First of all I'd like to say I'm no guru. Even if I was making millions I probably still wouldn't call myself a guru. I came to this board knowing virtually nothing, as a matter of fact one of my first posts was asking what a proxy was. Ahh how I can look back at those good ole' days and laugh. I quit my job in early 2011 not knowing what I wanted to do. Even now I am not making a full time living with IM, but I do make the equivalent of a low-paying part time job and I can only see my prospects increasing for the future. I can't even begin to tell you the frustration and desperation that I went through to get to where I am now. Even today many of my friends and family are still waiting for me to get a "real job" and here I head strong fast into the future knowing that I've found my calling. I've learned a few lessons along the way and I thought I'd share some of them here with you. My only interest is in SEO and I don't do PPC so I can't help you there. Virtually all my profits so far have been made 3 ways, 1. providing services for others, 2. CPA sales via SEO, and 3. Adsense clicks via SEO. I'll give you some the wisdom I've acquired along the way and hope that it helps some of you. I could offer the normal advice like keyword research is 90% of the battle, use generic anchor texts, but I like to be a bit unconventional so I'll mix things up a bit. 1. Don't listen to BS on forums or white hat blogs There's a lot of 'experts' out there that would love to dangle a carrot and have you chase it around to get you nowhere for hours. I thought I was an expert at SEO, and then I received a cold dish of reality when I actually tried to DO SEO. The fact is there are many aspects of search engine optimization that many marketers like to keep as their own proprietary secret. People like to rehash the same old information just to get their post counts up when often times they don't have the experience to back it up. Keep in mind the trust and reputability of the people you are taking advice from. This goes for those of you who are reading my posts too. I promise that I try to provide information to the best of my knowledge, but you should question everything and most importantly fail on your own accord. Most SEO advice should be taken at face value, it takes experience to be able to separate the crap from the truth. It sucks man, but you've got to spend your money, make lots of mistakes, be frustrated for months at a time eating top ramen noodles, and then one day you'll wake up and you'll never be so excited in your life that you actually made $7. Then those $7 will become $700 and so on you get the picture... 2. Leave No Trace Anyone who's ever spent a few nights in the wilderness knows how important this is. Leave NO trace. Footprints are a great way for Google to identify your attempt to manipulate their search results. Personally, I spin everything from first names, to last names, to zip codes, to phone numbers. If it gets posted, it gets spun. Simple as that. Don't think you can get away with 1 click word spinning. Spin sentences, html, line breaks, # of sentences, # of paragraphs, phrases, order of words in phrases, use media lots of media-- images, video.. spin those too! etc... Lazy Internet Marketers Leave Footprints -- Don't be lazy! Just because you are sitting on your computer at home doesn't mean this isn't WORK. I own an article directory and most of these articles do not pass copyscape filters. When I use software like GSA and I go back to check where my links were posted I see huge numbers of marketers using the default spun content that comes with the software - big mistake! WRITE YOUR OWN SPINS! Do not use "default" spun content with software like GSA and NoHands! 3. It Takes Money To Make Money When I first started I tried to do everything I could to avoid spending $10. The fact is there are a lot of players in this game we call SEO hundreds of thousands. I see a lot of posts "where can I get a free domain?" etc.. If you don't have a few hundred bucks to throw down, you've got to sell a few more burgers at Mc Donalds and come back. If you want to play with the big boys you need the right tools. Sure you could rank a site using white hat manual work only I'm sure. The fact is those guys who are ranking for those heavy traffic niches paying big bucks are using the proper tools to help them get there. That doesn't mean you should throw down your money indiscriminately buying every SEO tool available. Start with a goal in mind, begin by doing the work manually, and then figure out what it is you need to automate and can do more efficiently. Then do your research and find out what tools out there can help you get the job done. Suck it up, throw down the cash. There's a reason in the 'real world' things such as business loans exists. Take out a loan from your bank account to help you in this journey and be willing to lose it all. Once you buy scrapebox you'll kick yourself in the nuts for not having spent the few measly dollars it cost when you realized it'd be useful to you months ago. Then actually LEARN how to use the software before you spam your links everywhere and get your site penalized. I like to use fake URLs and do "dry runs" when trying out new software. SEO tools are like your elves, and you are Santa Claus. Lots of kids out there want toys (your clients have a problem they need a solution), Santa can't make all the toys by himself. He needs elves (your SEO tools), but he's got to make sure he hires the right elves with the right capabilities. 4. Focus on your ROI, Not Your Rank I'd rather have a site ranking #15 making me 100 bucks a day, then a site sitting at #1 making me 5 bucks a day. So many of us become obsessed with our rank when really what we should be focused on is our return on investment. If you are creating a killer site, and you've got a solid SEO strategy your ranking will take care of itself. I had a big problem with this personally. My main KW for my authority site has 45k world exact searches and I became so obsessed with trying to rank this one keyword it was like a drug addiction to me. What I didn't realize is that for my product review sub pages I was just nearly inching my way to page 1 for some searches that had only 1,000 exact per month. Once I shifted my focus away from this golden prize 45k a month keyword and started focusing on ranking these measly 1,000 per month product specific searches that's when I really started making money! As a matter of fact I stopped caring what my main keyword was ranking for all together... nevertheless a month or so later I'm ranking very high for my main keyword after shifting my focus to my subpages which is where the easiest money was at all along.