A Sneak Peek at My New Niche Site

As you might recall, about a month ago I set out on a challenge to focus on one project for 31-days.  The idea was that I would eliminate some of my larger distractions and really kick my productivity into high gear.

I originally gave myself the option of doing two projects (one for the first half of the month, one for the second half), however I decided to just focus on one project for the entire month.

Overall, it was a success, and I wanted to share with you the details of what I created.

First off, I’m not going to reveal the URL of the site (yet).  I haven’t decided if that’s something I want to do with this site, because I know if it ultimately starts earning a decent income, copycat sites will emerge. While I’ll be transparent about everything else, I don’t want to kill this project before it gets “off the ground” by inviting new competition.

The Niche and Keyword Stats

Without actually revealing the keyword, I figure I can still reveal everything else to give you an idea of the kind of niche site I’m building.

The broad niche is technology.  I’ve created sites in the technology niche in the past, and have found that they can be competitive.  The key is to find keywords that don’t have the top rankings saturated with e-commerce product pages (such as Best Buy or Amazon), because these can often be difficult to outrank.

The keyword I selected receives approximately 4,400 exact match, local searches and 8,100 exact match, global searches per month.

don’t have an exact match keyword domain, however I do have the keyword + a short suffix as the domain (and it’s a .com domain).

Here’s a look at the top 10 ranking pages for my keyword (with the sites blocked out, for obvious reasons) so that you can see what type of competition I’m up against.  (This screenshot is taken from Long Tail Pro, where I do my keyword research and analysis).

There are several things I like about this keyword:

1) 7 of the top 10 pages have less than 5 “Juice Page Links” – What this means is, most of these pages have very few strong backlinks.

2) 7 of the top 10 pages either have 0 PageRank or no PageRank - This isn’t as much of a reliable measure as it used to be, but this gives further indication to how weak the pages are.

3) Only 2 of the top 10 pages are e-commerce sites – Because my site is based on a certain type of technology product, it’s important to me that I don’t have to outrank sites that actually sell the product.

4) Only 3 of the top 10 pages have the target keyword in the domain. - This makes it more likely that the other sites aren’t specifically targeting the same keyword as me.

There are also a couple things that worry me about the keyword:

1) Only 4 of the ranking pages have very weak Page Authority (a way to measure the overall strength of the page’s ability to rank) – I consider anything 30 or less to be very weak, and in this case, there are only 4 pages like that (6 are under 40, however).

2) The #10 ranking site (that has 100+ juice page links and a 39 Page Authority) appears to be a niche site targeting a similar keyword as me.  I do think I can outrank this site over time, but it’s always a concern that someone who has already put in the effort is only ranking #10.  It’s important to note that this site doesn’t have the same exact keyword – it’s a three word keyword, and this site’s third word is a synonym of the target word.  I’m not sure how this would affect the ranking.

Content Creation & Monetization

The site currently has 9 pages of content – the main page is 1000+ words, and each supporting article (targeting various related long-tail keywords) is 500-700 words long.  I plan on adding another 10 or so pages over time before deciding if I want to keep growing the site.

I’ve outsourced all of the writing to textbroker.com, and have spent the extra money to make sure each article’s quality is at least a 4-star rating.  I’ve also done all the proofreading myself to make sure everything looks good.

As you probably guessed, the site is monetized with Amazon’s affiliate program.

SEO and Backlinks

So far, I haven’t done much here.  I’ve manually written about 20 comments on blogs in the same niche – about 75% of these comments link to the main page of my niche site, while 25% are to other articles on the site.

I haven’t used my keyword as my anchor text in the blog comments – only my name, or the site’s name (i.e. what Google would view as the “brand”).

In addition, I wrote an article on a Web 2.0 site linking to my site, and purchased a Fiverr gig to build various backlinks to that article.  I wanted to make sure I keep some distance between my site and backlinks that could be potentially harmful (you don’t always know what you’ll get on Fiverr, considering it only costs $5).

I also purchased a Fiverr gig to send “social signals” to my niche site – in other words, the content was shared on Twitter, Facebook, etc.  I don’t believe this type of activity can be harmful to your site (however the benefit may be minimal).

I’m going to see where this type of SEO work gets me before I take it to the next level.  I eventually plan on hiring a VA or professional backlinking service to build some better quality links (this is often a bit more expensive).

Rankings and Traffic

The site is barely a month old, so there hasn’t been a ton of movement yet.  Here’s the timeline and my change in rankings on Google on each date:

  • May 25 - First page of content published (no ranking yet)
  • May 27 – Site indexed in Google (no ranking yet)
  • June 3 - Ranked #55 on Google
  • June 10 – Ranked #25 on Google
  • June 16 – Ranked #113 on Google

It’s very common for young sites to jump around like this, so I’m not worried that the rankings got worse recently.  The site has been receiving 1-5 visits per day from Google – it’s nice to see a little bit of traffic when the site is so young and not yet ranking well.

The Costs (So Far)

To give you an idea of how much I’ve spent on this site so far, here’s a breakdown:

  • Domain = $0.99 (GoDaddy, with coupon code)
  • Hosting = $0.00 (I already had an account with BlueHost, so it cost me nothing extra to add a new site)
  • Keyword research = $0.00 (already own Long Tail Pro)
  • Site Theme = $0.00 (using a free theme)
  • Plugins = Free, or using ones I purchased in the past (you can see the list of plugins I’m using here)
  • Content = $92.52 (from Textbroker, as previously mentioned)
  • SEO = $10.00 (two gigs from Fiverr)
  • Logo Design = $5.00 (from Fiverr, and actually pretty good for $5)
  • Total = $108.51

I’m prepared to spend about another $100 on content, and possibly around $200 on backlinking. That would put the total cost around $400, which was the most I wanted to invest in this site.

It may seem like a lot, but if I could get the site to the point where it earns $100-200/month, I would make back my initial investment very quickly.  Obviously, there’s no guarantee of that, so it’s a risk I’m taking.

That’s All!

I’m happy I was able to focus on this site for a month, and I feel like I’ve gotten it close to the point where I just have to wait and see how things progress.  Adding additional content or paying for advanced backlinking services won’t require too much time or effort on my part (because I’m spending the money to have other people do it).

What do you think so far? I feel like this has been a pretty standard niche site building process, but I’m curious to see what you think, and hear about what’s working for you on your niche sites.

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35 Responses to “A Sneak Peek at My New Niche Site”

  1. In terms of hours spent with LTP looking for your keyword

    1) how long did you spend before you found the key word?

    2) how much time was spent in generating your seed keyword?

    3) how much time was spent analyzing 1st page competition?

    4) Do you think using Long Tail Pro Platinum (with the KC score) would have sped this up?

    Thanks

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    1) I probably spent 30 minutes per day for a few days finding and analyzing a variety of keywords, and ultimately I selected my keyword from about 5 possibilities.

    2) I don’t think too much about seed keywords…I generally just browse Amazon and try different seed keywords as they pop into my heads.

    3) This was probably 95% of my analysis for each keyword I analyzed.

    4) I’m sure LTP Platinum would speed up the process a bit (because it gives you an easy-to-use score that takes all ranking factors into account), but I also think the regular version of LTP works fine if you understand the different metrics.

    [Reply]

  2. Hey Eric, I have been reading lots of about building niche site and link building lately. I started my niche site about 15 days ago and I am tracking along the progress. I will come back to read more from your blog and learn from you
    Learning from Home recently posted… A quick update on my status

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Sounds good Sibo – let me know how it goes!

    [Reply]

  3. You’re off to a solid start, that’s for sure. But why just 30 days? Why not stick with this until profitability or more?

    Confession: I should take my own advice.
    Scott Jenkins recently posted… Long Tail Marketing Strategy For A Barrage Of Search Engine Traffic

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    I’m definitely still going to work on the site, but it won’t be my only focus. During the 30 days, I pretty much focused solely on this niche site. Now that’s it’s mostly built, any further work won’t really consume too much of my time.

    [Reply]

  4. Hey Eric,

    I’ve been reading a lot about buying expired domains to build your own link network. It seems like this is having amazing results. Any plans to try something similar?

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Hey Tim – I’ve heard this is pretty effective as well, however I have no plans to do this currently. It just seems a little too “black hat” for me, and I think Google may eventually find a way to render these ineffective (though I’m not sure how). It might be worth experimenting with though.

    [Reply]

  5. Good work Eric! I’ve joined the NSD2.0 as well. How could you managed to grab $0.99 for a domain from Godaddy?

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    It was with a coupon code – the one I used was ADAM99, though I’m not sure if it’s currently valid.

    [Reply]

  6. Eric, even though I am not blogging at the moment, I’ve been trying to follow things that you are doing with niche sites (since I am planning on starting to outsource these in the near future). It does seem like a lot of work, but I hope it really does work out for you as a person (everyone could always use some extra money). Thanks for posting all of these since they are great ideas for what I need to do when I get started.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Mike, I appreciate the support!

    [Reply]

  7. Regarding the technique of commenting on sites that are related to your content, how effective is that? Is it core to getting the site up in the rankings on Google or can you make due without?
    Wes recently posted… Google Mine

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    My guess is that you can do without it – the backlinks generally aren’t powerful, but it’s an easy way to get backlinks from relevant content (something that Google values highly).

    [Reply]

  8. It seems like you’ve been working really hard on this new niche site. I wish you the best of luck!
    Alvin Chadwick recently posted… Make Money by Blogging

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Alvin!

    [Reply]

  9. After Panda–I’m certain SEO is dead.

    Because of books like The Four Hour Workweek–advertising using PPC is pretty much cut throat.

    I humbly suggest adding a nuclear weapon to your PPC arenal: Real Time Bidding.

    All media channels, use targeted data, captured customer behavior–optimize your campaign to show your ads only to those who match the profile of your actual customers.
    Lane Boland recently posted… Home

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    As long as search engines exist, I don’t think SEO will ever be dead. Search engines rely on algorithms to return meaningful results – and as long as there is an algorithm (however mysterious it may be), there will be a way to optimize (manipulate) your site’s ranking. Certain methods may become more or less effective, but they will still exist in some shape or form.

    [Reply]

  10. wow really cool for sharing :)

    [Reply]

  11. Hi Eric,

    I’m also creating a niche site right now and like you I’m using it to forcemyself to focus on one single project at a time.

    I have similar results in Long Tail Pro, how is your website ranking? Do you use other techniques for backlink building then blog hopping?

    Cheers,
    Jan
    Jan Koch recently posted… The Relation Between Success And Happiness

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, Jan. Actually, in this very post, I listed out my exact rankings and how they have changed over time so far. The rankings aren’t great yet, but I know they’ll get better in time.

    [Reply]

  12. Eric, I think you found a golden nugget 4,400 Exact search is nice with the 0 page rank competition that you have.

    I’m in the search of good keyword and try to build an authority stie.

    Good luck with it. I’m in process rebuilding my Amazon Affiliate income. I know there is a lot of potential.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Kent. Yes, I agree there is a lot of potential with the Amazon affiliate program. It’s all about getting enough traffic to your site!

    [Reply]

  13. Eric,

    I’m UBER curious as to how text broker is working out for you. Is the quality satisfactory? The convenience of it all is just too alluring to keep my monthly paid staff….
    Lane Boland recently posted… Home

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Lane, the quality is actually very good if you choose to have it written by 4-star writers. Rarely do I need to send it back for revisions or make any myself (aside from some occasional minor tweaks). I guess it depends on how technical your topics are – mine are somewhat basic. I think if your instructions are clear, you will receive good writing.

    [Reply]

  14. Hi

    The Amazon affiliate program seems to work best for me despite only a one day cookie. I guess consumers are just so familiar with using Amazon rather than a vendor that they have not used before.

    Cheers

    John
    John Gough recently posted… Winchester Overlap Apex Shed 8 x 6

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    I agree, John – almost everyone uses Amazon now, so the one-day cookie isn’t too bad.

    [Reply]

  15. Eric,

    I do believe you are headed in the right direction with this new niche site. I’ve followed Spencer’s most recent niche site project – doing something similar to both of you guys – and so far, It’s looking good!

    I’ve managed to hit top 3 for a keyword in the musical instrument niche, targeting 3,000 exact searches per month (that’s US).

    The website is also monetized through the Amazon’s Associate program.

    Looking forward to following this..

    Cheers!
    Casey Dennison recently posted… How I Discover Ridiculously Easy to Rank Keywords With SEMrush

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    That’s great that you’ve been able to hit the top 3 for your keyword, keep it up! I’m not there yet, but hopefully will be soon.

    [Reply]

  16. Interesting read. It’s nice to know someone’s process for setting up a new niche site and you have covered it well and in detail. How do you find working with long tail pro? is Google blocking such tools? I am looking for such a long tail tool and considered market samurai but not sure yet
    Ash @ madlemmings recently posted… Google Reverse Image Search – What is that image?

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    I think Long Tail Pro works great – from what I’ve seen, Google is not blocking this tool. I do still use Market Samurai as well for my rank tracking, but Long Tail Pro is really all you need.

    [Reply]

  17. Hi Eric,
    I like the idea of outsourcing seo and content creation. Which sites do you recommend for quality work. And any good fiverr gigs that you personally recommend?. I’m a newbie in this ;)

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    For quality writing, I recommend http://www.textbroker.com. As for Fiverr gigs, they are pretty hit or miss. Be sure to read the reviews and understand that for the SEO gigs, many are “too good to be true.”

    [Reply]

  18. Eric,

    I’m interested to find out how the niche site is going. Curious if you broke even and if it is still generating traffic and revenue?

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Unfortunately Bill, this project has been put on the back burner. It still does receive a little bit of traffic and earnings each month, but the rankings in Google just aren’t there right now. I’m currently focused on another big project, but at some point, I may return to this site to see if I can fix it.

    [Reply]

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