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Are you tired of playing Google’s game?

Have you ever been in a crazy-making relationship where you can’t do anything right?

One minute, everything is cool. The next, you’re being penalized for some “rule” you knew nothing about.

Yeah. Working with Google is exactly like that. If you’re feeling frustrated, here’s what you can do.

Just think about the mixed messages marketers have heard over the last couple years.

“Jump through the Authorship hoops and see your picture next to search results.”

“Never mind. We’re getting rid of Authorship.”

“Here are all the keywords people used to find your site.”

“Oops, now all keyword data is [not provided.]”

“Sites will typically have many “spammy” issues to risk an algorithmic penalty.”

“Well, maybe not.”

If this was a relationship, you would have walked away by now. Who needs to deal with an insane situation where things change on a whim?

Google’s crazy-making ways has turned into business-as-usual

As marketers, we deal with this every single day. We suffer over the SERP results and strategize ways to move the needle. We languish over our incoming links. We build teams (or hire consultants) to keep our knowledge fresh and stay in the game.

Knowing that any minute Google – like a bad relationship – can pull the plug on our sites and say “It’s over.” And there’s nothing we can really do about it.

Many companies rely on Google as a major part of their marketing pie.  But why do we do this to ourselves, knowing that Google is a fickle mistress (at best?).

Here’s something to consider instead:

Rather than putting all your marketing eggs into Google’s basket, diversify your marketing efforts instead. No, that doesn’t mean you should stop your SEO campaign. Nor does it mean you should turn into a PPC-only marketer. I mean paying attention to other things that will truly drive targeted traffic (and sales, too.)

Here are three things you can do that will help you gain the results you want.

Newsletters

I am amazed at the number of sites that don’t have a newsletter. Or a company may have a newsletter and collect signups, but only send it out when they have something to promote.

Think about this for a moment. Your readers enjoyed your content so much that they opted-in to receive emails from you. That’s a pretty big deal in today’s information-overloaded world.

Newsletters allow you the opportunity to serve your hungry readers outstanding content. You can showcase your latest blog posts. You can re-introduce older blog posts and drive new traffic. And yes, it’s entirely appropriate to include sales messages (as long as it’s done with style.) After all, newsletter subscribers are typically your biggest fans. Why not give them what they want?

Still not convinced? I know of many companies that see a huge uptick in site visits and social media mentions every time their newsletter hits the virtual streets. That’s a pretty cool benefit.

Guest posting

Guest posting has always been a powerful way to drive traffic. You can reach new audiences, drive traffic to your site and gain new newsletter subscribers.

However, many marketers have recently steered away from guest posting.  It’s true that Google has taken a stand against sites that accept spammy guest blog posts. However, guest posting is still a viable strategy if you do it right.

“Doing it right” means working with reputable publications that your target market actually reads. This doesn’t mean a “spray and pray” approach where your marketing department contacts 100 publications, all with the same pitch. It’s pinpointing the best publications, writing an original pitch email and suggesting on-topic posts.

When you do write your guest post, make sure it’s laser-targeted for the publication. Think about the pain points of that particular reading audience. What are they struggling with every day? Which posts generated the most comments? What actionable tips will help readers make more money, save them time, or help them master a confusing concept?

The better your content, the more opportunities it’ll get to be reposted across social media channels and drive even more traffic. Which leads us to the third way you can drive traffic without Google…

Think offline

It’s funny how we can get so focused on Google positions that we forget about other opportunities.

Direct mail is still a viable way to reach leads and eventually make sales. Writing books and being seen as an authority thought leader can result in speaking gigs, interviews and high-profile clients who want to work with the best. Holding exclusive one-day training events can help land new clients, establish your company as a market leader and even create a new profit center.

There are scads of marketing opportunities in every vertical. Rather than doing exactly what your competition is doing, why not zig rather than zag? Try something different. See what works. You may be surprised  – and the process may be much less painful than sweating over the latest Google update.

Stop letting Google rule your marketing. There are many ways to reach prospects that has nothing to do with worrying about positions, conversions off the search results page and Google’s latest Penguin update.

Google may always be a big part of your marketing mix. But it doesn’t have to be the only part (nor should it be!).

The more you can diversify your marketing efforts, the less stressed you’ll feel when Google makes yet another change.

And that, by itself, is a wonderful thing.

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