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Is SEO + adsense a viable business model
arafay




msg:4569063
 11:15 pm on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hello! I am a silent member of this forum. I am interested in your opinion about building content rich websites in various niches, ranking them high in search engines and monetizing the resulting traffic mainly with adsense. These are not mfa websites but information resources loaded with answers/solutions about a certain topic/problem/subject.

I have tried this model at least twice before with limited success. But the thought of passive income is so very appealing that i want to give it another try. Also I have discovered several untapped niches where the serp quality is weak and there are plenty of advertisers.

The idea is to create and rank about 5-6 websites over the next 10-12 months after which i am hoping to make at least $3k from adsense every month. I would appreciate any advice you can give me in this regard. Also please share any relevant threads, blogs, resources, courses from people who are making decent money following this seo + adsense model.

 

HuskyPup




msg:4569071
 11:50 pm on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

i am hoping to make at least $3k from adsense every month.


Good luck with your hopes, I used to make 4x that every month with completely unique and niched sites, these days I am lucky to make 25% of your goal.

Google today is not here to make you money, they exist to take every penny they can and screw you as far as possible and at a whim they will change the entire game.

Do NOT build a business model around AdSense unless you have multi million page views PLUS an extremely amicable inside relationship.

Swanny007




msg:4569099
 1:12 am on Apr 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

You and everybody else, buddy. If it were easy you would have succeeded the first two times. I'm not trying to be rude, but it's extremely difficult to accomplish what you want. It sounds to me like you're more focused on SEO, # of sites, and AdSense revenue than really giving users what they want. The number of sites you build is (to a point) irrelevant. Don't make your goal to bring in $3K/month, make your goal to reach 30K uniques per month or build a list of 1,000 subscribers. See the difference?

I'm doing well now but I've been at it for over 13 years. Starting successful new sites is a lot harder now that it was years ago, especially when you monetize them with AdSense.

sgod




msg:4569132
 1:54 am on Apr 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

For me, the key to success was building a single, unique site on an expansive subject that I love and know a lot about, and working on that site every day for years. It is still possible to do well with Adsense, but I think these days you have to have a high-traffic site, instead of one that is meant to cash in on a certain market. Having a large visitor count and a diverse readership drawn from various sources puts you above some of the ups and downs that other Adsense users see. Things average out, and you do well enough even with a relatively low CPM. This is only my experience; I know it's different for others.

It's been years since I gave a thought to SEO, unless we define SEO as building a site that people like and trust. When asked about SEO, I always tell people to ignore all the junk they find online about it, because most of it was obsolete years ago.

And to me, the phrase "passive income" is almost always indicative of pyramid schemes and other types of fly-by-night scams. The fact that that phrase is so often associated with a certain approach to SEO says something about the validity of that SEO, I think.

Play_Bach




msg:4569139
 2:07 am on Apr 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Lots of luck. Do let us know how it works out for you.

netmeg




msg:4569150
 2:32 am on Apr 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Is SEO + adsense a viable business model


By itself? No.

I do very very well. But I haven't quit my day job. It's NEVER wise to build your business on something over which you have so little control.

However, you can certainly use it to fund a more stable business that doesn't rely on Google, if you can make it work.

nomis5




msg:4569228
 5:57 am on Apr 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Also I have discovered several untapped niches where the serp quality is weak and there are plenty of advertisers.


You'll only know if that is true if you manage to break into those niches. The serps might look weak for a given niche but that may well be because G is ranking rubbish sites high in the serps and the good ones are buried past page 2. That does "occasionally" happen you know!

avalon37




msg:4569321
 1:06 pm on Apr 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

As mentioned above, it's definitely getting harder and harder. Here's the conclusion I've come to; if you are decent at SEO and your #1 goal is income, which in your case it sounds like it is, your time is probably better spent finding freelance SEO projects...you'll make more money.

Currently, I am working as hard as ever on 2 sites and both are seeing earnings way down. This is not due to traffic, but 100% to lower CPC prices.

If most people divided AdSense earnings by hours worked on the site per month, the majority would be disappointed at their hourly wage. Sure, it's from home, but still. My advice is if you don't love the nature of the site, go find another way to monetize your time.

londrum




msg:4569333
 1:52 pm on Apr 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

the hardest bit will be trying to get them all to rank well in just 10-12 months. making that much money is doable, but you need time to build it up. mine was going for a few years before i got close to earning a normal wage -- and that was just with one site... you'll have to be making original content for 5 or 6 different sites.

if it was me, i would just start with one, or maybe 2 sites, and just concentrate on them. i still wouldnt be expecting to earn that much per month after just one year though. that is a daydream. if it was that easy, everyone would be doing it.

LifeinAsia




msg:4569387
 5:40 pm on Apr 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

SEO basically means relying on Google or other search engines for people to find your site. As has been pointed out, relying on SE traffic is not a viable business model. It may work in the short term, or even for a few years. But long-term, it's risky.

For a serious business, you need SEO + branding: SEO for new people to find your site and branding so that people know to come to your site directly and to help you visitors returning. For monetizing, AdSense can work, but definitely explore other revenue models. Some may pay more, most may pay less (but may be more reliable in the long-term).

internetheaven




msg:4569409
 7:40 pm on Apr 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Even if you build a site in a really quality, competitive niche with lots of high CPC advertisers - you will be earning $1-$2 max per click-through at a CTR of 3%-6%.

Now, the problem you have, is that in those high paying industries there are 1000s of companies who will be earning 100-1000 per sale.

So, you are always going to have less resources for SEO than those companies. They are going to be spending more on SEO than you could ever spend.

Therefore, you will never rank and you will never earn.

SEO is utterly non-viable for Adsense in my opinion. The money back from the effort put in will never trump real companies in those industries.

arafay




msg:4569449
 9:31 pm on Apr 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Wow! It looks like nobody fancies this model. I already work as a freelance seo and sem consultant and will be offering social media marketing soon. However, i want to add some web properties to add some side income.

I already make about $10-15/day with adsense from just 1 site. I invested about $500 on it and have made about $1000 from it so far. The site has 15 pages and really only 1-2 pages are ranking. It gets about 250 visits per day.

Last year i made a site in the same niche and got it to 300 visits a day inside 4 months from launch. I invested about $1500 on it and had made $800 back. However, i got greedy and began adding keyword based content with little value. Eventually the site was hit by panda. It now gets zero traffic from google. I have now revamped it completely so hopefully it will recover soon.

In short, what i have found is that if the niche is good, you dont need all that much traffic to make money with adsense. The other thing i have found is so many mfa sites ranking high in the serps which means the opportunity is there for better quality sites to replace them. For eg. In a hot niche like 'cna training' i found these two mfas on the first page.

<snip>

The other point i want to address is market positioning. Obviously you want to avoid big companies, gov sites, edu sites and large publishers. I believe this can be achieved through proper positioning and/or focusing on a niche market.

It is exciting to hear about people like Pat Flynn & Lisa Parmley are doing so well with adsense. I am aware that you have to continue investing in your website content and design but overall adsense income is pretty much passive. You do not have to sell anything, no refunds, customer service, shipping and what not. You dont have to write fake reviews, lock content, promote/update links or listen to affiliate managers. I really dont know of any other business model that offers such peace of mind which is probably why it is so appealing. The only risk with this model is that you are dependent on google for providing both the traffic and advertisers. This is definitely something to think about for medium to large publishers who have a lot at stake but for somebody just starting out i have other issues to think about. Once i start making 10k a month from adsense, ill think about adding other traffic and revenue sources.

Anyway so the general consensus here is that it is not easy but then again every thing worth doing is difficult right. So if anybody is enjoying success with this model, i want to know whether it is really worth all the hard work and resources you put it?

[edited by: incrediBILL at 2:31 am (utc) on May 1, 2013]
[edit reason] No URLs to sites for review, etc. See TOS and Forum Charter for posting guidelines. [/edit]

atladsenser




msg:4569677
 2:16 pm on May 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

By itself? No.

I do very very well. But I haven't quit my day job. It's NEVER wise to build your business on something over which you have so little control.

However, you can certainly use it to fund a more stable business that doesn't rely on Google, if you can make it work.


I agree with everything netmeg wrote above. I actually faced this question myself last year, when I was relying only on AdSense for income, and decided to return to full-time employment. Interestingly, I'm doing better than ever with AdSense now. Go figure.

londrum




msg:4569707
 4:28 pm on May 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

i always think that is a strange argument to make (even if it is wise), because returning to full-time employment is not much different.

what is the difference between relying on google and adsense, and relying on your employer? okay, so your rankings could disappear overnight, but you could get made redundant next month too. so both things are liable to disappear without warning. at least with your own website, the problems and solutions are potentially all in your own hands.

netmeg




msg:4569730
 6:27 pm on May 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

(Well I haven't worked for an employer either for almost 20 years now, so I'm not up on that)

But there are some rules regarding employment depending on where you live, and you always control your own skillset and how you add to it, and how valuable you are in your particular niche. If you know how to do something that most people don't, and it's something that people want or need, then you can pretty much write your own ticket, no matter what the economy is doing.

Whereas, Google doesn't really need any of us, because for every one of us who takes AdSense off our sites, no matter how big, there are a thousand others to take our place.

Individually, you can have great value in the workplace. But individually, we don't even exist for Google.

nomis5




msg:4569780
 10:02 pm on May 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

i always think that is a strange argument to make (even if it is wise), because returning to full-time employment is not much different.


To be succinct, the OPs business model won't work, cloud cuckoo land.

That quote above though is something I entirely agree with 100%.

And all the other alternate Adsense plans are just as likely to fail / succeed as an Adsense based plan.

Face it, #*$! happens. Some of it is Adsense #*$!, some of it is regular paid employment #*$! and some of it is "other much better and broadly based than Adsense" #*$!.

All of them can fail and all of them can succeed, just depends.

atladsenser




msg:4569782
 10:08 pm on May 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

To be succinct, the OPs business model won't work, cloud cuckoo land.


nomis5 is probably right, but you only get one life, so why not at least try, right?

To answer the original poster's question, to reach those goals, you'll probably need years of patiently building, tending and promoting your sites.

The best advice I ever found that's all in one post was written several years ago in another forum, and I'd be willing to bet that many of you guys are familiar with it.

Here it is, from DigitalPoint, by a writer named Burta:

<snip>

[edited by: incrediBILL at 12:17 am (utc) on May 2, 2013]
[edit reason] Link to Forum Removed - See TOS and Forum Charter for posting rules [/edit]

netmeg




msg:4569818
 11:13 pm on May 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Sorry dude, links aren't allowed here, even if they're not clickable (it's not clickable because it's https.)

glitterball




msg:4570525
 4:55 am on May 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think the main reason that this model is no longer viable is that the #1 organic result for any lucrative search is now below the fold! For most users, it is impossible to tell which results are paid and which are organic, unless you tilt the screen at a weird angle.

A few years ago, if you had the #1 spot for one of those terms, then you would receive lots of very valuable traffic. You just don't get those visitors any more.

jmccormac




msg:4570531
 5:59 am on May 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

The problem with Adsense is not Adsense but rather Google and its willingness to allow numpty driven ideas to be tested out on real websites. These ideas often lead to collateral damage on genuine sites because the idea wasn't properly thought out (limited web knowledge problem) or incorrectly defined limits (same problem as before). It really depends on what you consider viable.

Regards...jmcc

internetheaven




msg:4571073
 11:19 am on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

Last year i made a site in the same niche and got it to 300 visits a day inside 4 months from launch. I invested about $1500 on it and had made $800 back. However, i got greedy and began adding keyword based content with little value. Eventually the site was hit by panda. It now gets zero traffic from google. I have now revamped it completely so hopefully it will recover soon.


It won't recover. If major websites with six figure yearly SEO budgets are scrambling ... then your MFA site is out.

Everything has changed. Long-tails are gone. Mis-spellings are gone. Niche is gone. But most of all - SPACE is gone. Google Ads are now bigger than ever. You can only see the top 1 organic result above the fold for the best searches now.

randle




msg:4571154
 4:02 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

These are not mfa websites but information resources loaded with answers/solutions about a certain topic/problem/subject.

One challenge to this is the number of pure "informational" sites that have continued to maintain strong rankings has shrunk dramatically over the years. Kind of a shame really, used to be a lot of great sites out their that were fueled more by passion, interest, hobby, ect. with the income being secondary.

My thoughts if you are determined to chase the Adsense, "make money while sitting on a beach sipping cold beer" dream. (which is a damn good dream by the way)

  • Don't use an EMD or a key word rich domain
  • Create a unique "branded" on-line destination for this information
  • Stick to a single site, unless the topics are very diverse
  • Invest - spend money on a well built site
  • Make the who is info real and professional
  • Become a member of whatever "community" exists for this "subject"
  • Find more ways to get people to the site than pure search
  • Hammer the brand to get the visitors, newsletters, banners, ect.
  • Deliver the goods - the site has to make going their worthwhile
  • If you want the beer and the beach - start working 15 hours/day on it

    The reality is it can't just be "good information" these days for Google to give you the amount of impressions you will need to enjoy the revenue stream your hoping for.

  • Chris13




    msg:4571217
     6:37 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

    I'm faiely new to adsense, less than 8 months. But I have approached the numbers you are looking for.

    The idea that you are going to build it up, then take a permenant vacation isn't a very real expectation, as the content will get old faster than you might think.

    Then, of course, adsense changes all the time.

    The more content you have the more work it is to maintain that content. The amount of content you need to make $3k a month depends on what the site brings in per pageview.

    If google's adsense or search algorythms turn against you, you can see a sudden 80% drop in your revenue without even a single communication or warning from them and without violating the terms of service.

    As a general rule of life, one should never rely on a single source of income. That's not a rule regarding adsense specifically, just a rule of life.

    I'm personally starting to apply to some affiliate networks and I'm designing new content pages that will allow me to expand the site while keeping adsense implemented on the current pages. No results yet to offer up to anyone as I've only been working on that for a couple of days.

    freejung




    msg:4571219
     6:41 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

    I can echo the sentiments of others here who have tried this model. I was doing well with it until I got hit by Panda, now I'm making less than a quarter of what I once made.

    The bottom line is that even if you get this to work, it's not stable. So go into it with the assumption that you will be wiped out at some point with no warning.

    I think the model could still be made to work if you are really serious about building for your visitors and genuinely meeting their needs. I also think it's a lot harder than it used to be, for reasons that have been discussed at great length. The bar is a lot higher, which is a good thing.

    My current take is that it's now easier, better and more effective to build a traditional business based on creating and selling goods and/or services. That's what I'll be doing for my next venture.

    7_Driver




    msg:4571250
     8:23 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

    It certainly was possible. We did very well with SEO and a mixture of AdSense and Affiliate revenue for many years.

    Whether it's still a viable business model I'm not sure.

    Google is certainly delivering less traffic to organic results these days. And paying for traffic is a non-starter in this model.

    On top of that, the sort of prominent advertising that used to pay for the development of high quality content is now considered excessive by Google's search team. (Don't listen to the AdSense team - even once you get big enough to have your own AdSense rep - following their advice will get you penalised in search, and you'll have no traffic to monetize).

    The other thing that makes this a risky strategy right now is that Google is (pretty much) the only search engine in town. (90% market share here in UK). One dominant search engine was always going to be bad news for publishers - the fact that the winner was Google - the most arrogant, unpredictable and capricious of the lot is little short of a disaster.

    So, is it still possible? Perhaps. But we know what we're doing - we've done it, done very well out of it, and have lots of experience and resources behind us as a result. And even WE'RE struggling to make it work going forward - and are actively considering a change of model.

    So for a beginner - I think I'd be doing you a disservice if I recommended it. A few years ago - I used to recommend information publishing to friends as a great business to get into - I certainly wouldn't do that now - the bar is much higher - so high I'm not sure it's still there at all...

    inbound




    msg:4571277
     9:06 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

    I've been monetising some sites in this way for quite a while. It used to be a worthwhile model but it's not something I would start now.

    My small business has generated over $1.5M in this type of revenue (using a couple of different networks including AdSense) and had months where takings reached $50,000. I've learned a great deal in that time and can say that "residual" earnings are not likely to last without effort (hence not residual if ongoing time investment is required).

    Also, don't gamble on great content getting any decent traffic in the first place - Google are keeping most of the traffic through their SERP layout. We've created some amazing information, honestly the best that's out there, and not seen the return we think is due.

    I'd say give it a go if you do it as a sideline, don't give up the day job. Use social networks to build a loyal userbase - if you are not in an area that people care about then forget it. Make yourself invaluable in your industry, get known, be the go-to person for a specific purpose. You should be the reason people come to your site, not just the content on your site. What makes you worth that attention?

    Sorry to be so blunt, but it's not 2007 anymore.

    diberry




    msg:4571304
     9:55 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

    I'd say give it a go if you do it as a sideline, don't give up the day job. Use social networks to build a loyal userbase - if you are not in an area that people care about then forget it.


    I second this. Your business model would be fine if it didn't entirely rely on one company never making changes (or losing market share) that might wreck your plans. Whether Google or someone else, that's just not a good idea.

    If your sites thrive in social media, then you aren't completely dependent on Google.

    And check out Adsense alternatives. If you are US, there are a lot of ad brokers that pay better in some niches.

    dvduval




    msg:4571319
     10:25 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

    I just use Adsense as filler for my lower quality ad positions. The good stuff gets bought through direct sales. If you are able to get a highly informative site with lots of traffic, more likely you will make more money selling your own ad space.

    Like many others, I make about 1/10 what I made a few years ago, though as the revenue declined from Adsense, I just changed models.

    A1Seo




    msg:4571367
     1:20 am on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

    I think it's possible but as everyone else said it's hard and becoming harder.

    My website used to give me decent earnings until last year when I had to remove some big sections due to copyright stuff, nothing to do with Google changes. Now I am generating 1/3 of earnings from Adsense in comparison to last year but it's still working.

    However, I don't rely on Google for traffic but user engagement and users visiting my site again and again. So, I would suggest you to create 1 highly useful site instead of multiple sites and make sure that users can interact instead of just visiting once and I am sure it will give you good ROI in long-term.

    Just my 2 cents :).

    backdraft7




    msg:4571389
     3:02 am on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

    building content rich websites in various niches, ranking them high in search engines and monetizing the resulting traffic mainly with adsense. These are not mfa websites but information resources loaded with answers/solutions about a certain topic/problem/subject.
    so, how is this not an MFA site? You already said it's basically made for adwords monetization. Sounds like more thin eHow style trash to me. That's all we need.
    This 51 message thread spans 2 pages: 51 ( [1] 2 > >
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