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Again, it just seems strange that your ranking would go so low, so quickly, without a reason for it.
No change in adsense ads or CPM or even conversion. Simply a matter of hundreds of my pages going from 1-6 position to 20+ position.
With real recent changes in the serps, I wouldn't worry for a few days, maybe even a week or two.
That sort of thing has happened to me a few times, and my ranking has often returned by the time the update ends. But it can be nerve racking.
During an update of any kind is not the time to start fiddling around with anything. Updates, even minor ones, are just too fluid, you need to let them settle out before deciding what to do next.
But quiting a paying job and relying on Adsense income is a pretty risky thing to do if you need the money to live on.
It would be better to develop a group of other income streams from your site, like affiliates, independant ad income, etc, before dumping the day job.
That way if any one of them goes belly up you're not out panhandling for breakfast money the next morning.
Just having a job and relying on the income is also a risky thing to do.
But you are correct -
"It would be better to develop a group of other income streams from your site, like affiliates, independant ad income, etc, before dumping the day job."
Also look for external income sources - stocks, mutual funds, real estate, etc. Get as much money to work for you as possible.
Also lower the risk by relying less on an income. In other words choose a lifestyle that does not eat up your income from month to month. In other words no debt. No credit card debt, no house payment, no car payment, no loans, etc. Just the basics - food, water, gas, electric, insurance, clothing...
Save 6 months to 1 year of income just in case. Give yourself some room to recover/find a job if something happens.
Without a 'job' you are living by your own skills, making your own money and living your own life. The benefits of which vastly outweigh the downturns when you are not earning what you would have done working for someone else.
If you actually thought that being self-employed on adsense/affiliate income was going to be a walk in the park then you were definitely looking at things through rose coloured spectacles.
So true. But it is a walk in the park if you don't really NEED the money.
As far as brewing beer and making wine, that takes me back to some fun days of making mead (honey brew).
My heart goes out to you bro. I went thru the exact same thing during the last G updates. Fortunately my income as a contracted webmaster helps big time.
Try not to let it get you down too much. You said it yourself, that you didn't pay much attention to link exchange. So just correct that one thing and keep building and learning. You'll be fine. Don't forget about MSN, AV and others. They send great traffic as well.
I could easily live off my Adsense income yet since my Adsense income could be lost at any time I don't feel I can quit my job.
Since I therefore have two jobs (Adsense and my regular job) I have disposible income at a level I didn't have before. I've paid off some debt years before I ever imagined I could. Adsense really has enhanced my life.
At the same time even though I'm in this great situation (enjoy my website work and generate income from it) since there is always the potential for an Adsense "fraudulent clicks" problem (from others both well meaning and hateful) I pretty much keep my mouth shut to others about these great things in my life.
It's like I have two lives.
As far as i understand, reciprical links are now discounted and will no longer boost your positions. Only natural one way inbound links are counted now.
I don't believe this is true. If anything, G now puts less weight on recips and more on one-ways, but it still seems to be that recips help a bit. I think the links that now mean almost nothing in terms of helping your rankings are recip links between unrelated pages (like an exchange between real estate and truck parts sites). Of course, one-ways from closely related pages will always be ideal, but seriously, other than directories and the few true authority sites out there, how realistic is that? G knows it, too. Every time I exchange links with a closely related site, it always helps my rankings... never hurts.
In the last two days my traffic has been cut in half due to the latest Google update. Now i'm where I was nine months ago income wise and can only double my efforts and explore other things, popups affiliates to try and climb the ladder again.
I've had the same thing happen. Went from $250 a day last month to just under $100 today. Google dropped my two biggest sites from #1 in the SERPs to page 2 and 4 respectively. You like to think that when you work hard to create quality information sites, they ought to rank higher than the commercial sites with nothing more than a generic item description and a shopping cart, but alas, not always. Of course, that doesn't mean there won't be shuffles and we'll come back on top with the next update.
There's nothing wrong with quitting your job for this stuff (I did); you just have to be smart about it and pay down your debt first and then sock away enough in savings that you could live a while if you suddenly had your income halved or taken away. That's what people who have real jobs are supposed to do, too... It's a lot less upsetting when you lose your job (or your search engine rankings) when you have investments and 6 months living expenses in the bank.
(Of course, none of this means I'm not going to bust my butt trying to get my income back =)
I´m living on about half of what my income is (post tax), and socking away the rest for a rainy day.
I've heard that people in the US save less and less every year, relying instead on credit cards should anything happen, but in our line of business I think that saving should be a cornerstone of your financial habits.
I just tweaked my site to do better in other search engines and worked on getting links(ones that actually send visitors) like crazy. Sites are doing great now, even if Google completely drops me from SERPS, I'll barely feel it since only about 4% of my visitors now come from Google.
Yahoo is sending me about twice as many visitors as Google. MSN, ask Jeeves, and a bunch of other small engines also add up.
Also, other people's message boards and a couple I started myself. One very popular board(not mine, one I established a relationship with) is my 3rd highest refferer, behind direct entry and Yahoo.
Links from related sites, 1000s of them. These add up, offer incentives for prominent links, send them hits, they send you hits.
That about covers it.