Grow Your Business Audience Without GoogleDepending on leads from sources other than the friends and customers in your business audience is a dangerous plan.

You may know that Google recently killed Google Authorship. In a nutshell, this was a feature that allowed authors of original content to share the authority of search results with the sites publishing it.

Many of us are scratching our heads for the motivation behind this change. It seemed to be the right thing to do for authors, while also personalizing search results to make them more credible.

Nevertheless, what really matters is what we can learn from it moving forward.

Your Friendship with Google is Conditional

A lot of people think Google is their friend. That may be true, but it’s a friendship with conditions.

Google’s mission is to deliver the most relevant information to people doing a search. The most important factor in determining relevancy is the authority of the source of that content. Other factors such as recency matter too, but authority trumps them all.

Your authority is derived from the people you influence. Their response to your online content in terms of social shares and links validates your authority. This earned authority naturally contributes to your content ranking highly.

In other words, you have to earn your friendship with Google by bringing your audience with you. It’s a condition.

Google needs great content, but it favors sources that have a large and loyal following. These are the people whose businesses are doing just fine without Google. However, they obviously will take all the help they can get.

This is where you want your business to be. Take Google’s help to expand your audience and circle of friends further. Just don’t depend on it.

Instead build your audience and own it. Of course, you don’t really own the audience, but you do own the content and the platform if you build it properly.

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Earn the Trust of the Audience You Now Serve

Every business has at least one customer or it’s not a business. If you read the introduction to Built-In Social, you will recall that realization was the wake-up call that literally got my landscape business up and running.

Your business has limited resources. So, allocate what you can to optimizing your business for search, but never neglect your primary responsibility of helping the business audience you have now. It always works.

Your audience of email subscribers is primarily customers, friends, and potential customers. Why else would they be consuming your content? They are your first line for referrals and recommendations because unlike Google or Facebook, they will always be there for you.

After reading this, you may think I do not trust Google. Actually, I do. I simply trust my friends and clients more. And equally important, I can reach out to them any time I wish.

Google sends us our share of leads, and I’m here to help you get yours too. Let’s just be smart about not becoming overly dependent on that source.