Niche Site Case Study Sep-15 Update
Month three is over and we're already a week into month number four. Time flies in the niche site game and as such I have decided to make these updates a quarterly thing for a few reasons.
Reason 1 – It now takes longer to rank a site. Period.
Reason 2 – There is little change on how I build out my sites each month
Reason 3 – Make time for niche site tutorials and helpful advice
What Did I do in September?
I produced ZERO content on September. Nil. Nada.
Why? Simple. I was busy on other things and before investing yet more money in content I wanted to work with what I have.
Adding more content will not improve my site or income anymore than improving on what content I already have. Check out how Gael and Mark increased traffic to a single page by 9,275%. This is a great example of working with what you already have.
So my focus has been on ranking the content that I have on the site.
I've performed what I consider to be awesome keyword research, I have several ways to make money from the site once it starts to generate more traffic and the content I have is better than my competition.
In last months update, I discussed how I would be “going on the offensive” with the site by building some “core” backlinks such as comment and web 2.0 links.
These are the first kind of links I build for a niche site, it helps to diversify the anchor text profile as I use either the site/domain name or the pseudonym of the site owner I am using.
Building Comment Backlinks
For comment backlinks I like to use DropMyLink.com
This free tool will help you find footprints from CRM software such as BlogEngine and WordPress.
I found a number of sites with this tool and it allows you to find pages that are discussing the topic you have an article about.
The way to use this to your advantage is to get really specific with your search terms and then when you find a good article with decent domain/page authority, you need to do 3 things:
- Leave a well written and helpful comment, don't just say “nice work, keep it up”. Webmasters fucking hate those comments.
- When you enter your URL, don't just use your root domain, make the link go to an inner page that is related
- DO NOT USE YOUR KEYWORD for the anchor text. Just don't, that is very 2009! Just use your domain name or site name, even better your name or a pseudonym.
Building Web 2.0 Links
Previously I would build these out myself and it sucked, big time. There are now packages available from a number of sources (below) that will provide you with any number of these sites for very little outlay.
Where do I get my Web 2.0 sites from?
The reason I use these Web 2.0 properties is that similar to a PBN, they allow you to completely control your backlinks, velocity and also anchor text.
A better strategy that I will be incorporating soon, is to build out 10 web 2.0 sites that have decent page authority and add lots more content and throw some PBN links at them to juice them up.
That way I can use them as a mini PBN as part of my “initial link build strategy”.
As you can see I am now tracking 88 keywords, 80% of which are really long-tail stuff with 4-6 words per search phrase.
I did however find some super low competition keywords with between 9,900 and 22,200 searches. I have no idea how I came across them, I think I was using SEMRush and assessing a competitor's site.
However this was back in August and I forgot all about it, I even had some content written by a VA and it was just sat in my inbox waiting to be used!
So after publishing the content and adding all of the keywords I wanted it to target, the page jumped in at 29th for the 22k search term.
Which I'm pretty happy about.
The other big story here is that last month I had just 3 keywords in the top 10, now I have 20!
This just shows the power of time and backlinks. I would put myself in the slowly-slowly-softly-softly category when it comes to defining SEO's.
I like to track my actions and their results and therefore don't do too much too quickly. It is really paying off for this site with the number of keywords in the top 10 increasing by 566%!
Traffic always excites me, WAY more than SERP rankings. Reason being is that it is a true reflection on your sites progress.
Sure, you can hit top 3 for a target keyword, but you have no idea what that means in terms of clicks and sales.
By tracking your traffic you can see where it's coming from, which pages they are landing on and what they do once they get there.
The above chart is from Clicky Web Analytics. I prefer this to Google Analytics for a number of reasons. The main one being is that it automatically tracks your outbound link clicks, so tracking which affiliate link is driving the most clicks is easy.
Doing this in GA is not.
So for September we saw an uptick of 42% in total traffic and a 13% increase in time on site. This is a result of the ‘long form content' strategy I use and many of these articles/pages are now starting to rank for lots of long tail keywords.
The most impressive number for me is the bounce rate. At the end of August I mentioned I had changed the theme to a more professional looking one.
That's not all I did, I also had my VA go in and add a custom featured image to EVERY article. It took a while but the site looks much more attractive and the “related posts” feature that most premium themes have these days is getting people to click around, hence the increase in pageviews, time on site and decreased bounce rate.
If I can hit a 40%+ uptick in traffic every month we will have a very profitable site on our hands!
I honestly believe Google is playing a game with SEO's right now in that it takes MUCH longer to see any benefits from your efforts. Many people get into niche sites for their passive income capabilities and as a result many of these people want immediate gratification.
If they don't get it, they move on or try to blast their site with links. Either way, Google wins and less SEO's take part in gaming the algorithm.
It's those that treat this like a business and are in it for the long term that prosper.
My expectation for this site was it to start earning some form of income within 3-6 months.
That is the timeframe and mind-set I recommend you go in with. Essentially you want to set your expectations upfront to avoid disappointment in the future.
Everything we do online requires taking action and commitment. Niche sites are no different.
Running Income Total (Gross)
- Jul-15 – $28.01
- Aug-15 – $14.44
- Sep-15 – $74.19
- Total – $116.64
So a good month in September for income. October has started slowly however the Nov/Dec shopping period is just around the corner so now is the time for a big push to get those rankings and sales.
Plans for Q4 (Oct, Nov, Dec)
Minimal New Content
As I mentioned earlier, there is no need for me to keep adding content to the site unless I can start to see decent rankings, traffic and sales from my existing efforts.
So I will not be adding any content to the site on October as I have plenty of keywords to track and rank for, many of which are on the cusp of driving some serious traffic.
November and December should really be focused on driving traffic and sales to what you already have in order to take advantage of the increased online spending.
So I doubt that much content will be added to the site until January.
More Link Building
I will be testing a few strategies over the next few months, including:
- Social sharing packages
- Internal linking from pages ranking well
- PBN Links pointing to Web 2.0 sites, which point to the niche site
I have a number of other ideas up my sleeve which I will report on should I find the time to test them.
If you want to join me in profiting from niche sites, you can check out my Done For You Niche Sites.