I received a very well thought out and well-worded email asking me about whether what I thought that gaming Google was ethical. The reader had wanted to get into doing this, but was looking for a nice loophole to bypass his moral code. Oh how I understand.
When I first started with SEO, I was too obsessed with the process and the game to have any moral qualms. As I started earning comfortably however, I did begin pondering. I came up with a set of rules as to what I would allow myself to do, and what I wouldn’t. It is actually also good business, as it creates sites that tend not to violate Google’s guidelines.
Create value in content
This is the most important thing. When I send an article out, I ask the writer to forget everything she’s ever learned from writing for the internet in the past. I demand it to be written naturally, with zero effort put into keyword stuffing. The first priority is to always ask themselves what the searcher needs help with, and genuinely try to help them as much as is possible within 400 words. This includes linking to competitors. I tell them that having a passion for helping people is a prerequisite for the job.
Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not
I don’t buy domains that have brands in them for Adsense sites, even though this can be a terrific earner. If they are expired domains that were a brand, I will redevelop them but never claim to be the former brand. If the former brand still exists and wants the domain back, I will happily give it. I recently got a guy contacting one of my registrars because they accidentally let their domain slip – the first time so far out of 300+ domains.
In the last few weeks while writing this blog, I have given even more thought to the morality of the IM industry. I absolutely do not want to earn money from people chasing the dream, or just chasing shiny objects. This industry makes its cash from beginners – I want to turn this on its back and offer everything a beginner needs to get to earning 4 figures a month for free. Once they are there, I am comfortable with taking them the extra step to scale up, because really there aren’t that many other people out there that can do it.
Some people have asked me why I don’t flip sites. Well this is also a moral issue for me. As I have stated, one should expect their sites to earn for 6 months to be safe. It used to be a longer time-frame, but Google has been hard at work to make our work harder. I have had a total of two flippa auctions of my adsense sites. 1 of those 2 got hit by penguin. The guy who bought really had no idea how to recover, or what happened, so I felt bad and I just made him a brand new site targeting the same terms. It only sold for 8x its monthly income and then I developed a new site and had to deal with the stress of an unhappy client – it just wasn’t worth it. As a business, if you can sell for 20x multiples then that is some serious money! But can your soul take it? Are you really selling to people who know how to take your sites and triple their monthly income in 30 days? That’s the only way I can see a decent return, and I think 8/10 sales are to people just getting started that don’t really know what they’re getting into.
Selling expired domains on the other hand is a different story. It’s something I’d like to try further, or perhaps have a reader try and document, as I see real value in that for a long time to come.
9 thoughts on “Ethically Gaming Google”
I would love to document my progress for you for the selling of expired domains. I can afford to allocate about $200 a month initially to do so ( perhaps 20 expired domains a month with hosting ).
What parameters should I be using? I will opt for PR3 and above only. Plus, I guess that using flippa is ok for selling the domains once the PR is restored or do you have other suggestions? I will add around 500 words of content on the main url.
That would be great. Why don’t you send me an email, I might be able to help you out with this.
If you want to flip I would say focus on PR4+ premium domains, ideally PR5. This is the only time PR becomes important. 500 words on the homepage is fine, and yes you’ll have to wait for a PR update.
One caveat, I think you will have to wait 60 days before transferring ownership of the domains (it’s a registrar rule). But in many cases you will need to wait for TBPR first anyway.
Bradley C. says:
I have also been pondering the idea of flipping domains, as I have way more domains than I can possible develop. However, I was reluctant to deal with it due to having to wait for the TBPR to update. PR is way overrated these days, but it sure can sell a domain.
Josh Natella says:
Talking about morality in IM and SEO. I was thinking about boosting a site to the top of the rankings in protest of a company. I’m not one to protest much but as long as you’re not profiting from the website it shouldn’t be a trademark infringement.
Seems like it could be good PR for the SEO/IM industry
You don’t need to focus on PR for selling a domain, you just need to focus on its potential and inherit value and try to reach end-users. There are flipping cases of 5x, 10x, 100x that have nothing to do with PR at all.
I saw your sentence about teaching people to make money online for free!? Do you have that guide now, I’m seeing your blog from nichepursuits.com
Unfortunately, I’ve not even made my first dime online. The only thing I think preventing me from making money online is my low budget that is less than $50.
I’ve learnt a lot, I learnt creating website, SEO, amazon, clickbanks and other shiny guides on warrior forum. I know email marketing. But I don’t know how can I create a site that provide valuable content if I have no English writing skill (because I’m an 18 Thai). I saw many posts showing to create a site that provide value, they hired, they outsourced the writers. And they are extremely expensive for me.
Do you have any reliable guide for first low budget guy like me to make and refund it into other system? I really look forward to make money online honestly.
Scott Davis says:
We run internships where you can learn our process here: http://www.nohatseo.com/blog/2014-nohatseo-internships/
flipping domains is a good approach. and as my guru hayden said. you have to consider the moral aspect. 60 days is enough to wait. but i am emphasizing on when buying the expired domains. what most sellers do is they buy like a page rank 2 or 3 and try to rebuild it up to rank 4 or 5. and sometimes after buying it for only two weeks those new domains aint effective any more cos they were merely temporary domains. i dont know how this works but it has surely gotten me before. what i will suggest is just check those backlinks well, either with ahref or opensite explorer. and as hayden said his podcast, make sure the moz trust are above 5. Great post
Just came to your blog through a link on Spencer’s blog. For that it’s worth I like what I have been reading so far but if I may make a suggestion…your font size is way too small and is uncomfortable to read.
I would suggest making it much bigger. I know I can use a custom style sheet, change the font myself but I don’t like having to do that every time I come to the site.
For what it’s worth.