Very simple. I missed the site-building opportunities that were available to me from 2006 onwards to around 2010, when it was simple to make money online. But the reasons I missed those chances are more complex.
People around me, metaphorically speaking, were making money from very simple websites. Application of the concepts was not complicated – put up a website and the advertising should make money for you. Unfortunately I was late to join every method, niche, and technique that I came across, and I have since discovered that most people did not actually realise why they were making money – they just built more pages on the sites they had and became big enough to avoid the sandbox, as death by Google came to be known.
There never was a sandbox. That was just a description used by people who were trying to describe a phenomenon they didn’t understand. Truth is that Google would give a new site an artificially enhanced advantage in their results for about twelve weeks after it was first detected by their spiders. If the site had not improved (hugely) after that time, it was assigned with its original Google rating to a place in the search results which guaranteed that it would not produce a significant revenue. But the reason that this situation arose had something to do with the court case I mentioned previously – https://crabfiles.wordpress.com/2016/07/01/the-right-to-be-forgotten/
Whatever passed between Google and the Judge led to Google giving some kind of concession for new sites. People latched on to the fact that they could get revenue from a new site, and that it would die after about 3 months if they did little work on the site.
In those days Google could be exploited because its algorithms could be manipulated by strategies involving links from sites that nobody could describe as useful. Their subsequent “updates” to their assessment methodologies were focused on eliminating the influence of “junk” links from those tacky sites.
Hey, but we are now ten years on from that brief boom period, and we are back to the situation we were in before that court case. Google is favouring big sites with a lot of “content”, and the basic assessment of that content does not appear to have changed over the ten years. But now it is much harder to get into the search listings than it was then.
I used to joke about a statement in Google’s guidelines which says effectively that the TEXT on a website should accurately describe the CONTENT – as if the text matters less because the spiders cannot read. I stopped joking about that when Google junked the few sites I had which might have been worthwhile.
Let us say you have information on some niche, which happens to be better than anything on the web. You put that on a site, text without pictures, and the spiders will not recommend it. Put a picture on each page and they might notice something. Two pictures per page is better – but not so you’d notice. Put a video presentation on each page, where a voice reads the text on the page over a list of bullet points, and you will start to get the interest of the spiders.
It really really really riles me that everything has to have the whistles and bells to make the spiders notice, when the text itself should suffice to help and instruct people. Not long ago I read a blog post about selling web sites, and it was obvious that someone had decreed that every post needed a picture. Why was most of the space “above the fold” occupied by the rear view of a motorway control sign gantry? Ask the blogger – ask her boss – ask Google. You will not get a rational answer from any of those …