Does SEO Still Work?

Things have changed a lot in the last 6 months or so in the internet marketing world - at least for those who built their business on the premise of getting free traffic (free advertising) from Google.

image of crying kidIt turns out that the big G didn't like getting gamed so they changed the way they rank sites.

What this means is that in many cases, people who were earning a living (sometimes a really good living) by getting free traffic to their websites by having a listing on the first page of the Google search results (that is no longer there) have been (almost) wiped out.

Boo Hoo...

I've said on this site - and others - that that was not a viable business model.  It was while it lasted - but as in most things in life, things change.

So what to do now?

There are some folks who say it is important to build a brand. (I'm in that camp)

There are others who say they have the search engine game figured out again.  One of those is Chris Rempel.  (nice guy, excellent marketer - he even commented regarding my thoughts on this matter down below)

Once in a while I make my way over to his Lazy Marketers blog to see what he has to say.

Chris feels that it is a total waste of time to try and build a brand because Google can just wipe your site out of its listing whenever they want.  This is true.  If all you ever do is try and game them. Which has been his business model from the beginning.  It's probably true that you can still game them - and says he has proof.  But why?

Ignore Google?

Why not just ignore Google?  If you happen to rank - great.  You get some free traffic.  If not, no big deal - because you are building a brand (and a customer base) that doesn't rely on Google.

Things are ever changing in not just the internet business, but in every kind of business.  If you want to make a living (and have a business that will last) by selling stuff to people you need to make them happy.  The thing about SEO in the past ie. gaming Google - was that you really didn't need to have a product that was all that good.  You just needed lots and lots of (free) traffic.  The percentages took care of themselves.

Now that it is much harder to "rank" in the SERPS - and that Google is putting more and more "paid" advertisements on their front page people are finding that they have to have an actual product that people are willing to pay for in order to make any money.

Can the SERPS still be gamed?

There are plenty of companies in the SEO business that will tell you that they have the "new secret key" for getting a site ranked on the first page of the SERPS.  This is still probably true.  But the days of using the search engines as a business model are drawing to a close.

I think that in less than five years SEO as a business model will pretty much be dead.  The search engines are very quickly becoming relegated to just another "app" that one downloads onto their smartphone or tablet.  One will still be able to get some traffic and business from them, it will just be a lot different in years to come.

Branding with Pinterest, Apps, and Others

Sites like Pinterest, You Tube, and others such as Instagram have come along and made it much easier to build a brand and drive traffic and in many cases paying customers right to your site.  One does not need Google anymore to make money online.

I'll write more in the future about how to ignore Google, build a brand - and still build an online business, but for now...

Good luck out there,

Jack

Be Sociable, Share!
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • email
  • StumbleUpon
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • BlinkList
  • Reddit
About Jack Folsgood

Jack Folsgood is an internet affiliate marketing expert and likes to share his thoughts about Business and Life in general.

Comments

  1. Jack,

    You said:

    “Chris feels that it is a total waste of time to try and build a brand because Google can just wipe your site out of its listing whenever they want. This is true. If all you ever do is try and game them. Which has been his business model from the beginning. It’s probably true that you can still game them – and says he has proof. But why?”

    You are misquoting, for effect no doubt, but misquoting.

    First, my business model from the beginning has been to profit from both sides. I’m not sure what you classify as being a “brand”, but for example my average post has in the range of 40 – 150 comments and strong social signals. I’ve also built a responsive customer base of about 50,000 people in the affiliate/SEO space.

    And that’s just one site/biz. I have others.

    However, what I’m advising people to do right now is to stay safe and not risk getting torched, in SEO. The way to do that is to use small feeder sites that rank up quickly and don’t cost much to replace if they get knocked down.

    See, thing is, I have every range of site in my quiver. And I assure you, sir, that building a “trusted brand” does not insulate you from Google’s whims. Just ask Tim Carter… or TripAdvisor… or NexTag… or InfoPages

    Or anyone else that Google has shafted in favor of its own properties. The same thing happened to Squidoo and Hubpages when Knol was in town, before it failed and fell to oblivion.

    Obviously, list-building is paramount in any real market.

    But clearly, you don’t understand the nature of what’s possible with SEO, even now. There are some markets where ranking on page 1 with a 3 page EMD equals 7 figures a year in rev, and many where it at least equals 6 figures.

    If you ask me, that’s worth fussing over, and “gaming” Google to attain.

    -Chris

  2. @Chris…

    That’s good stuff. Thanks for your comment.

    I agree with your statement – “But clearly, you don’t understand the nature of what’s possible with SEO, even now. There are some markets where ranking on page 1 with a 3 page EMD equals 7 figures a year in rev, and many where it at least equals 6 figures.”

    If that’s true – and I believe you – I have yet to see it. At least not in my own experience.

    But I believe my point remains valid – SEO as a business is a dying business and those who continue to invest huge amounts of time and money into the process will soon find (and are finding) smaller and smaller returns on their investment.

    For the time being it may pay to “fuss” over it and “game” Google – but as a long standing business proposition I believe it is a “dead duck”. It’s fine to throw (non-borrowed) money at it – as “speculation”, but no one should fool themselves – or sell anyone else on – the proposition that it is a viable business model for the future.

    Jack

  3. Hey Jack,

    Interesting thoughts – all probably valid, but I have to side with Rempel on this one.

    I’m still having success gaming Google too and will continue to do so as long as it is still possible.

    Building other things on the side, building a list, etc., but the “free advertising” you talk about isn’t really free in the sense that it costs a lot of money buying the links necessary, and having articles written and published, etc.

    If the niche is a good one even a couple thousand invested is chump change compared to what one can make if they have the 1st listing in the big G’s front page. Just sayin’…. Rempel’s points are valid – and he’s been around longer than you.

  4. jack you sure are getting to be an old codgy fucker – what do you mean? try and build something without google. don’t you know that’s impossible? One must bow down to internet overlord and do their bidding – whatever the hell that is. Take the time and money to figure it out and once you have it all down start all over once they change the algo. sheesh – I figured you were breighter than that.

  5. Chris Rempel says it “pays to fuss over Google”. He may be right, but what about all of us newbies? We don’t know what to do. Have you seen the destruction over at the Keyword Academy? It seems internet marketing has been turned on its head. the “work a year for free” (writing articles)and get paid the second year doesn’t seem to be a valid proposition anymore does it?

  6. @Sammy

    I never said Rempel’s ideas and game plan(s) weren’t valid. (at this time). I’ll stick to my guns on the point that for those who are early in the game of internet marketing – don’t have their own customer list(s) – etc. that they would be better served to work in a different direction than “gaming Google” because by the time they have built something to get excited about it more than likely will be gone in a “Panda/Penguin” update.

    Why not start a real business already?

    Jack

  7. @London

    Sober up already.

  8. @Mary

    If you are still a member of KWA I say stick with Mark and Court. They’ll have better ideas (soon enough) to give you than Chris Rempel will.

    I KNOW I bitch and complain a lot and don’t give much specific actionable advice for aspiring internet marketers – but if I can get more people to follow this blog than Splork has following him I’ll probably start hawking some sort of e-book that can/might/maybe will help.

    Good Luck out there. In the meantime you might want to stick with your day job.

    Jack

Speak Your Mind

*

s2Member®