What I’ve learned after getting punished by Google

My AdSense earnings for the beginning of the month were great, for the first few days they were amazing, but then something happened and they dropped down to only a couple of quid a day. What happened? The answer is that niche site P which had been ranking at #1 in Google for my main keyword had dropped down the search rankings in amazing fashion and was now languishing around the 7th page on Google which as you know is nowhere. To say I was disappointed is understating it as I’ve been happy to have been able to increase my earnings month on month but what started out as a month with great potential is now one where I will take a big drop in my passive earnings.

In my previous Income Report I wrote

The way I look at it is that I’ve earned over £1000 from my sites in less than 4 months and if I didn’t earn anymore then it was great fun whilst it lasted.

and it looks like that’s what going to happen for the moment. I’m still earning a little but nothing like before.

Why have I dropped in the Google rankings?

I’m only 4 months into my passive income journey and it’s all a learning curve but I believe I have been penalised due to my backlinking strategy which mostly revolved around using comments on blogs to get a variety of links back to the site. Some people won’t agree with this and will say it’s a bit shady but I will placate them slightly by saying that it wasn’t automated and involved me reading the blogs and leaving unique and relevant comments with my name linking to my niche site. I’ve now learnt that this is not the best way to go about things, but as I said I’m learning and am happy I’ve made these mistakes whilst my sites are still young.

I also focused primarily on one set of keywords and yet again this was a mistake. The Google algorithm is an intelligent thing and things like this stick out like a sore thumb and there is nothing ‘organic’ about it. It looks like you’re trying to cheat the system and I guess that’s what I was trying to do. All the SEO I’m learning is from what I see others doing and so I’m just as guilty and will now review my backlink strategy to something a little more honest.

SEO myths exposed and honest SEO

I came across an article today from Robert Dempsey called In Defense Of Search Engine Optimization which contained quite a lot of relevant information regarding the situation I find myself in. I’ve followed quite a few of the ‘SEO myths’ he mentioned and if you’re involved in SEO, especially if it’s your business, then it’s worth a read. Basically he has dismissed the ways I’ve gone about promoting my niche sites and proposes what actually works in SEO.

How SEO should work in theory and how it actually works

If a site is useful then it should naturally attract visitors and all the links will be organic with very little effort needed from the publisher apart from making sure the article is well written and original. I found Robert’s article useful and I’ve linked to it which is the way it should work on the internet but we all know that isn’t the case and there will always be competition to rank high on Google whilst there is money at stake. I am primarily making my niche sites to make money so I want to rank high on Google but I am now reviewing my strategy and will try and be a bit more ethical in my linkbuilding and how I attract traffic to the site. I could just follow the rat race, and do as others are doing, but Google are getting wise to this, and so I’m going to start being more responsible as I want my sites to be ranking for the long haul and not just a flash in the pan waiting to be punished by Google who provide most of my web traffic.

Link-worthy and Share-worthy content

Right from the beginning we’ve been told that ‘content is king’ and somewhere along the way that switched to ‘AdSense is king’ so the focus for me is ensuring that the people who are reading my websites and articles want to share them and that my sites have the option to to that simply. At the moment they don’t have a ‘share this’ button or anything along the lines so that’s the way to go which should hopefully improve my backlinks and spread the word to get more visitors. I’ll also be going through all my content and ensuring it is well written, unique, and that people actually would want to read them rather than them just being filler content for a site to solely provide me with income.