Years ago, before Google released its first Panda algorithm update, it was possible to make pretty good money by throwing up lots of pages of lower quality content and monetizing them with something as simple as Google Adsense ads.
You could publish articles about random topics on the same website. Heck you could even use an article spinner to make multiple copies of the same page and publish them as different articles. Then you would just push enough link juice toward the site and at the individual pages so that Google would start ranking those pages. As the pages began ranking higher, you would start getting free traffic to the site. Then you would make money from the Adsense Ad clicks.
Since Google released Panda however, that business model pretty much got nuked.
Some guys preferred to create autoblogs where a software script would scrape pages from other websites for content, randomize that content somehow and then publish the aggregated content as a new web page on a website. Their site would create and publish new pages completely on autopilot.
Then the website owner would use the same approach of pushing link juice to that site usually using some kind of link spamming tool. Google would start ranking the pages on the site and you would be able to monetize the search engine traffic.
That was yet another business model that pretty much got nuked by Google’s Panda algorithm update.
While those models were working they would get decent CTR for Google Adsense or whatever ad network you were using because people who landed on those sites would realize the content sucked. That made them want to get off the site as soon as possible. Many of them would click on an advertisement to leave the page they were on.
Google didn’t like the fact that their Adsense partners were contributing poor content to the web and trying to monetize it through the Adsense program. So they started booting people out of the program who were producing really poor quality content. They were also booting people who were using spam tactics to inflate the rankings of low quality content. So, using low content quality strategies to try to make money with Adsense became hard to get away with. And it remains that way to this day.
What About Other Methods of Monetization?
Since you can’t monetize those low quality sites with Adsense, you might think that you could just monetize them with some other ad network. I suppose you could. I have not found any that pay anywhere near what Adsense would pay though. In the ones that I tried on lower quality content sites, they were not profitable enough to even waste time with. And I am pretty sure that none of the ad networks, whether Google or anybody else, really want people spamming the web and using their network to monetize the spam.
Maybe there is some other creative way you can find to monetize that type of content enough to make it worthwhile. I have not come across any ways of doing so. I am not sure a good way even exists.
What About Other Sources of Traffic?
You might be thinking that you can get traffic from other sources and still monetize that low quality content?
The other search engines are also continuously improving their ability to weed out spam and other low quality pages from the search results. That pretty much rules search engines out as a source of traffic.
You could buy advertising and send traffic to your low quality content. I suspect you will find it incredibly challenging to do that profitably. You will very likely spend more money on your advertising than you are going to recoup in monetization. It’s just a bad business model.
Why Fight The Trend?
In my opinion it is foolish to fight the trend. You will be better off if you just accept the fact that you have got to produce real value for the web in order to monetize it. If you try finding some loophole that hasn’t been closed by a traffic source or monetization method, I think you are going to find that loophole to be a short term one. Chances are that your method will be nullified pretty quickly, especially once enough people start finding out about it.
And focusing on producing high quality content and offering real value to people is a much more personally rewarding way of building a business. And, it happens to be a lot more sustainable. If you have your choice of getting good at something, wouldn’t you rather get good at producing higher value products and websites?