Update: Since I wrote this post last fall I’ve seen this site go to the top of Google for hundreds of competitive keywords – then disappear from Google’s listings – then go right back to the top for those keywords. It’s been an interesting year. Along the way I’ve answered hundreds of questions from new internet marketers about how to really make money with search traffic from Google.
To clear the fog for them, and you, I’ve created an email mini-course called “5 Days to Success With Keywords” that explains how I my sites make money, and also exposes some of the dumbest mistakes I’ve made as an internet marketer.
If you’re serious about creating a relatively passive income online, I highly recommend this course. Just type your email address into the box below and I’ll send you the first installment of the course right away. I have no doubt you’ll gain insights that save you from the time-wasting mistakes suffered by most aspiring internet marketers out there. Enjoy it…and don’t worry – I’ll take good care of your inbox. No junk, no spam. Just value packed, practical content to help you make low maintenance money online.
Oh man this is a touchy subject… Before I get too far into this I want to explain that I still believe that search engine optimization is an effective tool that can be used to get a lot of traffic. I also believe 100% in my ability to get sites ranked in search engines. This article came to be because of the common misconception that SEO is the only internet marketing strategy websites need. If you want to take your site to the next level, read on.
The SEO Pipe Dream
Recently I was asked a very important question through email that I thought I would share with everyone. As part of a study, I was asked to disclose my biggest mistake as a blogger. This question brought to my attention yet again something that I’ve been giving a lot of thought to lately. When I started this blog, I thought that my SEO knowledge was more than enough to make this blog an almost-instant smash hit.
Where I Was Very Very Wrong
I thought that finding great keywords, writing good posts, and getting ranked in really good locations would bring me enough traffic to turn my site into a money making machine. Eight months later, I have found some great keywords, written some good posts, and am ranked in some great locations in search engines. What’s my conclusion? The search engine traffic isn’t enough because this niche isn’t big enough.
In my mind, my site will be a success when I’m able to reach 500,000 page views per month. I’m currently sitting at about 1/12th of the traffic level I would like to reach. Right now I have written 313 posts over a period of 8 months. Those 313 posts are responsible for bringing most of my search engine traffic which results in around 40,000 page views per month. In order to reach my goal through search engine traffic alone, I’m going to need 3,700 more posts. At my current rate of 25-30 posts per month it’s going to take about 10 years to reach those traffic levels so believing that I can reach that goal soon on my current path means that I’m caught in a search engine pipe dream.
Traits Of Bloggers That Are Caught In A Search Engine Pipe Dream
- They write 3-7 posts per week.
- They have very few posts, when compared to top blogs in their niche.
- They check stats and rankings constantly because they think that a surge or spike in their search engine rankings will solve all of their problems.
- They have few definite plans of how they’re going to take their blog to the next level, other than getting better search engine rankings.
The day that I figured that I was caught in a search engine pipe dream was simply frightening. Hoping that traffic would magically increase by 1000% sometimes kept me going. Realizing that it was going to take a really long time to reach my goals using that method was hard for me on quite a few levels. Now that I have made that realization, I honestly don’t know what I was even thinking! Did I really think that adding 5 pages (posts) to my site each week would result in some catastrophic change in the amount of search engine traffic I was getting? Yes, I did. I think that many of you are probably living under the same misconception.
Now some of you may be happy with your current rate of growth, even though it’s quite small. If this is the case for you, by all means continue on your current path. In a few years you will reach your goals, as long as you keep working at it. I personally am more of a shaker and I’m not willing to wait two or three years to reach the traffic levels I’m aiming for. If you’re more like me, read on.
How To Wake From The Dream
There are basically two ways you can react to this realization:
- Start crying and delete your website immediately.
- Allow this realization to motivate you to discover alternate methods that will help you to speed up this process.
If you ever want to make money online, I would suggest choosing number two. Now that you have realized that you are not on the path that will take you to your goal, you are going to readjust and revamp your strategy. If you are ever going to put stock into something I’ve written, now it the time! Let me give you some areas to start thinking about to generate additional traffic.
Becoming A Power User Of A Social Media Site
Before I realized that my current path wouldn’t quickly take me to my goal, I didn’t see the need of getting involved in social media. Sure, I would submit my better articles to Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, and other social media sites but I never really got involved that much. Now I can see that it would be an enormous advantage to get involved on those sites and make some good friends on them.
Some people will probably skip this section because they have already read that social media can bring traffic. They probably already tried it and didn’t get a ton of results. Did you know that power users of those services are able to drive more traffic with their positive votes? Not only do their votes carry more weight, those user have relationships with other users that will result in additional positive votes. Submitting one of your articles each week isn’t going to do anything for you but building relationships with power users will change everything for you.
Get To Know The Top Bloggers In Your Niche
No matter what topic you cover on your blog, you desperately need to get to know the top bloggers that cover that topic. Top blogs that have a boat load of traffic are a very valuable resource, however most of us never try to get to know those guys.
I am by no means an A-list blogger, but I already get a lot of emails promoting posts. I don’t even read many of the posts mentioned in the emails because I don’t know the person that sent the email, and the title of the post isn’t interesting. When I know the person that sends that email, it’s about 1000 times more likely that I’ll read the post. If the person that sends the email is a friend, I will read the post every time and I’ll often link to it.
Most of the time when people send me an email, they don’t introduce themselves and aren’t at all friendly. Usually the tone is pretty demanding, and when those emails come they’re usually deleted. Use your people skills people!
Most people are really hesitant to pay money for traffic. I haven’t done a ton of it, but have seen a lot of blogs grow very quickly because of it. Because of this, I have plans to start doing more and have come up with some ideas that I’ll be sharing soon. If you have a good site, paying to get more people to it will result in more residual traffic. If you have problems keeping people on your site, you will probably want to work on that before you pay for any traffic.
Writing Content That No One Else Writes
Does it come as a surprise to anyone that there are more than 100,000,000 blogs out there that almost no one knows about? It doesn’t surprise me at all. Almost all of them are anything but extraordinary. If your blog is like all the others it’s time to search for some personal creativity. Stop being a reporter and establish yourself as an expert. Ditch the follower mentality and replace it with leadership.
When I was younger I remember telling people countless times that I wasn’t very creative. Now I realize how stupid that was. Being creative is a skill that can be learned and developed with time. If you think that you’re not creative the honest truth is that you are probably suffering from a lack of confidence. There is creativity within you if you seek it.
To break that false belief I started telling myself that I was a creative person, even though it isn’t what I believed back then. Pretty soon I started believing it and the ideas started flowing. Now to tell you the truth I have more ideas than I have time to use.
Instead of trying to think of ideas that are 100% original, I would try to start with adaptive creativity. This involves taking a solid idea and adapting it to some degree. This is much easier than complete originality, and can help you to get the ball rolling.
As soon as you start increasing your creative ability, you will become more and more able to write material that no one else writes. Leveraging social media instantly becomes a thousand times easier and people start talking about your work. Stick with a reporter mentality, writing about everything that everyone else writes, and that will probably never happen.
Increasing Your Site’s Authority And Page Count
Interestingly, after you build relationships with the top bloggers, you will be able to increase your site’s authority. Getting links from the big players in your niche will help you to rank better for the pages you already have. After I increase my site’s authority I won’t need so many pages to reach my goal because each of my existing pages will bring more traffic than they currently do.
If you want to rely more on search engine optimization for traffic, you will probably need to increase your page count by a lot. If you continue on your current path, whatever it is, you will probably get the same results. Posting more often will increase your page count and result in more search engine hits. If I put together a few hundred posts in the next few weeks, I would of course be getting a lot more traffic.
The problem with that is that I’m operating in a niche that isn’t that large. If you have a ‘make money online’ site, this isn’t the best option for you because you don’t have that much material to cover. Creating a blog or website with more available material will yield a lot more searches. A few weeks ago I told you about a general interest blog that is getting insane amounts of search traffic. Many of you would really have to expand your topic to be able to duplicate those results through SEO.
The Main Point Of This Article
Be aware of how much you’re progressing through your current strategy. Quit dreaming that you will wake up one morning to find tens of thousands of search engine hits with no additional effort. SEO will probably not get you there by itself unless you’re willing to do more of what you’re doing. Change your path and you will change your future.