Which New Business Model Are You Going To Pick?

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Remember when we were all worried it was going to be SGE and AI that was going to take all of our traffic? Ha!

In the wake of Google’s Helpful Content Update and the March Core Update, the digital playing field might very well have dramatically changed. Now, it’s pointless to take anything for certain yet – the Core Update won’t be finished until next week (from what they’ve said). But, I do think it is time to start asking the questions (if you haven’t been already).

These adjustments by Google heavily favor large-scale brands and platforms centered around user-generated content, leaving smaller publishers navigating a tougher SEO environment.

This scenario is challenging, yes. Actually, to be more blunt, it sucks and is more than a bit unfair. But, such is life, and we must continue to adapt as business owners.

And, it does open the door to innovative strategies that can safeguard and even enhance your website’s position in the long term. If you’re open to taking up that mindset, then let’s explore what could be next for you.

Step One: Adapting to Change with New Strategies

Ok, let’s start with the good news. If you’ve been building a website, then you have an asset. Maybe it isn’t sellable for much, but you have an asset in all the content, graphics, media, etc, that you have produced.

And you can easily find other ways to drive traffic to this asset. Yes, easily. Different, but certainly not harder!

Expanding your traffic and income sources ensures that Google’s updates won’t leave you adrift.

For Publishers Relying on Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketers make their income from product recommendations. It’s easy (no customer service, no manufacturing, no inventory, etc) but low paying – you’re not keeping much of the total revenue!

So one strategy is to start making more money per sale because Google is sending you less traffic. Consider these ideas:

  • White Labeling Products: Collaborate with manufacturers to create products under your brand. This could be an extension of the items you’re already successfully promoting.
  • E-commerce Expansion: Use your site to sell products directly. This can be particularly effective if you’ve built up a strong brand and loyal audience. See how Garrett Yamasaki did this, to the tune of $4 million per year!

Do this in tandem with sending more traffic to your site (discussed below) for a double win.

For Publishers Relying on Ad Revenue

Revenue from ads relies on a high volume of traffic to your website. So, we need to replicate that in some way.

When you rely on ads, you don’t care if people buy stuff, you just care if they visit your page(s). So, we basically need to regain the traffic we lost from Google:

  • Social Media as a Traffic Source: Craft compelling content tailored for platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Use organic and paid strategies to attract followers and drive traffic back to your site.
  • Dive into Video Content: You already have the content – now use it in video to open a whole new traffic segment. See how Pat Flynn grew his brand new Pokemon YouTube channel like crazy in its first year!

The quickest win is to focus on platforms that are “cool” with sending traffic to your website, like Facebook and Pinterest.

For example, I’ve been experimenting with some more advanced TikTok strategies this past week, and while it’s great for impressions, I haven’t found a way to drive people off of the platform (no surprises there).

The Web Publishers Association, currently pending nonprofit status, has been established by industry veterans to support and unite web content creators, bloggers, YouTubers, and influencers. This initiative aims to foster a better future for web publishing, and I am fully supportive of this.

They’re seeking contributions of $300 to fund resources, advocacy efforts, and networking opportunities, offering a return bundle valued at over $1,200. Contributors can use the coupon JABA50OFF for a $50 discount or opt to donate the full amount to support the nonprofit’s goals.

Step Two: Leveraging Content in New Formats

No matter what your revenue strategy is, chances are you have been leaving opportunities on the table. Remember – if you have a website, then you have content! And that can be used outside of your website!

  • Online Courses: Package your expertise into comprehensive courses. Take your popular articles, combine and cull, and re-organize simply into a course.
  • Curated Newsletters: Offer a subscription-based newsletter that dives deeper into your niche topics. Or, use your blog content to create a free newsletter that drives traffic to your site. Learn more tips here and here.
  • Mastering Paid Ads: Invest in learning Facebook, Google, and Instagram ads to promote your new ventures. Start with small budgets to test what resonates with your target audience.

Again, you can combine some of these strategies. For example, right now I’m trying out using SparkLoop to advertise my Weekend Growth newsletter!

Aside: Monetizing Your Website with Guest Posts

You could also throw in the towel a bit on your site, and just start actively selling guest posts and link insertions. Done right, this could make you decent money provided your site has a decent DR.

I don’t recommend doing this. First, you’re probably giving your website the death nail with Google. Second, I don’t love being part of building lousy links on purpose. But, I also get it, you’re not here to run a charity!

  • Strategic Approach: Use your site’s niche authority to attract businesses or individuals looking for exposure through guest posting.
  • Operational Guidelines: Set clear criteria for content quality and relevance. Implement a submission and review process to maintain your site’s standards and SEO health.
  • Revenue and Content Benefits: Direct income from post submissions and links placed and a diversified content portfolio that enhances your site’s value to readers (in theory).

Or, A Whole New Direction

Maybe you don’t have an established website, and so you’re not sitting on a big pile of content. Maybe you were sitting on the sidelines, waiting to get involved in website building, and now these updates have taken the wind out of your sails.

Or, maybe you just want to change directions.

Honestly, there is still so much opportunity. Maybe not in the pure content site space, but think about a few of these very viable ideas:

1. Rank and Rent

interviewed James Dooley a couple of months ago on the Niche Pursuits podcast, and he has roughly 850 unique sites following this model. Its a fascinating angle to take, especially if you know SEO well.

  • Concept Overview: This strategy involves creating and optimizing websites specifically to rent out to businesses. It’s akin to real estate investment but in the digital realm.
  • Implementation Tips: Start by identifying niches with high commercial intent but low competition. Develop content and optimize for SEO as you normally would, but with the goal of leasing your site’s traffic to businesses looking for exposure.
  • Benefits: Generates a steady income independent of algorithm changes. It also diversifies your investment in digital assets.

2. Local SEO

Local businesses have been unaffected by these Google updates. If anything, they’ve gained traction. I know because my agency works with a lot of local businesses, and I’ve shared example after example of growth lately.

In many ways, local SEO is a lot less complicated than ranking a content website.

  • Opportunity Spotlight: Small and medium businesses often struggle to gain online visibility. Your SEO expertise could be the missing key to their success.
  • Action Plan: Offer tailored SEO services focused on improving local search visibility. This includes optimizing Google My Business listings, local citations, and review management.
  • Long-Term Value: Establishing strong relationships with local businesses can lead to stable, recurring revenue streams.

Embracing a Future of Flexibility and Innovation

Time for me to bust out my “old man card”… I’ve been in business for almost 25 years now. Multiple industries. Many, many ups and downs. The only constant is change. This is a big one, but you can survive by adapting. I’ve found that it’s usually worth it.

The landscape of online content and SEO is in constant flux. While recent updates from Google present new challenges, they also prompt us to think creatively about the future of our websites.

Now is an excellent time to assess, plan, and implement strategies that will ensure the longevity and success of your online presence. Even if Google gives you all of your traffic back, I bet you’ll be better off thinking about it now anyway.

P.S. I’m going to have something coming out in the coming weeks to help with all of this and it will be entirely FREE. Click here if you want to be on the early release list (clicking just takes you to the Weekend Growth homepage, nothing more).

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Jared Bauman

Jared Bauman is the Co-Founder of 201 Creative, and is a 20+ year entrepreneur who has started and sold several companies. He is the host of the popular Niche Pursuits podcast and a contributing author to Search Engine Land.

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