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On Monday December 14 2020 at 4 AM PST (7 AM EST) the unthinkable happened. Google and all of its services went down.  And not just for a few seconds, but an entire hour which may as well be an eternity. Think we’re being dramatic? Back in 2013 when Google experienced a brief 5-minute outage global internet usage dropped 40%. 

Hysterically the first thing many of us did this AM was attempt to open up another browser to Google search “Is Google down?” before realizing the horrible irony.

What Happens if Google Goes Down

The world then flocked to Twitter and Facebook for information, but all that was found was an endless scroll of users all asking the same. The hashtag “#apocalypse” was used more than a few times. 

After an excruciating and conspiracy-filled 60-minutes or so all of Google’s services returned to normal.

Were they hacked? Is Facebook with its move to add keyword search to Instagram waging war? Has Google gone too far with its recent algorithm updates? A Google spokesperson ushered an apology and stated an “internal storage quota issue” as the problem. Eerie silence beyond that.

It seems that Google is not invulnerable after all. This fact begs online businesses to ask – what will we do if they go away one day? For those reliant on PPC and SEO, customer acquisition would come to a screeching halt. Do you have a backup plan in place? If not, here’s what you need to do.

How Your Online Business Can Still Drive Website Traffic and Get Customers When Google Goes Down

Get Your Social Network House in Order

As mentioned above, everyone went to Facebook and Twitter to find out what was happening when Google went down. This proves the value of social media as an immediate information resource for the public.

Among this public are consumers. If even for a minute (especially this season) they can’t access Google to search for products and services they head straight to social media – namely Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. For this reason your company must be fully established and be a daily active user (DAU) on these networks. 

The same products/services on your website that you have optimized for Google AdWords, Google Merchant Center and organic search need to receive the same level of attention on your social profiles. If you are a seller, set-up Facebook Shops and Shops on Instagram. Service providers must also follow suit, and promote all of their offers on all primary social networks accordingly. 

Simply put, if Google goes away, social media moves from supplement to replacement status, perhaps even more so than BING. Keep reading.

Don’t Forget BING (and Yahoo!)

While BING’s share of online search is small compared to Google, they are still an advanced search engine that drives traffic to your website. If Google was to go down for 12-hours or so BING’s usage numbers would skyrocket. Yahoo! Search (a rebadged version of the Bing search engine) would also experience a proportionate lift. 

How do you optimize for BING and Yahoo! Search? The good news is that the same relative  SEO best practices apply, so you don’t need to take much action unless your website has not been optimized for search. That said, you will need to set up BING Webmaster Tools which will cover your website’s reporting and diagnostics for both BING and Yahoo! Search.

Build Your Email Subscriber List

Email also becomes extremely important in a period without Google. 

Many online businesses that perform well on Google Search and PPC typically ignore email marketing as they rely on the search engine monolith to bring them customers. Why invest in a labor intensive push strategy (email) when customers keep rolling in from a pull program (Google)? This morning’s event has answered that question.

When customers stop coming in you need to start knocking on doors, but you need to get those addresses first. 

From here on in, encourage website visitors and social network followers to subscribe to your business via email. Let them know that in exchange they will receive tangible value, which includes exclusive (not advertised elsewhere) discounts and offers along with most up to date news about new product/service releases that will be of interest to them. 

Learn more about the importance of email marketing, which has become even more evident in light of Google’s vulnerability.

Cloud-to-Cloud Backup of IT Infrastructure

All of Google’s services went down on Monday morning. Beyond AdWords and Search, businesses use these services in their customer acquisition strategy, whether for direct consumer communications or internal marketing collaboration. Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) tools including Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Meet and more went offline.

While the cloud-based nature of the system ensures that data remains protected, customer acquisition operations can be impacted which is why you need a redundancy action plan within your IT infrastructure. This involves having a secure cloud-to-cloud backup and recovery solution that supports both Google Workspace and MS 365 or other Software as a Service (SaaS) that you use in marketing operations. Reliance on one single SaaS can leave you vulnerable.

Prepare for the unthinkable by contacting Strategis Consulting Group to optimize your online marketing for a world (or just a few hours) without Google.