It’s the day every webmaster fears and it happened to us last week. Our site, Apartmentsapart was unceremoniously dumped by Google and we received a message detailing the reason in our Webmaster tools inbox. Our traffic dropped by 80%. Normally this would be the end of the world for an e-tailer but our sales didn’t budge. We do 93% of our sales through channels like the ones you can find on Rentals United. I’m happy to say that we are currently selling better than last year and all those sales come from third party sites on a commission basis.
If you are an online travel agent or if you otherwise rely on Google you might want to take note of this. In the old days Google made up 80% of our sales and it terrified us. We started diversifying in 2006. In those days it was much harder than today. XML was a buzzword few in the industry understood and integrating was unpopular. We had to make an XML connection to every company we wanted to work with and to fight, sometimes for months for the privilege.
These days companies like Rentals Untied make it so simple: You need to make one connection to us and from here you are instantly connectable to all the other connected parties where you can both sell others’ inventory and have your own inventory sold. But take note: It takes time to agree terms with those companies. You can’t just switch it on if you need traffic, so it’s better to get that all in place to avoid the dark day of no sales when Google unloves your site.
For those of you seeking an easier way to connect together, help is at hand. We are putting the finishing touches to a new menu option to make connecting to other companies contractually semi-automatic. This will be out in beta in a few weeks.