes through organic search – not when a site or a blog is new but in the long run, search engines are definitely my best friend when it comes to new traffic. I too think that if you write for your readers and do NOT focus on SEO – all will be fine. Knowing SEO and optimizing just brings you as bonus the organic search traffic 😉
    Diana recently posted..6 Tips When Starting a BlogMy Profile

  23. Firstly, there’s always a possibility to contact Google spam team in order to get to know what’s wrong with your site and why it’s been sanctioned. Secondly, social networks indeed are a great way to attract more human traffic to your site.

    1. “Contact Google” . . . (I just got a chill down my spine.) I had to contact Google once because they totally messed up my Google Analytics account. It seems that when I created my account on Google+ (and I had to use a gmail address) that somehow, they locked me out of the GA account that I had used for years. (At the time, I didn’t have a gmail account associated with GA and Google had determined that to be an issue.) Not only could I not access my site analytics but I also have several client sites associated with it. After a long and arduous process, Google finally created a new gmail account for me (rather than asking me what gmail address I wanted to use). So now, I have this ridiculous sounding gmail account to logon to check my analytics and another account to access my Goggle+. I don’t dare to try to combine the two.

      Sorry for the rant. 🙂 Yes – social networks can be great – much more fun than dealing with Google.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Content Writing: The Most Formidable Online Marketing StrategyMy Profile

  24. I haven’t noticed any changes from panda updates. My google search traffic keeps plugging along bringing most of my traffic to my blog. I have the scribe WordPress plugin, which is invaluable. It’s really helpless me understand how to set up my posts. But the truth is most of my blog posts don’t get a lot of google love. I keep writing anyway, and my traffic keeps inproving, so I must be doing something right!
    Heather Fonseca recently posted..Stripes and DotsMy Profile

    1. Thanks for letting me know that you enjoyed my post. 80 to 85% sounded high to me. My percentage of traffic from organic search is lower than that. It was 72% for the last 31 days and 66% before that. I average about 18% direct traffic and the rest is referral. I agree that we absolutely need search traffic. I believe my percentage of traffic from Google increased after I got my Google Authorship verified and working.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..SEO Gets Social | How to Use Social to Get More out of SearchMy Profile

  25. I recently starting using Yoast’s WordPress SEO plug-in and it’s really helped me start to understand the basics of SEO. Before I really had no clue, and in the process, probably did my blog more harm than good. I do miss some of the organic traffic that used to come my way, but it’s not gone not because of being penalized by Google. I made the decision to remove over 40 posts related to food and travel. Now my traffic stats are more accurate for the content I now try to produce related to literature. The rest of my organic traffic comes from searches related to lesson plans I still have on my site. I rarely get much search traffic based on my literature posts, but I’m hoping to change it a bit by working on my SEO. Mostly, I rely on word of mouth and commenting on lots of blogs to get noticed a little bit!
    Jeri recently posted..How to Revise: What Photography Can Reveal About WritingMy Profile

    1. Yoast’s plugin is awesome Jeri. It sounds like you have a clear understanding of where your traffic sources are. I concentrate on referral and direct traffic myself. Anything I get from SEO is a bonus.

  26. Sometimes I read your blog and learn that I’ve missed the latest changes. I really haven’t heard much about what you’re talking about re Google Panda and changes in SEO. It was enough for me to understand just a little about SEO! But I like being pushed to learn what’s going on around me. The message about good content is always a good one.

    1. Hi Judy,
      Thanks for letting me know that you learn some new things here. 🙂 SEO is constantly changing, you know I always recommend knowing who you’re writing for and what you’re writing about first and foremost. Sprinkle in some keywords in places like titles, headings and meta-tags (don’t forget your images) and you’re done! (If you’re staying on target with your topic, you should naturally be including keywords in your content without thinking about it. )You do a nice job of optimizing your site.

Comments are closed.