Google is infamous for wiping out business models. No one knows this more than I do after my multimillion dollar software company was wiped off the face of the planet when Google took aim at the registry repair industry. At my peak I was profiting over $100,000 a month into 2010 – but the truth is though is if Google doesn’t like an industry or a website – it might as well not exist.
It didn’t matter that I was an extremely heavy advertiser with Adwords – spending upwards of $1 million on advertising every 12 months – and as I was to find out – that carried zero weight with Google once they had made their mind up on something. At first I though it was something I did, but after talking with other software owners – it turned out it was an industry wide purge.
In 2011, Google had decided that there were too many scam artists and quick buck artists in the registry repair business. Unfortunately I had to agree with them as it seems with any good thing on the Internet, it doesn’t take long for the scammers to figure out a way to ruin it. ( I have many other more colorful words for these types of people but I like to keep my posts family friendly ) My software was 100% legitimate, but the vast majority of the junk titles flooding the market gave the entire segment a black eye with false positives and malware. The result was is that Google destroyed an untold amount of companies all in an effort to eliminate the fraudsters.
But more concerning is that there are two other sites appearing under this search term that are near clones of the site that Spencer Hawes built with his first Public Niche Project, which means three of the top 10 sites that are appearing for the search term are near identical in nature. How long is it going to be before Google takes aim at sites that are not offering any new information on the subject and blacklists them from search results ?
After what I went through with my registry repair company, this has real bearing as to how I plan my future on the Internet.
So what is the solution?
I am seeing far too many sites that are built exactly like Spencer Hawes shows people how to build sites in his niche projects. Don’t get me wrong – as a stand alone concept Spencer’s site was ground breaking and was very much the nucleus for the rapid growth of the industry – but all these people making clones of the site in different niches is going to result in action being taken by Google. I guarantee it. Not because Spencer is doing anything wrong, but because people are not creating unique sites and unique content that enriches the user experience.
Take for example how Google has now started penalizing exact match domains that do not make logical sense – but are only an attempt to capitalize on a long tail keyword search phrase. This is a direct move to counter the surge in low quality Niche websites being built on the Internet.
In both my own sites, and client sites, I have started taking significant precautions to ensure that my sites are significantly different than those templates and clone sites that Spencer Hawes followers has created. You have to give it to Spencer though, he has literally created an entire new industry on the Internet single-handedly. But true to the Internet’s way of working, every idiot with a computer is going to saturate the concept to the point that Google views it as fraudulent rather than a valuable resource for users.
Should you continue to build your own niche websites?
Absolutely. Niche websites are one of the few legitimate ways to earn an income from the Internet and build a lasting business. But if you are just going to try and turn out low-quality sites that closely resemble the spammers in the industry, you are definitely going to become a casualty in the future when Google decides that your work is no longer going to be indexed.
When you create a niche site, you need to move it as quickly as possible towards being an authority site. In fact I would go as far as taking a very serious look at the amount of Amazon affiliate links you have on your sites including the front page, and reducing them. When you look at the clones of the sites that are following Spencer’s blog, You will notice that they have very similar characteristics including the use of various plug-ins and formats as well as very plain themes. For example, both Spencer and Perron have proven that the primary comparison table on the main page of the site is also a profit center – but it’s also a sure indication to Google of the type of site you are building.
I am not saying that the day of reckoning with Google is going to happen tomorrow, but what I am saying is that it is coming. The more people that build exact clones of Spencer sites, the more Google is going to start taking notice. The key to surviving the update that is going to wipe most niche sites from the face of the earth, is going to be found in developing unique sites, that are both authority sites and offer unique content that is not simply rehashed from every other site on the Internet. Take the time to make your sites unique both visually and in content – don’t get carried away with Affiliate links and keep ahead of the learning curve.
I know with my own sites, and the sites I develop for clients that they are constantly evolving and changing and no site looks exactly the same. I am constantly pushing my writers to create unique content and not simply rewriting what is already been said about the niche subject.
The truth is, a quality niche site that provides real value to the reader, is always going to be held in high regard by Google. It is the quick buck artists that are going to get the most heavily hit.
I can’t encourage you enough to steer your development emphasis towards creating unique sites. Turn your brain on, and quit copying what others are doing. Spencer Hawes has shown what is possible with niche sites, but if you are set on copying his exact formula, your business model is ultimately going to fail because there are way to many people doing it.