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Niche Site Case Study #1 – Update July-14

This is the first update for the Niche Site Case Study, where I will show you how I take a niche and attempt to rank a website that ultimately earns a passive income. With the ultimate goal of flipping this site for a 16-20x multiple.

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Starting On Shaky Ground

Shortly after I introduced this niche site case study to you last month, I was contacted (via email) by someone with less than good intentions. It was a weak attempt at blackmail.

Here is how it went down;

I have removed the guys name and email as I don't want anything to happen here. Chances are it's a fake name, email and account – but I would prefer it to remain private.

Blackmail Email 1

So right off the bat he tells me he's found my sites and is threatening to out them, or worse still perform Negative SEO or try to get me banned from Google.

Blackmail Email 2

I try to keep my replies polite and remain calm. Truth is, I'm not attached to either of these sites. They make ‘some' money, but its not a large part of my overall income.

I wanted to try to understand why he is threatening these actions to gauge how serious he is.

Blackmail Email 3

So he ignores my questions and is asking me if he should go ahead..? WTF is this guy on?

I decide to dig deeper to see what he wanted.

Blackmail Email 4Bang, there it is folks. MONEY…GREED.

So taking a line from the movies “I don't deal with terrorists” – I decided to let him know that was not an option and see if he would tell me how he found my sites, so I can learn too.

I also tried to cater to his already inflated ego and suggest he puts his “skills” to good use.

Blackmail Email 5So is this is the response of a madman?

At this point I've wasted 10 minutes of my time with this chump and I want to know what he's going to do – in the meantime I want to protect my Google account so I drop in an index.html file into my root domain so when he visits he gets this message;

“Thanks for the heads up [INSERT NAME], email address [INSERT EMAIL], I will not be blackmailed by anyone.”

 

Blackmail Email 6

This is his final response.

I think he saw the message on my niche site and realised from my replies that I was not going to pay him anything and he changed his mind. From his replies he could very well be a 14 year old kid with nothing better to do.

I did try and change tact and actually offer some free coaching to this guy to help him make money online. However he was having none of it and I left it there.

I don't yet know if he will do any of the things he says, I have been getting some strange traffic to both of these sites since this blackmail attempt and rankings have also suffered.

As a result this could very well be a short lived case study.

It does makes me think if it's really all worth it. I mean I share my strategies on this site to help others but then this!

I will continue to publish on the blog, however I will be changing strategies in the near future. As my business changes so will this blog, it will become less and less about SEO and more about online business, what I'm working on and the things I learn.

Let's get back to the niche site update shall we..?

What Did I Do In July?

Fresh Content Added

Adding new content is an important part of your ongoing SEO for any site. Having fresh content for the search engine spiders is really important, along with the fact that you should be building out your sites as much as possible.

In July I had 13 pieces of new content written for the site. This is the criteria I set for my writers;

  1. Between 700 and 1,200 words
  2. Discuss the pros and cons
  3. DO NOT try to sell the item or service – be natural
  4. Include paragraphs and blocks of 3 lines maximum
  5. Link out to the brand/manufacturers webpage

I have a great tip if you are struggling  for content for an Amazon niche site – Just look at what's selling.

What do I mean by this?

It's simple, once you start making affiliate commissions you can go to your associates account at anytime and look at the Earnings Report. This report breaks down the exact items that people bought and the associated commission you earnt as a result.

Look for products related to your niche (as you will ALWAYS sell unrelated products – that is just the nature of Amazon shoppers being driven by Amazon's amazing funnel). You will be able to find products or related items that you didn't even know existed or thought didn't need covering.

I did this can came up 10 products that weren't on my radar and 3 product manufacturers that I could write about and create “brand” pages within my site.

Try it – it works.

New Links Built

Another important step as we all know if link building. Whilst I've stepped away from performing any linkbuilding myself, I still have go-to processes that my team can follow.

I'm not like most SEO's, I am a slow and steady kind of guy and in fact I am getting further and further away from SEO as I build my businesses, but that's a story for another time.

This month I created just 3 new PBN links and also purchased a Hoth Package for one of the higher search volume inner pages. You can see the results of this below!

Running a Test

I also decided that my site looked too amateurish and made a theme switch to see if that improved conversions, sales and ultimately Amazon earnings. Let's just say that pretty isn't always better and I learnt the hard way as you will see in the section below!

What Happened In July

SERP Movement

SERP Rankings July-14

As you can see from the image below, a nice little bump in rankings up to 8th spot for the main keyword (22k exact searches). This occurred after minimal link building, just a few well placed PBN links and The Hoth Package as mentioned above.

Traffic

Niche Site Traffic July-14

Traffic has seen a boost due to the improved SERP position – I still think it will be very hard to break the top 5 with the type of sites that have been there fore sometime, but it's worth a shot!

Bounce rate is crazy high but I much prefer the the way clicky track the bounce rate;

Clicky Basics

As you can see, a much lower bounce rate is show by Clicky and that is because of the way the track a “bounce”;

Our bounce rate takes this into account. A visitor will only count as a bounce on Clicky if they only view a single page and they were on your web site for less than 30 seconds. We figure, if someone is there for at least 30 seconds, they were at least mildly engaged and should not count as a bounce.

This for me is a much better way to track your traffic engagement – the Google stats are just crazy. If you've not used Clicky before I highly suggest you check out their free account trial and see what you think!

Earnings

This is the most fun part. I don't normally share income on the site, however for this and other niche sites I am willing to break that rule!

Amazon Earnings July-14

The site made a total of £64.54 ($107.69) in July which is up from the June earnings of £47.53 – which is an increase of £17.01 or a 35% increase!

Total Earnings To Date

  • June-14£47.53 ($81.54)
  • July-14 – £64.54 ($107.69)
  • Total – £112.07 ($189.23)

Despite an increase in earnings, the most of that came from the last 2 weeks of the month. As I mentioned above, I decided to perform a test with a new theme on the site to see if the performance improved.

Well, it didn't and the first 2 weeks of the month we dismal in terms of affiliate earnings. I wanted to see if a clean looking theme would outperform the dark, ugly theme i am currently using.

It turns out that ugly does work, and after making just £5 in the first 2 weeks, the earnings shot up when I switch the theme back.

Next Steps….

All of the below is dependent on how the rankings perform over the next few weeks – I suspect negative SEO is being performed, however time will tell.

More Content

I will be taking my own advice from my tip above and finding the products that my traffic are buying and creating additional product reviews and general info articles around those products, brands and manufacturers.

Mini 5-10 site PBN

In August I will be completing the mini 5 site PBN that will serve as a good source of powerful links that I have full control over. This will also be offered in the sale when I come to flip the site in the future, which I think add a great deal of value to a potential buyer.

I will be using RankSource.com, which is an SEO services business I own, as my source of quality domain names. You can get a PBN built in no time by using a domain broker and we have some great package deals where you can pick up blocks of 5 or 10 domains with Wikipedia and BBC links etc at some great prices.

If you are interested in that, check out RankSource and drop me an email with the volume you are after.

 

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Key Takeaway Points

  1. Don't deal with terrorists – period.
  2. Is SEO really the best way to make money online?
  3. My link tactics still work…but for how long?
  4. PBN's are getting easier and quicker to build

– Lewis

Lewis Ogden
 

Lewis was able to take his hobby of building websites and turn it into a blueprint that enables him to build, rank and profit from niche websites. As a result of his niche site success, he now makes a full-time 5-figure income and even managed to quit his 9-5 job back in early 2015 all driven by his knowledge that he shares here on this blog.

stu - a couple of years ago

I would have (you may have) looked at the email headers for the IP address of the sender – reverse looked up the host and let them know… very much doubt they were smart enough to hide their sending IP. If it was a UK address there will be a log on the ISP… could give em a shock.

    Lewis - a couple of years ago

    I did start down this route and got their IP address whcih is now blocked from all of my sites – doubt it will make any difference but it’s something at least!

Jamie - a couple of years ago

Interesting read. I am heading out into the land of multiple small niche site to create some cash to reinvest into larger ppc campaigns.

I also use slightly different seo tacts on each site so hopefully I will not loose them all when Google roll out another nasty update.

I must confirm the best converting sites I run also use very, very basic themes, a definite take away for any newbie to aff. marketing. Invest in content and seo use a basic free theme.

    Lewis - a couple of years ago

    Good shout Jamie, too much time is spent making things look pretty, just get good content up and focus on SEO and building a bigger site. A nice looking theme can come later whhen you are ranking.

charles marabella - a couple of years ago

crazy. i would have been like “great work Sherlock, now find my address, knock on my front door and see what happens to you…” lol

    Lewis - a couple of years ago

    Lol that would have take too much of my time on this douche!

Harsh - a couple of years ago

25% bounce rate? This is amazing Lewis.

btw.. you will never understand some people. They were born to be trolls. So are you planning to sell it on Flippa once it hits your desired revenue goal ?

Tweeted, Liked !

– Harsh
Author, NO SEO FOREVER

    Lewis - a couple of years ago

    Yeah all being well I will Flip the site – will probably look to Emprire Flippers if it gets big enough. If not then Flippa it will be.

    P.S – You should send me a free copy of your book for allowing you to drop that link in here 😉

Kate - a couple of years ago

Hey Lewis,

I always enjoy your updates, please keep them coming!

Well done for the way you handled it, I can’t imagine how they thought you’d ever pay them?

It’s a shame they don’t put the same effort into their working on their own stuff.

My main site has been the target of negative seo over the last month or 2 and as a result is suffering with rankings. Unfortunately I am rather attached to this site having put a lot of blood sweat & tears into it. Not to mention it is my only source of income right now. Just deciding on the best course of action now.

Congrats on the earnings increase, looking forward to seeing it rise some more!

Kate

    Lewis - a couple of years ago

    Hey Kate – yeah I did try to offer him help to “change his ways” but there is no helping some people I guess!

    Negative SEO is just one of a number of reasons why I moving more and more away from SEO each day, I detest what it has become!

    Hopefully nothing happens to the site, but the way it’s looking, something is going on for sure.

    – Lewis

MixerDJ - a couple of years ago

Never ever show your niche sites on blogs.because of there are some useless buggers are having enough time to play with them instead of making money for themselves.if i were you this is my reply to him

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………../….//………… ….\\….\
…../´¯/…./´¯\………../¯ `\….\¯`\
.././…/…./…./.|_……_| .\….\….\…\.\..
(.(….(….(…./.)..)..(..(. \….)….)….).)
.\…………….\/…/….\. ..\/……………./
..\…………….. /……..\………………/
….\…………..(………. ..)……………./
……\………….\……… ../…………./

    Lewis - a couple of years ago

    Haha thats the thing, I didn’t reveal the domain, he figured it out along with another so unsure how he did that!

    Nice response tho!

Khue Tran - a couple of years ago

Hi Lewis,
I just created my own 2 weeks ago. I didn’t receive any clicks or sales, but did receive some traffic, so I am planning on adding another article, just trying to keep the website fresh.

Looking forward to see the updates day by day and hopefully pick up some tips for my own site.

Keep up the good work.

Tran

    Lewis - a couple of years ago

    Good luck wwith your site Tran, it ddoes take time but great things can happen if you stick with it. Slow and steady wins the race here.

jack - a couple of years ago

lmao, I was pretty sure I found your niche site too but was just doing detective work out of boredom. Probably some indian dude wanting USD currency. Well indians have better work ethic than most americans, so I suppose its probably some dumb college kid.

you should extract his IP address from his email to you, then block his ip on your site, make it redirect to rick roll or something.

    Lewis - a couple of years ago

    Lol already blocked his IP – I will drop you an email Jack

Bernice - a couple of years ago

Hi Lewis,

Interesting read! It sucks to have to deal with these sort of people who wanted to take advantage of legit business. I have read about horror stories on Negative SEO and how so many people had been affected.

I wonder if SEO will go down the drain as Negative SEO is now rampant?
Now it looks like SEO is going down the path of how to blow the competitor’s site out of the water using any necessary means, instead of building our site to attract traffic.

Btw, I signed up for DH and have sent you a question.

Cheers!

    Lewis - a couple of years ago

    Not sure it will go down the drain, however its does get very murky when neg SEO is involved!

    Thanks I will get back to your email shortly!

Nauf Sid - a couple of years ago

Good to see your progress, Lewis. Also, I’m reading a lot about HOTH these days. So, would like to know how effective it really is? And yeah, don’t feed the trolls.

    Lewis - a couple of years ago

    I like their packages and the options and how you can split up keywords etc. So far so good for my projects I have used it on.

scott masse - a couple of years ago

Lewis,

Nice progress! Looks like you are starting to gain some traction…..I like your idea of looking for other related products and will add that to my to do list this month….

    Lewis - a couple of years ago

    Thanks Scott – Its my go to when I run out of ideas!

Theodore Nwangene - a couple of years ago

Great post Lewis,
I hate dealing with blackmailers and i love the way you followed the rouge, he can go to hell for all i care. I love the way you’re going with this site of yours and if things continue this way, you will soon turn it into a 6 figure business.

I have a few question if you don’t mind.

1. Do you normally make your PBN’s a static homepage or a blog homepage?
2. How many of your money sites can you link from one PBN?

Thanks for sharing.

    Lewis - a couple of years ago

    Hey man,

    1 – Most of them are blog style sites and the posts roll off onto inner pages as I add more content. This looks more natural than have a static page.
    2 – This depends on the size of your PBN and what you are personally comfortable with. That said I wouldn’t link to the same money sites from each of your PBN sites, this would look un-natural

Michael - a couple of years ago

Hi Lewis,
I can see that the niche site case study is really going on well. The terrorist thought that he has met a coward not knowing you’re a correct n***a:).

I don’t know why most people don’t want to utilize the good talents they have but instead, chooses to use it to cause problems.

I want to ask…… Can you give a roughly number of links you’ve sent to the site so far?

    Lewis - a couple of years ago

    That Hoth package builts lots of links so it’s not easy to count – in terms of PBN links I think around 10 so far, maybe less.

Jassica Mall - a couple of years ago

This is my first visit to your site Lewis and i must confess that you have a good looking blog here. I will also be following your case study from now as I’m sure i will learn few things from you.

Congratulations on your breakthrough so far with this site, I’m indeed impressed.

Please, if you’re building an adsense niche site, do you normally make it a static homepage like when you’re building an Amazon niche site or, do you make it a dynamic/blog hompage? Why?

Thanks for sharing this with us and, more strength to your elbows.

    Lewis - a couple of years ago

    I do have a static homepage for the simple reason is I like to use this as an “index” for all of my other content. Like a book, it will point to the other sections and categories you have and link to them, whilst also enabling you to have lots of content 2K+ words on the homepage for improved rankings.

Doug - a couple of years ago

Hi Lewis,
I’d like to take you up on the free coaching now that some time has passed. 🙂 Just kidding, of course, it wasn’t me. You handled that person very well. It sucks that that sort of stuff happens.

I’m glad to see the income numbers from your site on these updates. It’s very cool to see the trajectory of earnings as a site progresses. No doubt it will help the sales effort when the time is right.

What kind of extra cash do you think you can get for the small, niche specific PBN? Based on the built for you PBN service charges, I would expect $1500-$2000 USD. What do you think?

    Lewis - a couple of years ago

    Ah-ha I knew you were being too nice to me – something smelt fishy!

    Yeah I would say at least a few extra thousand $$ at least – I just think it’s not something that I’ve seen done and would be a good selling point! For me that’s what it would be about, the perceived value goes up when they realise that this big chunk of SEO has been done for them and they can own it themselves!

Richard - a couple of years ago

Man, you seem to be flying with this one! My niche site has been going a few months now but I’m still a fair way off your level of success with this one. I’m building links slowly but not gaining too much traction yet. My current plan of action is to do-optimize my linking further and try adding additional content. At the moment though I’m getting a little frustrated with the lack of upward movement in my traffic stats!

    Lewis - a couple of years ago

    It really is taking much longer these days and its like there is a delay when building links, the site will do nothing, then jump up, then drop a bit. Kind of like a dance!

    I think focus is key and just sticking wwith it, slow and steady really is my preferred method of SEO and link building!

    Good luck Richard

Sachin - a couple of years ago

Hello Lewis,

Seems like this BLACKMAILING SEO things is all over here is a link http://selnd.com/1l86fzS & I think you can relate to this.
Negative Seo is on boom now days, many people are trying to destroy sites than building good sites…this is ridiculous and search engins has to become more smart on this.
Any way ….looks like your new site taking baby steps and growing slowly. Indeed RELATED ITEMS on Amazon associates list is good idea; yes we can find some insanely amazing products to target that we don’t even exist 😉

    Lewis - a couple of years ago

    Yikes, thanks for the link – looks like I;m not alone, at least this guys didn’t state a specific cash value he had in mind! 🙂

Ndy Wills - a couple of years ago

Nice Update! how old is your niche site?
I’m equally building a case study niche site on my blog. But i seem to be facing a of road block with the niche site in terms of ranking. the site is about 3months old and is currently tethering between #16 and #23. The problem is i cant get it to go beyond #16. I’m thinking of adding more links to it.
BTW Is your Niche Website hosted with the same account as this blog? If yes, then finding your blog address would not be that hard.

    Lewis - a couple of years ago

    The domain was picked up in October last year (you can see the 1st post here). So it has age on it’s side and I didn’t do anything for a while until it broke from the “sandbox” stage and started getting some love from Google.

    It’s on completely different hosting so really unsure how it was identified, no adsense code and not using the same Amazon ID etc it’s even on a different Analytics account! Lol

Jurij - a couple of years ago

Hey, Lewis.

Glad nothing came out of this blackmail attempt.

On a totally unrealted note — is there a plugin or widget you use to display the ‘feature box’ on the main page of your blog?

I tried to use builtwith.com to find out what it is, but with no results 🙁

Let me know!

– Jurij

    Lewis - a couple of years ago

    Thats a custom coded box I’m afriad – I did use Plugmatter which looks and does exactly the same thing but I wanted to cut down on my plugins so had it hard coded

Bob - a couple of years ago

Good info – what app do you use to track your SERP ranking?

sergey - a couple of years ago

Hey Lewis,

Is there amazon comission cap in the UK as discussed here – http://www.warriorforum.com/main-internet-marketing-discussion-forum/308417-amazon-commission-uk-sell-1-000-product-earn-7-not-cool-2.html

Thanks.

    Lewis - a couple of years ago

    Yep unfortunately so, read this;

    ” Limitations on Advertising Fee Rates for Certain Products

    Notwithstanding the advertising fee rates described on this page, advertising fees for all Qualifying Purchases of Products are limited to a maximum of £7.00/€10.00 (as appropriate) per Product regardless of the Qualifying Revenues received from the sale of that Product, except where that limitation is specified expressly as not applying to certain categories of Products below. ”

    See here – https://affiliate-program.amazon.co.uk/gp/associates/join/compensation.html

Chris Greenhough - a couple of years ago

Hey Lewis. First off, I’m really appreciative of the info you’re sharing with us. Please don’t give up! My quest for financial independence is going to need guys like you who are so generous with their knowledge. And I’m only half kidding : )

Second, I’m sorry to read about your recent bad experience. Unfortunately some people online behave in ways which they would doubtless think twice about ‘in real life’. Something about the anonymity of sitting behind a screen and keyboard brings out an unpleasant mindset. I’ve also experienced this myself in the past few weeks. It’s never nice, but don’t give in. Keep on keeping on.

Cheers, mate.

    Lewis - a couple of years ago

    Cheers Chris I appreciate that! It’s annoying more than anything as it just ruins it for everyone…but I guess there will always be people like that!

    I sincerely hope I can help you in your quest for financial independence!

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