Steps on how to survive
Social Media: There's a saying that when the desired isn't available then the available becomes the desired, that should be the case with your website when you've been hit. When you discover you've been hit by a Google update, it usually is the best time to sharpen your social media skills and use it effectively to drive more traffic to your blog or website, the first thing you should do is to go read more articles and eBooks and social media marketing and use them effectively to promote your blog and even exceed your normal limit with Seo.
Optimizing for other search engines: While still promoting your blog with social media you should also consider optimizing your blog for other search engines like Bing, yahoo and ask, its true Google is the big catch when it comes to search engines but it won't hurt you to also optimize your blog for other engines and possibly get quite a fair amount of traffic from them while waiting for Google to remove your website from their hit list.
Forums/Guest posting/Commenting: Now more than ever you should work on this three stuff, regarding the forums, here's how you can use them effectively, take old articles from your blog and publish them on a forum that is in the same niche as your blog and add a link back to your site as the original source of the article, be careful not to spam these sites else you'll get banned. Get a lot of guest posts out and publish them on already established blogs (make sure to write captivating articles) else you'll just get ignored. Double the number of comments you post daily and don't just post comments like nice article or thank you, instead write stuffs that would make people want to check out where you write.
Content Syndication: Content syndication is simply a method that allows some portion or your entire originally published article to be made available to multiple sites with your permission provided the links are left intact. So it is easier to see content syndication as the process of sharing some portion or your entire blog post on other websites/blog related to your niche. With content syndication you can drive massive traffic to your blog and even increase your search engine rankings due to the fat that a lot of sites are linking to you and even help you build your PageRank. You can read more on content syndication and how to effectively use it on the netmediablog.
Paid Campaigns: When you get hit by a Google update and the traffic isn't making you smile, you have to do a lot of things to get your blog moving, most of them are free but sometimes you have to pay for some campaigns to get traffic, so you should consider organizing a paid campaign.
Surviving a Google update ultimately depends on your consistency on publishing new articles and following the steps above. If you get hit and follow this guide properly then definitely you won't be feeling like you got hit much. Tell me what other means you know to survive a Google update. Now I'm waiting.