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Is SEO + adsense a viable business model

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

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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.
9:02 am on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

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The chances of you creating one website delivering what you describe is remote, the chances of one person creating 5 more similiar sites which all deliver the bacon within 12months is zero.

This is a pipedream stuff best posted on the WarriorForum - I understand they have some surefire penguin proof link schemes btw ;)

Scanning this thread is interesting, the predominant theme is that Google considers all internet traffic as it's own, Panda and Penguin have done a great deal of damage, getting above the fold is difficult and getting above the google noise is also difficult.
10:23 am on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

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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.

agree with huskypup...
don't depend on google (not for earning from adsense and also not for traffic)...
they will destroy you and ruin all your hard effort....
2:36 pm on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

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It's viable but definitely not easy. First and foremost it is not stable enough to rely your entire life on it. Would you bet your mortgage on a "changing" business? It is "almost" the same as going to become a professional poker player for income. You will have good days and bad days, but if you are really really good, you will have positive days most of the time.

Persistence and a bit of dumb luck is the key.

Ranking sites and adsense is more or less the same.

I think a common theme that everyone is trying to get at is:

diversify your traffic sources.
diversify your income sources.

Pure traffic from google and adsense is viable because their market share is pretty big. But it's definitely not for the weak. And by "limiting" yourself to google traffic and adsense only, you are actually leaving out 20~40% of additional potential income on the table. So it's really a lose-lose situation.

Nevertheless, google traffic and adsense is definitely a "good" starting point before you become big enough, creative enough, and knowledgeable enough to tackle other areas of the business.

ps: I am one of the player that delivered the 0 chances that driller41 described. However, I did not satisfy with just adsense. And the bad days still give me stomach and head aches. I also do plenty of tests with other CPM and affiliate networks to hit the sweet spot between advertising and website useability. I worked my butt creating my own unique content and I worked my butt off on the webmaster side as well.
4:01 pm on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Just my two cents, I don't know how viable this business model is anymore, back in the day it was fairly easy to create a site and make it profitable almost instantly with adsense. Now it seems CPC has gone so much that 3x the traffic is required to make the same amount you would have just a few years ago.

Personally what I have done is to create a few sites and let them earn whatever they will earn with adsense while I work my day job. Obviously its not enough for me to quit my day job but having some extra each month is nice and when I have a good month its like a bonus.

One of my sites got absolutely killed by Panda, so I kind of threw my hands up and decided I wouldn't work on it anymore, so now I got very little traffic from google but my referrals from other sources have increased to the point where I actually have more traffic than I did pre-Panda.
4:43 pm on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Maybe if you strip down nekid, glue kittens to your entire body then video yourself being sprayed with molasses then tarred and feathered you'd have a viral site that would get a billion visits in 24 hours. Stupid works in this world. Seriously, though...don't do that.
8:13 pm on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Oh, backdraft7, you KNOW someone's gotta try that now. :D
9:00 pm on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

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What would you run for ads..CPM obviously :)..but what..seriously..just askin'..adsense wouldn't approve it..
10:49 pm on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

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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

Sadly so true. I only monetised my sites with Amazon back in 1998 when increasing traffic costs were getting beyond me.

AdSense when it came along was a pure "super bonus" for me.

Of course since the advent of Panda and the Zoo? Well if Mr. Google regards the sites you described as now rubbish, then so be it.
11:04 pm on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Go for it, the worst it could happen is creating very good sites that rank well, Adsense aside.

It's really difficult, there are members here that I'm familiar with who contributed a lot with the knowledge on the forum, great info, great advice, great stuff... and I can see several of them struggling now with Adsense after something failed.

Good luck, work hard, let's see what happens.
11:57 pm on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I actually showed 2 examples of what i consider to be mfa sites. However, I'll be creating sites that will give additional, unique value in the form of

I'll be using adsense to monetize the resulting traffic because
it pays the highest
easy to implement
google wont be out of business next week

I understand the idea of focusing on a single site. However, i feel that smaller (~20 pages) niche sites are safer than large sites (~100 pages) because large sites are prone to be hit by panda and content theft.
1:20 am on May 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Just make sure you're doing something nobody else is doing better.
3:37 am on May 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

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My only advice to you would be to think 'many baskets'

Much like netmeg mentioned, having a stable job, some businesses, and other areas of promise, and working all of them until you see some areas which you can really capitalize on, is the mantra of 2013.

Unless of course you are game to creat another over-funded start-up that's dead in 14 months. :)
6:37 pm on May 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

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^^^ actually that's what i wish to do eventually. I have a few startup ideas including a niche directory and niche B2B SAAS. However, both these ventures will require funding and i hope to raise the money from online content publishing.
7:39 pm on May 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

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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.

I think that is quite doable, but don't quit the day job unless you have other income streams, or until you have enough saved up where you can live off your investments.

The best experience is probably just trial and error and studying the serps. Most people making a lot from blogs and web sites aren't really going to post their business models online or write books about it. It would invite too much competition.
3:50 pm on May 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Arafay - I agree with everything HuskyPup said right after your initial post. I used to make $2500 a month without breaking a sweat. It went on for 5+ years, then one day Google decided I did something against their terms of service and terminated my account. I fought it and got nowhere except b.s. automated responses. Many years ago, I actually had a "live" person that would assist me with questions. You are propsing a very fragile business model. If and when Google terminates your account, your alternatives will pay close to nothing (InfoLinks? Chitika? etc..?). There is also the reality, that Google will suddenly start paying you less and less per click/view. (Smart pricing I think they called it). Smart for Google ONLY... Honestly, at the end of the day if you want passive income, buy some rental properties.
3:28 pm on May 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I'll add another problem with the model -- competition.

I made the mistake of launching a site five years ago in a category that already had plenty of competition. It has grown by huge leaps since then.

Your idea may be possible if you can find a niche with weak competition. But there aren't many left.
9:06 pm on May 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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yes i understand that adsense can ban you anytime. However, any affiliate/ad network could do (and in fact have done) the same. Look at amazon and how they stopped their affiliate program in some states.

The plan is to start with adsense and get some money flowing before trying other stuff. Ideally id like to sell adspace directly to advertisers. Niche sites can also use a pay per lead model. Generating just 10 leads/month, and selling them at $50 each, gets me $500/month. I believe the real challenge is to find the right niche market and everything else should fall into place.

Anyway thank you all for your suggestions and advice. Despite a lot of negative feedback, I have decided to pursue this model and will start in June with two websites. I'll update this thread with the initial results in October 2013.
12:09 pm on Nov 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

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any findings with your test? )
12:36 pm on Nov 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Disclaimer: I know this thread is old, but somebody bumped it.

Despite what the naysayers say, It's entirely possible to make a living off from a site that uses Adsense. You don't even have to focus on the SEO part. I put all my energy into content creation, and it's paying off quite well.

Should you be sensible? Yes! If you want to quit your full time job, use your Adsense earnings to build up a year of salary first. Also consider having more than one site, each with a different niche just to diversify. If things start going south, you have other sites that will (hopefully) still be providing you income. If all else fails you have a year to find a job and get back to work.

Just my 2 cents.
11:51 am on Nov 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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As eeek2121 says: entirely possible.

I get a 5-figure payment monthly (thank Adsense - love ya!) and work with other publishers with 4-5 figure monthly incomes .

You definitely need to work smarter/harder now than you used to. With Google coming down heavily on sites using any promotional methods they don't agree with it is smart to diversify traffic sources, build loyalty etc rather than some of the more 'traditional' ways of tackling niche sites.

Same goes on the AdSense front: You used to be able to keep turning to screw to increase CTR without any downside. Now you need to much more mindful of customer experience if you don't want to see either traffic of CPC dropping off a cliff.
6:46 pm on Nov 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Well, for me it works, SEO + Adsense.
Simply said: you need good SEO to bring you visitors. A lot of visitors make Adsense work.
( at least for me it does )

Some remarks:
- Better to put all your energy in 1 project that is king, than to divide it in 10 small ones.
I have 1 big site that generates 95% of my income.
- Adsense / Google is unstable. In january I lost 35% of my income , since 4 weeks ago, I earn 40% more.
I optimize for seo, and also for Adsense ( even more). Ad size, ad colors, ad location, it can all impact the earnings a lot.
- most important of all: I do optimize for SEO and for Adsense, but my focus is to make a great site for my visitors.
Without visitors you have nothing, so take care of them really good.
Give them what they are looking for.
Put new content on your site daily.
Make them come back and spread the word.
Make them love your site. And then a lot is possible.

I'm not in a high paying niche (au contraire) but the mass volume of visitors does the trick for me.
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