What I Learned Living in Spain For 8 Years and Other Random Musings
5 months went by quickly. That was the last time I posted here. I did it as the Pond was taking up a lot of time, and I didn’t want to be going over the same old stuff here as there. You know, Penguin this, Penguin that. How do I get my rankings back? What works now? Blah, blah, blah.
You know what?
No-one has the answer to those questions in any definitive manner.
The best advice I can give you is is to test and see. Peeps are still having success with affiliate sites, I know I am. Peeps are still ranking 5 page emd’s. And peeps are still getting rankings using article directories and any number of other techniques.
But one thing is for sure; none of it is stable.
And the best bit of advice I can give you is to never forget that.
Anyway, I digress.
Reflections On Life
This post is kind of a summing up of a chapter in my life. Actually a chapter in the life of myself and Alexis, my lurverly lady.
Just about 8 years ago we sold our house in the UK and moved to Spain.
As we wanted to live in the countryside and could not afford to do so there. So, we sold up, made a load of profit from developing the 3 houses we had lived in over the previous few years, and bought a half fallen down Spanish Finca, and spent the next few years renovating it to make it livable. Not that we didn’t live in it from day one mind you.
And this is what I think is an important point.
People expect perfection so often, and they miss out on the joy of roughing it. The joy of the journey itself.
We lived without electric, running hot water, in fact any running water at all. We pulled it out of a cisterna with a bucket.
No biggie. We lived without windows, showered outside standing in a bowl, and loved it. Spain is warm, so who cares, right?
After a few years our money ran out. So we did building work for friends. Absolutely knackering. But it kept us in food. Then that dried up, and Alexis went to the UK for 3 months to earn some cash, leaving me alone with the stinky Dogs.
Nightmare. We were apart, and it was horrible.
I decided to ensure it would never happen again. Turned on my laptop, put my gloves and my parka on and delved into the mysterious world of making money on t’internet.
It worked out, after a while.
That was 4 years ago. Just about 4 years ago I began to learn about earning a living online.
Boy, how things have changed.
Not just in terms of what works in SEO, but in life as well.
Moving On: A New Adventure
Now, we have enough money in the bank in the UK to buy ourselves a nice country house. No mortgage, no worries. We are moving back next week on the 12th September.
We have to rent until we find something, and it is a holiday home as the UK landlords are not to keen on renting to 2 people with 3 Dogs in tow for some reason (can’t imagine why!).
This is what I really wanted to talk about……………………. the fact that although our situation sounds special it really isn’t.
If you take what I learned from living in Spain and actually apply it to your life.
Here is what I learned from our Spanish adventure.
The number 1 goal in life is to be happy. And to make those that you love happy as well.
Nothing is more important than that.
We were totally content being poor, as long as we had somewhere to cover our heads from the elements and could be together.
We also learned new skills. From building stone walls, laying floors, roofing, electrics, plumbing, the lot.
Oh yeah, plus blogging too 😉
And this is how you need to look at your Internet Marketing career.
Learn as much as you can, and don’t worry if your efforts are not always perfect.
The number one thing is to actually just get busy and do the work. Perfection can wait. If you spend too much time worrying about every minor detail, or what the next algo change may or may not do, then you become paralysed and don’t actually get anything done.
The people who succeed and reach their goals are the people willing to fail. And to learn by it.
You won’t get anywhere unless you simply give things your best shot, with your current abilities, and try to do better next time.
We were motivated. Both about building our house and our IM career.
As soon as you find something that works even slightly well then you simply have to build on that. If you find a way to make money, then scale it. Don’t keep looking for the next shiny object. Stick to the basics and just go all out to make as much money as you can.
Nothing in this game is permanent, if you rely on search engine traffic that is.
If you think it is then you are in for a serious wake-up call, if it hasn’t already happened.
Moving Away From Search
My best advice to you is to not rely solely on search engine traffic. I was a long time getting this wake-up call, and as we worked so hard over the last few years we have plenty of cash in the bank. But I was never under any illusion about long term stability. I just milked techniques for ranking in the serps to the max.
Once I found what worked I did it day in and day out for years, and banked the cash.
Things are very different now.
It is no longer anywhere near as easy to rank mediocre sites as it once was. New algo’s are pretty good at ranking more sites that deserve it than they used to. But SEO is far from dead, and you can still rank well, it just takes more work. And the bottom line is that it takes more of an investment from you. Both in terms of time, love and attention to detail, and, gasp, dare I say it; money invested as well.
Anyway, that is a topic for another day.
This is just my goodbye to Spain blog post and other random musings.
But please, build a business based on something more solid than a dodgy affiliate site or two and a ton of backlinks. IT WILL NOT LAST! I can guarantee you that. 100%
You NEED to make investments in more stable sources of income. That means real websites, you know, ones that don’t care if they rank or not. Ones that get talked about.
Build sites based around products under your control, ones you own, ones you made.
And this is exactly what we decided was going to be our focus at the beginning of this year.
So, guess what?
We actually did it!
This is what you have to do. You have to actually go out and get things done. No procrastinating. No wondering if you are doing the right thing or not. No thinking about every little detail. Just get on with it and get things done. Perfection can wait until you have some momentum built up.
But be in no doubt that the Google serps are going to be harder to crack, be in no doubt it will become more and more of a platform for Adwords and nothing else.
And be in absolutely no doubt that in a year or two less and less people will even be using Google to search in the first place. Amazon is a real contender to take over. Yeah, people are not searching on Google for products like they used to. They go direct to Amazon.
I KNOW this from first-hand experience. Ranking for products on Google does not give the return it once used to. More and more people are going to stores direct.
And this will only increase.
Half of American Adults now use mobile devices to go online. And they go direct to stores via apps and the like. This will increase daily.
You need to begin to change how you go about your business. Not only will you find it harder to rank in the first place, but less people are searching anyway.
You need to be in control. And this means having a product that gets talked about. A product where you can get other people to be affiliates and they can tell their lists, and do the grunt work for you.
And that is what I have learned over the last 8 years.
If you find something that works then milk it for all that it is worth. I built hundreds and hundreds of websites. Tens and tens of thousands of pages. Wrote millions and millions of words and loved every minute of it. I splashed my affiliate links far and wide dudes, and this simply strategy still works now. But it is getting tougher.
And I will not in a million years, ever do it again if it is for ranking in Google.
It simply isn’t worth the effort any more for me personally. And I am tired of the dross that was often the result of my efforts.
What is a better solution?
- Your own product
- A branded Website
- and writing a shed load of Kindle books while the digital publishing revolution is still in its infancy
In the Pond we are just now revamping the eBook and digital publishing section (EDIT: Alexis has done it, much better organized now) as it has become a large resource. And boy is Kindle publishing a hot topic at the moment.
Because the Amazon algo is just about perfect. Talk about a sales machine. They have nailed it.
So get some books up and let Amazon sell them for you.
Well, we are off to the UK to splash in the puddles next week (I bought fancy Aigle Parcours, Alexis went all Le Chemeau), and then I should be able to come back and start blogging here regularly again. But it won’t just be about SEO, it will be more about Internet Marketing in general, and the site tag line has changed to reflect this.
Just being honest with you. I have changed and ranking in the fickle search engines is not my only priority any more. If that sounds cool then I will be glad to have you along. I have been reading a number of SEO blogs lately and to be honest it bores the hell out of me. No-one has much to say, and what is being said has mostly already been covered in detail elsewhere. On top of that anything about Penguin is pure conjecture. All these posts telling you how to beat algo’s are not fact. That is the only fact.
The Pond still takes up a lot of time, and I love it. But we need new members. A few people left, although we are beginning to see a good number of newcomers which is great.
Why are people leaving?
Because they freaked after Penguin and just gave up.
That is basically the feedback we are getting from those that left.
You have to learn to adjust.
I think the Penguin algo is just about the best thing that happened to myself and Alexis. We were already beginning to build a real online business not based around search, and this was the final nail in the coffin.
Please look at it the same way.
It has given you an opportunity to move on, build a more solid foundation, and to realize that relying solely on search engine traffic is suicide long term.
I will continue to try to rank my content, but not like I used to. Paid traffic is more stable, writing an eBook and getting affiliates to sell it for you is more stable, and is what we are currently finishing up at http://www.leanapeliving.com/. Blogs have been built, social profiles built, LLP’s created, months have been spent writing a 260 page plus book that is actually going to nail it in the niche.
And it has been done with love. And that is the main thing. Work on something to be proud of. Something to put your name and face to and not be ashamed of.
Something that is linked to a G+ profile so if you do show in the serps it has your ugly mug next to it. You may as well take advantage of that feature while it lasts.
Build something real that you can be proud of. That you can attract people to in a multitude of ways. Search, paid traffic, affiliates, email lists, referral taffic, guest posting opportunities, JV’s, media buys etc. etc.
THAT is a lot more stable long term.
But, and some of you will hate it…………………
If you find something that makes you money now, anything at all, in the digital world, then milk it for al it is worth while you can.
It is what we did, and we have hundreds of thousands of dollars to show for it.
And now, just about at the perfect time, most of it is no longer viable.
All gone, whoosh……………
Rankings lost, websites sold, banned from networks, websites deleted, left to expire, or abandoned.
My advice? If you have what you know is a dodgy affiliate or adsense site then sell it and bank while you can.
Or rank it and bank while you can, it won’t be around forever.
And for God’s sake, save your money. Don’t spend it, save it and save it hard until you can buy a house for cash.
Banging Your Head
Don’t just stick to one way of working if it is not profitable for you.
The best work I have done online is to abandon projects that took hundreds of hours of work. And I have done that multiple times.
It is the best thing to do in the world. If you are not getting a good return right now for work you have been doing then dump it and move on.
Don’t waste your time doing things just because you want them to work. Find something that does work, and focus on that. If your site is not earning and you think it should then evaluate properly.
- Did you really pick the right niche?
- Can you really rank in this niche?
- Can you expand it to make you millions?
- Did you well and truly f++k up with your choices?
Don’t be afraid to be honest, and to move on.
You need to learn to know when you have done the right thing, and when you have done the wrong thing.
Your long term happiness and the happiness of those around you is based on you feeling content with life.
And if that means money in the bank then work hard, make wise choices, or at the very least don’t be afraid to admit you have made bad choices with your online endeavours and to start again on something else.
The money is made by finding something that works and going flat out on it until you feel sick of the sight of it.
Then you get up the next day and do it all over again.
Me, I am just about done caring about making many new sites. I want to learn new things. For me this is PPC and other traffic sources outside of search.
But, you know what?
I can’t help thinking that it would still be nice to rank for all the keywords in my niches. I may just have to build up a few new mini-networks just to see!
Search eh? You gotta love it.
I mean, who doesn’t love free traffic right?
Just ask yourself, is it really free? Is all that guest posting and all those backlinks made really allowing you to class it as free?
What a game.
And that is what all of this is; a game, and nothing more.
Just virtual motes flying about the Interwebs that most people could care less about.
Righty right, that was that. All pretty random stream of consciousness really.
Just my musings on recent times. I am very much looking forward to moving back to the UK, seeing some green grass for the first time in an age, and having some fish and chips.
And it just so happens that our physical move has pretty much tied in perfectly with our virtual one too.
Funny old world.
It’s good to be back dudes, missed you guys.