Admit it. You have an SEO addiction, I know I do. I have spent weeks on end in SEO fuelled stupors. Not you? Come on now… we’re all friends here – there’s no need to lie. After all, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem!
How Your SEO Addiction Began
Back in the days when dinosaurs roamed the Internet a little thing called the search engine popped up. Ever since then there have been strange and alternate ways of doing business because search engines have allowed a way to offer very highly targeted traffic for free. Not only that, but in their infancy search engines were stupid and easy to trick. It was like stealing candy from a baby.
After a few years Google decided to also come up with a way to give you a very simple hands off technique of monetizing traffic. Adsense. This meant it made a lot of sense to focus on scaling to build as much free targeted traffic as possible and send it through Googles program to monetize passively.
You thought you would try it just once, what was the worst that could happen right? RIGHT?
The Rise of the SEO Drug
With SEO and Adsense both having a low barrier of entry to make money online, it became a key driver in creating a huge group of Made-for-Adsense (MFA) addicts. It made sense – and made a lot of money. What it resulted in however was a very unbalanced toolset that was heavy on SEO, with a sprinkling of outsourcing and WordPress skills. The SEO drug was so good that addicts ultimately disregarded learning the fundamentals of business and proper monetization and instead kept concentrating on their next ‘hit’ by scaling and gaining as much free traffic as possible and slapping some Adsense on there.
Many people were enjoying their SEO drug fuelled haze and things were great for all. It was very effective up until a couple years ago when a tag-team of adorable destruction came and shook things up. Penguins and Pandas went from being loveable creatures to the most hated in the animal kingdom. Things started to get more interesting from then on and the SEO game became a lot more serious. Even more recently with PBN de-indexing.
Yet people couldn’t stop. The drug was as good as ever and the roller coaster ride was an addiction in itself. People continued even though the money wasn’t nearly as good as it was before and sites were being penalized quicker than you could flip them. Niche site builders were no longer building an asset, they were simply trading their time for money, with Big G as their boss. Google is also literally the worst boss ever – they would pay these poor addicted MFAs 45+ days after they did their work, and would often just fire them without warning.
SEO Rehab: Prioritize Monetization Over Traffic
Blogging is another example where people prioritize traffic over monetization instead of the other way around. Bloggers can generate a ton of traffic but don’t always monetize it effectively. There are plenty of bloggers who get a very impressive amount of traffic, but a large percentage of them do not make much money due to poor monetization.
When people focus on one aspect (building traffic) and ignore the other aspect of actually monetizing that traffic they are doing themselves a huge disservice.
The treatment? To fix this you need to understand the basics of business, monetization and visitor value. We actually have a course that has been in the works since Hayden hosted a retreat in May. This course teaches you how to build a business and list in under a month.
Visitor value is everything and if you can understand that you will make a lot more money. Increase your visitor value and it will increase your bank balance. Each micro conversion step along the way can be optimized independently to greatly inflate your bottom line.
Here is quick and simple rundown of Visitor value:
The first step in your treatment for SEO addiction is to first focus on building the fundamentals of monetization and business, then turn to traffic, Especially paid traffic, because when you have a strong visitor value you can simply turn paid traffic on and off like a light switch:
Yes there are plenty of nuances to get better at with paid traffic, but it is not as complicated as SEO as it is totally transparent.
In the end most of our energy should be focused on asking how do I improve my visitor value through an increase of conversion rates (via conversion rate optimization), business model shifting and focusing on the lifetime value of the customer? Even if you are still using SEO as your main traffic source, this should be your focus! If you can build a business that functions off of paid traffic, then SEO is gravy, delicious, delicious, gravy. This is one regret Hayden has – and since he was the one that asked me to write this post I will ask him to donate a few words:
Hindsight being 20/20, I realize the MFA model died a couple years ago – I was just too addicted to notice. Note that SEO was not dead, nor is it dead now, but the idea of using low value monetization through Adsense/Amazon was. What I should have been doing was using the SEO traffic I gained to test different business models in those niches – to setup a baseline that I could then optimize. This has been my focus the last few months with NoHatDigital as well as half a dozen smaller niche business, and it truly is the basics of business. Segment your traffic, analyze the visitor values of each segment, constantly optimize and ensure you have a good cash-flow. That’s the cornerstone of any online business.
An addiction to SEO is nothing to be ashamed of, but we must not let it consume our entire mindset. Optimizing monetization techniques should be the priority, traffic is a secondary concern. If a website is optimized to extract the best possible visitor value, traffic can simply be turned on when required.
- Concentrate on building a profitable business
- Increase your visitor value (Conversion rate optimization, business model shifting, customer lifetime value calculation)
- Then concentrate on traffic
Keen to Learn More?
If this post gets shared 250 times on social media (Facebook and Twitter) we will create and share a flexible spreadsheet detailing this process with video explanations, which is actually one of the first modules in our new training course.
So if you like what you read, share the love on Facebook and/or Twitter :
12 thoughts on “SEO is a Drug: Why you Should Prioritize Monetization”
I clicked share on fb and twitter, but counter didn’t updated even after couple browser refreshes.
Anyway. It’s a great post and i hope it will get 250 shares ;)
Mike Terry says:
Great post! I have a tough time turning off the SEM mindset too… so many ideas, so little time. I choked on my coffee when I saw that second pic of Hayden lol
Wayne Martin says:
Perhaps we should have made the incentive for 250 social shares to be more photos of Hayden looking like that :)
I love the pictures
Greg Moore says:
WTF? This type of professional business analysis does not belong on a blog dedicated to helping people make money online.
Where’s the spam and scam advice?
Segment my traffic, analyze visitor value of each segment??? Did you accidentally hire some analytics expert who knows how to optimize?
What’s going on around here?
Wayne Martin says:
Apologies for leaving out the spam and scam advice! We will make a note to include more next time ;)
Gary Kirwan says:
This is so true I have just gone through that experience having built a great traffic site with no idea how to monetise my visitors. I have definitely learnt it is all about a marketing funnel with SEO traffic just being one way to feed visitors into the funnel. Much less stressful having a high converting funnel that pops out visitors worth something out the bottom then SEO is nice to to jack up the feeding in.
You made me laugh Greg :)
the only thing doesn’t change is the chage itself.
and these guys do it extemely well
I know the SEO business is all about change, but you have been preaching (and teaching in your internships) SEO, not PPC or paid traffic. Now you state that that is the way to go and has been for awhile. So why did I just spend a month in an internship learning to build Amazon and Adsense sites if they are basically worthless? It seems now the push if for Paid PTC’s, so are there no more free internships? its kind of feeling like every other SEO/How To make money blog out there where the things being explained are things that used to work. I thought this site was different, just saying.
Wayne Martin says:
As Hayden mentions in this article he has been looking into different business models for a while and PBNs getting targeted really was the last straw. As you can probably recall Hayden has been working on these new ideas since May.
Amazon and Adsense sites are far from worthless – still miles and away better than doing a 100% white hat site with no real plan – However they are just no longer the smartest way to approach an online business.
Secondly participants of the past few PTC’s will be getting FREE access to the new modules we are creating!
Great post, we need more funny stuff! Laughter is a great way to remember things and it gives oxygen to the brain :)
Brandon Smith says:
Many thanks for the great post, I agree with you completely. The main task of SEO and AdWords must ultimately be to improve monetization!