So you want to game Google for a living. Welcome to the team :) This post is one that I think will benefit any SEO no matter what level you are at. After doing this for 10 years, I have learned through many, many failures, and this the code that I live by.
Be Aware of the Risks
Don’t listen to people saying this isn’t a profession, and you cannot have a business that relies only on traffic from Google. You absolutely can, you just need to be aware of the risks of the industry, and you have to approach the business in the right way. It is a High Risk, High Reward business, much like playing the stock market or being a professional poker player.
Rankings are Transient
This is the #1 thing to be aware of. Ranking are transient. You can be hit by Google at any time, no matter what color hat you wear. With micro niche sites there is at minimum a 3 month ramp up time to get you from 0 to 4 figures a month, no matter what your skill level. Even if you have scaled a system, that ramp up time doesn’t change much (but you may be able to get from 0 to 5 figures in 3 months).
Always have a 3-6 month float
Since you’re aware that rankings are transient, you should always have a 3-6 month float. This is standard business practice – liquidity is the key to long-term success in any business – but for some reason people seem to think online business is different. It isn’t. Before you go out and quit your day job, or invest heavily in developing software or hiring a bunch of staffers to scale up, make sure you have at least a 3 month float. That means you have enough money to feed your family, pay your mortgage, and pay any staff that you have for 3 months, without stressing out. Then, when you get hit by Google – which you likely will at some point – you won’t get depressed, and you won’t make dumb business decisions based on an immediate need for money.
Keep your Chin up
When I first started doing Micro Niche Adsense sites, I got to $100/day and was pretty happy with myself. Then Google killed me. I adjusted my strategy and I came back to $200/day with my next batch of sites… and Google killed me again. I figured out why they hated those sites and got another batch up to $500/day until… Google killed me. Three times dead. No problem! I got to $700/day, and then Penguins ate my brains. Now I’m at $1000/day… the ball is in your court, Google. Bring it on.
Always be Producing – with Slight Iterations
When you’re doing well, do not rest on your laurels! Always be producing, and make sure your V2, or your V3 or V54 is slightly different than what you’ve produced before. Maybe you’re link building differently, or trying a different keyword research strategy, or developing different amounts of content. This can drastically reduce ramp up time, as G changing something will likely not cripple your entire portfolio. It also makes dissecting those changes a lot easier.
Be Cautiously Optimistic (and Stop Worrying about Big Brother)
This is no industry for a pessimist or paranoid person. The key to the game is to always be moving, and don’t stifle yourself because MAYBE Google is recording your IP, or maybe Google can do this or that. I’m not saying ignore this, not at all, but following the rule above you can try a version that hosts on different Ips or that interlinks your sites or that hosts on multiple Adsense accounts. Don’t not do something because of speculation, learn from your own experiences/
Don’t be a Hermit (and Don’t be an Asshole either)
Reach out to your peers. Be social, and help people out, they will reciprocate in whatever way they can. Don’t keep things to yourself and worry that others will steal your techniques. This is not poker, this is not about perception or scarcity. Unfortunately a lot of the SEO and IM industry does operate as if the success of others will inhibit their own success, but they are dead wrong. The SEO world is abundant and there’s plenty of link juice for everyone.
Don’t do it for the Money
Don’t do anything for money. Don’t fall for the illusions that snake oil vendors try to sell you, don’t chase after the benefits of a potential lifestyle. Do it because you are passionate about the process. I firmly believe that you achieve long-term success only when you love what you do (which is different from doing what you love, I love soccer but I’m no Messi). To me, this is all about figuring out how Google works – it’s a fun game, and money is just a point system. I love games, and I love growing and scaling things, so for me it is a perfect fit.
Agree? Disagree? Don’t be a hermit – leave a comment!