PC Technician - On how NOT to make money on the internet
How NOT to make money on the internet.
Where do I start? I have tried to make a few bucks on the internet over the last 8 months and all I found out that it is almost impossible for a variety of reasons. I think that the magnetic draw to making money on the internet is the volume of potential visitors. Sure, if I can get about 300 unique visitors a day - that ought to do it! Well, reality sets in pretty quickly - as I tried to figure out how to build traffic.
I started to read articles about SEO ( Search Engine Optimization) - which is all about getting your website listed on the first page of the results from an internet search engine - ie, Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.. All one needs to do is pick the right keywords and zingo - you get immediate traffic. HA! This is the first problem - if you pick keywords, ie, where the global monthly average search for a keyword ( or phrase ) is high and the competition for that keyword is also high you can wait until the end of the solar system ( 5 billion years from now) before you get on page one of the results page. By the way, you also need to be at position 1 or 2 as well. If you are on page 1 and position 1 ( after the paid advertisers) - you can expect about 40% of the visitors will click your link. If you are on page 1 position 10 - you can expect a 2% click rate - after that - you had better knit yourself a sweater which will be a lot more rewarding. So, for example, if you search (using a keyword tool) for "it technician" , you will find about 6 million searches per month are made for this expression. Also, remember the competition is high for this expression and the older competitive sites who use this keyword will always rank above you. I suppose the way to compete is to use the expression "it technician" throughout your website in a contextual meaningful way. This way, when google ( or the other search engines ) "run" over your site - the bots will register a high "keyword density" as this is one of the metrics used to rank your site.
As an experiment, I tried a keyword "computer installation" using google's keyword tool and I got 1.7 million results - ( using the quote marks ) and then tried it without the quotes, ie, computer installation. This search resulted in 504 million links.
I also tried the keyword "it support" - resulted in 31 million pages and without the quotes - resulted in 5 BILLION pages. However, according to google's keyword tool - this is supposed to be a "low" competition keyword. By the way, google's tool also showed an average monthly search volume of 45 million.
So, if I am to understand this and put it into perspective - if I somehow get on page 1 and position 10 ( with the keyword - it support ) then I could expect about 900,000 visitors/month ( 2% of 45 million) or 30,000/day - holy cow - I am on my way to the nearest Bentley dealership.
WAIT! Hold on tiger.
Let's look a little further - I did a google search on "it support" and the top (unpaid) result was wikipedia.org. The next link was for computersupport.com ( ranked #2 for this keyword ). I now went to hypestat.com to get an idea of the traffic computersupport.com receives. According to hypestat.com - computersupport.com gets about 685 unique visitors a day - hmmmmm - "something is rotten in Denmark and it ain't swiss cheese" as my HS chemistry teacher would say. Okay, not sure what is going on, so I looked at the stats for the number one search result ( the paid one - allcovered.com) and this site receives about 1000 uniques a day. This may not be fair, as this ad may not run 24/7. By the way, the 10th position link has a daily visitor rate of 290. The point is, these results on page one of google for a high volume keyword ("it support") do not seem to jive with what I would have expected, ie, something near 30,000/day.
So now I am confused - Strike One!!
My next step was to build "backlinks" - nothing but confusion here also. I looked into buying backlinks and got all kinds of opinions and theories and gibberish. I did buy some backlinks - only to find out that this may hurt your ranking. These links were pure crap - my backlinks appeared mostly on forum pages of sites with mostly 0 page rank. A waste of time and some money. I then tried voltrank.com and did get some backlinks but for some reason it stopped adding ( or slowed to a snail's pace ) backlinks at around 236. The backlinks do appear on the sites according to voltrank but a spot check shows these to be on sites with a 0 page rank. For some reason - when I do a backlink check from programs that are supposed to show all of my backlinks - I only get about one forth the number that voltrank gives. The program I used to get my backlinks was from Backlinkwatch.com I then checked my backlinks with a program called SEO spyglass. This program gave me a total of 170 backlinks. This is still short of the number of backlinks I have, this number is slowly rising, however. By my estimate, it took about 4 months to go from 45 to 170 - which I haven't figured out yet.
Anyway, it is important to get high page rank sites linking back to you. Yeah right! How do you do this? Why not write a request to a page rank 9 site a nice letter that they should put your link on their site. Oh this ought to work - yeah when the oceans on planet earth boil away - 2 billion years from now.
So now I am frustrated - Strike Two!!
Okay, with two strikes - I was determined to hit a home run. I decided on google adsense to monetize my websites. I went through google's gauntlet of checks and double checks to set up my adsense account - probably a good idea to make sure of your identity - no big deal that it took about 10 days to complete.
I then started to add the adsense code to my sites and I tried to match the displayed google ads to my color schemes on my sites. I tried to place the ads so they could not be construed as a "trap" or a trick to get visitors to click. My account was running for about 6 months and I was making about $15/month and I was getting close to the $100 minimum after which google will pay you. In the meantime, I put some of my sites on linkreferral to try to build traffic. I also added more content in hopes of getting more traffic. These efforts looked like they were paying off as my last month I actually skyrocketed to $24/month. Then came the curve ball when I received an ominous email from google which read as follows:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- After reviewing our records, we've determined that your AdSense account poses a risk of generating invalid activity. Because we have a responsibility to protect our AdWords advertisers from inflated costs due to invalid activity, we've found it necessary to disable your AdSense account. Your outstanding balance and Google's share of the revenue will both be fully refunded back to the affected advertisers.
Please understand that we need to take such steps to maintain the effectiveness of Google's advertising system, particularly the advertiser-publisher relationship. We understand the inconvenience that this may cause you, and we thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.
If you have any questions or concerns about the actions we've taken, how you can appeal this decision, or invalid activity in general, you can find more information by visiting http://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/answer.py?answer=57153.
The Google AdSense Team
Well, my account "poses a risk" - what? you mean there is no actual risk? it only poses a risk. I was stumped - so I looked at my stats and saw that I had a one day click-thru-rate of about 6% which was above my daily average of 0.5% . This must be the problem - so I sent off an appeal only to have it rejected - so I responded to their rejection email with a simple question:
What was the reason for my account termination?
In other words, what did I do wrong - and if I did violate something in the TOS (terms of service) then I would fix whatever is necessary to correct it. Google never gave me an explanation - nothing!
I then searched the internet to see if anyone else experienced the same treatment - and lo and behold - there were many complaints about being cut off - one person claimed he was due about $2000 which was a lot worse than my $100 loss.
More research suggested that maybe using linkreferral was the culprit but google didn't answer me - so I don't know what to think.
What really irks me is the high handed draconian way in which google handled my case. This is the problem - google is way too big - and they have no real competition. They talk about "their" advertisers needing protection from invalid clicks - well their advertisers are also my advertisers - their ads appeared on my site. If we, the publishers, of the ads didn't place the ads, then google's ads would only appear on their results page. I don't know how much of an impact this would present - but I am sure that google would quickly change their hard stance. The internet is changing, and google could see how quickly giants can fall. The social networking paradigm may completely change how people search and buy. People may directly advertise on the social media channels and bypass google altogether. Ah, I digress - so I am finished with google and no way to reverse my termination.
So, no Bentley for me - Strike Three!!
And the mighty PC Technician has struck out!!!!
P.S. Something else to worry about - the ever changing google ranking algorithm which only makes gettting traffic harder. See this story HERE