The Good Old Days?

by Rob on March 12, 2013

The Good Old DaysAs you know the internet changes rapidly.

Many profitable strategies that worked 5 years ago no longer work today.

Equally, what works today may not be viable in 1-2 years time.

I’ve noticed this can cause a lot of anxiety and worries for many people, especially those that are starting out with their online businesses.

Actually, when I began in 2010 I also worried about whether I’d “missed the boat” and if it was really possible to achieve success.

Today, I am fortunate to have the benefit of hindsight so let’s explode the myth of the “Good Old Days” by first looking at some common concerns that I’ve heard from people:   

Concern 1: “I’m too late. The internet gold rush is over”

Well, which gold rush are they referring too?

Today, a lot of people look back to the good old days as being the mid 2000s. But at that time others were having the same worries and looking back to the late 90s as being the real gold rush.

Although I wasn’t involved in the internet in the early 2000s I do remember a lot of comments about the internet being a flash in the pan and that the party was over. Perhaps you remember this too?

And look what has happened since!

Seriously, Facebook, Google and Amazon are merely teenagers. There’s a lot of growing to do and, as you probably know, online sales are increasing massively every year (including information products like eBooks), even during the recession!

Concern 2: “SEO is dead”

Well I agree with this one!

This year, in 2013, we are seeing a lot of internet marketing products along the lines of “SEO is dead, long live SEO!”.

Yes, many people are milking it because they know that SEO and “getting on page 1 of Google” training appeals to newcomers who think it’s the best way of getting visitors to your website.

In some cases, such as local business marketing where you are ranking a local plumber for “plumbers in Durango” then it is still a VERY good method. Equally, if you are a medium/large corporate with a marketing budget it makes sense to allocate some of it to SEO.

But for the average person starting a business from home? In 95% of cases SEO is the wrong strategy.

If you’ve followed me for any length of time you’ll already know this and that generally speaking I dislike SEO. I spent 8 months working at it in 2010 with almost no results whatsoever.

As you can imagine, after that experience I thought SEO was dead then so I definitely agree it’s dead now!

So if it’s dead, is this a problem?

Absolutely not.

As we’ve talked about many times here on the blog there are loads of other traffic methods (free and paid) that you can use to drive stacks of visitors to your sites.

Concern 3: “Paid traffic is too expensive now”

There were strategies in the mid 2000s that a lot of people made a lot of money with.

For example, using Google Ads (i.e., Adwords) to drive traffic to the sales pages of affiliate products.

But if you think about it this example isn’t really a business. It’s just an arbitrage: You aren’t creating products, giving away helpful information or building a list of customers. Instead you’re just moving traffic from Google to a sales page and making a profit.

So it’s hardly surprising that this didn’t last. Advertising costs rose as more and more people jumped onboard and the profits disappeared.

Adwords, like any advertising, is entirely viable. It’s just that you need to ensure that you have the right offers that generate a high enough customer value.

Evergreen methods

The overall point really with the concerns that we’ve been discussing here is that individual internet strategies (like SEO, paid traffic arbitrage, etc) come and go but the principles of business and marketing remain constant and effective.

The only thing you need to do is to keep up to date with how this is implemented on the internet. That’s what we talk about here on the GHG blog and if you embrace the changes it’s an awful lot of fun too!

As mentioned previously, business on the internet continues to grow so please don’t ever think you’ve missed the boat.

Plus when people think of the “good old days” they sometimes forget that things like web hosting, site design and graphics were incredibly expensive and required a lot of technical knowledge. Today, the startup costs are tiny and you need almost no technical knowledge whatsoever.

There’s never been a better time to get stuck in and moving with your business!

Agree, disagree? Please Like and Tweet if you enjoyed this and let me know your thoughts below… Cheers, Rob :-)

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

John Banks

Pheww!! I was about to jack it all in then…

Only joking, great post. I remember when you could drive traffic straight to squeeze pages from Adwords and like you say, no surprise it has gone. I think technology and the Internet is evolving faster than ever now. There are plenty of ways to make money online if you have the correct path and guidance.

I still also think people don’t know about what it is exactly Internet Marketers do. Marketing is the key skill here, websites are becoming easier to build, software and plugins can be made for a few hundred bucks. For me its just about the personal touch and the interaction. People like people and they will buy from trusted sources no matter what it is to some degree.

People also need to look outside the box a bit more. For example, I was at work today and someone said to me “if I could sell all the powerpoint presentations I have made I would be rich” – I replied, “why dont you then” What followed was my inout on how he could do this. “No way – nobody would buy them……”

We all know that providing the information was of value – of course people would buy them.

I think there is plenty of life left yet.
Regards,
John

Reply

Rob

Excellent points John and I especially like the Powerpoint example!

Great to hear your thought :-)

Cheers,

Rob

Reply

Laurie

Hi Rob.

Another excellent post.

I’m glad you mentioned that SEO is still OK for local businesses:)

That is my focus for the longer term now – local businesses. I’m going to close my http://www.easyincomebooster.com website soon and move over to my new site in progress http://www.blogsforbusinesses.com
My focus will be streamlined rather than concentrating on a number of subjects, which has previously been the case.

You’ve been realistic in highlighting the fact that we can view some of the major players as being teenagers just now – a good analogy!

It’s good that you’ve added encouraging comments re getting stuck in now and I think folks who were sitting on the fence will be inspired to take action now, following on from your comments.

You always manage to make these posts interesting!

All the best,

Laurie.

Reply

Rob

Hey Laurie,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this and great to see you are getting stuck in yourself.

If this post can inspire some others too then it will be more than worth it!

Cheers,

Rob

Reply

John

Rob, I think you sum this up very well and I for one would not be sorry to see the back of SEO.I wasn’t raised with computers, so it took me longer to come to terms with things, like Internet Marketing, but looking back the marketing stategies certainly were a bit antiquated, so not so “good old days”. I can safely say that learning how to do it properly has been made more attainable, thanks to knowledgeable people like yourself and although the scammers are still out there, I like to think they are finding people are much more aware of their tactics.
I only hope I can be as forthright and offer real value, as you do.
Best wishes,
John

Reply

Rob

Hi John,

Well said and I am not sorry to see the demise of SEO (or at least as we know it) either!

Cheers,

Rob

Reply

Steven Stuart

Hey Rob,

I think there,s never been a better time to get involved with online businesses.

It always comes down to basic sound marketing practices that never go out of style

Thanks, Rob. – Steve

Reply

Rob

Hi Steve,

Spot on and thank you for commenting!

Cheers,

Rob

Reply

Ken

Hi Rob
Once again your strengths come to the fore…I mean specifically your building of relationships as demonstrated by the interest your blogs inspire.
If, as is often the case, I want to get people to visit my site, I go back over your blogs to look into traffic strategies.
I’m glad that SEO is not so powerful now because I feel that I’ve wasted a lot of time getting into the html of my pages and playing about with meta tags etc., so I don’t want to bother any more with that.
I’m going to use your traffic escalator method because it looks to be sensible.

Thanks for inspiring confidence
Ken

Reply

Rob

Hi Ken,

Yes there’s actually a ton of info on the past posts here – I forget myself sometimes!

I think it’s still worth getting basic on page SEO set up as it is very quick to do and does no harm. However, I certainly wouldn’t recommend SEO as the main traffic source in 95% of cases. It’s just to slow, costly (with all the tools you need) and unreliable.

Cheers,

Rob

Reply

Voilet

Hey Rob

Glad to hear your thoughts Rob. I am startiing over as I had a problem
with my Internet mentor. I have just started a new website with
a new mentor. I am just starting to learn the traffic strategies.
What advise would you give to me as during my lessons today it was
been stressed about the importance of SEO to drive traffic?

Talk soon

Voilet

Reply

Rob

Hi Violet,

Glad to hear you are still carrying on, never give up!

My advice really on traffic is on this blog and in Gain Higher Ground Membership. Obviously, it is my advice from my own experience and what works for me. Others will of course have different views and that’s fine.

With a mentor and other training I’d just try to ensure what they are teaching you is what they are actually using themselves.

I hope that helps!

Kind regards,

Rob.

Reply

Ken

Hi Rob
I ticked the notify box below just to see what happened. I don’t know who pens the replies (you or a colleague) but I’m sure it must be labour intensive if this applies to all past blogs.
Since I regularly re-cap on your past output I’m not going to tick the box in future.
Sorry that this is just a general comment.

Regards
Ken

Reply

Rob

Hi Ken,

That’s fine – you’ll receive updates when someone else publishes a comment on this post.

Cheers!

Rob

P.S. It is me replying, everything on this blog and all my products are my own work :-)

Reply

JohnTheJock

Hi Rob,

For once I have to disagree with you.

SEO is not dead, it’s just different.

It used to be so easy to game the system, but now we have to be less aggressive with our backlinking, write longer articles (400 words doesn’t cut it anymore) and it’s fair to say that keyword density is becoming non-essential.

EMDs still have their place, and writing for people and not the search engines is the way to go.

Oh, and I found this out the hard way :-)

Reply

Rob

Hi John,

Thank you for an alternative point of view!

I like to push my experiences and views on this blog but of course I know that’s only my perspective and I respect yours too.

Hope to see you here again soon :-)

Cheers,

Rob.

Reply

John Banks

Whilst I appreciate this is not an SEO post – I do still feel that SEO has its place. You say in 95% of cases SEO is the wrong strategy for new startup businesses at home. Obvioulsy this depends what the business is….

Sure, some things you are not going to compete with. But, if you write a blog for example then targeting some long-tail keywords is a good idea. New comers will not have a big list to reach out too and will rely on traffic from any sources.

It may not be huge, but writing posts that target low competition long tail keywords will bring in organic traffic for some time.

I am a blogger and whilst I am not a massive fan of SEO either, I do still target keywords and I do get organic traffic from Google. I has taken time to get to this stage though.

Just my two cents.
John

Reply

IanWhite

Hi Rob,

Things change …. my first online business was started in 1999 in the ‘Gold Rush’ days of VC money.

There was no Google, no Bing, no AutoResponders, blogging platforms were in their infancy and virtually no-one had thought of blogging as a realistic way of making a full-time living.

There was no point in ‘doing’ SEO as there were no Search Engines!!!

I think the point that Rob was trying to make was that SEO, the art of Optimizing Your Website for Search Engines, has evolved and is not the ‘be all and end all’ that it once was when the Search Engines finally come into prominence.

In the beginning there was ‘Black Hat’ methods such as cramming 100′s of your keywords into your page but colouring them white so the customer couldn’t see them but Google spiders could.

More recently there was Article Marketing … write an article and back-link it from 1000′s of useless, pointless sites.

Thankfully Google itself has matured (a little) and has finally realised that good quality, relevant content drives customers to sites … after all, this is what customers want.

So Rob’s right when he says ‘SEO is dead’ in the traditionally understood meaning of the term.

But the art of Optimizing your site for Search Engines is still the same as it’s ever been …. provide your customers / searchers with what they’re looking for.

But as a business owner you’ve got to be sensible.

Don’t go throwing Adwords money at generic terms such as ‘weight-loss’ or ‘make-money’ or branded names such as Apple or Chanel etc … it’s the fastest way to the poor house.

In other words if your business DOES revolve around the weight-loss, make-money or branded goods niche then don’t rely on SEO as a FAST way to attract traffic. You may make some slow progress eventually but don’t expect instant success.

That’s the key point I think Rob was trying to make.

However, as John pointed out, if your business is based around the keywords such as ‘Experienced Plumber in Solihull, West Midlands’ or ‘Indian Threading in Nantwich, Crewe’ then you CAN pick off the ‘low-hanging fruit’ with SEO for long-tail terms such as these and you should expect and see FAST results.

I’m sure in the next few years something will change again but the fundamentals will remain the same:

1. Find a Product or Service
2. Have a place to sell it
3. Have a reason for people to visit that place.
4. Sell to them.
5. Go to Step 1 and repeat.

It hasn’t changed since the first days of Mail Order in the 1800′s …. did people consider those the ‘Good Ol Days’? ;)

Regards
Ian

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