AdSense Micro-Niche Site Public Case Study – SEO / Backlinking (Part 5)
As I’ve mentioned in the past, I think this is the most important step of the process. Despite all other efforts, if people can’t find you on Google, your micro-niche site is destined to be a failure. Search engine optimization (SEO) is merely the process of tweaking a few things on and off your site so that Google views your site as more relevant for a particular keyword or keywords.
On-site optimization, although important, is easy (especially with various WordPress plugins out there). Off-site optimization (primarily building backlinks) is more time consuming, and probably what will make or break your site’s rankings on Google. In this section of the case study, I will show you what I’ve done with my site’s SEO.
How to Make SEO Easy for Yourself – The Secret to Success
If you’ve tried to learn about SEO, you’ve no doubt found that there are literally hundreds of informational products, software, and other tools available, all claiming that they will help you “reach page 1” on Google. If you get caught up in this SEO hype, you could find yourself spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars before actually doing something productive.
Here’s what I tell people: Lots of products work. The key, however, is that you put yourself in a position for your SEO efforts to be effective. In more competitive niches (or with more competitive keywords), there isn’t a whole lot you can do – your SEO efforts will need to be strong, and it will take quite a bit of time. For micro-niche sites, however, the secret is very simple: Do good keyword research and find keywords that are not too competitive. If you follow this one piece of advice, you won’t need to stress about which link building software to use, or which informational product to read and follow. Go ahead and re-read my article about keyword research to see exactly what I mean.
I will tell you about which link building products I’m using for my site’s SEO, but don’t feel like these are the only products that work.
The Tools I Am Using
For micro-niche sites, it’s important to me that I’m able to somewhat automate the backlinking process, because otherwise it will simply take too much time or be too costly to create backlinks for several sites. Although this case study is focused on one micro-niche site, I am applying all of these principles to over 50 different micro-niche sites, and I don’t currently hire a VA to help me manage each project (even though I do outsource the content creation). These tools aren’t cheap, but when they’re used for multiple sites, the per-site cost is actually quite reasonable. For example, one tool mentioned below costs me $67/month. However, because I am on pace to create 20 sites per month, this cost is actually only $3.35 per site, which is remarkably inexpensive for one site’s backlinking efforts.
Unique Article Wizard
Unique Article Wizard is a tool I’ve used ever since I began following the backlink strategy tracked with my Ultimate Backlink Tracker tool (free spreadsheet that I created). This is a web-based tool that basically has you provide an article, and then variations of each part of the article (i.e. multiple versions of the title, as well as each paragraph). It can be time consuming to rewrite each section of the article manually, however, there’s a tool I discuss below that makes this much easier.
Then, once the article is all set up (i.e. you’ve provided rewritten versions of each section the article), UAW will automatically submit your article (that is, “unique” versions of your article) to 500-1000+ article sites (varies depending on category). To make sure the process looks natural in Google’s eyes, I set mine up to to distribute 15 per day, for a given article. Assuming it’s going out to 1500 article directories (the # of directories will vary), this means I’ll be automatically building about 15 backlinks per day, for 100 days. Now, Google will take its time in finding these backlinks (or may never find some of them), so it will actually look more natural than it may seem.
Within each article you submit, you can provide a resource box, where you can place two different URLs (it may allow more, but I think 2 is recommended). Then, with each URL, you can vary the anchor text. Because the resource box allows for 2 URLs, each article I submit to UAW works as a backlink to two different niche sites, which makes the backlinking process quicker for me when I’m trying to do backlinking for many sites.
Anchor text variation is extremely important if you want your backlinks to appear natural to Google. With that in mind, I generally vary the anchor text 6 times for each URL, with each article I submit to UAW. Only 1 of those 6 is my target keyword, and 3 of the 6 aren’t even keywords at all. To show you what I mean, here are the 6 anchor text variations I used for this particular niche site:
- moving in together
- moving in together before marriage
- moving in together with kids
- this site
- click here
The purpose of #2 and #3 are to help me rank for a couple of my secondary keywords (for which I have written articles) and #4-6 are thrown in there to make the backlinks appear more natural. I just started this process in UAW a few days ago, so I wouldn’t expect to be ranking anywhere yet.
Unique Article Wizard costs $67/month, which is expensive. However, if used properly, it’s actually very worthwhile. As I mentioned above, because I am currently creating an average of 20 sites per month, the backlinking efforts via UAW only cost me $3.35 per site. Now, these backlinks alone can put you onto page 1 of Google if you research your keywords properly, so you need to always keep that in mind.
Article Marketing Robot
When I set out to come up with a system to backlink my niche sites, I wanted to see if there was an option out there that didn’t require a monthly fee like so many backlinking applications do. Based on my research, Article Marketing Robot seems like one of the best options. This software does what a lot of other monthly fee backlinking sites do, except that you only pay once for the software.
AMR requires a little bit of extra work on the front end, but once it’s set up, it’s very easy to use. Essentially, you have the software automatically create accounts for you on over 2,000 different article directories. Once those are set up, you can add articles with spin syntax (more information on spinning below), and the software will automatically submit unique versions of your article to the various article directories in their database. Much like UAW, you can set up a schedule to only submit a certain number per day – in my case, I am having it submit 20 per day. Also like UAW, you can set up a resource box with 2 links (recommended), and that resource box also uses the spin syntax, so you can vary your anchor text as necessary.
The Downside of AMR
In the interest of full transparency, I will admit that this software is a little confusing to use at first. If this is your first time building backlinks with articles and you’re not at all familiar with spinning, you should probably wait to purchase this. The good thing is, the software comes with a very useful guide, and there is also a helpful forum that has lots of active participants. For anything I’ve had trouble with so far, I’ve been able to pretty easily find the answer.
To me, it’s worth going to the initial trouble because this software doesn’t cost you anything on a monthly basis (over a period of a couple years, this becomes significantly cheaper than anything else). However, this is one of those things that will only be as good as its user – if you use it correctly, it’s great software. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you probably won’t get much out of it. The same can be said with just about any tool though.
Does It Work?
I’ve only recently started using it, so I can’t say for sure yet how well it works. Based on what I’ve read (on the Warrior Forum and other places), many people call this a “must have” piece of internet marketing software. What I plan on doing is taking a batch of 20 niche sites, and backlinking 10 exclusively with UAW and 10 with AMR just to compare the results. Obviously, it’ll take at least a few months to gather any meaningful data, but once I have some sort of verdict, you can bet I’ll report on it here. So far though, I do like Article Marketing Robot (again, with the one-time cost being a huge advantage).
The Best Spinner
I have been using The Best Spinner for well over a year now, and can honestly say it’s one of the best internet marketing tools out there. Because article creation is one of the easiest ways to get “free” backlinks to your sites (and for sites with weaker competition, this is about all you need to do to rank the site), The Best Spinner is very useful. It allows you to spin (i.e. build in synonyms and rewritten sentences) an article so that you’re given unique copies of the article with each spin, which you can use for your backlinking efforts. The quality will only be as good as the spinning you do – so if you do it quickly and don’t really care much about how you choose your words, your spun articles will probably look poorly written. If you spend some more time on it, your spun articles will actually look really good, and you won’t feel like you’re clogging the internet with poorly written content (even though these backlink articles will probably never be seen by anyone).
One feature I really like, and this is one that I think saves you a lot of time and/or money, is the directory of pre-spun PLR articles (organized by niche). Basically, the software has a database of hundreds of PLR articles already spun and ready to be used. If you consider that you might normally pay $3-5 for an article to be used for backlinking, this is literally hundreds of dollars you’re saving just with this one feature (see screenshot below). Now, be careful, because sometimes the quality of these articles isn’t the best. I usually do a quick proofread, and sometimes makes some changes to the title, before using one of these PLR articles.
The Best Spinner is $7 for a 7-day trial, and then $77/year after that. It may seem like a steep price, but if you look around, you’ll see this software is used by everyone (mainly because it makes your life so much easier if you backlink with aritcles). For a free alternative to The Best Spinner, I’ve heard this works pretty well: Spinner Chief. I haven’t used it though, so I can’t really say much more about it other than the fact that’s it’s free.
Backlinking Without Spending Money?
I’m sure there are many of you out there who just want to create backlinks and not spend a lot (or any) money. In my opinion, if you are only planning on creating one or two niche sites, you probably shouldn’t pay for backlinking tools/software, mainly because it’s difficult to justify the cost. However, if you have longer term plans of creating a larger portfolio of websites, I do think it’s difficult to do your backlinking without the help of these tools.
And I’m definitely not saying you need to use the tools I recommend here – there are a lot of great tools out there that, when used properly, will yield similar results. I’ve written before about my beliefs when it comes to investing in your business, and this is an area where it really holds true. It’s all a waste of money, however, if you aren’t dedicated and willing to put in the time to reach your goals.
With that said, there are a lot of ways to build backlinks without spending any money. I’m planning on writing a massive post at some point to list all the places I know about to create backlinks for free, but for right now, I will link to an older post I wrote that gives you several options for creating free backlinks (warning: it was written over a year ago, but a lot of it is still relevant).
On-Site SEO: Easy, but Important
Although on-site SEO is far less time consuming than building backlinks, it’s still very important. There are a lot of WordPress plugins out there that will make this even easier for you – the one I use (it’s free) is WordPress SEO by Yoast. There are really 3-4 key items for on-site SEO (and then a bunch of other factors that are important but not as critical)
- Using your keyword(s) in the title tag of the site (<title></title>) because this is what will display on Google.
- Using your keyword(s) in the meta description of the site, because again, this is what the search engine results will display.
- Using your keyword(s) in the URL structure of your site (or page within your site).
- Using your keyword(s) within the body of your site’s content.
Whatever you do, don’t forget about the first thing I wrote in this post – for micro niche sites, good keyword research is going to be your magical gateway to success. Backlinks are extremely important too, but how you build them (assuming you stay away from shady methods that Google doesn’t like) becomes less important if you are working with keywords that have low competition. If you’re in a more competitive niche, your approach will be different, but this post was meant to focus on niche sites of the “micro” variety.
What are some tools you like to use? Share them in the comments! (Also, if you have any questions about my backlinking method or the tools I am using, please feel free to ask!)