April 16, 2014 at 12:45 am #25685
I’m a newbie here at IMPho and looking forward to becoming a part of this community. Members here seem genuinely concerned for one another, generous with their knowledge, and eager to help their fellow IM compatriots. So in that sense, IMPho really does embody the meaning of the word “community.”
While I’m new here and consider myself to be thrive in perpetual student (rather than “expert”) mode, I started internet marketing about a year and a half ago, with no substantial prior experience. I found myself pursuing the affiliate path and snuggled up to get nice and cozy with Amazon. Over the course of many months I learned about WP, how to build an Azon affiliate site, how to conduct product and keyword research and optimize the site to that I could effectively deploy proper on-page and off-page SEO, etc. etc. etc. There seemed to be no end to what needed to be absorbed and learned; it was like opening those nested boxes, the ones containing the Russian dolls, that get smaller and smaller but seem to go on without end.
At that time I was lucky enough to find a knowledgeable fellow IM-er who mentored me via email (for a price, of course). For someone with no background in any of this, it was a steep and at times arduous learning curve. But I stuck with it and found that I had something of a penchant for SEO and backlinking and keyword research and all that jazz, and I ended up with 8 niche sites, 5 of which I was able to rank on page one for moderately difficult keywords (“induction cooktop reviews” “karaoke machine reviews” “best digital piano reviews”). Of those 5, 3 made it to the #1 spot.
I go into all that not to toot my own horn (something my dear mom accused me of not doing enough when she was alive: “Daryl, you’re too quiet and modest and you need to make a little NOISE about the things you’ve done!!), but to make my next point. Or the point after that.
I never expected to really make money with these sites — I had been laid off from Health Net, where I’d worked as a proposal writer for over a decade. I had a severance package so I had a little time to explore things. I had always wanted to learn about how to build a website, and was always curious about how people made money with them, so I thought I’d try.
About a year after I started all this, I was making around $2,200 a month through Amazon. This was not with one site — it was the result of income all 8 sites were generating. The sites that weren’t on page 1 were on page 2 or 3, and I was working to roll them over. My wife was shocked when she saw money in my Amazon account — as was I.
One day after the latest Google algorithm (it was around May 2013, I think) initiative, I got up to check my page one-ers and they weren’t there. I thought it was a glitch. An hour later, though, after scouring the index … I discovered that all my sites were missing from the serps. When I finally checked my Analytics account, I saw that all the sites had been slapped with a manual penalty, with a range of violations cited: thin content, spam, and something else I can’t remember.
Later I figured out that in all probability, a competitor I’d managed to displace from the #1 for the keyword “karaoke machine reviews” who months earlier had sent a bunch of unsavory porn backlinks to my site (to no avail — they didn’t affect my site’s ranking status, even though these links were certainly from “bad neighborhoods”) had in all likelihood reported my site to Google.
The thing is, I was in violation of Google’s terms of service, without realizing it: I had placed a really big Amazon ad widget right at the very top of the home page, way above the fold, so that it was the first thing a visitor saw. I didn’t know it then, but that was a no-no in Google’s eyes.
But once you’re under Google’s microscope, you’re in trouble. They begin to look at everything, and very closely.
I removed the offending prominently placed above-the-fold widget, filed a reconsideration request (can’t remember what it was called), but the answer was still essentially, “Sorry, but you’re still in violation.” I made more changes, filed 2 more reports: nothing doing.
In the end, I decided to remove the sites from the index myself. I salvaged the content, which represented a considerable investment of my time and resources. To see what would happen, I got with a different webhost, selected a different domain name, didn’t enroll the site in Analytics, and wanted to see what would happen if I used the same content. It worked — Google indexed the site.
I have not backlinked the site, however, so it’s somewhere deep in the index’s caboose. This was when Google really started emphasizing the importance of high-quality, niche-and-theme relevant backlinks. I had been able to rank http://www.inductioncooktopreviews.co and other sites without blog networks and niche-relevant backlinks, but even when the sites were on page one, it had begun to become more of a struggle to stay there. So I thought that until I could find a solid way to change my backlinking strategy, I would let it be for a time.
And that’s what brought me here. The most important lesson I learned from the entire nightmarish experience (my income fell to zero inside of 2 weeks — and that was my sole source of income) was … if you’re smart, you don’t rely on one thing.
All my eggs were in Google’s basket. I did not have multiple streams of income. I depended on SEO organic search engine traffic from Google and had nothing else in place. I didn’t know how to build a squeeze page, a landing page; I didn’t know about CPA or building a list or email marketing … and I’m here now trying to rectify all that.
It seems like I’ve come to the right place. The methodologies and techniques appear to be all here — and then some. Wish me luck — hell, I wish me luck. Returning to a little cube in the hellish environment of corporate 9-to-5 was something I was hoping never to have to do again. But a person can only go so long without income.
That’s my introduction, guys. I wanted you to know my tale of woe, and what I’m doing here. Excuse the length of my introduction — my inner “moral of the story” persona just reared its ugly head. I promise, though, you’ll hear no more lengthy tales from me.
I do have a question, though: I’ve accessed the first report under Training tab, Unit 1, First Month’s Report — called Affiliate Sniper. While I can access the file fine, when I click the Affiliate Sniper Guide – Resources download link, I get this message:
“This is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it? It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Click here to return to the homepage”
Does anyone else get this problem?
I sent an email to the Helpdesk Sunday, but haven’t received a reply — I also PM-ed Allen, but haven’t gotten a response. I saw that he’s been attending to some site issues, so maybe that’s why I haven’t heard back — either that, or maybe they/he never received my email.
Anyway, any response would be greatly appreciated.
Hey, thanks for your patience, and I’m looking forward to learning the ropes here.April 16, 2014 at 6:11 am #25686
Welcome to the group. My suggestion is that you start the 30 day challenge. You will get build a great IM foundation and you can go in any direction.April 16, 2014 at 10:32 am #25688
@dglenn – Nice to meet you, Glenn. Welcome to IMPho.
I’ve just updated the download link for the Aff Sniper resources folder. It should work now, please try again.
Oh and sorry for the delay.
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