Elsmarc - 2:08 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)
Yes - Most of this is people selling stuff.
As I read through the replies here in this thread, along with the ones in the monthly G threads...I've started to wonder... Are most of the sites being discussed here mainly ecommerce ones? (selling products) I'm feeling somewhat out of the loop, I guess, as I run an information-only site.
I don't sell stuff. Every year my traffic increases as does income. I make in the 6 figures by running a few free information sites - Forums (notorious for low conversions and revenues), no less.
I haven't done any SEO in quite a few years. Content is King, as it has been for years, and content continues to increase in importance.
The problem with ecommerce is simple - Especially with the 'recession' (or what ever it is), more and more people are turning to trying to sell stuff on the internet, so competition these days continues to increase. I even have close relatives who have come to me recently knowing how well I have done over the years. Now they're 'hungry' (several are out of work) and want to get into the "Work from Home and Make Million$" 'business'. One is very mad because he got into an affiliate thing and has a site to sell (of all things) jewelery and he pays for "Visibility". He expects them to get him on the first page of a Google search for "Jewelery". I tried to explain to him that his competition is so great it isn't going to happen. Maybe in 5 years or so, but it doesn't happen over night. I just told him what I believe: He missed the "Gold Rush". I've been doing this for about 15 years. I've watched sites come and go. Mine just continue on, doing better and better every year.
Google hasn't hurt businesses. Those who believe that just don't understand business and/or have unrealistic expectations, and most feel Google *owes* them something (mainly 1st page listings and traffic). Google doesn't 'owe' anyone anything.
I am happy to see that there are quite a few posts in this thread that point to the fact that many businesses fail due to their business model/plan. A first cousin called me recently and asked for advice. I told him to come over for 2 or 3 days and I'd try to explain how this all works. He did come over for a day, but I lost his interest early on when I brought up Powerpoint (easy for me to do basic flow charts and such in) and said: "OK - Let's make a business plan for what you want to do". From that point on he simply lost interest. He didn't come back. He did call and said he has to "Think about it" for a while. The bottom line is when I brought up making a business plan and to start simply ascertaining the viability (aka the 'reality') of his idea, he had no thought that very few people can just start up a business with no plans. We've all seen the ads: "Make Money From Home". He was falling for the meme.
And... SEO these days is of less importance in listings. It's simply harder to game the system (so to speak - remember how easy it was to make "Google Bombs" through links?). Considering how many websites are online now (many if not most "cookie cutter" template sites), competition is seriously increasing. Having a site with great SEO is no longer a significant advantage.
In my case, I know why I have consistently increasing traffic and listings - Many years online and making sure my communities are 'clean' and well maintained.