I was under 20 years old. I was building out my first real business, with my dad: Wheels-near-you. After I’d taught myself the code and graphic skills I needed to build the main site, I soon ended up deep in the web, reading about SEO.
Back then Google was gameable, it probably still is, but I’m out of that game now.
I became an avid reader of grey-hat SEO. I learned about link networks, domain authority, etc. And I got to work.
After building out my first “microsite” (which became ModAuctions – a heavy hitter), I soon realised I could capitalise on this in several ways. My main .com needed inbound, relevant links, and I worked out that using a combination of eBay listings (via eBay Partner Network – eBay’s affiliate scheme), and Google Adsense ads, I could:
… I learned a bunch of ways to generate links, reaching 10k+ regularly for a site.
… I scaled this up, to 250 sites. I wrote software. I learned a tremendous amount about cars (the focus for this “network).
I was sitting pretty, at peak making £2800+ a month simply from “the network”. (This was just to “link build” for the main project.)
But as with all businesses built to depend on another, this didn’t last at this level. I grew up. Google grew up. The main business didn’t boom, and I learned that I care as much about the building and technical challenges, as simply “making money”.
Still to this day I get cash from the last of these sites, but I slowly cull down the domains, letting the whole thing fall on its own like a derelict building; my first.