One day I got a phone call from an affiliate marketer by the name of Colin McDougall, who was in trouble and in desperate need of help.
Google had de-ranked his affiliate sites and his search engine traffic had completely tanked.
By result, his income had dropped by an astounding 40K a month.
Obviously, Colin was NOT a student of the Super Affiliate Handbook. If he had been, I wouldn't be telling his story now.
Instead, he'd chosen an affiliate marketing training system that was destined for trouble due to scammy techniques and Colin was just one of many affiliates whose affiliate sites failed under this system. Many of those students were reduced to finding j.o.b.s. (Horrors!)
In the normal scheme of things, losing that much traffic would NOT leave super affiliates (those who build affiliate businesses) rushing out to find a day job.
What would we as SUPER affiliates do in that case?
We'd simply promote a product to the loyal subscribers on our large mailing lists.
We'd post a few more blog entries.
We'd write and disseminate another article to enhance our ‘expert' status and improve brand awareness.
We'd revisit and rework our pay-per-click advertising campaigns and look for new PPC venues.
We'd do lots of things, but we wouldn't have to start looking for a job.
And maybe, just maybe, after we'd done all those things to bring more traffic to our sites, we MIGHT tweak a keyword here and there to try and improve our site's search engine rankings.
Unfortunately, this poor guy learned about affiliate marketing using a ‘system' that taught him how to get traffic only from search engines, but didn't teach him a darned thing about building lists or customer relationships; blogging, branding or pay per click advertising.
You know, what we consider ‘the basics'.
But Colin did do one very smart thing.
He asked for help, and I liked him and his attitude right from the get-go.
It was obvious that despite the dire situation, he had no intention of giving up. He'd seen affiliate marketing's potential and was willing do whatever it took to get back in the game.
We talked about affiliate marketing basics for about an hour and a half during that first call, and then I sent him a copy of the Super Affiliate Handbook to round out his education.
If he were to tell you about that first conversation, he would probably tell you that he heard ‘write, list, ppc, write, list, list, list, list and MORE list'.
Fortunately, Colin LISTened.
Within just a few months his new list was growing quickly and his business was well on its way to recovery.
Drawing from the core of his experience with this near ‘disaster', in the following months Colin also wrote and published his first ebook, “The Positive Mind” with which he's had some success.
He also kept putting himself out there.
He made phone calls, attended conferences and talked to people.
One person Colin spoke with was Matt Cutts, a Google employee who has always been very upfront with information about what does and doesn't work for Google.
Matt confirmed for him what super affiliates already know… try to ‘trick' the search engines using keyword 1 – keyword 2 patterns on your web pages and sooner or later (probably sooner), Google will catch up with you and ban your site.
He kept extensive notes and then published ANOTHER book, which details what he learned while rebuilding his affiliate business.
Not long after releasing his new book, he started getting invitations to speak at seminars and on Internet radio shows.
Just this week he agreed to blog for Revenews.
Talk about a come-back!
So, what did Colin learn in the process of rebuilding his affiliate business?
In a nutshell, he adopted my stance on SEO and added his own ‘VEO' twist. ‘VEO' stands for ‘Visitor Enhanced Optimization'.
In a nutshell, he now knows that you should write for your visitors, and forget SEO tricks like tweaking keyword density and chasing algorithms. The end result is that you can stop worrying about getting de-indexed or banned.
Call it what you will… it's just good business.