I have this perpetually procrastinated blog post always quasi prepared, loosely titled – “What to do when Google hates You”.
I just can’t really come up with the time to flesh the whole idea out in it’s entirety, so it never gets posted, which is a shame…..because one of the things I do know for sure is that Google does in fact hate me.
I don’t think it’s a personal hate per se….because I’m a pretty good guy deep down where it matters most. But on the surface, and that’s really where Google tends to look, I’m easy to dislike.
A little bit of quick background:
I recently rehabilitated an old “authority site” in the psychic/spiritual niche a few months ago….as a small part of a larger strategy to create a series of sites designed to “own” a large piece of the puzzle that is this niche.
The existing site that we resurrected was pretty much abandoned when I got to it again….and was generating maybe 50 to 100 visitors a day from previous content that I had created a few years ago. (it was initially a site that was created as an “example” in one of my “content community continuum” challenges that we did in 2012 and 2013.)
The long and short of it is – over the course of about 3 months, starting this summer (July 2014 – October) I used a very specific strategy to add about 300 people to this directory, with many of those folks paying members, and just about ALL of them self including. (user generated content……I didn’t have to pay for, or create any of the content myself or through my outsourced network)
In theory of course, this is typically awesome. Tons of new members reinvigorating an old site….many paying for inclusion, and almost ALL of them sharing their “membership” on social media….driving NEW readers from the public, their professional PEERS were signing up too (that old social proof thing really does work…:-) all while buidling buzz for our brand, building our newsletter, and building up our bank account a bit to boot.
Here was the problem I should have seen coming……but didn’t.
All of these people were adding information on themselves and adding their professional profile and doing all sorts of cool things for us from a content marketing standpoint, but almost to a man (and woman) they were COPYING and pasting this information from other places they had the same info already published.
As I’ve pointed out in previous posts about mistakes I’ve made while building out the authority site model and especially doing with directories, for the very first time I can ever REALLY recall…….we got totally smacked by the ignominious duplicate content penalty.
Not only did I find the site begin to totally lose the previous Google traffic it had been getting (not much, but still up to 100 visitors a day) we also were getting NO traffic from the new entries at all. As a matter of fact…..the curve went from 50-100 a google visitors day – to suddenly about 500-800 google searches a day….to suddenly, like 1.
Literally, there were days that not one single, solitary visitor was emanating from a Google search….often for a week at a time. (or maybe we’d get 10 per week or so)
Bing and Yahoo? All good. Often a few hundred visits a day….which only served to remind me how much we SHOULD be getting if the site hadn’t been “slapped”.
The reason that this became so problematic so quickly?
Many of these folks were paying for inclusion….and I had sort of “promised” or at least told them how much external traffic we were getting before, and now….suddenly, there was nothing.
Now – understand that we WERE in fact getting lots of traffic at this point from all sorts of other sources (many from our members own social media shares) – but in terms of pure traffic from standard search, outside of bing and yahoo….very little.
So the one thing I started to do (reluctantly) was PAYING for search traffic, as I wanted to make sure we had new eyeballs coming in everyday that weren’t in anyway related to referalls from our members, or social media shares from our existing members, etc….as that would dry up at some point, and I feared losing a lot of the effort we put in.
And while paying for traffic on Google DID in fact work well, and did give a very modest bump to our organic traffic as well (even though they say it shouldn’t) it was too expensive and time intensive to really spend a ton of time on for me. (and it ain’t my expertise either)
So…..and while I’m not going to do the WHOLE “what to do when GOOGLE hates you” post here, I’m going to share with you the 1 thing that I did do, and continue to do up to this very writing that is working amazingly well for a veritable unending source of highly targetted traffic on a daily basis that simply doesn’t want to quit.
It’s a very simple process of using Facebook ads – and surveys. Entertaining, inspiring, goofy and totally simple surveys…and it works wonderfully well for adding an avalanche of eyeballs that would simply be impossible to earn otherwise for a brand new site. (even though ours wasn’t really brand new – from an organic traffic standpoint – due to the “penalty” it certainly felt like it for a long while)
I’ve since learned a lot more about how to do this the RIGHT way – but even the wrong way works amazingly well.
Here it is – and it’s awesomely easy and works wonderfully well for authority style sites like directories, niche communities, local communities and otherwise.
1 – Create a 10 question survey that has an entertaining bent. In our case – because it was a spiritual site, it was something like = “Have you lived a past life?” Take our 10 question past life quiz and find out Now!”
2 – Post that article on your site
3 – Create a cooresponding ad and post that on Facebook
4 – Set a small budget ($5-$10 a day is sufficient to start) and watch the results.
Now – here is the amazing part. Remember those old days when all of those Goofy online marketing guru’s used to talk about “free” money using strategies like “Adsense Arbitrage” and other similar stuff?
I found that putting an adsense ad on the landing page (the article on our site) would not only PAY for the cost of our Facebook ads…..it would actually turn a profit every day, meaning that the AD’s were free….and profitable, too!
This means that we could literally get thousands of free visitors to our directory every day, and make a small tidy profit as well. (sometimes $10, sometimes $20 and ocassionally twice that, just on the “clicks” that were emanating from the social media traffic)
(ironically, after sharing this approach with a good friend who runs a high dollar niche “academy” in an unrelated industry, he found this article below, and sent it to me – which sort of sums up the “arbitrage” element of this strategy nicely, but that is just really a bonus, and not the underlying ethos for using this approach to build your blog, your content and your community)
There is a great, free (and really inexpensive for larger campaigns) service for kick ass quizzes called QZZR.COM, they are well worth checking out.
Here is a blog post they just shared on how one recent quiz earned one brand over $124,000 using a quick and easy to apply quiz that anyone reading this right now can use in their own niche as well. (this stuff is super duper simple)
And, it’s important to note, in our own quiz + social media strategy, we aren’t even USING the high end, fancy pants quiz building technology above….our quizes are merely blog POSTS that list out the quiz questions without any extra special tools at all, and it’s working wonderfully well on every single ad we are running. (and has now generated tens of thousands of free visitors to our spiritual directory over the last few months alone)
I’m going to get to the “How to Build a Profitable Authority Site” EVEN when Google hates you soon…..but in the meantime, I’m just going to share some simple strategies like this one, which are an amazing alternative to worrying about natural search, much BETTER in so many ways, INSTANT to try and apply and quite simply, so easy that anyone reading this can do it better than I have….just by following the basic blueprint above.
And again…if you want to really learn how to build fun, engaging, evergreen and profitable online marketing AGENCY, using the authority site model to attract your ideal audience, and cultivate clients, is one of the very BEST ways I know of to do it in 2014….and beyond. I’d love to work with some new people in 2015….and we’re going to have some amazing example sites to share, so if you are ready to leap frog the learning curve and dive in and build something you can be proud of for years to come, shoot me an email HERE and I’ll give you a free 15 minute consultation by live chat to see if what we can offer is a good fit for your needs.