More Heads Roll As The Long Winter Continues To Bite

Who's Next After The Latest Google Updates ?So Google are really shaking up the SEO landscape…described as the Long Winter by Ed Dale. One of the more high profile casualties was Build My Rank and since then quite a few other blog networks have been de-indexed. Whilst the blog networks were the direct targets for Google it’s clear that the  secondary targets are the sites that use these networks. And whilst it would be too simple to generalize about what these type of sites are, it’s safe to say that many are what you might describe as niche or micro niche websites.

These are small sites – 5 to 10 pages maybe – on a small, tightly focused niche. The domain name is probably an exact match domain and each page is tightly focused around a single keyword. The sites are designed to rank well in the search engines and are quickly monetized. The monetization method is usually Google Adsense as this is easy to implement. In short, the sites are designed to make the owners money with little consideration of the visitor experience. Something that Google is cracking down on.

So the news that Spencer Haws has had his Adsense account banned is not a complete surprise but it’s still a rather disturbing turn of events. Spencer was one of the poster boys for niche sites monetized with Adsense. He had developed a course, a membership site and even a keyword research tool based on how he created small niche sites.

He made lots of money according to his income reports…10 grand a month…from Adsense. And as of yesterday, when he looks at his Adsense account, it says zero. Or to be more precise, he probably can’t even log into the account because it has been banned.

I had a similar experience a few years ago. One morning I tried to log into Adsense account to see the daily numbers and the screen said name not recognized or something like that. I double checked the password as you do….was cap locks on…was the user name right. Nothing.

Then I checked my email to discover the dreaded email. I had been banned. There was some explanation but nothing that made much sense to me and certainly nothing that I could actually do to rectify the situation.

From that day I started to concentrate on Amazon sites and physical products (well actually I think I tried Adbrite for a while but that totally sucked). My reasoning was that it was crazy to rely on Google for traffic as well as revenue. You were too exposed to the whims of Google. And while I still rely on Google for traffic, I don’t use any of their monetization methods now.

I also noticed that my sites that had Adsense were getting de-indexed whilst the Adsense free sites were not.

It’s a terrible feeling when this happens and I really feel for Spencer. I think it’s even worse for him as he has developed software and courses on his method that presumably are now irrelevant. Well maybe the keyword tool might still be okay.

You pretty much question why you are doing something so fickle. You think about the years of struggle that are seemingly down the drain. But after a few days of reflection, you start to realize that there are other options and others ways to succeed online. I think the important thing is not to give up. Certainly Spencer seems to have no intentions to give up according to his post.
He is thinking about other monetization methods…which is the option I took. Others in the same sort of business are talking about building authority sites. This theme of building one or two high quality sites that provide real value to real visitors seems to be gathering speed.

Who would have thought it…build a site that is genuinely useful to real people..genius! It’s going to be an interesting year…make sure you’ve got your long johns on, it could be a cold one.

5 Responses to “More Heads Roll As The Long Winter Continues To Bite”

  • Donna Merrill on April 19, 2012

    I think of Google as a blessing… and a curse.

    While we all get quite indignant about being “slapped” — and well we should, after all the work we put into our sites and content — we have to remember the real partnership we, as content providers, have with Google.

    Though we frequently get caught up with the revenue aspect of our online efforts, it’s actually a good thing (blessing may be too strong) to have Google “supervising” our content to be sure that it really does encourage visitor satisfaction.

    After all, while revenue streams come and go, we don’t really want to let our entire business be dependent on profits which can, with or without Google, come and go.

    Much better that we concentrate on building strong and sincere relationships with our visitors. That way, despite the whims of Google, and the ebb and flow of markets and consumer binges, we will always retain a core following and customer/client base that will sustain our new efforts, when obstacles need to be circumvented.

    So, while Google can be annoying, we must remember that they really want the same thing we SHOULD want… customer satisfaction, content relevance and long-term relationship-building structures that we call blogs, sites, and platforms.

    • admin on April 21, 2012

      Hey Donna,

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I certainly agree that connecting with your visitors is a way to circumvent the influence Google has on your business…or website.

  • Nikki Jones on April 20, 2012

    Hi Adrian
    It is sad that people are losing their income at the flick of the Google coin, however it was a long time coming. I mean lets face it how much of the internet is taken up by spammy sites? Google’s main focus is keeping its searchers happy, so when you search for something and you find a crappy niche site what do you do? I usually wont click on them and if I do I get annoyed that they are wasting my time.
    There are 2 things to take from this…
    1. Internet Marketers have got to start focusing on quality not quantity and really giving visitors value, giving people a reason to buy through your links. Authority sites will stand the test of time over micro niche sites that only take an hour to knock out.
    2. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, if Google has the power to wipe out your entire business over night then something needs to change.
    In the end it’s going to be a good thing for all of use even if it hurts a few people in the process. We will have a better less spammy internet as a result.

    • admin on April 21, 2012

      Hey Nikki,

      Yeah, the theme that is developing this year seems to be connecting with your visitors and creating real value for them. When you are purely focused on just selling stuff on a website, this can be harder to achieve. As you say, although it might feel disconcerting at the moment, if you stick with it and adapt, you could be in stronger position than when all the changes started.

  • Sylviane Nuccio on April 23, 2012

    Hey there!

    Yes, indeed, affiliate marketing has become much more difficult these days. This is one of the reasons I dropped all my affiliate marketing sites.

    The way Google is dealing with sites and search results makes it almost impossible to rank decently if your site/blog is a selling platform only. If it’s the case, you’d better have high quality and regular content and followers of such content.

    With selling blogs I’ve found out to be rather difficult as far as I was concerned.

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