AlyssaS - 12:42 am on Oct 25, 2011 (gmt 0)
It does not matter if you spent 5000 hours and $5 million dollars to create your site. That part is done. You have a site and the money is well spent hopefully on creating a good site.
Now you have to get traffic to your site. You can pay for it via AdWords and other places, you can have great links from other sites or you can get organic traffic. When I refer to "Free Money" it is the organic traffic I am talking about
They arn't talking about time and money spent creating their site, travelin cat. They are talking about time and money spent trying to manipulate G's proprietary algo!
There's a divide on this thread between those who started a decade ago or more, like yourself, and those who started a few years ago.
In the early days of the net, you set up your site, networked like mad trying to build a "loyal readership", which involved exchanging blogroll links and commenting, building subscription readers, and so on. And if someone linked to you and sent you traffic and a) you hadn't solicited the link and b) hadn't paid for the traffic, it was "free traffic".
I remember thinking "OMG, Google likes me and has linked to me and sent me traffic!" and there was a giddy sense of bounty. I had no idea that I had featured on their radar because of all the networking and consequent linking that was taking place, I knew diddly squat back then. I also had the "free traffic" feeling when people dugg my articles or stumbled them. I've still got a screenshot on my hard drive of my stats for this miraculous moment when I got 8000 hits in an hour because something I wrote was current, and I kept admiring it from time to time, and emailed the image to my mom! It was a very big deal back then. I still get the "free traffic" feeling when I get a rush of hits from Facebook because someone somewhere has shared my stuff.
But it's now late 2011, and when people talk about working hard for their traffic they mean "I've busted my gut writing and spinning articles and creating profiles and guest posting and whatnot to manipulate G's algo. Dammit, I've worked for this traffic!"
And they have worked. But it is still a flawed business model. Perhaps not because people shouldn't rely on "free traffic" but because people should realise that basing your whole existence on trying to manipulate a proprietary algo on someone else's website, over which you have no control, might end in tears.
The black hatters have a more realistic view of the world - they know that at any time their sites may lose traffic because they are essentially being parasites on someone else's platform, and they ride the wave. White hatters are also being parasites on someone else's platform, but they don't realise it, and hence the crash hurts more.