Your Laziness: Why I Love SEO So Much More Than PPC

Laziness is Beyond Your Control

Everyone, at least on some levels, is lazy. I work my ass off, but am still lazy about doing things I do not enjoy doing. If my wife asks me to wash the dishes the hand of God strikes upon me a mean streak of laziness. It is outside my control, I swear ;)

Right now I am trying to write a sales letter, which has made me lazy, and instead made me want to write this post.

Laziness Leads to Productivity Gains

I don't like having to think some things through too much if they can be automated. And so tools like keyword list generators are made.

I recently found a sweet affiliate program in a field where no other affiliates existed. For the right keywords, click value was about $12 a click, and I was paying like 60 cents a click. With under an hour of work, I made hundreds of dollars in daily profit with virtually no effort.

Find Something You Love And Make it Your Own

I just logged in today and saw that my conversion stats dropped to virtually nothing over the past couple days. Odd. So then I searched, and like 10 affiliates (or, more likely, 1 competing affiliate 10 times) launched ads showing for many of the keywords I bid on, with many of them stealing my exact ad copy - word for word. They loved my ad copy and made it their own.

Slimming Profit Margins

Bidding Wars Reduce Profits

So what is the solution? Maybe I increase my bids again. But then they will increase their bids again. A bigger and bigger piece of the profits get shipped to Google, while these clowns and I eventually compete for crumbs. One of the reasons Google does not care if others steal your ad copy (or all the content on your website) is because at the end of the day they know it erodes the value of copyright and creates a bidding war that deposits more money in their bank account.

Quick Paydays

PPC affiliate marketing and arbitrage works that way, where you find a payday, hold it for a few weeks or a few months, then someone competes and the profit margins drop, unless you have a higher visitor value it keeps costing you more time to make less, until the opportunity cost exceeds your profit potential, and then you are off hunting for the next big idea. Competitive forces make it hard for this strategy to build long-term value unless you are operating in a small market or are using a technique that is pretty dirty.

Super Affiliate Secrets

One of my friend that was doing well with PPC affiliate stuff got up to about $1,000 a day of profit for an affiliate network. He ran it for about a year, then his affiliate network decided that they would find something they love and make it their own - they cloned his account and he is now making $0 for uncovering all the great keywords for them.

If you don't own the supply chain or have a distribution chain that is hard to replicate your competitors consist of

  • other affiliates
  • the search engines
  • quality scores and algorithmic changes
  • the companies you affiliate with
  • anyone else interested in the keyword you are buying

SEO Loves Your Profit Margins

This is why I like SEO so much more than PPC. Most people are too lazy to spend years researching their topic, years building a brand, years building links, and years building social and customer relationships. We are afraid of failure, afraid of success, and afraid that we are investing too much in one place. But, if someone sees me ranking in the organic results they can't just clone it unless they know SEO well, and are committed for the long haul. In many cases, knowing SEO well means having capital, time, passion, and a lot of marketing knowledge.

Emotionally Engaged Brand Evangelists

Off the top of your head, how many people or brands in the SEO space can you think of? How many give you some sort of emotional response? How many helped you change your life for the better? Even in some of the most competitive and most saturated marketplaces there is not much real competition.

Thanks for the Laziness, PPC Affiliate Dude!

SEO separates out real businesses from 95% of the people buying PPC ads. The guy stealing ad copy is too lazy to compete at that level. I'll enjoy the logarithmic growth in profits (which have been at least doubling every year) while he keeps stealing table-scraps from Google and other affiliates until his accounts get banned.

Find Something You Love And Make it Your Own!

Published: February 18, 2008

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Comments

February 18, 2008 - 3:44am

Uhh, dude you NEVER wash the dishes...just look at my formerly soft hands. I was really bummed out when you told me about other affiliates finding this cool opportunity and then stealing your copy. I actually signed up for that same program but I guess the KWs are expensive now. Sh*t.

PPC has a lot of advantages and I think you're good at it too.

February 18, 2008 - 4:09am

Hey aaron - what was the program? couldn't pass me your keyword list could you - oh and the landing page would be useful too ;)

February 18, 2008 - 4:50am

The program was bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb ack my keyboard got stuck. ;)

renesisx
February 18, 2008 - 5:34am

If I didn't have to do dishes, I'd have so many more pages of content on my site.

Although saying that, my girlfriend does all the ironing and tidying, bless her cotton socks. Plus she often offers a "non nerd" view of my design and copy. Bonus!

February 18, 2008 - 8:26am

Backgammon! no flies on me Aaron - have to do better than that to keep me off the trail. And now for that keyword list you seem reluctant to provide...

backgammon
backgammon online
online backgammon
on line backgammon

it's like taking candy from a baby! ;)

February 18, 2008 - 7:26am

Wrong, it has to be Britney Spears. Surely *noone* has covered that on the web yet...

renesisx
February 18, 2008 - 7:31am

Another one I just thought of is patience. People are usually incredibly impatient, especially in the Internet age of short attention spans.

PPC = instant results. Even if those results are bad.

SEO = months of waiting and seeing almost no return on investment. A lot of people just aren't willing to sit around seeing no huge gains in traffic for months, growing increasingly nervous whilst their SEO work is done.

I agree though - this is a huge benefit to those who are willing to put in the time and effort for SEO.

February 18, 2008 - 8:40am

The bidding wars in my particular niche are incredibly expensive. We noticed that the actual ROI of PPC campaigns in our market was way to low to invest, there were simply no conversion rates for the keywords we targeted. On the other hand the same keywords in organic serp's took our conversion rates to the roof. What people don't know is that depending on your market organic serp's are way better than pay per click. We become tolerant to the media we experience daily. First there was banners, now we have sponsored links and so it will go on. Common' people, who can honestly remember the banner that they saw this morning while checking their webmail account?

People adapt to all the advertising you may want to put up in the cloud. The real return is on ORGANIC serps where people are actually looking for you, Rather than some dude trying to get their spam content in front of the eyes of the internet user. I do not support PPC and will never do! Why do we have to pay to the big three for a service that we charge. It's like going to the market buying fruit and come home to put it in your neighbors fridge!

February 18, 2008 - 8:56am

I use PPC many different ways...link building, direct profit, etc. In the above example I was paying 60 cents for clicks worth $12 until competition whacked me.

February 18, 2008 - 8:47am

Aaron,

I've seen you mention PPC/affiliates/arbitrage opportunities in the past few weeks and it's all quite new to me. I understand arbitrage from a stock investment perspective, but what is an example of an affiliate you've done this with in the past?

I obviously I don't want you to divulge ones that you're finding to be very profitable, but would like to understand the mechanics with a concrete example.

Thanks

February 18, 2008 - 8:53am

I think the easiest spot to start learning would be looking at some of the best sellers in the clickbank marketplace. There are lots of other affiliate arbitrage opportunities too, but I don't want to single out any particular one.

February 18, 2008 - 9:51am

I don't like having to think some things through too much if they can be automated. And so tools like keyword list generators are made.

You like automating things, eh? How about a dishwasher!!! :)

February 18, 2008 - 10:07am

Aaron,

I think this is a great post. It reminds us that we can be a success affiliate marketer without PPC. The best thing about SEO is that it cost a lot less or virtually nothing compared to PPC.

Laziness strikes all of us at some point in the day. HA! It is what we do to combat it that matters. It helps me to make a list of things to accomplish for the day. It feels good to cross things off as I complete them. I try to start with the things that I really don't want to do and knock them out first. Then I can move on to the things I don't mind doing or things that I enjoy, without having the thought in the back of my mind that I need to do the other items.

~Debby

February 18, 2008 - 11:54pm

hahahaha
I love it, heeh, reminds me of a rant I had here a couple of days ago. :)

February 19, 2008 - 10:12am

Hey Aaron;

I couldn't agree more with this. I only do PPC for my clients, SEO is where I put my money.

I started an income hobby site just over a year ago, with investors contributing $60K on my word (and my SEO track record) that it would work. All I did was SEO, NO PPC, except a $500 StumbleUpon budget for the first few months. For the first 6 months after launch we made $300/month. The investors FREAKED, wondering if they were ever going to make profit - and they actually started calling me names and accusing me of stealing their money. :) I knew better, and just kept working about 3 hours per week on link dev and content updating.

Then, the summer update happened... and for the last 4 months we've averaged around $15K per month - 200,000 pageviews and traffic is 95% organic from 7 top search engines.

Now the investors love me. They have made their money back and we're in pure profit... and due to continued SEO efforts, our income is growing, and growing, and.... well, you get the picture. Sure there are peaks and valleys and algo changes that require tweaking of the site, but we're consistent now, established, and growing. No-one can touch us unless they do more than I've done, which won't be easy.

SEO rules.

Your advice and sincerity toward the issues has made it much easier along the way.

Thanks

February 19, 2008 - 10:21am

Congrats on the nice growth!

February 19, 2008 - 10:12am

I'd be lying to you if I said I haven't deeply considered attempting to automate the dishwasher.
Sadly, no cost effective plan yet...I'll keep you up to date on any developments ;-) haha

February 19, 2008 - 3:29pm

did you copyright "seobook"?

February 19, 2008 - 4:33pm

You can trademark a logo, but not words if they are genericly descriptive.

February 19, 2008 - 5:05pm

Aaron, speaking about laziness, I'd be interested to read how you get others to do work for you so you can focus on your core work. For example, how you get a programmer/designer to work for you, to do handle them.

February 19, 2008 - 8:00pm

Hi Eoin
While I would love to be able to write that article, it might be a few years before I can write something like that with a lot of authority.

February 20, 2008 - 1:29pm

Get a dishwasher man =) Its a breeze.

February 25, 2008 - 12:51am

Yeah SEO is where it's at. We used to do PPC and would be out of business today if we continued down that track. Today, 7 months later, we spend about $15 a month on PPC and get thousands and thousands of organic unique visitors. Now all we need to do is find away to make a profit of them!

April 6, 2009 - 4:52pm

"One of the reasons Google does not care if others steal your ad copy (or all the content on your website) is because at the end of the day they know it erodes the value of copyright and creates a bidding war that deposits more money in their bank account."

I agree about them not caring if people steal your content, but it's hard to claim that people are violating copyright by stealing ad copy. For one thing, it's current practice in the industry, as any direct response advertiser will tell you. Witness Clayton Makepeace's recent post on $30B of free market research: go to the bookstore and read titles etc. Same is true of other people's ads. Granted, that post isn't about directly lifting stuff, but copywriters keep "swipe files"...

Also, if memory serves, copyright is generally aimed at protecting creative works (esp literary ones) so it's a bit of an awkward fit for advertising, despite all the 'creative agencies' out there...

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