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Google Slap May Cost Me My Goals


Google chopped my legs off last week, metaphorically speaking of course, but it was still quite painful. Because Google believes that I have some unnatural links on my website, they have downgraded my Page Rank from a PR3 all they way down to a zero. Due to this downgrade, my site will no longer rank as highly when someone performs a Google search, which means fewer visitors, which then means less money will come my way. And now, my goals of paying off my mortgage may be at risk.

A Reduction in Income

Ever since 2011, my website has comfortably earned between $800-$1,500 a month, and it was pretty steady. Now that I have been Google slapped, I expect that my earnings per month will fall to half of the average – somewhere between $400 and $800 a month, which means I can expect about $600 less each month, which then means that my mortgage payoff will suffer by $4,800 between now and the end of the year (if my Google Page Rank never comes back that is) :(. Before this painful event, I was already going to come up short with my payoff (by about $7,000), so now I need to figure out a way to earn $12,000 additional dollars between now and December.

Ideas to Counter This Reduction in Income

I thought that I might be able to save my way to my financial goals when I only had $7,000 to make up for the entire year (you know, like use less gas, find cheaper insurance, use less heat in the winter), but now that the gap has spread to over $12,000, I really need a better plan of attack to get this house paid off by December.

Mowing Lawns

reel mowerSome of you may remember my idea to mow lawns with my non-motorized reel mower this summer. In short, the plan was to find 10-20 clients that would enjoy an eco-friendly cut that wouldn’t pollute the earth, was quiet, and would keep their grass more healthy than with a gas-powered mow. I could complete a small yard for just $20 and would emit no fuel in the process (I would ride my bike to each home with a wagon in tow).

Some of you thought this was a pretty good idea, and I believe that the concept would really catch on and make my clients feel good about doing their part for the environment. At this time, I have already secured one client (possibly two) and could probably muster up another 8 or so just by walking door to door around my neighborhood and asking them if they would like to hire me for my eco-friendly lawn services. If I was able to get 10 clients by the end of this month and 20 by the end of June, then that would probably net me….

  • $100 in May
  • $800 in June
  • $1,600 in July, August, September, and October

….$5,700. Hmmm. I would work my butt off (mowing 20 lawns would probably add 15 extra hours of work each week) and earn less than half of the $12,000 that I need to hit my financial goals.

It is possible that my business would take off and net me more than 20 clients, which would mean that I would probably have to hire out some help, but this would still net me a greater income. Since this is probably my best bet to earn some decent money, I will most likely pursue this. I will never know how great of an idea it is until I try right?

Flipping Cars

Another method that has earned me some pretty decent money in the past was to buy and sell cars. It does get pretty tiring to try and sell the vehicles to picky customers (which most of them are), but when I earn over $600 with each car, this could probably net me over $2,000 with just a few different vehicles. If I find another amazing deal on a car, I will probably try to buy it in order to sell it for a profit.

Staff Write

I am already a staff writer for 3 different sites, but I might try to ramp this service up in the future. At $25 an article, I can pretty easily earn $50 an hour by doing this. Yes, it can get tiring at times, but it is good money, so with a couple hundred articles (eek, that sounds like a lot!) I could get myself that much closer to my goal at the end of December.

Get Promoted at My Day Job

Now that I have earned my MBA degree, I hope to move up within my company and ultimately make a higher salary before the year is over. There is obviously no guarantee of this, but if I keep working hard like I have been doing and if a better position opens up, then my title could get bumped up and help me pay off this mortgage on time.

It is quite obvious that any one of these ideas by themselves will not yield me the income that I need to pay off my house, but collectively, it still could happen! If everything went right, I could have an extra $20,000 or so in my pocket by December. This has a pretty slim chance of happening, but it does make me feel a little better to know that it is still possible to hit my financial goals. 🙂

Have you ever been penalized by Google? What do you think about my ideas to earn some extra cash?

Money Mortgage Payoff


My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Sorry to hear you got slapped Derek. Hopefully you can figure out what links they are referring to and get it straightened out.

    • I feel pretty good about the actions I have taken so far, but I won’t likely get a PR back until 2 months from now. I’ll survive – I always do! 🙂

  2. I (luckily) have not been hit by Google but your story scares me. I earn a decent amount of income from my site and while I don’t use the money to live off of, I do use it to boost our savings so that we can eventually retire early. I think the scariest part is just not knowing what the links are or how to go about fixing things. I heard that Google will give some guidance but for the most part, you are up to your own. Good luck!

    • Yup, I am about the same way Jon. I never depend on the income, but it sure is a great help for paying down my home mortgage! Without it this goal is certainly going to be tough. I am up for the challenge though!

  3. Sorry to hear that The Great Googley-Moogley got you. I’ve been hit by them several times over the last 10 years. I’ve learned to just go on without the pagerank. One thing I have noticed is that my pagerank doesn’t necessarily change my rankings in the search engine. Maybe it’ll be the same for you.

    • That is cool to hear that a PR is not 100% necessary to succeed, plus this will help me focus on other ways to earn a revenue (which I had been putting off until now).

  4. You depend on Google, you get screwed. If not now, soon.

    The best SEO strategy is to pretend that Google does not exist. Paid traffic can be far cheaper than “free” SEO traffic.

    You are not a Google customer. If you don’t believe that, try contacting their customer service department.

    You are Google property. Google feels entitled to deal with their property as they see fit.

    • So what do you mean by paid-for traffic? Like through Facebook?

      • Facebook is currently the best source of paid traffic, but that won’t last very long, just because everybody is discovering it, and users are getting annoyed by the volume of ads. I thought I posted a comment about that already, but I’m not seeing it.

  5. I hate it when google does that. I understand why they do but there tends to be collateral damage to good sites like yours 🙁 I had a similar hit last year and I’m still trying to recover.

    • Yeah, it definitely wasn’t a welcomed action for my site. But, my reader base has not changed because of it, and I still love to write and teach others, so I probably won’t change much at all from the readers’ perspective. 🙂

  6. BTW, of the alternatives you mentioned, I recommend writing.

    The current best source of paid traffic is FaceBook. However, that will change, and soon — simply because *lots* of folks are learning about that, and the situation there is getting really annoying for the users.

    As Don Lancaster pointed out in his excellent and mostly-timeless book (no longer in print, but I think you can now get a copy for free download) “The Incredible Secret Money Machine,” there are NO really good deals that last very long before they get trampled by the masses. So, if you ever find a really good deal, milk it for all it’s worth while keeping your mouth shut about it. And don’t stop looking, because it won’t last.

    • I think writing is probably the best option too Howard. It’s not an easy thing to do in the summer time though! If only I could write articles while riding my bike or jogging. 😉

  7. Depending on the level of exertion, you might be able to do some dictation while biking. Jogging could be tough, but walking is doable.

    Then put the dictation through Dragon, fix up any minor errors (or hire somebody to proof).

  8. I have been slapped before. The income drops, but that is the time to start focusing attention on another blog. For me, it doesn’t matter that much since blogging is a hobby more than anything, but you could use the skills that you learned to keep developing other avenues of income.

    • I probably won’t start another site right away. I will just continue to improve my site and hope Google reconsiders the penalty they laid on me. Even Google can’t stop me from teaching my loyal readers about personal finance! 🙂

  9. Sorry to hear about your Google slap.

    Chin up, though, it will get better.

    Yes, writing for Elance clients has been a blessing for me, making me more than $10,000 in nearly a year just through that one venue since I began figuring out the whole process. (I learned how to find better-paying clients and value my work better now, so I should make tons more money this year.)

    The Elance freelance writing income has gone a long way towards paying off debt — so I hope that helps you too if you decide to jump on there.

    • Hi Paula. Thanks for the comment. Would you mind sending me a quick email about how to earn money through Elance? That would be awesome! derek [at]

  10. Just a thought – have you considered building a new site/sites? As you clearly know what you’re doing then building some new sites may be a good way to leverage your experience and also diversify your online income stream?

    • I first considered it last year, but was so busy with school that it would have just been a bad idea. At this point, yeah, maybe I should start at least one more site. It’s definitely a good thought. Thanks Rich!

  11. Hi

    Would you mind posting the info you get about elance? I would like to start writing and offering my skills in teaching Spanish/translation.


    • Sure! I’ll try to put an article together by next week! Thanks for reaching out Liz.

  12. I actually mowed grass to make some side money. Do yourself a favor, use a gas powered mower…

    • No thanks NNL. Do you know what I had to do when my mower wasn’t working quite right yesterday? I tightened a screw. Presto, problem solved. Now, what if I had a gas powered mower and it broke down? Yeah, not the same.

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