Like most internet marketers who blog for a living, I’m a skeptic when it comes to anything regarding Google. And, I finally decided to join the “conspiracy theorists” and cut all ties with Google products.
So, I set up up a free account at statcounter.com, and began using it to track traffic on my new sites. I avoided Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics and Adsense… and even moved all of my work-related discussion out of Gmail (Something I still recommend you doing no matter what your business. Your business is none of their business. Those snoops. )
However, after making the switch away from Google products, I began noticing that it took longer for my new sites to rank. After several months of frustration I finally tested whether adding your site to Google Webmaster tools would improve it’s rank. (Click Here to read about the first test)
In that first test, we saw literally overnight improvement in that site’s position in Google’s results.
But with only a sample size of n=1, I needed more evidence. The next site I wanted to test had just undergone a lot of improvements. It was a strong, expired domain that I had purchased and than rebuilt in its original niche, and I had (have!) high hopes for it.
I decided to use it for the second test.
Before the test began, I let the site perform naturally. For several agonizingly slow months, the site danced and creeped and finally crept onto page 1 of Google for 2 separate terms. After giving it a couple of weeks to settle in these spots — and without making further improvements that might skew the experiment — I added it to Google Webmaster Tools.
As you can see from the graph below, the traffic immediately improved:
Literally the day after I add the site to Google’s Webmaster Tools, the site takes on a much steeper growth curve.
For the most part, this growth seems related to increased long tail traffic, although I have noticed other pages on the site slowly climbing higher in the search results as the site “proves itself”.
Probably the most painful thing about this graph is that this site would have likely been making money 2-3 months sooner had I put it into Google WMT right away.
A Little About My Site Design
While I do this for a living, I also build these sites for fun. And so I like to use a blog-type format that is very personal and informative. Most of the time I spend a significant part of the article discussing common questions, and then suggest a few products with about 300 words devoted to each product.
So we’re looking at good content with footnotes and links to primary literature that is truly helpful.
Nothing flashy. But a solid site that I am proud to own and thrilled to work on again ….now that this experiment is over and I don’t have to worry about skewing the results .
Last month it made about $100 from Amazon. For February it looks like we should be just past the $200 mark. Ideally, I expect this site to grow into a $1,000/month earner.
Why Google is Still The Devil
- They copy books and make them available to the public
- They remove “spam” in order to promote more ads or their own sites
- They lie about such spam removal practices
- They spy on your Gmail
- They likely spy on your Google Voice accounts
But if you wanna play with fire — ahem — be a blogger, you’ve got to be willing to play on their terms. For now.
What are your thoughts about these two case studies?
Opening Graph Image Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
6/01/2014 Update: The last two months this site has cleared $1700 each month between Amazon and Clickbank products. Plus it has a engaged readership that often comments and asks questions. Pretty fun, eh?