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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.

I don't care what niche or keywords you target, it just takes longer to rank a site these days. There are obviously ways to speed up the process such as:

  1. Buy an aged expired or auction domain
  2. Use social signals
  3. Use some paid traffic
  4. Target super long tail keywords

But the fact is that you should expect it to take anywhere from 3-6 months to really hit top rankings for your keywords.

I'm not talking just your main keyword here, you may get there quicker, but we shouldn't be building sites trying to rank just a single keyword these days.

 

Reason 2 – There is little change on how I build out my sites each month

I'd love to tell you I have a super-amazing strategy that sees me do something different each month to grow and rank my sites. The truth is, I don't. Nothing will rank a site better than time, content and backlinks.

By moving to quarterly updates you will see bigger (hopefully) movements, more action and a true reflection of how long it takes to build, rank and profit form a niche site.

 

Reason 3 – Make time for niche site tutorials and helpful advice

By switching to quarterly I will free up time for creating helpful guides and blog posts that will help you get more from your niche sites and build them into sellable assets.

I have 25 article ideas already lined up that cover a wide range of topics all centred around building, ranking and profiting from niche sites.

This is the topic I get asked most about and it's where my expertise lie, so it makes sense to share that knowledge here.

What Did I do in September?

Content

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.

Link Building

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

DropMyLink

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:

  1. Leave a well written and helpful comment, don't just say “nice work, keep it up”. Webmasters fucking hate those comments.
  2. When you enter your URL, don't just use your root domain, make the link go to an inner page that is related
  3. 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?

  1. Source-Wave Marketplace
  2. Fiverr.com
  3. GScraper (DIY Tool that can yield great results)

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”.

SERP Movement

SERPLab Sept-15

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

Sep-15 Niche Site Traffic

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!

Stickability

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.

Earnings

Azon Sept15

(click to view full size)

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.

Done For You Niche Site

If you are looking to get a head start on your niche site journey then you should, check out my Done For You Niche Sites. Where I done the keyword research for you and will create a site to my exact spec.

You can also choose your own custom niche if you have an idea and are looking for someone to help you.

 

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.

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.

dan - October 9, 2015

As always an interesting read Lewis.
With your web 2.0 sites, are you just using one of the built for you $5 ones with spun content then? Wondered if there is more value in spending a bit more with these adding unique better written content, images etc, another words looking like a half decent mini site. Also aprox How many PBN links would you be looking at send to each web 2.0 ?

    Lewis - October 11, 2015

    Hey Dan, I never use spun content on any of my sites. I see this as one ‘shortcut’ that can lead to losing my sites so I don’t bother. I have VA’s to write and i also use iWriter. The content doesn’t have to be amazing, but I always make sure it’s unique and has additional images etc.

    Sending PBN links to a web 2.0 will be a trial, i will start with 3 links and see how it changes things. Like I mentioned in the post, I like to move slowly and track what I do so I can learn what works and what doesn’t. I’m pretty confident this will work (fingers crossed!)

James - October 11, 2015

Great update Lewis.

I would be interested to see more info of your amazon associated data. Amount of clicks, conversion rate etc.

    Lewis - October 12, 2015

    I’m pretty sure I cannot show this info James as it breaks the Azon Associates TOS.

Chris - October 12, 2015

Hey Lewis, thanks for the update, was an interesting read. Just wondering about the Web 2.0 links. In your last case study you mentioned having used The Hoth. Do you no longer use their packages?

    Lewis - October 13, 2015

    I do still use The Hoth, I usually 1-2 packages per niche site. The Web 2.0 sites I am building however, will offer the chance for me to control the links and sites fully and build up the sites authority.

RJ - October 13, 2015

Hey Lewis,
I think quarterly reports are the way to go. One of my recent sites starting selling in the 3rd month and I was shocked! It felt like I was only working on the site for a couple weeks.
Your building site full time? Im surprise your still using PBNs. It just seems too dangerous- no? What makes you continue?

    Lewis - October 15, 2015

    Hey RJ, the only way PBNs are dangerous is if you don’t know what you’re doing with them, people who have lost their network knew how to build them but not how to maintain or protect them. Silly mistakes usually or taking about it too much!

    They are still the best way to rank with links you can control. This is just a small side project for me, it’s not a full time thing I have other sites/businesses I spend most of my time on. This site is to show people what can still be done with niche sites. Too many people are saying they don’t work…that’s BS!

Alex - December 19, 2015

Hi Lewis,

I was wondering, how much effect do web 2.0 links have on your Google ranking? And are no-follow links still going to help you rank higher or are they just there to make your backlink profile look natural?

    Lewis - December 21, 2015

    Web 2.0’s are an effective part of an overall strategy. I use them however I am becoming a little more picky and prefer to own any Web 2.0 properties I use. No-Follow links are great and you should grab any that you can with high authority as the DO help.

Diepak - January 18, 2016

Hi Lewis, what is the percentage mix of backlinks you suggest for a new website and how does this shift over time?

    Lewis - January 19, 2016

    It all depends on the competition, keywords and the niche I’m entering. I like to build links slower than most so I can attribute movement to a certain action…however this is becoming more and more difficult since there seems to be a big delay from sending links to seeing any movement. You have to just do what the site needs, which again differs from site to site.

    I would wait until I at least had comment and web 2.0 links and some traffic/social shares before any PBN links that’s for sure.

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