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10 SEO Facts That Will Simultaneously Make You Pissed Off – & Thrilled…

October 29th, 2012 · 87 Comments

Hey guys…

Yes, I know I went AWOL for a few months, and left a few things hanging…

There’s a few reasons for that – the main one being that the world of organic traffic has been turned on its head recently, and I’m neck-deep in running a huge number of SEO tests (and still spending often in the low 5 figures a month on linkbuilding/SEO promos), just so we can stay on top of what’s actually still working.

As you probably know full well, the past couple months have been rife with tumultuous changes in the SEO world. A lot of people have gone under, and many have simply just walked away from the business altogether.

Between the latest Penguin refresh, Google’s “EMD filter” and other noticeable changes in how rankings are currently obtained – one thing is certain: things are drastically different, now.

And I wouldn’t be much use to anyone unless I actually had some current, real-life data to back up what I’m saying, teaching and occasionally selling – right?

Therefore, our goal these past few months has been as much to simply gather data – and figure out what works – as much as it has to actually rank sites and bring in the bucks.

It’s been revealing, to say the least. In fact, what we’ve discovered has entirely changed my own approach towards SEO.

So let’s dig right in and talk about the results we’ve been getting, exactly what’s changed – and what you need to do to adapt and come through this without going under.

I’ve organized my findings into a “Top Ten List” of facts we’ve established from our testing over the last 3 months in particular, right up until today. As the title of the blog post says…

…prepare to be pissed off – and thrilled.


Fact #1: You Can Rank Much, Much Faster Than Ever Before

Like, as in – you can rank for stuff in 2-3 weeks. Sometimes even 1 week. I’m talking competitive keywords, sometimes in insane niches.

This is not the old days of SEO, where you didn’t even login to your stats until at least 3 months after starting your linkbuilding. No, right now it’s pretty well instantaneous (in contrast).

This means faster cash-flow, faster ROI’s, faster “niche proving” and in general just faster everything.

Let me show you some recent examples of some of our test sites:

This site (above) doesn’t take much traffic to pull in serious coin. The offer it’s pushing pays out $90 a LEAD, and it converts very well. However, in this market, “heavy lies the crown”. Nobody stays on page 1 for long. Negative SEO (you know, that thing that “doesn’t exist”) pretty well takes care of that. But if you can shoot up to page 1 for a few weeks, you’ll make back 20 times what you spent getting there.

With this site, our rankings shot up to the top of page 2 less than a week after we blasted the site out on some semi-private blog networks.


This site is in a very high-traffic niche (this isn’t the main keyword target), and it generally converts very well. This has actually been my best-performing affiliate niche from the “old days” until now. Not necessarily the biggest uptake, but definitely the most consistent. The sales just roll in steadily, day after day.

Anyway, as you can see, all it took was a couple link pyramids (3-tiers) and boosted blog posts (on a high quality network – basically like “insider” guestposting) to hit that spot. Oh, and to top it all off, the site is an EMD, exact-match-domain.

So much for the whole “EMD penalty”… Definitely not seeing it on our end. The site ranked up about 2 weeks after promotions began.


Now here’s something totally nuts. The above site is currently fluctuating at the top of Page 3 / bottom of Pg 2 for a profitable, competitive keyword that gets 1.2 MILLION search queries (and that’s conservative), and all we’d done is set up a couple linking pyramids and place about 50 or so quality comments (on established blog pages with PR, mostly dofollow).

I’m thinking a couple blasts on a private network or two will secure a Page 1 spot inside of a couple weeks from now, and based on my previous experience in this niche (and ranking on page 1 awhile ago with a site that got tanked when the big public blog networks got mass-deindexed), we’re looking at 1,000 – 3,000 uniques a day, converting at something like 2.5%, just from that keyword.

As you can see, it took a matter of days for those rankings to start climbing up.

The real takeaway here folks is that ranking up in the organics is currently faster than I’ve ever seen it. Ever.

And it truly does not take much to get there, right now. Partly it’s this new algorithm behavior, and I think it’s also because a lot of affiliates/SEO’s in general have tucktailed and thrown in the towel, so there’s less competition (temporarily) right now.


There’s some strings attached to this anamoly…


Fact #2: 90% of Those Rankings Will Not Last Longer Than 2-3 Months

Yep. It’s true.

And no, before you get all self-righteous on me and start preaching from the SEOMoz Bible, I’m not JUST talking about sites with horrible backlink profiles, obvious link-buys, obvious blog network blasts, obvious sitewides, obvious comment spam, obvious spun wikis, etc.

I’m talking about ANY affiliate-driven site in a COMPETITIVE market, regardless of your backlink profile. Your backlink profile could solely consist of natural, in-context editorial mentions from Ghandi, the Dalai Lama and all their whiter-than-whitehat webmaster friends.

You’re still gonna tank, most likely, after a short run. The writing is, in fact, on the wall, from the day you get yourself on the radar. If it’s not some “quality rater” who is unofficially employed to downgrade all affiliate sites – particularly minisites – it will be your competitors, who will just send masses of horrible links at your site from spyware-infected, Romanian-hosted porn sites, and then file a DMCA takedown request and a spam report directly, just for good measure.

And yes, I know that Google now has a “disavow tool”. However, I really have my doubts about its efficacy, and recovery times. Also, your links may not be the root cause (and I suspect, they often are not).

I honestly believe at this point – just from seeing this happen over and over again – that Google just simply has it in for small, tightly-focused affiliate sites (minisites) in “known” markets. The really profitable stuff, that is.

In fact, from our own tests, there appears to be NO APPRECIABLE BENEFIT to building “quality content” or “quality links” for any affiliate-driven website for keywords (or specific niches) that can net you $1K+ per day from organic traffic. And I think obviously this just comes down to the kinds of perpetual spam that Google sees, day in and day out (mass auto-comments, etc.)

It’s not just limited to “buy viagra” or “payday loans”, but you can see where I’m going with this.

Basically, if you even look the part in a competitive market where Google knows everyone is most likely guilty (due to the uptake of landing on page 1) – you’re guilty by association, and the game is “up” before it’s even started.

Ask me how I know. All I can say is that we’ve spent literally as much as high 5-figure amounts on promoting certain sites the “right way” (real press, real publicity, real exposure), and for other sites (“throwaways”) we’ve spent literally like $300 on homepage links and crap blasts. On more than one occasion now, we’ve seen both types of sites TANK, not long after peaking out at their ranking target.

Let’s just say the whole experience has significantly enlarged the already-substantial ice chips I’d had on my shoulders, regarding my views on how Google treats legitimate webmasters.

So the business model, in this case, is literally just to get yourself to the top as fast as you can, soak in the profits at the top, and then wait for the inevitable slap. And it is inevitable. Whether you got there with a link from CNN’s homepage, or with 100,000 footer links on some horribly obvious spintax blog network – your days at the top are numbered, unless you’re a direct-supplying, established brand.

(And before anyone tries to prove me wrong, ask yourself: “Does my  wonderful site that follows Google’s rules currently net $1,000 per day or more from my primary keyword target via affiliate marketing?” If the answer is “no”, then please shut the hell up in advance. Any moron can have “consistent rankings for years” for non-competitive keywords. Good luck in the big-dollar markets with whitehat SEO…)

So what does this mean for affiliates like us?

The answer will either offend you to your whitehat core, or powerfully liberate you with a rush of grayhat goodness. The answer, my friends, is just to continually (link) spam your way to the top, with as little $$ as possible, over and over again.

Not only does this produce a 10X greater ROI, it also lets you create a realistic business plan – one that is repeatable, scalable and consistent. And one that does not end up in you “betting everything on White”, only to lose it all to the assholes who only need to bet a few chips on “Black” with each turn of the Roulette wheel.

Speaking of link-spamming your way to the top…


Fact #3: Link Spam, Paid Links, High PR Comments, Blog Networks, etc… Still Working Like Clockwork

Now, there’s a few things that have changed in the “new world” of SEO (post Penguin, Post Panda, blah blah blah), but basically, it’s still the same old game.

PR is, sadly enough, still king.

Let me summarize everything you need to know about ranking (FAST), right now, and maximizing your capabilities as a “rank-modifying spammer” (what Google likes to call us – no, really).

The New Rules For Ranking Hard & Fast:

1) Dedicate Only 10 – 15% of your anchors to your primary keyword target. The other 90 – 85% should largely consist of brand and naked URL anchors, mixed in with a random smattering of generic anchors and related keywords.

2) For new domains, spend about 1-2 weeks doing “good” stuff like press releases, niche directories, and maybe some light blog commenting. Before you go hog-wild with the real linkjuice.

3) Use tiers (pyramids) to funnel and shield your masslinks. No, you can’t just go and blast your site with 300,000 profiles and 100,000 comments anymore. Instead, have maybe 20 – 30 actual pages on quality sites (Squidoo, News sites, guest posts, etc. – this is your tier 1), and then build a few hundred links to each of those with spun content on decent Web 2.0 platforms  (this is your tier 2). Then, blast the complete crap out of that 2nd tier with as many automated masslinks as you can. Hundreds of thousands, if possible.

What this does is it inflates PR forward to each respective tier, and focuses all the ultimate link-juice at your money site. It also gives Google spiders thousands and thousands of spidering paths, which ensures your backlinks will be quickly found and amply spidered for a long time to come.

4) Use semi-private blog & homepage networks, or otherwise networks run by somewhat intelligent people who have the common sense to use redundant precautions, zero footprints, readable content and daily checks for blog deindexing (and replacement thereof).

5) Direct link-buys are still king. Nothing beats a high PR link, yet. Can be challenging to find willing sellers. Start by browsing the more serious SEO forums.

6) Create “noise” around your true linkjuice with stuff like articles, press releases, bookmarks, and quality comments. This will hold off most issues and maintain your rankings, until the site gets manually reviewed or abused by competitors. Do this on the cheap.

7) Hold your wallet close. Remember that if you’re an affiliate going after the big money… the writing’s already on the wall. Don’t spend a penny more than you need to, to rank on page 1.

And that pretty much sums it up.

Wanna see what you can do with just a couple Pyramids and a handful of paid links?

How about this site on Page 1, pos #4, in a notorious market with a $13 CPC:

Pretty neat, eh?

This is the reality of what is working, folks.

Now, let’s take a quick moment to talk about what is NOT working, or worth your time…


Fact #4: Social Signals Basically Mean Nothing Right Now – Anomalies  & Manual Reviews Aside

I’m not going to spend much time on this, simply because the title says it all.

Facebook likes, Twitter “tweets”, and whatever other crap is out there that people are saying is “working” to rank sites… basically, it’s all a bunch of bull. While I do admit that twitter does SOMEWHAT seem to – very temporarily – put your site on the map, and maybe give you some SERP-rise for a few days, it’s a temporary effect at best.

So if you’re going to do this for minisites or otherwise “not your main business” sites, do it on the cheap, and realize it’s just basically a social-proof / conversion factor, and not a ranking factor.

However, that said, Google Plus does have an influence on your rankings, both in terms of what your “followers” see in the personalized SERPs (kind of like organic re-targeting, in a way), and more importantly in terms of the Authorship attribution, which appears to provide some advantage for bloggers/publishers integrated with G+.

And at the very least it will positively increase your CTR’s, quite a bit, actually. If you can feasibly do this for your money sites – do it. It’s the only worthy “social signal” so far, but one that should be used with care, for obvious reasons.


Fact #5: Google Doesn’t Care About “Quality Content”, Which is Both Good & Bad

It’s good because, well – it means you can be lazy, and it really won’t affect your results. Again, I’m talking about affiliate sites in high-comp niches.

It’s bad because it means that, unfortunately, the user experience suffers. What I suggest is using great content (conversion-focused) on your main page, or key pages, and just filler for the rest of your pages. In generaly our mini-sites are only 5-6 pages in depth, only 1-2 of which are going to provide a solid UX.

This is different for conduit (review) sites, but that’s not what we’re discussing in this post.

Anyway, the bottom line is that Google may tell you that focusing on “greate content” is the key to long-term success in their SERPs. It’s true from a business perspective (pretending that Google doesn’t even exist). But from an SEO perspective, it’s literally meaningless.

Keep it unique, readable and use natural keyword density – and that’s all you need (to rank).


Fact #6: Most Conventional “SEO Wisdom” is BS. Focus Solely on ROI to Succeed

This is kind of a re-iteration of stuff I’ve already been saying, but let me paint you a metaphorical picture of just how damaging “conventional wisdom” really is, from another area of my business life…

A few of you might have remembered me mentioning that I dabble(d) in revenue properties. Basically as a way to be “smart” with my online earnings (what’s left of them after I pay the tax agency obscene sums of hard-earned money).

It’s a conventional strategy, and one that generally wins the “approval” of my peers, financial advisors, etc.

Well, let’s just say that I’ve had more than one of these properties go south on me – and more than that, it just honestly S-U-C-K-S being a landlord. It’s such a giant pain in the ass… especially when I compare it with what’s possible with even bottom-tier affiliate marketing.

Anyway – here’s a fun story:

A few years ago, we purchased a multi-family property in central BC. We put about $90K down as a down-payment, and maybe another $5-$7K or so on a few renovations.

For the first couple years, it was generally OK. Then, stuff started going wrong. Pipes bursting, irrigation lines clogging, etc. Not the end of the world, but annoying nonetheless. In total, we’re probably into the place (including downpayment) about $98 – $100K.

And with the market the way it is now… basically, I have to “hold and hope” (for probably 10+ years) before we ever see any kind of appreciable gain, or positive ROI, on the property (after realtor fees, closing costs, etc.)

Right now, I’d have to sell it at a loss of about -$20,000, if I wanted out, and wanted to wait a few months for the right buyer.

Guess what I could’ve bought for the same investment back then – and either be ahead today, or at least at par?

A 1994 Lamborghini Diablo:

But of course… that wouldn’t be “conventional”, would it?

My financial advisor, and my peers, would not approve. It would be seen as “foolish”, or an early mid-life crisis. In contrast, my BAD real estate investment is seen as a “learning experience”, or “thinking for the long-term”.

What a bunch of bullshit.

The FACT is, a Lamborghini Diablo is literally a better investment than my “investment property”, which we purchased based on conventional wisdom, and because it was something that the majority of our peers “approved of”.

It’s an extreme example, but I’m making it because it’s important to realize that JUST BECAUSE something is “commonly accepted” or preached by industry leaders – does NOT mean it’s the best pathway for you.

Don’t simply follow the herd. Look at what’s REALLY happening around you, and adapt to it, so that you can ride the crest of the wave… rather than paddle desperately behind it.

Think about how this applies to what you’re planning, right now, in your business. Are you doing things just because it’s “conventional”? Or are you looking at the horizon with your own eyes… and making plans based on what you see?


Fact #7: Organic Traffic is Now Akin to Advertising – You Pay For Temporary Traffic, Then You Pay Again for More

To continue on from my “rant” about the Lamborghini (and conventional wisdom vs. reality), I really think that a KEY part of surviving now in the organic traffic industry…

…is to stop treating it like it’s “organic”. Rankings happen much faster now – but they also disappear, just as quickly. This is a new environment. Gone are the days of relatively “stable” rankings in most niches. Now it’s volatile. It’s easy come, easy go.

Some might be looking at this and freaking out. Because that long-term “free traffic” is no longer a reliable factor. Several months ago, I’ll be honest in saying that I was beginning to think that way as well.

But in a sense, when I start looking at the new world of SEO in its current state, I actually think there’s possibly about a 2 year window right now to REALLY cash in – but only if you change your mindset.

You have to stop obsessing over your rankings, or doing everything “right”. You have to become completely ROI-focused, rank as fast as you can, and line up another 1-2 sites behind your currently visible site to replace it when it drops.

This allows you to figure out what you can spend, what you have to make, what a keyword target is really worth – and in general – it makes you think like a MARKETER. Not just a search engine trickster.

If you embrace this, then I think that Google is still a complete goldmine for you. If you’re still chasing those “retirement rankings”, though… I think you’re in for some disappointing realizations.

Finally, organic traffic has become just another paid-traffic strategy. The ROI can still be incredible, but it’s no longer the lazy, long-term traffic stream it once was. At least not in the big-dollar niches.

But like I say, a LOT of people have dropped out, and a lot of competition is drying up, even as we speak, specifically because of this new (required) mindset shift to succeed right now. So if you’re willing to get mathematical about your SEO, and spend a month or two nailing down a cost-efficient ranking method and site rollout itinerary/schedule – then you’re golden.


Fact #8: SEO-Driven Authority Sites Are Just Too Risky

I’m sorry to say that building SEO driven authority-sites (where list-building or repeat visitors aren’t plausible strategies – which is the case in many niches) is now simply too risky.

You’re better off spreading your risk among several smaller sites, as opposed to building one big site. Not only are you less susceptible to Panda, but your inner content on smaller sites will rank much more easily (in the 10-20 page range) than trying to rank deep content on a site with several hundred, or thousand pages.

Plus – you’re dealing with multiple index/root pages, which will generally always rank more strongly than a deeper page.

So, unless you can build a business around a big site (lists, products, forums, etc.) – don’t do it. Too risky, right now.


Fact #9: Traffic is Way More Valuable Than Ever Before…

I think it goes without saying at this point that my opinion on the value of each visitor has drastically changed the last few months. In the past, I wouldn’t think much of getting a site to 1,000 uniques a day. It’s basically just standard practice for sites with enough deep content – or sites in the right vertical. (Well, it was, anyway).

That’s all changed now. Traffic comes in bursts. It shoots up for a while, and then it’s gone.

You need to make the most of it.

I strongly suggest getting into markets where you can build opt-in lists, or where the demographic is a clearly-identifiable “buyer group”. This allows you to use things like re-targeting technology (Adroll, ClickCertain, etc.) to build an “audience” that you can reach again and again as they browse other sites on the web.

It’s sort of like a “soft list”. Anyway – I strongly suggest considering these two approaches to “harvesting” your existing traffic. This is how you can use SEO’s traffic-spikes to truly create a consistent, at-your-fingertips network of traffic that you can tap, any time you want.

Traffic, more than ever, is becoming a commodity of increasing value.


Fact #10: Google Has Finally Killed the Quality Niche Content Publishing Model.

Perhaps the most disturbing thing that we’ve seen happen these last few months is the death of a completely respectable business model: unbiased, niche content publishing.

The thing with unbiased, niche content sites is that they’re always most useful to the reader when they match intent, at exactly the right moment. That is to say – when a reader is searching for something (maybe about how to make their dog stop eating socks), typically, the best user experience a search engine can provide is to serve up a quality page, on a quality niche site, whose entire business model is matching a searcher’s intent with maximum content quality.

This traffic is then monetized with ads (such as AdSense), and “everyone wins”.

Or so we thought. These days, the overall relevance of the SERPs has been, in my opinion, purposely downgraded to force PPC reliance (for consistent traffic), and also to encourage a closed-loop of user activity from Google back to Google-owned properties such as YouTube.

While this has forced many commercial sites into Adwords, the business model it’s entirely damaged is the search-driven quality content publisher. Because they can’t afford to pay for traffic – you can’t spend $0.50 a click when your average visitor is only worth $0.05.

A good example of of this is

It’s a sad moment for webmasters at large. Basically, now there is no incentive for anyone to publish excellent content without bias (an angle, a product on the backend). Now we ALL have to have an agenda, just to survive.

Thanks, Google.


Final Takeaway: SEO is No Longer a Retirement Strategy. But You Can Still Exploit it to Build Something Bigger…

I know that a lot of this post probably sounds like it belongs on “InfoWars” or something, but I strongly suggest that you weigh my own results, and my suggestions, against the reality of what you’re REALLY seeing in the Serps right now.

Remember – conventional wisdom is often the farthest possible thing from “wise”.


As we find out more – I will let you know. But that’s pretty much how things break down at the moment. I strongly suggest that you start adapting to this as fast as possible – making the most out of every last visitor.

In other news…

Remember that guy I told you about (John Ozjaca, originally a customer of mine) a few months back, with 3 crappy blogs that have brought in close to $2MM in affiliate rev so far?

Well, here’s what’s going on with that – he’s still rocking, and he’s been able to adapt (using some of the strategies above) to maintain his (impressive) salesflow and traffic.

Also, I think we’d mentioned POV Profits – his “over-the-shoulder” project where he actually goes and pulls the curtain back on his sites, his niche, keywords, all the stuff he’s done/does on a daily basis, etc.

It’s all been updated in light of everything that’s happened these last few months, hence the delay.

I’ll be posting more about it in a few days, but for now – check out the official site at

For obvious reasons, access is going to be very limited, so I’d suggest writing down the go-live date (on the site) and marking it on the calendar, if being able to see the inner-workings of an actual 7 figure affiliate business is something you’d find interesting…

Anyway guys, I’ll have more on what’s working – and more on John’s POV project, shortly…

Here’s to still kicking Google in the balls, well into 2013 and beyond  – milking that hypocritical cow for all she’s worth, and turning that traffic into a network of influence that you can tap, on-demand, regardless of your rankings.

~ Chris

Tags: General Marketing Stuff

87 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Nigel // Oct 29, 2012 at 5:52 am

    Hey Chris, only came across your site today but gotta admit I am now an avid reader of your blog. Love the content and the NO Bullshit approach. Just wondering if you could enlighten us with a few of your outsourcers? Im sure you don’t do all the link pyramids and light blog commenting yourself or I might be wrong I don’t know.

    I am particularly interested in finding a quality and trustworthy outsourcer that can do this stuff for my sites and would like to know who you used. (please don’t say search on fiverr LOL)

  • 2 J=K // Oct 29, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Even as a “Whitehat” SEO for an agency, this was far and away the most compelling piece of SEO I’ve read in a long while.

  • 3 Lisa // Oct 29, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Once again you cut through the s** and get right to the point.
    What is your viewpoint on how SEO is currently working for the mom & pop style SME’s businesses?
    Clearly its not as cut throat as some of stuff you mentioned. But in your opinion is the same type of link building needed to get SME’s ranked or do you think they need to take a more quality link route?

  • 4 admin // Oct 29, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Hey guys, thanks for chiming in

    Lisa, I think the local scene is actually not much different than the traditional SEO environment that we’ve been used to for several years (up until 2012).

    There just isn’t the kind of intense competition on a local level, until you get to the bigger cities and bigger-dollar businesses with extreme client values.

    For example, ranking for “injury lawyer new york” is probably going to be pretty much on par with the kinds of niches I’m in, and will definitely require an aggressive style as per the above.

    But once you drill down into less cut-throat industries, smaller cities, etc. – it’s honestly a cakewalk, right now.

    That said, there usually isn’t much traffic there. It’s more about pre-eminence for the client, and securing top-of-mind presence in the SERPs.

    For local sites, and for local leadgen campaigns I have, I actually find the most effective strategy is simply a mixture of article marketing, press releases, local niche directories and getting listed in Google Places / G+

    Rankings will net you some occasional leads – but you also want to combine that with a full “assault”. Have them send out articles every week. Press releases (with something newsworthy) at least monthly. Consistent craigslist ads where feasible, as well as on other local classifieds sites.

    Other local portals, particularly regional ones and niche-related are also key.

    Another major avenue right now is audience targeting via media-buys. This can be done through a number of networks – Google isn’t the only advertising source. Far from, actually.

    That’s what it takes to really succeed on a local level.

    But as SEO goes, unless you’re in a massive city, it’s basically a cakewalk.

    Even then, you probably don’t need to hammer it like how we have to on the national/keyword level.

    I would still, however, recommend that you build one or two “funnel” sites for your clients. Sites that you can get aggressive with, so you’re not throwing too much juice at their official site.

    Just some thoughts


  • 5 Lisa // Oct 29, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Hey chris,

    Thanks for your comments, as per usual giving out a ton of killer advice.

    In terms of local – I’ve been building ‘buffer’ sites that have relevant content to my main site (me prob falling for that relevancy speil that google has spewed) and then building web2.0 properties as the 2nd tier and blasting the 2nd tier.

    You mention article marketing- i actually haven’t touched that for a while as I though article marketing was virtually dead. (more fool me!)

    I’ll have to look at resurrecting that. If anyone wants to pipe in on some article sites worth posting to.

    Certainly press releases have been incredibly useful, mainly using either inewswire or prweb.

    Never used media buys for local before, so will investigate that avenue.

    Certainly securing top rankings for local clients is half the battle. Just got to make sure those keywords have a decent level of traffic, which often is not the case.

  • 6 Darrell // Oct 29, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Hey Chris

    Thanks for the great article. Appreciate the time you invested to put it together and more importantly to share it with us.

    Cheers and with some G+ :)

  • 7 admin // Oct 30, 2012 at 12:27 am

    Hi Lisa

    By article marketing I more or less mean doing so for traffic purposes rather than backlinks per se. Although there is still arguably some value on the SEO side… I think it’s a pretty small factor at best.

    It’s better purpose (for strictly SEO purposes) is to add noise to a more aggressive link structure, along with the other basic linkbuilding methods.

    However, undeniably articles will still drive traffic – ESPECIALLY in local, low-comp niches. The best site for this is still far and away EzineArticles, with the other leaders in the pack lagging behind as distant seconds.

    Don’t forget the effectiveness of local media for “article marketing” (press). I don’t think most local biz’s understand just how easy it is to swing things with newspapers, news sites, radio stations, etc.

    Hell, here in Victoria one of THE biggest press-mongers is a mattress outlet. I truly can’t think of anything more boring or less newsworthy. And yet I see them ALL the time, doing different newsworthy crap every week.

    It works, obviously. And it’s easy.

    And it doesn’t always need to be “newsworthy”. Just relevant to the local perspective.

    My wife runs Vintage Fairs in our city, and she gets so much free coverage it’s not even funny. In a recent example, we both crafted an article about why “just because it’s old – doesn’t mean it’s vintage” and vice-versa, and then sent it out to all the major newspapers / news sources in the city.

    Basically all of them either ran it or called back for an interview piece.

    All it is, is article marketing, with a twist – and for a local business the uptake is awesome.

    Not exactly push-button, I know, but for full-service local promotion, it would go a long way for your clients. This is something you could easily charge low to mid 4 figures a month for orchestrating, for any established local business.

    Food for thought.


  • 8 Lisa // Oct 30, 2012 at 5:07 am

    Massive food for thought Chris.

    You’re so right- local press are always on the lookout for a story. so why not bring it to them instead of them go searching.
    Time to implement. Hope others are taking your advice on board, as its pure gold- thanks Chris.

  • 9 affiliate // Oct 30, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Hello, Chris. Strange looks that affiliate recon is under construction and will turned to paid traffic strategy.It stopped updates, but still require a monthly fee.

    it’s been specially created for seo traffic as we know. there is a difference in what you write and what is done in reality.
    p.s. support of the above is the slowest I’ve ever met. they respond to an email once a week. solution to one problem might consider two weeks or more.

  • 10 admin // Oct 30, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    @affiliate – Aff Recon is not “under construction”, nor has it stopped updates. The next round of data will simply include paid traffic sources as well, though the first update may take longer than the usual weekly interval to arrive as we’re gathering case studies.

    The message at the top of the dashboard is actually a little misleading, we’ll have it changed shortly.

    And no, there is not a difference between what I write and what is done in reality. Perhaps you missed the numerous screenshots above of just a handful of our CURRENT SEO CAMPAIGNS?

    The reality is we do both – organic, and paid. I know it’s hard to believe, but…

    Re: support – that’s strange. Normally Cherie is right on top of it, with 24 hour responses. If you forward your ticket to me at I’ll send it straight to her to sort out.



  • 11 SEMMetric // Oct 31, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Shh you are undoing the FUD that Google has been achieving with their recent updates.

    About the sites not lasting longer than few months, according to what I see, 90% of the NEWER sites won’t last more than few months, but the ones that have even some age are more stable, doesn’t matter if most of their backlinks are spammy. It’s almost like they get a pass from Google because of their age.

    In terms of anchor text, I don’t think it is that clear cut. While that works for the majority, I honestly believe that the percentages vary by industry. Specially in the finance industry, I have seen crazy anchor text ratios with the majority being the money keyword by far and sites easily surviving all the recent updates including Penguin. There is no way these sites would survive in some other industry.

    Also I generally avoid following the top tier terms like “payday loans” etc. because the amount of manipulation and churn is way too much to learn something of value. There is lots of noise because of 301s, hacked domains etc. What I instead do is follow a lot of medium tier terms which are still extremely competitive but there is more stability and you can learn a lot by studying those.

  • 12 Gill // Nov 1, 2012 at 7:29 am

    That post was long and full of great information, as always. I appreciate the SEO upted info. – it’s getting very hard to know what to do anymore.

  • 13 Gavin // Nov 1, 2012 at 7:35 am

    Hey Chris,

    I’ve found a very similar thing to you also. People are harping on about social signals but backlinks still work when they’re proper authority links built in a way that’s consistent with anchor text filter requirements.

    I get what you’re saying about short term bursts, but really question whether building sites in random niches without any foundation is a business model, no matter how lucrative it is in the short term.

    I would even more strongly emphasize building sites in niches where one can dig deeper and build opt in lists, and having an authority site is a big part of that.

    Anyway, great post thanks a lot for sharing!

  • 14 Ricky // Nov 1, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Chris I agree with a lot of what you wrote. But I do wonder what really is the point if all my efforts only get a site to page 2 or even the bottom of page 1? The traffic just doesn’t exist in those spots with most realistic niches I am going to be able to rank for. I mean if I could rank for the word “porn” that is one thing but that ain’t happening with the time and efforts talked about here.

  • 15 Rob Boirun // Nov 1, 2012 at 7:54 am

    damn Chris, this is probably the wake up call I need. I’ve been an ‘authority’ in my niche for about 7 years, today Binghoo sends more organic than G. The niche at one time was a big moneymaker, today its a smaller niche and less spammy but can still do 6 figures. Been worry about panda for so long that I think it’s a panda issue, but since all my content is original and on the medium side of quality, after reading this I’m probably just in the new ‘game’.

    Thanks for your insight.

  • 16 Ricky // Nov 1, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Oh and tell John hello. Use to sell ecigs thru him some years ago. Was always a stand-up dude so I am sure his product you guys teamed up on is worth checking out.

  • 17 Dave // Nov 1, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Great post, all of my earners were wipped out and even today new sites are lasting only a couple of months and that is if they get ranked at all. You are right, time to think out of the box and use these half cocked ideas that have been squirelled away for years.

  • 18 Mark // Nov 1, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Hey there Chris!

    Thanks tons as always for your great enlightening and thought-provoking post. I must ask you though, are you dead-set with having your blogroll and disclosure sections always follow me on the right-hand side every time I scroll down? With the absolute utmost respect to you Bud, but it’s really annoying…sorry, but had to be honest. Like I said though, well written message otherwise :)

  • 19 Top Smartphones // Nov 1, 2012 at 8:34 am

    “we both crafted an article… and then sent it out to all the major newspapers / news sources in the city”
    You probably got much better results than the usual press releases. Providing real content to the press. Great idea. Thanks for sharing.

  • 20 Stuart // Nov 1, 2012 at 8:36 am

    Hey Chris,

    Interesting as always.

    I wondered if you had ever had any luck with a reconsideration request (for a website) at Google?

    Or had any preliminary test results from using the disavow tool?

    I have one big authority style site in the finance sector (around 700 pages of unique content); which was doing great until Penguin and then lost 90% of all its traffic in April.

    I spent a month cleaning it up.

    - Less keyword optimized
    - Amalgamated content
    - Added in privacy policies, maps etc. All that stuff.

    I hoped it would come back after serving a penalty. But six months on it is still dead.

    All the pages are still indexed. But very few rank for anything, and those are ridiculous stuff that makes no money.

    Anyhow, I finally buckled and got a Google Webmaster Tools account yesterday (I fucking HATE Google – But needs must).

    In March it appears they sent me one of their “We Who Must Be Obeyed – Dictator Notices”

    “Dear site owner or webmaster of

    We’ve detected that some of your site’s pages may be using techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

    Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.

    We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you’ve made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google’s search results.

    If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request.

    If you have any questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.


    Google Search Quality Team ”

    I submitted a reconsideration request, but couldn’t quite bring myself to do the boot kissing routine that is recommended everywhere.

    You know “I was a bad’un. I submitted articles and got links from blog networks. Please beat me with razor wire (even though every other fucker for the last ten years has been doing exactly the same, or they wouldn’t have ranked for squat. Regardless of how wonderful their content was)” Blah blah

    I focused more on the actual reality that the site is great.

    The truth is the site is great content, and clean as a whistle. It really should rank.

    Still, I know that’s unlikely to happen.

    But I did wonder if you had had any preliminary test results on the Google Disavow Tool?

    Or had any lick with “reconsideration requests”?

    Or suggestions on how to proceed from here?

    (Or anyone else with real life experience of this)

    Summary – Great content. Links from all over the shop in the past. Indexed, but clearly penalised by Penguin and 90% down of traffic over the last 6 months.

    What’s to be done?

  • 21 Alan Kirk // Nov 1, 2012 at 8:42 am

    A case study over the next 6 weeks would be great even if I had to pay $3.
    Just a thought

    Decent read

  • 22 Brandon // Nov 1, 2012 at 9:16 am


    When I get notified of a new post from you, my work stops so I can read it and take notes. I literally copy and paste everything and archive the information you provide. No other IM expert has earned my respect more than you and clearly by the other responses here, this is a common theme. So feel good and please keep it coming.

    Someone earlier asked if you would provide any of your outsourcing resources for link pyramids, article writing, blog networks, etc. I can completely understand why you would be reluctant to share this information.

    I wonder if you would consider offering this information or part of it for a fee, as I would be interested in buying. Having reliable outsourcing from the start and saving ourselves months of rolling the dice on Fiverr is sure worth the coin, especially in the new SEO arena that you outline.

    Thank you,
    Brandon Boyd

  • 23 Tank Johnson // Nov 1, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Hi Chris,
    “Google Plus does have an influence on your rankings” wonder why??

    Do you have any sites where the affiliate product is provided by GAN ( Google Affiliate Network)? If yes how are they doing?


    Tank Johnson

  • 24 Stig // Nov 1, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Hey Chris -

    Funny.. I actually WAS looking for an article about dogs eating socks. I’m having to buy socks every month!

    I definitely agree that quality content has nearly dropped out of site on page 1 of Google. Don’t tell anyone but I now turn to Bing to find quality content.. go figure.

    So what about Bing ? Are you doing any testing there ? Anything changing or can we expect page rank to still hold steady with a solid backlink network ? I see you and Dave Kelly have cranked up Linkumate in light of the changes in Google.

  • 25 paul mac // Nov 1, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Hi chris
    A Good honest article No B/ S on SEO I agree to get to the top is one thing staying there is another.

    Keep on writing more

  • 26 Chris Endres // Nov 1, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Hi Chris,

    I wonder what your take is on Video in search results. I have started specializing in the dual YT/Google 1st place positioning and wondered if you have data on attempting to compete in the niches you are in with video.

    Seems to me the entire procedure is a far simpler system and even faster positioning than the examples you listed. Any thoughts?

  • 27 Arek // Nov 1, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Hi Chris,
    I also noticed, that for some less-comptetentive keywords (not 1k/day) using 3-tier pyramides like:
    100EE profiles (with root domain PR>=4).
    200 WP blogs ,
    400 PLIGG bookmarks,
    result with almost instant serp boost (after 1-2 days), and after few days domain lands in top100.
    I’ve never seen before that kind of google behaviour

  • 28 Robert // Nov 1, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Very interesting post. It’s funny you mentioned incoming links from foreign porn sites. I actually have that on several of my Amazon/Adsense sites. I have no idea how they got there but I used the Google disavow for them and others. Waiting to see how it works.

  • 29 Mark Dulisse // Nov 1, 2012 at 10:14 am

    I appreciate your post, but most of what your have written here, and your seo strategy/opinion, is the ‘hard way’ of seo. My testing and results says google will reward you for a number a key factors which you do not name here, and for which I would charge you money to disclose to you. :)

  • 30 Structured Takedowns // Nov 1, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Hey Chris – Came to the conclusion about two weeks ago that Ranking in Google via SEO needs to be seen as a Subset of Paid Advertising. There is no Free element- its your effort and ongoing costs that need to be counted as you say against Short Term ranking visibility and Sales. The subtle take away might also be how well the Site is built to Convert. The more Effectively it can convert, the more effort / cost you can apply relative to the Return. Best Wishes

  • 31 Chris Barnes // Nov 1, 2012 at 10:35 am

    As an owner of several high page rank networks your article is spot on. We have clients that come to us with the sole intention of ranking for 6-8 weeks knowing that their affiliate site will tank eventually but the time they spend at the top makes then 8x-10x what their initial investment was.

    Great article.

  • 32 frank // Nov 1, 2012 at 10:45 am

    So basically organic SEO is a PAID traffic strategy.

    So what is your take on profitable paid traffic strategies? Not adwords but all the other options out there?

    Why not skip the headache of SEO and just learn how to buy traffic profitably…

  • 33 Atholl Blair // Nov 1, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Hi Chris,

    As always, this was a fantastic post.

    While I’m here I just wanted to mention that I’ve been working with a local financial advisor for a few months now and we’ve been pushing out 5-6 minisites a month promoting different financial/investment products on a local/regional basis here in the UK.

    It was you I got that idea from – a year or two ago I’m sure – and last month the network of sites attracted 57 leads and I’m being paid $70 (roughly) per lead for those.

    So, thanks for that ;-) I basically created a whole new business from a single blog post you made. How cool is that?


  • 34 Dan // Nov 1, 2012 at 10:47 am

    I’ve seen similar results w/ more whitesh SEO via. press releases and other link sources you recommended in the past.

    And it’s done well.

    My question is do have quality testing results for non-affiliated sites like ecommerce sites? That’s where I’ve been and I know many others have migrated their efforts to. I’ve given up on ranking affiliate sites but not non-aff. sites for reasons you alluded to.

    Thanks again,

  • 35 Justin // Nov 1, 2012 at 11:16 am

    The issue is most likely Google’s new machine learning algo is chewing up your crappy content and spitting it out. Machine learning takes a lot of resources. (One of the breakthroughs with the Panda update is the engineer figured out how to make it less computationally resource intensive.) My theory is once you’re ranked on the first page they deeply analyze your backlink profile and run it through their machine learning algos. Once that is done, all that link juice you built up past the first tier to get there is deemed worthless.

  • 36 Phil Johnson // Nov 1, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Great article Chris. It’s hard sometimes to find real “up to the minute” explanations of what’s happening.

    Do you think there is hope for resurrecting sites that have been knocked down? I’ve got a site that I’ve managed to get on the 1st page twice in the last year, each time just in time to hit the next G update that knocked it down again.

    Is it worth trying to save a site, or just move onto a new one? And if moving on, what’s your finding on reusing content?

  • 37 steve // Nov 1, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Great post. Yes I am pissed off. Maybe the thrill will come later. Everything you say is true and I guess I have known it for a while, but I wanted to try and play by the rules. Well it doesn’t work.

    I have sites with killer content that are nowhere to be found. Google wouldn’t know good content if it bit them on the ass, in fact we give them too much credit. They really dont have the technology to determine that so your fate may be in the hands of some pencil necked geek of a reviewer who makes a subjective decision of your sites quality.

    So I guess it’s no more Mr. Nice Guy. If you cant win by their rules the only thing left to do is cheat.

    Disgusted In Seattle

  • 38 Dan // Nov 1, 2012 at 11:42 am

    “So if you’re willing to get mathematical about your SEO, and spend a month or two nailing down a cost-efficient ranking method and site rollout itinerary/schedule – then you’re golden.”

    The above should be your next product, Chris. Call it: “Golden SEO” ;)

  • 39 Jeff // Nov 1, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    “Google just simply has it in for small, tightly-focused affiliate sites (minisites) in “known” markets”

    It seems that it’s become so important to google to remove affiliates sites form their search results that their SERPS quality has suffered. In fact, removing affiliate sites seems to have become priority #1 to google.

    Their results are so bad now that when I need to find something on the net, I have begun using yahoo / bing.

  • 40 Bill Z // Nov 1, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Hey Chris – Thanks for the article and time you put into the testing. Lots of great info here, and I have to say that the death of the good niche publishers is really the worst part about all of this.


  • 41 Terry // Nov 1, 2012 at 1:42 pm


    You make some really good points about high competition keywords.

    How about giving us a quicky way to rank low and medium competition keywords in today’s seo environment?


  • 42 Rob // Nov 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Awesome post Chris!

    Have you seen any advantage of having an aged domain in the current environment?

    It seems like they need to be warmed up before the links start rolling like new sites…so I am wondering if they will rank longer than domains with less age.

    Your insight is epic…I truly believe that Google is mixing it up every few weeks to try and drown affiliates out of the market.. so nice of them!

    Keep rocking Bro


  • 43 Jes // Nov 1, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Right on target with this post as usual Chris -

    We are seeing similar inconsistent BS rankings on a test of 25 EMD’s. All with single links ranking top 10 dropping to 300. A few coming back so G is broken for sure. It is extraction time for the next 2-3 yrs.

    A couple of Q’s:

    - Few hundred web 2.0 sites – Hard to find 200 dofollow sites so how are you mixing this up?
    - What is the best tool for automating the creation of 200 web 2.o’s?
    - What are you using as your analytics tool? I’m pretty sure it is not GA.

    Thanks for the post,

  • 44 Jack // Nov 1, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Chris – Thanks so much for this timely and important article. Obviously you’ve put alot of time in testing and gathering data for the article.
    This will most definitly change how I look at SEO going forward.

  • 45 Leah // Nov 1, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Chris Remple is a business owner making money by finding out what works through trial and error and constant testing. But sharing what works doesn’t include access to the most important asset any company has – people.

    If you click on my name, there’s a video explaining all the boring SEO stuff that needs to be done. These guys work on performance so you don’t pay until you rank for whatever keywords you choose.

    By the way, I really like the membership and compared to other membership sites, they update way more regularly than normal. That message about traffic case studies until January is good to know – we need good traffic more than we need more niches right now.

  • 46 Audrey // Nov 1, 2012 at 4:22 pm


    Great story, I really liked the tier 1 and tier 2 example, I must say that it is quite new for me.

  • 47 Greg // Nov 1, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Hey Chris – thanks for your valuable update on all things SEO – saves me heaps of time – my experience on a lot of it too.

    Just a word of advice on the blurred keywords in your images, days are numbered on this privacy technique. Unblur is on the way to Photoshop some time soon.



    See: 3.38 mins in.


  • 48 Dale // Nov 1, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Hey Chris,
    Once again, great stuff! What tools or programs are you using for your link building? I have tried the Hoth, do you still recommend them? Where or how do you go about getting a hundred thousand links?


  • 49 Webguy // Nov 1, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Hi Chris

    Great comparative guesture on the conventional wisdom of property vs lambo. The lambo could be sold at market value after a couple of years of fun and depending on the marque, could even increase in value. Rental properties with all the headaches and waiting – don’t come close to VRE. They make me money each day and it seems they are only getting better as the months march on.

  • 50 Paul // Nov 1, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Can I pay you directly to help me?

    I use to me #1,2 and 7 and I also paid.

    Now, I’m #8000

  • 51 Kris // Nov 1, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Wow, great timing. I’ve been dealing with lost rankings and wondering what the hell to do for months. I’ve had fleeting thoughts that dumping my sites for new ones was needed. Now I know I’m on the right track. Thanks.

  • 52 admin // Nov 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Hey guys

    Ironically enough, had to deal with a small flood (due to a faulty stop valve) in one of my rental properties today.

    Fun times.

    FINALLY got back to the office, so I’ll start answering some of these questions shortly…


  • 53 Work From Home Starting Today // Nov 1, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Chris I’m on your list and if taking time off means that you come back with smoking hot posts like this then please take as much time off as you need my friend! :)

    Thanks for the very enlightening post on the “G-Master” and you’ve hit on some things that I’ve started to suspect recently based on my own experience about “old twin-face” which suggests what is always good for Google isn’t exactly good for the gander!

    Make sure to keep us up to date on your findings because in my opinion, the bottomline these days is really about the bottomline when you’re marketing online.

  • 54 admin // Nov 1, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    @ SEMMetric, #11 – I’d agree that the older sites are given more leeway. However, Panda and Penguin algo’s can be unkind even to “grandfathered” sites. AskTheBuilder,, EzineArticles are examples of Panda victims, and WPMU, & were victims of Penguin – some losing more than half their search presence at the end of April.

    However, older sites do seem largely impervious to unnatural links or over-optimization. This is why aged domains with healthy backlink foundations (even if they’re dropped) can give you an immediate advantage.

    @ Gavin, #13 – It’s not an entire business model, to be sure. But before you can build anything, you need to know what’s worth building. Grayhat SEO and small advertising tests are great ways to break into a market, drive some initial traffic and see if it’s worth your time.

    @ Ricky, #14 – Ranking at the top of page 2 or bottom of page 1, in my niches, is enough to pay for your SEO campaign in about 3-4 days for generally any keyword with 10K or higher volume. It’s not hard to get there quickly, and breaking onto page 1 – though more difficult – is just a matter of ramping up when you see the site land on page 2.

    @ Mark, #18 – Yeah… I know. I’ve gotta fix that one of these days. I thought it was nifty at first. Not really, eh? I’ll figure something out…

    @ Stuart, #20 – Nope, no joy on the re-con requests. What we have had success with, though, is taking the site out of Google’s index entirely, waiting for the cached content to clear out, and then we 301′d the penalized domain to a new one (preferably aged with good backlinks) to transfer the link-juice, and seemingly not the penalty. It took months (basically until right now, since the original site got the unnatural links notice in May), to see a recovery.

  • 55 admin // Nov 1, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    @ Brandon, #22 – Thanks man, much appreciated. Re: resources/services, it’s actually a combination of our own team (based in the North America and in India), along with some of the providers you see on Traffic Planet. If you want specific references, you can email me at – feel free.

    @ Tank, #23 – No not yet, but I probably should. I have heard from more than a few affs that there is no onpage penalty for any # of GAN links per page.

    In contrast, typically what we’ve found is that if we post any more than 3-4 aff links on a page, it’s hard to rank that page. Amazingly, (based on third party testimony), this somehow does not apply to GAN affiliates.

    @ Stig – Are you REALLY the Stig? :-) Love Top Gear. Anyway… yes, we’re still mucking around with Bing. What I find seems to work well with Bing (in addition to the “loophole” – which in a nutshell is simulating constant link growth using link rotation scripts on several 100+ page feeder blogs), is blasting out to any kind of “off the beaten path” directory group. Things like shareware directories, audio directories, file directories of some kind, etc. These aren’t nearly as abused as the standard “web directory”, and therefore Bing gives each link some weight. Do keep in mind though, it takes FOREVER to get traction in Bing. Several months.

    @ Chris, #26 – Yep, YouTube rankings are awesome, and easy. We basically just hammer them with wikis and web2′s, maybe a run of high PR low OBL comments.

    @ Arek, #27 – Do you mean the site plummets shortly after? We’re not seeing that in as tight a time-frame. Ours usually last a couple months, often longer…

  • 56 Robertino // Nov 2, 2012 at 1:20 am

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for an excellent read again.

    Because this whole SEO was turning into VooDoo Science. I decided about 18 months ago, to cut back on IM. No more new developments as an affiliate.
    Instead I started offering bespoke programming of scripts and plugins, and (through outsourcing) site templates, and site content.

    This blog post has kindled my interest in active IM again. Would you say that now is still/again a good time to get back in?

    (I’m not going to axe you if I fail, I realize that advice is just that and that it’s I who has to make things work.)

  • 57 jossef // Nov 2, 2012 at 2:29 am

    You have brought here some real amazing information, i believe most of what you said is true, how ever you make it simple while it’s not. SEO and link building become a hard business and being creative in this business is what make us stand out.

  • 58 Nancy // Nov 2, 2012 at 3:14 am

    I am so confused now, in the past year i was focusing on building links using some of the strategies you described as still working, but i was hit with the last penguin update and lost my ranking, i don’t know what to do now and how to get my ranking back

  • 59 Stuart // Nov 2, 2012 at 5:12 am

    Re “@ Stuart, #20 – Nope, no joy on the re-con requests. What we have had success with, though, is taking the site out of Google’s index entirely, waiting for the cached content to clear out, and then we 301?d the penalized domain to a new one (preferably aged with good backlinks) to transfer the link-juice, and seemingly not the penalty. It took months (basically until right now, since the original site got the unnatural links notice in May), to see a recovery.”

    Interesting Chris.

    So, let me see if I understand this:

    Say have your big authority site that is toast in Google.

    You then delete the domain off the internet entirely (Did you do DMCA take down notices on the content that had been copied first?)

    You then do absolutely nothing until all remnants of your site have disassappeared from google (Presumably just searching for ? Do you have to do this for all the individual pages on the site?) How long did it take for the cache to disappear from Google for your site?

    When its gone entirely. You then reupload the site to a new aged domain (new name, same content).

    You then put the original site backup, but this time with 301 redirects in the htaccess to the equivalent pages on the new domain.

    Two Questions:

    1/ How long after you had put the new site up did it get the Google traffic back?

    2/ Have you had any that have had this and then been repenalized again after regaining the rankings?

    My only other fear is that the original site is now listed in Google Webmaster Tools.

    They have a “New URL” section in their.

    I assume you are deleting the Google Webmaster Tools account for the old domain, and NOT setting up a new one for the new 301′ed domain?

  • 60 David Norden marketing news // Nov 2, 2012 at 5:25 am

    Sorry Chris,
    I used to be happy with Seo, but today it is like used toilet paper to me. Google is pushing his own properties above the fold for most interesting keywords (Google maps, shopping, images that appear in a frame so that you can’t see the underlying website, etc..). Even Youtube doesn’t work since they added an extra page when you click on the links in the description to keep users on Youtube and ask them to confirm if you want to leave ! They even are not kind for there own customers in Adwords that have seen many affiliate webmaster seen there accounts closed, same for adsense. Not astonishing they see there income drop. I still have to remove adsense from my sites. I am using PPV and leadimpact to build my lists at this moment, cheap and reliable, easy to get 1000 visitors each day to my sites, and way more scalable. I will not buy your new course, SEO is death in my opinion and not worth the efforts. I also am still disappointed that you never ended the affiliate intelligence website or software project you asked us to invest in and only gave us a bunch of excell files scraped from Google, …

  • 61 Mr Bearly // Nov 2, 2012 at 5:42 am

    Google have never rated good content despite what they claim. I am in the process of building a large, loose network of low value niche blogs to use for link juice.

    I think that if I can get several million pages cached I can put links to anywhere I like. Just have to make sure that there is minimal footprint and I don’t point the links at a single site but make sure I do the linking in the G approved way.

    By the way, if you want to have a go at negative SEO I have just the site for it.

  • 62 Menum // Nov 2, 2012 at 8:31 am

    Rental properties with all the headaches and waiting – don’t come close to VRE.

  • 63 Daniel Major // Nov 2, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Hi Chris, I’ve been following your stuff for a few years now and have always been impressed with the info you provide and this is no exception.

    One quick question though, I have to agree to some extent with what you suggest about having a conveyor belt of lesser quality sites ready to replace previous sites that have been shot down by Google, I have experienced success doing this already.

    My question relates to the possible use of free web2.0 platforms to create these conveyor sites. Do you think it’s feasible to use free WPblogs to create these sites or not?

    If so have you had any success with doing so?


  • 64 Hal // Nov 2, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Great insight on the rankings puzzle. Makes sense now.

    Checked out the POVProfits site and see you co-authored it.

    So what was the net take of the $1,904,807.50 gross?

    Hopefully the expenses incurred to generate it weren’t $1,904,000 ;-)

    But I’m also sure his expense weren’t zero.

  • 65 John Oszajca // Nov 2, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Hey Hal,

    John Oszajca here. I touch on this in the interview Chris and I did a while back. The traffic was essentially free so there wasn’t much in terms of expenses to generate the sales. Though I do occassionally outsource things like link building and customer service. But it’s a pittance in comparison to the sales. But with that said, what I do is a bit more than the standard affiliate situation. I just rep other people’s products, but I cut a deal so that I could take orders through my own system. Kind of like a distributor. So I do pay for product and shipping from those totals. The profit margin has changed a lot over the years and depends on whether or not I’m running a discount promotion, but my profit is probably a tad more than half on average. And that would be after all the other expenses like link building and CS as well. Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks Hal.

  • 66 Alex // Nov 2, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Thanks for the great post!

    How about MAKO sites? Does it make sence to rely on them at all?

  • 67 NHL Boycott // Nov 2, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    Hey Chris,

    Great post – as always. Fellow ‘Victoria-based’ affiliate here. Had a nice laugh about your “investment property” story – I did exactly the same thing. Bought a couple of investment properties in Vic a few years ago (to have a ‘legitimate aspect’ to my financial picture) and I’ve been regretting it ever since. I think you know how things have gone in Victoria for the last 3-4 years. Being a landlord is HIGHLY over-rated! Anyways – thanks for the info – good stuff. Cheers!

  • 68 Hal // Nov 2, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Hey John,

    Thanks for the detailed reply. I was just hoping for a rough $ value, but you went well beyond that.

    That’s still a great ROI if I understood you correctly. On average, you make roughly $2 for every $1 you spend.

    Is there a lot of up front cost with your biz model or are the costs proportional to sales growth?

    Meaning do you need to plunk down a huge wad to get started or could you start with say $500 to generate $1000 and then plow profits back in to grow?

    Also, is the margin approximately the same in multiple niches or just the niche you targeted?

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  • 70 Bret // Nov 3, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Part of me wants to tell you to STFU because I found some of the same things that you are talking about.

    I was so fed up that I just started trying crazy stuff on sites that had already tanked or tested stuff out that completely went against what Google was saying… almost like “it’s dead? poke it with this stick and see what happens.” It’s actually more exciting than going by some playbook and I think more profitable. It sort of changes what I do. I still write content (which is something that I enjoy) but then I send it to outsourcers to do the dirty work with. Fuggit!

    I am nervous about doing any of this stuff with client sites but since it seems like the old white hat methods aren’t really making stuff move much anymore, I’ll probably go back through this post since there was some stuff on local…

    Thanks, as always….

  • 71 John Oszajca // Nov 5, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Hey Hal,

    Basically yes. If my output is $10,000 for a month than usually I’ll make approximately $20,000 in sales. But that shifts around a bit in both directions. But that’s pretty close. My monthly expenses are just things like autoresponders, merchant accounts, hosting, the usual. And then SEO.) But I’m not doing anything all that complex so it’s stuff you could do yourself if you didn’t want to come out of pocket. The only real expense is product. But in theory you are making it back pretty quickly.

    There was a small upfront investment that I was required to make in product but it wasn’t that high and I probably could have negotiated that away. But I needed product to ship anyway so it wasn’t that big of a deal. I think I bought about $1000 in product to start, if memory serves. But it also could have been started as a more of a drop ship business with no up front investment. It was simply that by buying more product I could negotiate a better price. But there are a million ways to do it. For example, I recently started a similar business in a similar niche and the upfront costs were just whatever product I wanted to invest in. As low as $50 if that’s all I wanted to spend.

    While POV Profits is a complete step by step training course, it’s really more designed to replicate that experience that I found so valuable when I was starting out of watching over someone’s shoulder and slaying all the myths that surround internet marketing. In POV you get to see what IS, without question, working. Then you at least have a mark and you know what is important and what isn’t. That’s the goal anyway. There was part of me who made this with family and friends in mind. I wanted something that showed EVERYTHING. Both what I did and how to do it, and explained all teh grey areas that are so open for debate. I actually have my mom going through it as we speak. So rest assured that this isn’t just some “publishing” angle where we’ve thrown together some great hook for the sole purpose of making a buck :-)

  • 72 Bill // Nov 5, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    And now I read this as I am about to embark on a month long push to bring up quality and backlinks to 5 underperforming and not great quality blogs.

    After reading what you have to say I am thinking:

    1. Cleanup a little bit and just make them a little more pretty
    2. Get a bunch of link magnets done with backlinks

    3. Get ready to follow these up with more sites and maybe resurrect these ones again in a couple of years.

    Sound good? One other thing you didn’t really mention here was inner page links. Even though we are building links to the home with our diversified anchors, what should I do with my 400 or so inner pages? Get links to those too with link wheels or just leave it to a related posts plugin to get a better internal linking structure?

  • 73 Hal // Nov 6, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Hey John,

    Yeah I thought you guys might have put together a soup to nuts e-commerce biz model looking at the video titles on your site.

    Btw, I’d be interested to hear how you’re mom is finding it. Love hearing stories about older folk who didn’t grow up with tech make a go of it.

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  • 75 Stuart // Nov 8, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Chris seems to be “missing in action”. No comment since 1st Nov.

    Hope his house hasn’t flooded.

    Or perhaps he is marveling at Clickbanks new “Risk Management Tiers” and their seeming ability to hit the self-destruct button by posting “You’re A Crook” warning messages on peoples accounts.

    Each day more and more companies in the affiliate marketing area are becoming as crazy as Google.


  • 76 MB // Nov 8, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Hey Chris: Under Fact#5, you said “…In generaly our mini-sites are only 5-6 pages in depth, only 1-2 of which are going to provide a solid UX. This is different for conduit (review) sites, but that’s not what we’re discussing in this post.”

    I know that’s not what this post is for…but a conduit site is what I’m building at the moment, so wondering whether you could quickly mention how many pages you’d recommend for a conduit site right now.

  • 77 admin // Nov 9, 2012 at 3:35 pm


    Sorry about the 5-day lag, I’ve basically been bed-ridden with a nasty lung infection.

    I’ll start answering more of these comments shortly



  • 78 Stig // Nov 10, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Chris -

    Just put up a new site, new domain name, in a commercial market with fair competitve keywords, e.g. 15,000-20,000 monthly searches and 50-100 million serps.

    To date all I’ve done is post a $49 press release. That was 4 days ago. This morning I found the site on page 4 of Bing and page 10 of Google.

    Those results in that time frame seem pretty amazing to me. Or is that the typical power of a good press release these days ?

    Haven’t even started on Web2.0 or backlinks yet, I’m eager to see the results on the staying power.

  • 79 Tim // Nov 13, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    The sites I’m seeing rank now have big time Press Release link profiles, Stig. I don’t know how long they will achieve results with that technique, but its’ apparently working with some success right now.

    I’m really scratching my head at a lot of sites I see rank. I’ve shared Chris’ school of thought on just going for ROI since about April. I have a few HUGE portals in my portfolio that were the most white hat, constantly updated sites you could imagine. Now they get no love from Google and are only good for PPC.

    It’s a crazy world. Grab the money when you can and give thanks every day you hold a decent, money-returning ranking.

  • 80 Lakshmi // Nov 14, 2012 at 6:13 am

    Hi Chris,
    I’m writing to ask if you could please share the resources/people who undertake the link building strategy you’ve recommended? I wrote to you at but got an email asking me to submit a support ticket. Would be really grateful if you could please point me to people to whom I can outsource the linkbuilding strategy you’ve recommended. Thank you so much for this fantastically helpful post! L

  • 81 Stuart // Nov 21, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Hi Chris,

    Would appreciate an answer on “59″ above if you have the time.

    Google have just turned down my re-consideration request (for “unnatural linking”) and I don’t have the stomach for crawling on my hands and knees and confessing my sins (which frankly weren’t that great).

    So I may have to bite the bullet and nuke my site.

    Want to be sure of what you did though before I do that.

    Is the site still working out? Or have the 301 redirects caused the site to be re-penalised? (My biggest fear with this strategy)

    I do find myself wondering whether NOT 301 re-directing the old site, and just starting with the same content on a new domain might not be a better idea.

    One thought I did have was to split the site (its about 700 pages) into about 10 different sites with about 70 pages each on more tightly themed domain names.

    Pains me to do it to be honest. I love the site. I spent hundreds of hours on it, and its great content. But I am not sure what else to do, because I really could do with it starting to get traffic again (and money!)

    Anyhow, if you get a chance would be good to hear your thoughts.

  • 82 Stig // Nov 27, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Hey Chris –

    I was just rereading your post and your comments about the use of web2.0 in “New Rules For Ranking” caught my eye.

    I’ve been using sites like Squidoo, Blogspot, Xanga, Hubpages, etc.. for articles and linking them to my money sites, then hitting those posts with backlinks.

    Any particular reason you singled out Squidoo for tier 1, but lumped other web2.0s together for tier 2?

    What others call web2.0 has always been a little hazy. To me, it’s any community site, like Squidoo, Hubpages, Twitter, Facebook, etc.. But some of those are easier to use for linking, than others.

    For the purposes of your post, which would you rely on for tier 1 and tier 2?

    Would you use article directories, guest posts, or services like PostLinks or Content Facilitator with relevant content, for tier 1 or hold them back for tier 2 ?

    Would using services that post spun content 100 of web2.0s be detrimental to link to money sites ? How closely is Google looking at content on those sites ?

    In your opinion do services like provide enough quality content to use on tier 1 posts and link to money sites?

  • 83 Louisa // Dec 1, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    “Then, blast the complete crap out of that 2nd tier with as many automated masslinks as you can. Hundreds of thousands, if possible.”

    Does that include Scrapebox comments, Xrumer links and everything else we got?


  • 84 Jack // Dec 6, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Chris… Please specify which type of EMD is still working. Is it just (no hyphens) or does (hyphens) work as well? The White Haters are (of course) all saying hyphenated EMD’s don’t work anymore. Please. Chris please clarify. Thank you.

  • 85 Ken // Apr 29, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Hi Chris,

    What’s going on with

    I can’t get so much as an answer from the Support Desk, let alone a password reset.

    Do you have any alternative contact info?
    If so, I haven’t found it…


  • 86 Mr OMG Machines // May 13, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    This is ONE way to do it. The churn-n-burn works if you have the resources & connections and know the market.

    Google is a crapshoot these days – What they tell you not to do, is what you should be doing… ;)

  • 87 Rod // Jun 5, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    Hey Chris,
    Just bought your Confessions of a Lazy Marketer book. Love it! I can see by reading some of your latest posts that things may have changed in your blueprint, but I suspect not that much. Solid stuff in there.
    Hope you post some updated content on here soon! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the SEO world in 2013.

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