Recently Google had an update and some webmasters were significantly impacted. Google has had many big updates and will have many more. If your rankings are soured by an update you may become angry at Google. IMHO that is just not the smartest or most profitable approach.
May I suggest you take a more productive step and diversify your traffic flow. This can also increase the quality signals of your website which will decrease your chances getting soured over a Google update. My network used to rely on Google for 95% of its traffic. I have personally done these items and now over 50% of my network traffic is from non-Google sources and my Google referrals have increased.
Start an Email Newsletter
By sharing valuable information and/or special offers via a newsletter you develop a traffic stream that is not dependent on Google. Also it boosts toolbar usage and mentions of your site in Gmail which I don’t think anyone would complain about.
Embrace Social Sites
Social sites can deliver great amounts of traffic. It can help you retain your current audience and attract new visitors. Build out your facebook page, regularly post useful tidbits on twitter, share photos on flickr. Google is using data from social sites in their ranking algorithm and incorporating these social sites into universal serps. Plus sharing photos on flickr with a creative common license can actually gain backlinks.
Embrace Google Universal Serps
I know this is supposed to be about relying less on Google for traffic but this is a great opportunity. Google News, Images and Shopping results are often given great placement in Google search results. You can significantly boost your traffic by having your site included in these sections. If you have a bad Google search update your site may no longer rank #1 in search but can still receive significant traffic from being listed in the universal parts of the serps.
This is a very old concept and this is actually how people discovered websites before search engines even existed. Find many relevant and complimentary websites and cross promote each other. If you are a USA florist exchange banner ads with a Canadian florist. This helps users who need to send international flowers and it also helps to boost your link popularity which everyone loves. If you sell used cars then cross promote with a local mechanic website. If you are an SEO consultant then cross promote with a graphic designer or e-commerce specialist. If you ever lose your rankings you can still survive by getting traffic from your network of relevant cross promoted websites.
There are other ways to diversify your traffic which will help to protect your business model and also help your Google rankings. If you are creative and plan ahead you should hopefully avoid having to deal with bad rankings after a Google update. Whatever you do just try to be as productive & profitable as possible.
Greg Niland is a veteran SEO consultant and affiliate marketer with over 14 years of experience. He is a moderator at WebmasterWorld.com, a show host on WebmasterRadio.fm and President of Internet Marketers of New York.