Well, it is a rankings screenshot of one of my best producing websites that was ranked between positions one and three (in Google worldwide) for a very competitive keyphrase.
Up until April 24th 2012 that is (when everything went pear shaped!).
Bang, Crash, Wallop
If you could put sound effects in an image you’d get an ear splitting crash as my rankings tanked from top three down to 618 !
You may even have heard me screaming when it happened.
You see, up to that point, I was making money online doing afilliate marketing (selling things on commission).
Everything was rosy
The site was going nicely, getting 25,000 + visitors per month who were spending money so it was generating a nice income.
I’d get up in the morning, log on and find a deluge of emails, each one saying, “you just earned $29.00” or $19.00 etc. They soon add up.
As the phrase goes, I was “earning money as I slept”.
… Then I got Greedy
Top three wasn’t good enough. It had to be number one.
That meant building more fake back links to boost the sites position (the automatic software was generating 2,000 + per day!).
Admittedly every man and their dog was doing it but how on earth was that supposed to look natural? I can’t believe what an idiot I was.
The trouble was that several competitors were doing the same thing. We were all trying to outdo each other.
It got ridiculous until one day…
Google had enough!
They radically changed their algorithm.
Overnight, hundreds of thousands of people like me (in all niches and markets) got whacked big time.
Many innocent business owners lost their livelihoods when their websites plummeted (as a result of dodgy SEO methods).
Established sites got wiped out.
Luckily, I only had a couple of Clients’ at the time and I never messed with their sites (so only mine got decimated).
At a stroke, I lost all of my income.
Don’t Mess With The Penguin!
I didn’t know at the time but I’d been savaged by the notorious Penguin 1.0 update.
This targeted “unnatural” (manipulated / fake) backlink profiles (which pretty much everyone was doing at the time).
It was simple, ruthless and chillingly effective.
I got ripped off by crooks – flogging extortionate but useless “Penguin Recovery” courses (on how to “fix” the crash). I blew a fortune (and three years of my life) stumbling around, clutching at straws.
When you are desperate you’ll snatch at anything. You’ll blow bucket fulls of hard earned cash, scratching around for “solutions”.
Even when every gut instinct screams NO, you still buy it just in case this one really is the holy grail you’ve searched for. In the end, enough was enough. I took
… a monumental decision…
Forget what happened before, learn how to do it right and stop cheating.
- Stop blowing money on gimmicks and instant fixes.
- Stop listening to so called Gurus *
- Learn to work WITH rather than AGAINST the search engines
- Find a mentor who knows what they are doing (someone who survived the carnage).
Let me tell you something. You can’t learn SEO yourself (unless you are a mathmatical genius!).
You see, it’s a chicken and egg situation.
How do you learn from someone if you cannot tell if they are telling the truth, bullshitting or worse still, guessing?
I was lucky. I found the right expert and became a…
To cut a long story short, I found the expert (someone I had long admired in the industry but could never afford before).
I paid what felt like a fortune for them to train me.. but that was only the start… You see
after my “apprenticeship”, they introduced me into a shadowy…
“underground” group of world class SEO professionals
The group’s head tester is a mathematical genius who comes up with amazingly sophisticated (or sometimes, simple) methods of cracking the search engine code.
Some of the group’s members are amongst the biggest names in the business, yet only known to a few people (because they stay off the radar).
The key objective of the group is to uncover scientifically, just what exactly, the search engines are looking for (and rewarding).
Do you You see what I mean?
Do you see the subtle difference?
Instead of trying to trick them, we are finding out what they want … and then giving it to them.
This group runs and monitors thousands of secret test websites across the globe.
Virtually every site observes and records just one of over two hundred different ranking factors, with the data constantly shared between the members for immediate implementation.
It’s a massive job for just one company so data is shared across the group.
If something changes on the net – we know about it. If somebody makes a discovery, it’s shared.
…and no, before you ask, I’ve signed a NDA so I cannot share secrets here. I’m not going to spill the beans – even for you.
Well apart from say, …
Every single search term on the planet has a DIFFERENT optimization requirement.
What works for one almost certainly won’t work for another (similar) phrase or keyword!
Every so often, just for fun, we examine statements made by certain “gurus”. We scientifically test what they say. Sometimes they are right but more often than not…
* Many things presented as FACT by some big name gurus turn out to be complete rubbish when tested scientifically!
The big lesson here is don’t listen to advice unless that person can show you valid tests to back up what they say. This is especially true if they run…
Single variant tests.
These are simply, sites set up to test one thing only (a silly example would be say whether the colour of the heading affects ranking).
It’s more like optimum number of words on a page, best place to put a keyword etc.
It takes a lot of work to set up and run these (but a lot easier when spread across a load of group members). The group is currently running close to two hundred tests!
A few are failures.
Most are good.
Many give spectacular results.
But that’s not all…
Time and again the tests show that what search engines say and what they do are two very different things. Do they tell fibs? Make your own judgement.
Even harder to do properly is
multi variant tests.
These are when you test more than one factor together (and how they affect and react to one another).
They can take months yet can be screwed up by people accidently visiting or linking to the site.
You should see the results of these.
If you can get big successes with single variant tests, just imagine what you can achieve by stacking these on top of one another in the right way.
You multiply their power.
Again, it comes back to finding out what the search engines are rewarding. Once we know that, we can give it to them.