If you have been following this blog, you already know my opinion on “free” (SEO) traffic, especially from Google. In a nutshell, SEO traffic can be the most expensive and least effective traffic available.
In addition to being incredibly fickle, the latest set of Google’s rules allows your competition to inexpensively bury your SEO efforts. You can go to any of several sources and buy junk backlinks by the hundreds of thousands, and point them anywhere you want with any anchor text you like. This is incredibly cheap ($5 to $100), and unless the target is one of Google’s fair-haired favorites, it can easily get the target de-listed completely. That sort of attack is very hard to counter, since it requires the target to hunt down and “repudiate” hundreds of thousands of spammy links. Google provides no help for this process, so the target ends up spending a lot of money on 3rd-party vendors who may or may not be able to do the job properly.
Just this week, I got a plea from a potential client to help recover from just that sort of attack. I sent off a proposal, but haven’t heard back (as of this writing). In that proposal, I gave them the same advice I’m giving in this article, but I’m guessing they don’t believe it. Their loss.
One of the main sources of paid traffic that give you the most bang for the buck is YouTube. Another contender for most cost-effective traffic is FaceBook (in fact, there is a good chance that you found this post via FaceBook), but I’m going to concentrate on YouTube for this article, and write about FaceBook later.
Now, you are probably thinking, “YouTube is owned by Google, and you hate Google.” Yes, YouTube is Google. No, I don’t hate Google; I’ve just learned the hard way that if you arrange your life so that you depend on Google for anything important, you will get screwed, and probably sooner than you think.
Actually, that goes for any single source of traffic, paid or otherwise.
There is a phenomenon that I first learned from Don Lancaster some 30 years ago — any time you come across a Really Good Deal, you need to be aware that it is only temporary. Just because it is a Really Good Deal, you can expect a pile-on effect as more and more people discover it. Before long, the Really Good Deal isn’t anymore, because so many people are using it that it loses its effectiveness.
That’s basically what happened to Google SEO. As recently as 5 years ago, playing the SEO game was really easy, and generated fantastic results. But the pile-on effect was so large that Google started to notice that people were getting tired of spammy Made-For-Adsense (MFA) junk sites and other abuses of their search services that they started putting in new algorithms to try to curb that (with limited success). Fast forward to today, and you have a situation where SEO is a losers game — unless you can afford to play it at a very high level.
I think that the same thing is happening to YouTube, and I predict that in less than 6 more months, YouTube will be much less effective for traffic generation. Which means that if you want to get a course to learn how best to use YouTube, you want to start using the information immediately. Don’t just buy a course and let it sit on your hard drive, because that sort of information ages very quickly.
On the other hand, don’t let the inevitable pile-on effect keep you from taking action. If you just wait for the Next Big Thing, you will be waiting forever, instead of making money. I’ve learned the hard way that taking action right now is better than shopping for the Next Big Thing (aka Shiny Object Syndrome).
What do I think will replace YouTube as the next most effective source of traffic? If I knew that, I’d be practically coining money by selling that information (probably mostly to people who spend all of their time chasing shiny objects). The best I can do is follow the folks who do internet marketing at a much higher level than I do (for instance, Martin Avis and Sarah Staar), and ride their coattails.
Which I recommend to you as well. And Sarah Staar’s free YouTube Hijack video course is a great place to begin. This course shows you how to get traffic from YouTube without even having to create your own videos! While creating videos is also a good way to get traffic, it’s a lot of work (been there, done that), and not everyone is good at creating videos.
Of course, Sarah is going to try to sell you follow-on courses (and I personally think that all of Sarah’s stuff is well worth buying), but the free YouTube Hijack video course delivers enough actionable information to get started with using YouTube to drive inexpensive and incredibly well-targeted traffic to your website using some techniques that are a LOT easier than making your own videos.