And I didn't rely just on ranking my sites for traffic. I also relied on Google local, and youtube videos... which in reality, all rank in Google. But the last couple months have been a nightmare since Hummingbitch had a serious impact on about 70% of my earnings.
Most of my earnings came from local lead gen sites, then only about 1-1.5k month from Clickbank. And my Clickbank earnings haven't really been effected that bad. I'm now down to about $800 / month and can slowly build up what I was doing with a new strategy.
But my question is to those people who always say "diversify" your marketing.
When you really think about it, or when *I* think about it, what are you really telling people?
Consider this... just the time it took me to learn how to make converting sites, how to rank them (which I took risks by using spun content and other BH strategies) how to rank G local (which no BH was involved) how to rank YT videos (which was all BH) ... it took A LOT of time.
But in the end, my traffic wasn't really "diversified". Because all my traffic was still going to Google, finding my G locals, or my sites, or my videos.
And MOST of my traffic was coming in directly through the site, then g local, then YT videos last.
So I'm in a spot where I have to rethink my entire game. And fair enough to say, I won't be using spun content anymore. But I'm telling myself "I really need to learn how to PROPERLY diversify my marketing".
And the way I see it is like this....
You don't need to be a genius to learn how to make a converting site, and rank it, or find someone to rank it for you. But there is a learning curve, there is time involved, and it can take months... perhaps even years for someone to master *1* skillset.
I'm ask myself "what else could I have been doing to diversify and eliminate risk?" and my answers are:
1) PPC - Its a pain in the ass. Everytime I've tried it in the past, I've burned through a lot of money. And its also a lot more expensive than SEO... at least the way I do it. With SEO, once a site ranks it ranks. I can spend $99 / month and have 6 keywords #1, when with PPC I'd have to spend $4,000-$5,000 to get the same amount of traffic. So the learning curve (for me) is STEEP.
2) Direct Mail - Again, its a PITA. Because once again, there is a STEEP learning curve involved. And the skillsets are completely different from PPC or SEO. Sure, there are fundamentals that never change like how to make a converting offer. But everything else is different. The risks are different, the costs, the overall process is completely different.
3) Article Marketing - This works for Clickbank, and I'm currently learning how to scale it for CB but for local lead gen / local keywords (which is my main income) I see no way of making it work. I'd much rather have a site showing up than an article and if I'm going to put time into ranking for a profitable local keyword, it would make 1000xs more sense to rank a site rather than an article.
4) Facebook Marketing - Facebook is a gray area for me. I don't use it for personal use, I don't know a thing about it. And I don't think I've read 1 thread on WF about a local marketer making a killing on facebook for the niches I'm in (which are home improvement niches). I'm not saying it can't be done, but if it can, it probably takes a long time to master. A couple years ago I use to post on popular fan pages like radio stations, and occasionally that would produce leads, but it was NEVER consistent. Sometimes I'd post for weeks on end, not get a lead, and decided FB wasn't worth shit.
I realize you can also work on building fan pages, or do paid ads, but for home improvement... I think it would be way too much work / bs.
5) Craigslist - Craigslist does actually work for home improvement niches. I have 8 accounts, and I have to change proxies / clear cookies and renew ads as often as I can. It doesn't take much time, and it generates leads, but not a truck load. And you can't really scale Craigslist unless you're a professional BH spammer with hundreds of PVAs and automated software to saturate the hell out of it 24/7, 7 days a week.
6) Mobile Marketing - I don't know a thing about it. So I can't comment on it.
Now, maybe I've just been "spoiled" by SEO and G Local. But there is no feeling quite as good as having a site ranking #1 for multiple keywords, and having a high ranking G local. Once its up, the traffic comes in, and the profits are HIGH. At least until Google comes in and spoils the fun.
Another problem is many of my niches are seasonal, so this time of year traffic naturally goes down. But compound that with the effects of hummingbitch, and I'm going through a mid life marketing crisis.
But even though many of the niches are seasonal, I'd still be doing good if this recent update didn't come along.
I've been looking at some of the new sites ranking in G local above me, and some of the sites I was outranking that made it through this update... and I see NO PATTERNS at all. Many of the G locals don't even have the main keyword in their title. They don't have as many reviews or citations as we do.
One of my top competitors has a site where 80% of his content is spun. He was #1 for 5+ years until I took him out. But then hummingbitch came out, I lost the site in that niche (no messages in WMT and no deindexing, just a huge drop in rank) and his site sticks even though it has 40xs as many spun articles as my site did.
I see no patterns, no logic, no sense.
I'm not in a complete shithole though. I can remake sites and get them ranking again. The same techniques work is just a matter of "how long". And in the end, I do want to diversify. But to really know and understand, to "master" all the different skillsets.... it takes >>> A LOT of time. A LOT of testing. A LOT of failing.
There is no real question in this despicably long rant.
But there is a subtext, and a bitter mindset somewhere in this post. Everytime I hear someone say "you need to diversify" a part of me wants to punch my computer screen and shout "NO SHIT SHERLOCK!" You might as well just tell people "you need to be a genius at everything you do".
Because thats how I perceive that type of advice. There are people on here who have been doing primarily SEO for 10+ years... and still haven't "mastered" the craft, because its always changing. Everything is always changing. So how do you master "everything"... when its always changing? How do you create stability in an unstable world?
When someone finds the answer to that question, please let me know.
/end of rant
ps. I really hate making long, negative posts like this. And I hate bringing people down (especially newbs) but sometimes I need a place to whine & bitch. Even if people tell me to "stfu and be a man". Because I know at some point after that, someone might just educate, inspire... or enlighten me about where my real ignorance lies.