The Internet attracts far too many spammers, shysters and people looking for an easy way to make money online. The amount of spam e-mails and blog comments I get is quite ridiculous, and that is with spam protection on both. If you search online you see vast amounts of low-quality, often badly spun content. I would hazard a guess that the majority of people attempting to make money online try to do it the wrong way – and fail. As well as being unethical, these methods just do not make good business sense.
Generally, making money online takes time. It takes time to build traffic and it takes time to build credibility and trust. Most successful Internet marketers don’t make much money in their first two years. Unethical marketers usually don’t give themselves a fair chance to get to this point. Their business usually fails well before the two-year mark.
Even if search engines don’t cotton to the underhand tactics of such marketers, people usually will.
Search engines are constantly tinkering with their algorithms. Why do they do this? To improve their search results for their users. They are getting better and better at weeding out poor-quality spammy sites, and raising the higher-quality sites up the rankings. Search engines will continue to refine their algorithms, probably forever. So even if your black-hat techniques are working now (which most don’t really anyway), you can bet they won’t at some point in the future. All the devious ways you’ve gained links and popularity will be found out eventually and your rankings will one day crash. Then you will be on a forum, like so many others, complaining about Google’s latest update and how “unfair” it is.
Of course you can play the chase game where you use the latest SEO “tricks” and try to stay one step ahead of the search engines. This may be possible, but do you really want to run your business with this uncertainty? You are liable to trip and stumble at some point and, if you do so, your livelihood could disappear overnight.
It’s a far better tactic, in my humble opinion, to provide some great content and build links the honest way with things such as blog carnivals, guest blogging and link baiting. You will never have the threat of your rankings crashing (or at east you shouldn’t) and you can make some good long-term plans to build a solid business. You would have more incentive to pour more time and money into your online business if you knew it would be there for the long haul. Also, you should be immune to search engine updates. In fact, if anything, you should benefit from the updates, as they strive to reward great sites like yours.
Most people who shop online will stick to the big, reputable sites such as Amazon. When shopping at smaller outlets, they are far cagier. Most people will not usually buy until they have visited a site a few times. They want to make sure that, for one, they actually receive the good or service and two, that it is of a decent quality.
Having a long-established website can really help with this. Many unethical marketers will have their websites banned, blacklisted etc. and will regularly start over again. As a result, they miss the chance to build a solid foundation of trust and miss out on a lot of sales.
People often do some background research before they buy. They want to know about you before they trust you with their hard-earned cash. It really helps to have a solid Internet presence. Joining forums and social networks, writing guest posts and engaging with people can really help. If they see you are being helpful and are involved, they are far more likely to take the plunge and buy from you. Most unethical marketers don’t and won’t engage with their audience, and if they do it’s not in a positive way that will win them friends. They are too busy hiding from people who they have, in some way, scammed or annoyed.
Don’t cut corners. Trying to cheat your way to the top is only cheating yourself out of the opportunity of getting there and staying there. Be an ethical Internet marketer. Look at it as a two-way proposition. You provide value and receive value in return. Do your affiliate marketing the right way. Give away some good value and only sell quality products. Take the long-term view and build yourself a proper business with the solid foundation of reputation. This is what most successful people do online. Your long-term success depends on this.
About the author: Jon Rhodes is a hypnotherapist, musician, and affiliate marketer from the U.K. He is a big advocate of “ethical affiliate marketing,” and firmly believes this is the best way to make money online. Check out his blog to find out exclusive secrets to help you with affiliate marketing.