Build My Rank has been good to me. They’ve ranked my sites for years. It was easy, it was hands-off (I used an outsourcer), it worked. Until some time last night, my time. I woke to find this:
Unfortunately, this morning, our scripts and manual checks have determined that the overwhelming majority of our network has been de-indexed (by Google), as of March 19, 2012. Read more here
I wasn’t having a good day yesterday – seriously questioning what I was doing online and trying to figure out a new direction. Wizzley wasn’t living up to expectations, I was stuck in a funk of self-doubt and analysis paralysis.
When I read the post above I expected myself to freak out. Oddly I didn’t. I know this means I’ve probably lost two sites which I’ve aggressively used BMR on – the same two sites which I’d just received the dreaded “notice of detected unnatural links” message in Google Webmaster Tools.
Or maybe not.
The more I think about this the more I see the opportunities. I finally know what I’m going to be doing over the next few months.
First I’m not going to be doing anything Google would like me to do – so I will NOT be:
I won’t be removing “unnatural links” to my two sites.
I won’t be asking Google for reinclusion so they can run comparative stats and see which sites I removed.
I won’t be removing content from BMR for the same reason.
I’m not a conspiracy theorist – but I firmly believe that Google is playing a really two-faced game these days. Google does what Google needs to do to make it, not your or me, money. Although I don’t like this guy’s taste in MMO products – he’s spot on in this post about Google’s hypocrisy.
Google Still Counts Links
The mass de-indexing of BMR PROOVES that links still matter. I mean why deindex something that makes no difference! In fact THANK YOU Google for de-indexing BMR – now I know those links weren’t working (which I was beginning to suspect).
So all Google’s huffing and puffing about social indicators and quality content – yeah may help – but links is still where its at! I can’t believe they actually de-indexed the network though. Crazy – they could have just quietly devalued the links – would have been far more effective!
Build My Rank Does The Right Thing
And thank you the people behind BMR – because you are nice people. You’re not the first network to be hit – but you are the first that I know of who is offering pro rata refunds for the current month, will pay out affiliates before shutting the doors, and, this is the biggie – are offering to return user’s posts! Hell, some networks who have been de-indexed have even kept on trading!
If you are a BMR member this is what you should do:
cancel your subscription with Paypal for BMR (BMR can’t do for you AFAIK);
keep an eye on their blog for when they release the tool to download your articles (unless of course you kept a copy of all your BMR posts on your hard-drive – yeah me to!);
give in a few weeks and then quietly use that content either on other networks, or on your own network. (After all, its de-indexed now – not duplicate content!)
EDIT: JUST TO REPEAT IN BOLD – IF YOU GET A MESSAGE ABOUT UNNATURAL LINKS BUILDING WMT DON’T REPLY TO IT AND REMOVE ANY DOUBT! ITS AN AUTOMATED BOT MESSAGE IGNORE IT!
If your response to my title was WTF is Postrunner – then check out my earlier post. If you are a member of The Keyword Academy you will know that Postrunner is system used with TKA in order to create keyword anchored links for your sites.
I’ve compared to BuildMyRank to Postrunner – and Mark is now trying to differentiate Postrunner from BuildMyRank and similar schemes.
His argument is that Postrunner needs to evolve:
needs “better quality” sites in Postrunner.
the reason more “quality” sites aren’t in Postrunner is because of the “quality” of the articles being sent to them.
his proposed solution is an author scoring system which will reward the writers (or buyers) of superior articles.
The Argument About “Quality” Articles
As soon as the thread started in the forum the predictable grammar Nazi’s (Nazis’? Nazis’s ??) were out in force. Too many trailing commas – FAIL. Use of nonstandard spellings FAIL. To be fair to Mark, in the seminar he specifically mentioned that he wasn’t concerned about grammar and spelling problems, he was more worried about the articles being relevant and having a point.
Its all looking like this will be seen, by many, most of whom haven’t hit the $10/month income level yet, in the community, as an opportunity to FAIL all of those authors who use too many commas in a sentence…
I have two sites in Postrunner at the moment – one is a niche, passion quality site, the other one is a general site full of trashy Postrunner articles, which I just put back in during the webinar yesterday – inside 12 hours I have received over 7 articles.
What I Look For When I Get Postrunner Articles on My Quality Postrunner Site
I put my Independent Travel site into Postrunner – basically to get content when I couldn’t be arsed writing, and to see what keywords people were trying to rank for in the travel niche – a niche that is my passion but pays me very, very poorly. Now it gets about 2/3 posts a week – which is a nice number. I reject at least a third of those. So this is how to get your well-written, gramatically perfect article declined from my site.
The site linked out to – only consists of a “hello world” post (seriously its happened).
If the site linked to is a general postrunner site, or similar article directory – this is a new automatic DECLINE I picked up from Build My Rank.
The 2 anchored links are in the the last words in the article – normally on separate lines -I don’t know who the hell is teaching this – its certainly not TKA – but please stop it – it looks stupid and its a loser for SEO duh!
The two links are to the exact same page on the site being promoted (less of this seems to be happening these days).
Write about all-inclusive vacations – like duh! The site’s main keyword is not a secret! If you have glanced at the front-page you know I, and my readers, are not interested in all-inclusive vacations!
Write about timeshares – timeshares are IMHO (and its my site so my opinion rules) – an investment scam – not a holiday option. (Note to Mark – I would explain this to the timeshare peddlers if I could have a longer site requirements description).
Hmm note how I haven’t actually read the article yet -all I looked for was the links and followed them. If I have to actually rate the article for the author score you are adding work for no good purpose here…
Now the following points – won’t get you automatically declined – but a number of them together will:
The article is 301 words with 2 outbound links (doesn’t apply if there is only one link).
Site still has the default header image from the default WordPress theme.
If the site is selling a product but has only Adsense I am likely to reject the article.
If the site is using one of Court’s old SEO themes that have been done to death and are probably on G’s watch list.
The title and sometimes the entire article is only loosely related to the anchored text of the links. Let’s get real here people – I want to rank your article – its good for you, its good for me! After all I thought you WANTED an authorative link! So don’t give me an article about packing tips and then link to fashion bags for ladies! This is probably the hardest judgement call sometimes I will get an excellent article – but with a bland generic title – frankly I rewrite the title – so we can both benefit.
I rarely reject for grammar and/or spelling – sometimes I lightly edit. If its embarrassingly bad language which is hard to read I will reject – but I do it very rarely. Any automated grammar and spelling check would fail many of the perfectly good posts on the site – because some are written by native Englishmen, in fluent English, some in fluent American, some in fluent English written by non-native speakers – all of the English is acceptable – and the quality can be great – but no automated system will ever deal with the complexity and depth that is English – certainly not Google.
What I Look For On My General Postrunner Site
Within 10 hours of reinstating this site into Postrunner during yesterday’s webinar, I had 8 articles! Hand on heart I do NOT read every article. I scan – if its appears to make some sense, is not badly spun and relates to the anchored text I’ll take it.
I do however check every link – and reject any article whose site fails the first 4 points above! In other words – what the article links to is FAR more important to me than whether the nouns and adjectives are in agreement. I also reject any site promoting anything to do with owning or using firearms.
I will probably move this site to some other category – its starting to make money and I will focus on the niches that its ranking for.
Which is the Quality Site of These Two.
Well if you want passion and love and age – then midlifetravel.com is it – its my original site – its started off as an html site developed in Dreamweaver in 2007. Its been up in several forms over the years. It ranks #1 for my original keywords “travel over 30s” – unfortunately no one actually searches for the term LOL. Its a PR0. I keep it, I love it, I post to it and I link to it. However this is a hobby site not a real money making venture. Most of the content on it was written by me, a genuine expert, and has no outbound links.
The site that accepts practicably everything? Is just over a year old, has had very little link building to it (by me). Well its a PR2 and in the last month (when I published nothing new on it) made about $1/day – its on its way. I’ll start building out the content for which its already ranking for and adding more posts without outbound links on similar topics. In other words I will make it legitimate! Will I go back and fix the grammar and spelling -nope!
Still reading – you must be bored …
I have gotten a little fond of amplify. I started using it – because Griz did but I’ve found a use for it. I use it to share the stuff I find genuinely interesting (or funny) in the weird and evolving world of making an online income – if you already follow this blog on Facebook (like in the footer) you will get my amplified updates – but otherwise follow Lis Sowerbutts on amplify directly. It also allows me to tweet without ever going anywhere near twitter – all good!
Yeah I know – there are nearly 2 months left until the end of the year – but I am about to hit the road for a spot of independent travel so I will probably have more important things to do than to consider my business position – like spending the loot! Yeah I now make $1,110,223.21 a month in my sleep – and could too – if you would just sign up …
Total income of around US$3000/month – of which about 1/3 is passive;;
In the last 6 months (May – October) I earned an average of US$3500, the 6 months before that $3200, and the 6 months prior to that US$2156. My all time record was last month, October, where I was just $8 short of US$4000. The individual months bounce around but the general trend is definitely in the right direction. Still short of my US$5000/month goal – but not so far off as to be depressing.
But the really exciting bit is that in the last 6 months I have never had less than 40% of my income from passive sources (Adsense and affiliates) – the percentage jumped to 60% in October.
I’ve taken to looking at a rolling 3-month and 6-month average to predict my income and tax liabilities – it seems a much better indicator than just looking at my monthly income.
But there is downside. I don’t live in the US – I can’t spend $US – I have to convert them into NZ$ – and NZ dollar is now pushing 80c to the US$ – it at around 65c at the start of the year 🙁 . I can’t do anything about my Adsense income which is direct deposited at the day’s rate into my NZ account.
I can use my PayPal account as a US$ account – but I hate leaving too much money in there – I have heard way too many stories about people having PayPal accounts frozen for no good reason and they are not a bank so there is no protection for my money there (and yes there are protections for people’s bank deposits in my country).
Internet Marketing While Traveling or a Full Time Income While Working Two Days a Week
As I mentioned we are going travelling. Now I’ve thinking quite a bit about how I was going to manage the whole thing of working while I am travelling thing. Lets face when faced with a warm beach and cheap eats and booze in Thailand – what would motivate me to be working? Well yesterday I found that motivation.
Every week or so I run Market Samurai to update the rankings on my sites. I also keep an eye on Google Analytics to see what keywords people are using to find my sites. I haven’t put a new site up since April – but I wasn’t getting anywhere ranking most of the sites either. At the start of November I spent half a day finding the sites which were anywhere in the top 100 with a focus on the sites which were showing me nice cost per a clicks or where I was getting traffic but wasn’t in the top three yet.
In October I made record figures (for me) with both Adsense and eBay. Yesterday I ran the same sites – I saw green (meaning rankings had improved) almost everywhere. Now whether the links I build with Postrunner or the more recent links I’ve built with Build My Rank I didn’t really care. The result was I was seeing an awful lot of “nearly there” sites rankings on the 3rd and 4th pages. I couldn’t just assume that the keywords I thought would work – would be OK for over two months. I needed to be more in touch. I needed to be able to run Market Samurai while traveling.
(For size comparison purposes its sitting on top of my HP ProBook 4510s – lovely laptop but way to large and heavy to travel with.)
Seeing all those nearly there keywords meant I suddenly was motivated to factor in working a couple of days a week when on the road. Well that’s the plan – how its actually going to work in practice when travelling with a guy who is definitely in holiday mode because his J.O.B finishes on Friday – not sure, I’ll get back to you on that.
I hadn’t meant to post this today – some other keyword is higher on my priority list – but I found myself, having just reviewed last year’s tax returns from my accountant – sitting there with a big smile on my face. I had just redone my projections for this year – I was in the money – I was going to owe the government so much tax that I’d have to pay provisional tax too – YEAH!
I see people on the Keyword Academy forums asking when? When will I make money? How long will it take? The answer is – it depends – and really you do need to just plain do the work for 6 – 12 months. Then as you start to see the results (and remember making your first affiliate sale or hitting your $100/month Adsense payout amount is absolutely the most difficult part of this whole business).
Seize the day for the non-classicists. If you have been thinking about signing up for Build My Rank cause I am not the only person reporting great results from it – you may click thru on this link an then be disappointed to notice that its closed for new sign ups, but you can sign up for the wait-list. The owners seem to be making a genuine effort to keep the quality of the network high my not having too many posts get posted to each site a day. They will reopen again – but whether the price has gone up then (and frankly it should – they could easily be charging at $129 or $149 or limiting the number of domains you can link to) – I don’t know. Sometimes its just not a good idea to hesitate too long – I have a policy of buying fast and canceling/getting a refund fast if it doesn’t work out.
Build My Rank really has been a business changer for me. Well not by itself obviously – in fact if you don’t have a plan to start of with then – you don’t need this post you need the Keyword Academy instead!
Back about a month ago I signed up to BuildMyRank: review and rankings were on my mind, then I was pretty excited about it. Well now I am ecstatic about it! Why? I’m seeing rankings jump and jump significantly and with them income. Will the rankings hold? Who knows – but meanwhile I’ll take the money thanks.
Have I a got detailed results to prove this? Nope – these were sites that I was previously supporting using Postrunner – so maybe I could have waited a month and seen the results jumping on the Postrunner submissions- I don’t know – frankly it takes a lot of time to document that type of detail and I don’t have duplicate sites: same niche, same age similar content etc to do proper split testing. Instead I swapped my writer over from writing for Postrunner to BMR and sat back to see what happened.
What I do know is that BMR plus my writer is hands-off outsourcing for me – and Postunner plus writer wasn’t. That’s worth not just about an hour a day of my time, its more than that because it means that suddenly there are about 17 sites I don’t have to think about more than once a month – I can focus on other stuff. Important stuff like this:
Oh OK and growing my business as well …
A few days ago several people posted about a minor PR update and a Google dance in their rankings. I knew that nothing dramatic had happened to mine as my Adsense was tracking nicely to an all time record – but on the 1st I ran all my sites for rankings again in Market Samurai – I was up, almost across the board, sometimes dramatically so, sometimes just a little. Now these are all sites which have fairly similar characteristics:
they are mainly niche sites – less than 30 pages indexed generally;
the youngest are 7 months old, most are over a year;
most are WordPress, some aren’t (I see no difference between html sites and blogs in the rankings);
But I also took an old site – hadn’t been updated for nearly 2 years. I wrote a new page focused on a new keyword – used Impact Page Builder to optimize the on-page SEO – posted 10 back links to the new page from BMR over a week – its now ranking in the 20s for a moderately competitive term.Pretty darn impressed with that.
Do I Need Backlinks At All?
Some will say not – some successful webmasters say they never build backlinks. They argue that you might as well spend your time building your own site rather than adding it to other people’s site. Most of those webmasters don’t make any money – so I tend to discount them – after all this ain’t a hobby! Some of them do a lot of real-world promotion – or have even got at book to their name. I discount them – that is not a business model for me.
But some of them make money , good money, better than I do. What do they have that I don’t? Without exception they have websites which are 10 or more years old – that age thing you can’t fake! And the site has been up that whole time, even if it started off long before WordPress and is now a blog – it doesn’t matter – Google doesn’t care about your technology – but it REALLY cares that the site has been about the same general topic for 10 years.
Which tends to mean that the sites involved – are passion sites – the person started them in 1999 because they LOVED the topic – not because they could make money from it. The clever ones make money now. And they have backlinks, lots of backlinks, natural, organic backlinks because they are market leaders in their niche and other people link to them – and yes every one of the sites I know about in this category are SOCIAL sites too.
If you have one of those sites – you don’t need me and congratulations. Do I really, really, really wish I’d started my passion site about independent travel in 1999 – oh yes I do! But I didn’t and you – gentle reader – probably didn’t either. So for the rest of us – well we need to game the system basically … you need to manipulate your backlinks. You need to build them, you need to pay someone else to do it for you.
Lis’s Views on Backlink Profiles
If the site is new – its more important to get authority links than it is to get bulk links. You need to get some “real” links from sites which are recognized as authority in the niche (not just PR). Some Postrunner sites will work for this – as will blogs which accept guest posts in your niche – if its a social niche that is.
Different niches work differently for backlinks – travel bloggers, and frugal living bloggers comment on each other’s sites ALL the time. Niches about embarrassing personal problems and serious debt – not so much. I suspect that Google has a “normal backlink profile” for some niches – deviate too far from it – and you will be sand boxed for a while. You will come back after a while (or any competitor could take out any site at anytime).
I have ranked and kept a site in position #1 with only crappy backlinks and no new content – for 2 years – its hard to stuff this up but some approaches will see results faster than others. I’ve NEVER seen a site deindexed because of bad backlinks – certainly have seen sites sent to position 500 purgatory though!
If your sites are in a niche which is “social” then its probably worth having some twitter and Facebook love going on around it – after all it looks normal …
Getting the SEO right and siloing your site so that it doesn’t have unrelated links on the page – really does seem to be significant
Lis’s Views on Backlink Services
All backlinking services are gaming the system: Postrunner and EzineArticles included.
Gaming the system works – to a greater or lesser extent.
Backlink services work better with a more established site – that old thing of site age is still something you can’t fake – if you want a genuine short-cut in this game – buy an aged site in the niche you want.
Backlinks to backlinks also works – I think this is the major weakness of Postrunner – but you can help yourself with this with things like backlinking services to keep your links indexed.
Until you are making about $500/month from your sites I don’t really think you can justify paying for additional backlink services – and if your sites are less than one year old you are also probably risking your money as well.
There is a risk involved with using any service – sometimes they do die a slow death – which may be terminal if the owners don’t do something about it (basically Google discounts the sites being used over time) – don’t ever signup for a service for longer than a month. On the flip side you really need to commit to 2 or 3 months to really evaluate a service so that is the amount of money you are risking.
Doing ANY backlinking is never a waste – at the moment BuildMyRank seems to work exceptionally well – that may drop back to just averagely well – the point is if I am using it to build at least 10 links a day to my sites I will outrank you if you are still worrying about whether you should backlink at all.
Sorry I went on a bit – the bottom line is – this game isn’t that hard -and it doesn’t change that much over the years – and the best info you will ever get is building your own sites and EXPERIMENTING – then you will really find out what does and does not work.
I’ve just enrolled in a new backlink scheme too – but I probably won’t have any results before the end of the year on this one – so I’m not prepared to name it here – but it does have absolutely EVIL affiliate program so contact me if you want the link LOL – we can do a deal!
So are you building baclinks? Using what if any services? Using your own backlink sites only? Or do you only publish on your own site?