It’s time for an update on the niche site that I’m attempting to rank using “questionable” SEO. I have a couple of creative ideas in mind for this, and I’ll be elaborating more on those as the case study progresses.
For the time being, in this post I’ll give you an update on what I have done for it so far, and how the site is progressing.
Let me tell you. It's hard work developing three websites (including this one) at once and having a full time job at the same time.
Slow and steady wins the race
In reality, there’s nothing dramatic to report on yet as I have been spending most of my time on the authority site, so it’s all about having patience at this point in time. The good news is that the site has started to show up in the search results for the second term that I’m targeting after having built a number of links to it which is a great sign.
Right now the site is sitting at around #50 in Google for the easier keywords that I'm targeting.
I’m not getting traffic to the site yet, but the fact that it’s at least showing up in Google is a positive sign to me. Even though I’m trying to rank this site using black hat methods, I’m still hoping that the site will last as long as possible so you won’t see me blasting a ton of crappy links at the site directly.
Slow and steady wins the race, and who knows, the site might even last.
For those that aren’t aware, I have selected two main terms that I’ll be targeting and the site will predominantly be monetized using Amazon affiliate commissions.
What have I done so far?
So, let’s start with a quick recap of what I have done so far on the site.
Two Epic Review Articles
Like I mentioned, I haven’t had a whole lot of time to work on this myself. My contribution to the site so far has been two epic articles that are directly targeted at the two keywords that this niche site will revolve around.
They are basically two extremely in-depth articles that review a number of items in a particular category.
The articles are structured in a very similar manner as those from aPennyShaved where I have a table that lists the top 10 best products in that category, and I have written a detailed article that reviews the top 5 products in detail.
All in all, pretty much the type of article you would expect in a niche site.
The article also includes a “helpful” video from Youtube to improve the quality of the on-site SEO to have various types of media included, and it includes some standard images of the products in question.
I have a ton of ideas how this could be improved, but before I invest any more time into it, I want to gain some more grounds while ranking in Google and start getting some traffic. Once that happens, I can spend more time optimizing the articles to ensure that I get the most bang for my buck.
The quality isn’t flawless, but they will do the trick for the time being. I may invest in improving the quality of these as the site gains some more traction.
That means that at this point I have around 15,000 words of content on the site.
Lastly, I have also invested in a 60 second video which I have posted to YouTube which targets the lower competition keyword.
The video is basically a teaser that temps users the click through by including a link to my site in the description which will hopefully encourage users to click through.
I’m trying to rank this video for the same keyword, and the hope is that this will rank more quickly than the niche site itself. I uploaded this by using a Google Hangout, which has shown to rank more quickly.
When I manage to rank this video in Google for the keyword, I’ll make sure that I’ll write a detailed tutorial on how I achieved that. I uploaded the video about 2 weeks ago, and at the moment it’s the 4th result in YouTube when looking for the keyword, but is nowhere to be found in Google yet.
I’m not expecting to get a lot of traffic from YouTube directly, but my hope is for this video to start ranking in Google when the keyword is entered which will give me access to the usual monthly search volumes associated with the keyword that I picked.
How is the site structured?
Unlike many of the niche sites out there, my intention is not to rank the home page of the website for any particular keyword, but rather the sub-pages.
Although I do agree that most of the juice generally flows to the home page and it might be easier to follow that approach, my intention is to start expanding on the amount of keywords that I target as the site gains authority.
The end goal is for this to be a large review site that reviews each and every product category in the niche. The more and more authority that the site gains, the easier it should be to start ranking the other categories.
If I have to rely on my homepage to rank for a keyword, it will make branching out into other keywords that much more difficult.
Structing the site as a Silo
I’m also planning to use a silo structure for the website. Perhaps I’ll go into more detail as to exactly how I have that set up, but for the meantime you can read Dom’s excellent guest post on Authority Website Income as to how a site like that should be structured.
The advantage of this type of structure is that you’re basically using every single drip of SEO juice that you’re getting from your links in the most effective way possible.
Basically you structure your site in a way where the most competitive keywords are very high up in the hierarchy, and where the lower hanging fruit and lower competition keywords, are at the bottom of the hierarchy.
This allows the link juice to flow down your pages based on competitiveness and in turn should ensure that you utilize the link juice that your homepage is receiving in the most effective way possible.
I couldn't explain it any better than Dom did in his guest post, so I recommend you read that for more information.
How did I choose my domain name?
When I first announced these case studies, I mentioned that my plan was to build out the niche site on a brandable and expired domain. The hope was that I would be able to rank the site more quickly with this technique, and that I would be able to avoid the Google sandbox.
After much searching using Jon Haver’s technique, I couldn’t find any expired domains that really met my criteria or had a name that I was willing to go with in terms of creating a brand.
As such, I ended simply buying a new domain and brandable domain. Will it take a little longer to rank than an expired domain that already has some authority and some links pointing to it? Perhaps.
Having said that, I’m not too much in a hurry and want to build this site out slowly. As I mentioned before, even though I’m using black/grey hat methods, I’m still hoping that this site will stay up as long as possible.
I’m not going to do anything stupid to jeopardize that.
What is my link building strategy?
Now onto the link building. I have done very little of this at this point.
I’m taking it very slow.
At the moment I have a total of 5 domains pointing to my site:
- 4 PBN Links
- 1 Web Directory Link
I haven’t directly targeted any of my keywords at this point with my link building but have used mostly branded text, urls, or just generic terms.
My goal over the next month or so is to diversify the link profile a little bit by adding some blog comments, perhaps a small number of web 2.0 links, and maybe a few more directory links.
Considering using The Hoth
I may consider using a service like The Hoth to build these, and although I have read some very good stuff about them from people like Doug Cunnington. On the other hand, I have also heard that a number of people ended up getting their sites penalized after using their services.
That’s not something I want to risk at this point, so whether I’ll be using the Hoth or not is something that is still up in the air at this point.
I’d love to hear from some of you guys that have used them, and what the results where. Please leave a comment below, or shoot me a note, in case you have! I’d love to hear from you.
What is my approach to content creation?
As I mentioned earlier, I have created the content for the “money pages” myself but plan to outsource the rest of it.
At the moment all the content on the site targets just keywords that relate to product reviews, but at some point I would also like to add a more generic section to the site which covers articles relating to that niche.
The hope is that I’ll be able to capture that traffic as well, direct it to the money pages, allowing them to convert.
I plan to add around 2 articles each month. I don’t want to invest a whole lot more into the site at the moment until it starts ranking, but once I gain traction I will pick up on this effort.
Right now, most of my attention is going towards my authority site which I'm happy to report has earned it’s first $1.07. The first money I have ever made online!
I'll be posting an update on that in the near future so stay tuned.