Like a lot of other people, my websites have lost significant SERP rankings which lead to lower traffic volumes and ultimately less income. I have about 40-50 niche websites on topics such as apple products, laptops, monitors, cameras etcÖ Panda did nothing to my sites but I was hit by Penguin, HARD. My sites received about 13,000 unique visitors a day and now itís down to 3,000-4,000. The revenue has gone down from $150-200 a day to $20-30. Thatís crazy!
I started niche websites 4 years ago and Iíve been pretty successful. For the first 2 years I was also working as the online marketing manager for a major company making $65k. I quit my job in January 2011 and started my own corporation in June 2011 (for tax reasons). I hired 5 V.A. doing full time work which I trained (2 left now). 40-50 websites, each site has about 30-70 pages of content (Articles by V.A.ís are of moderate quality). For backlinks, I did use article directories quite a bit, a little bit of comment links, social media but nothing black hat and never used any automation. 20% of the sites were making 80% of the revenue and even the big authority sites have been hit by freaking Penguin. My biggest site has 1500 Facebook fans (only bought 300) and 1400 Twitter followers (800 bought). Yes I admit my sites are medium quality but until better sites come along, they deserve to be ranked in the top 3 for the targeted keywords. The winners in my industries are all major retail websites so theyíll be VERY HARD to overtake in the rankings. The small guys get smaller while the big guys get bigger.
Iíve really been unlucky. I say ďluckĒ because Iíve seen deserving websites loses ranks and bad websites increase rank with no clear explanation. Iím sure Google is aware that Penguin has hit some good deserving websites and is working on a fix. Ultimately, the best website will be ranked first. Thatís Googleís priority and mission statement. So your site has to best answer your targeted topic to be ranked #1 (in theory).
I was making $50k-80k per year, I bought a condo and a car (which I finished paying) and have $60k savings in the bank. I currently live in Melbourne, Australia and my girlfriend makes enough money for both of us (I still make $1000 a month), so Iím not freaking out yet. I know Iím lucky but I must use this opportunity to start something good for the long term. So what now? Do I just keep working on my 40-50 websites and improve them; better content and better link profiles? Do I start new websites from scratch? (My newer niche websites are actually doing much better!) Do I use my $60k to venture into another business? What now?
Iím sure youíve heard about SpaceX which just launched a shuttle into space to meet up with the International Space Station. CEO of this company is Elon Musk (https://twitter.com/#!/elonmusk) and I love his story! Born in South Africa where he grew up, studied in Canada & USA, he founded PayPal which turned him into a billionaire and he used his money to launch SpaceX. He also founded Telsa and SolarCity. Heís an entrepreneur and genius engineer. Iron manís character is based on Elon Musk and part of the movie was filmed in the SpaceX factory. Everything he touches turns into gold! That guy is amazing! Anyways, reading his story motivates me and makes me want to be part of something special! I need to find a new project. Now I just need the idea!
If I had a product to sell or something to promote (in which I truly believe), then I would like to invest myself into this new project! Iíd really get involved and apply all my knowledge to the productís commercial success. Instead of working on 40-50 websites, Iíd only take care of one. Itís almost impossible to be #1 on 40-50 topics. Maybe I should consider flipping websites? I think Iíve heard of a website which helps entrepreneurs find partners to help their business grow? Must look into it!
If youíve been hit by Penguin, Panda or other nasty animals of the sort, then that sucks but donít give up! Think long and hard about your next steps and follow the path in which you are willing to totally devote yourself. You need to show your idea, project or website(s) some LOVE! Be passionate and devoted! Only then will you be able to differentiate yourself and dominate your industry. This could be a new opportunity opening up! When Pat Flynn got fired from his architect job, he launched the very successful smartpassiveincome.com. There are numerous other success stories such as Patís.
Iíd like to be able to say, ďBecause of stupid Penguin, I started XYZ Inc. which has become a real success!Ē Iím a bit of a dreamer but dreaming is important to keep your morale strong! The world is so vast and the internet makes it even bigger! Thereís definitely a cool project out there for you which has LOADS of potential. You need to think long term and micro niche websites isnít a long term business model. Boy I would have liked to be part of the Instagram team who recently got bought by Facebook for $1 billion.
The world is changing and you must change with it not to get left behind. You are master of your own fate! Now MAKE IT HAPPEN! ;-)