Maybe Google’s Out Of My League?

Okay, so after launching four distinct websites, my focus turned to traffic and I gotta say, I’m a bit nervous about it. I began to research ways to drive traffic to my websites and I’ve learned a bit about black hat vs. white hat search engine optimization(SEO). Black hat is when you focus on the “gaming” of Google in order to manipulate search results by strategically stocking keywords and anchored links, writing articles, guest posting and making comments on popular blogs and other websites with the sole purpose of creating backlinks to your site. White hat SEO is when you create natural links back to your site simply by creating well written, good content, commenting and guest blogging because you actually have something to say. What I’ve discovered in my research is a bit discouraging. Apparently, Google works real hard to undermine the black hat bandits and often times, it’s at the expense of good sites with good content.

So let me get this straight. Robots are killing innocents because Google has not yet mastered human judgement in it’s algorithm? What chance have I got with this SEO stuff?

Google’s SEO guidelines are sort of like a dating experience I had when I was a teenager. There was this very attractive classmate of mine who pretty much kept to herself most of the time. I always thought it was kind of weird, but it didn’t matter because she was clearly out of my league.

(I won’t name her because she’s still around…and she hasn’t exactly aged gracefully.)

Anyway, this hot girl just decided one day that I was worthy of a date with her. I guess she was trying to make some other guy jealous or something or maybe she admired the very attentive and sensitive way I communicated with the girls who she and I both considered in my league. So somehow we ended up an item, and even for that short little while, I, Mr. Inconspicuous, the self professed “Invisible Man”, was for a short time accepted and even considered by some, “hot” by association. Things were great until I discovered why this gorgeous girl was alone most of the time. She was a bonafide Psycho who would show up at my house not speaking to me and somehow she expected me to know why. She wouldn’t provide any clues and the worse my desperate guesses of why she was angry were, the angrier she got. I put up with this treatment because again, she was WAY out of my league.

So what if Google’s the hot girl? I’m not saying Google’s nuttier as a fruitcake like the girl back in high school was, but what if I’m incapable of pleasing her? I have to consider for a minute that Google can’t actually be pleased. What if she’s finicky, hard to understand, and I spend a lot of time guessing wrong and being punished for it and never being awarded a spot on her coveted first page? I’m not completely convinced that Google is worth pursuing. Maybe a simpler course of SEO action would be to concentrate on Bing’s webmaster tool instead. I could use all I’ve learned about SEO for Google and focus those lessons solely on Bing. Who knows, maybe Bing and Yahoo will appreciate the attention, be grateful enough to respond and even rank my sites. And maybe, just maybe Google will see how attentive I am to the “average” search engines and appreciate me for my sensitivity. It’s probably not likely this course of action will work. After all, hot girls only truly fall for the invisible guys in movies, right?

I’ve come to a conclusion of what SEO strategy I will deploy. My strategy is to ignore SEO. It seems to be a bit of voodoo lately anyway. I’m not convinced anything works since the great Panda update. There’s not much evidence that I see. Besides, I would much rather become a better Blogger and internet marketer, build an audience one interested reader at a time and earn my way to good consistent traffic than to sell my soul to the Gods of those stupid robots. Wow, I feel much better now…. Thanks for listening!

The “Soft Mentor’s” Role In The Pursuit Of My Passion.

Everyone has their own definition of success. To some, it’s only about money. To others it’s all about freedom to experience life on their own terms. My definition of success is having every opportunity to relentlessly pursue my passion for teaching. My interest in teaching is not limited to the traditional “classroom” approach. The way I see it, any time we’re sharing what we’ve learned with another person, we are, in essence, teaching.

Self development and preparation both play important roles in reaching my goal to teach. After all, you can’t teach what you haven’t yet learned. I consider myself reasonably focused. As a matter of fact, I once wrote an article about the importance of preparation and developing a plan of action before just leaping into something. If I could be so candid, I have a confession to make….

Hi, I’m Keith…and I’m a Leaper.(wow, that felt good.)

It just so happens that I don’t always practice what I preach. Case in point, I spent the last thirty or so days building four websites(including this one) without even the slightest consideration of a plan. Sure, I’m passionate about every single keyword that I pursued(although, because of said leap, my research was dead wrong) but I didn’t exactly take into account how in the world I was going to adequately provide content for four different websites. I am officially overwhelmed. I’ve decided to focus on this blog, which documents my growth in my understanding of the online business world, while occasionally writing quality content for my other sites.

As you can probably tell by now, I’m not a Writer. Not much of one anyway, so don’t be shocked by the misuse of the King’s English, crude sentence structure or punctuation that’s not quite up to today’s standards. Rest assured, I am currently looking to take a writing class to minimize the “cringe” factor in my posts. I happen to believe that you will forgive my literary shortcomings for now because of my passion and my willingness to lay it all out on the table for you to critique. I’m not at all nervous about that either because I am learning and therefore growing and growth is good. I have, however, come to the conclusion that it’s time to redefine my mission. It is my full intention to share with you what I know already and what I’ve recently learned, but only after I have a good understanding of the lessons I glean from my “Soft Mentors.”

What are “Soft Mentors”, you say? It’s the title I came up with to describe someone that I stalk(not really), study and hang onto every single word or thought that they share online. That doesn’t mean that I agree with everything they say, but I literally inhale all the content that feeds me because growth requires nourishment, right?

I have two such Mentors to date, sort of.

  1. Pat Flynn from SmartPassiveIncome.com and
  2. pretty much everybody he’s interviewed on his podcast so far.

It’s been an interesting ride to this point. I have a LONG commute of two hours each way(yikes), so I listen to Pat and his guests discuss what a brand new Blogger has to do to get traffic, to optimize their site, to provide good content and basically to make the internet a better place. The challenge to me is to take the lessons from SPI’s first 50 episodes(that’s as far as I’ve gotten so far) and interpret them in “2014” speak. SEO is very different now, as is link building and some of the other lessons offered more than two years ago. I learned that the hard way.

I stumbled through building my niche site only to discover that I had mistaken Google Adwords Ad competition for search competition. I am now starting from scratch with a new keyword and I’ll build my next niche site using the lessons I learned from the experience of screwing up. The existing site I use as a great tool to develop other skills while I attempt to drive traffic to it.

Okay, so some time after my screw up, I’m listening to episode 49 of the Smart Passive Income podcast and I hear that guest Brendon Hufford of GiReviews.netis a reformed “Leaper.” He too, had acted before he fully understood and had cost himself Google ranking and precious traffic to his site. He was able to turn it around and build a pretty nice micro-niche business. To hear his recovery and subsequent success story encouraged me immensely. I had stumbled and made what I thought was a critical mistake, but I could recover from it because Brendon had. SpringcleaningHQ.com may not be lost after all.

I can not express to you what it means to be pursuing a different career path with NO knowledge and very little skill and yet be so optimistic about my future. I owe it all to my “Soft Mentors.” Here’s hoping someone will stalk me the same way one day….

Up And Running…Sort Of.

Okay, so my initial approach to this project was to learn as much as I could and when I got a little bit of knowledge(and confidence), I would take a leap of faith. I challenged myself to build one of each of the sites that I’ve read about in the last month and the results are as follows:

1. www.SpringCleaningHQ.com, my niche site,

2. www.YourExtraHustle.com, my authority site,

3. www.JazzWithoutANet.com, my personal Blog,

4. and finally, this site to report it all.

Let me preface this report by saying that I can be a bit impulsive and some times it pays off and sometimes it doesn’t. Consider this report a tale of having a result somewhere in the middle.

After reading a bit and watching a few  Youtube videos, I thought I had an understanding of keywords. Needless to say, I did not. I made a pretty big mistake picking my niche site. My intent was to pick a keyword that was relevant to what I already knew with a high number of average monthly searches and low competition for results found. Instead, I used Google Adwords Keyword Planner and I mistakenly chose a keyword with low competition for Advertisers instead of results. I should have sought out keywords with HIGH competition for Advertisers. So, I stumbled right out of the gate. My site, which is dedicated to Spring Cleaning, has a few problems. It is woefully saddled by low advertising competition. It’s results competition on the first page of Google has an average page ranking of a 4, which puts me up against giants like Martha Stewart, Better Homes & Gardens and Housekeeping magazine to name a few. Oh, and it was pointed out to me by a colleague in the Warrior forum that my keyword was not a selling keyword, which means that my niche is not exactly marketable to people looking to spend money. So, because of these blunders, my website is half niche, half authority site hybrid and all cautionary tale. Even still, I’m proud of what I have been able to accomplish so far and I will continue to develop this site primarily by adding great content.

My actual authority site, designed around the concept of finding ways to make extra money, is coming along just great. Again, way too competitive keyword choices.(Yeah, I’m still trying to figure it out) I’ve added some pretty good content and I’m in the process of writing more articles to be featured on the site. I’m passionate about teaching people the importance of having a back up career, whether it’s to supplement their income, save for a specific financial goal or actually change careers, so I should be able to contribute a great deal to the site over time.

And finally, my personal blog about learning to play improvisational Jazz music is my pet project. It was created completely from html code, written exclusively by me. It’s basic, true enough, but I AM SO PROUD OF IT and I am learning the language of coding. Not bad for a newbie if I do say so myself.

Mistakes aside, I can feel myself growing and that’s very exciting to me. I have built and launched four distinct websites. I have added affiliate content, Adsense and my investment has been minimal. I’m also using three different hosting companies for these projects, just to be able to weigh the pros and cons of each. In the last 30 days, I’ve learned an awful lot about myself and it’s costs me very little money and time so far. Imagine just how better at this I will be at the end of the next thirty days.

Brace yourselves…