UPDATE: once your'e done with this post, read my quick niche research example here.
IMPORTANT: MOST OF THE BACKLINK BUILDING STUFF HERE IS OUTDATED NOW AND SHOULD BE USED WITH CAUTION. THINGS CHANGE FAST, BUT QUALITY LINKS ALWAYS WORK LONG TERM. STICK TO THAT. THANK YOU!
I've been reading the forum for a while now, answering questions where I can. It seems like this place gets thousands of newbie visitors every single day, as the same threads are created daily.
I also recognize that most of you are never going to make it in IM. That's because you aren't treating this as a business, lack motivation, have no focus, want to get rick quick now, etc. That's fine.
Here's a tested strategy that I've been using to build up a side business which doesn't require a lot of babysitting.
Basically, what I do is create medium sized, high quality information websites and get the pages ranked #1 for multiple keywords. Then, once traffic starts to pick up, I add Adsense and start optimising. Keep some of the sites, sell (flip) the rest.
I'll structure this post into several key sections, but feel free to ask questions in the thread. This is just a quick overview.
1. Keyword research (selection)
I honestly have no idea which way is best, but I tend to follow these rules:
- Pick keywords that get a minimum of 5000+ exact match local US searches for main keywords.
- For inner pages I'll take anything that gets over 300+ exact match local US searches.
- Must have high/medium Adwords competition (Google KWT) and a decent CPC $1+.
Okay so here goes the whole process...
1. Decide what will be the main keyword. Lets call it keyword1, it has high Adwords competition, CPC of $1+ and gets 6600 exact local US searches.
2. Put this keyword into Google KWT and pick 3-5 closely related keywords that make sense to use in the same article as sub-headings. This is important, because I always go for top quality.
So now we have 3-5 keywords with CPCs of $1+, medium/high Adwords competition and search counts of 300+ exact match US local. These keywords complement keyword1 well.
3. Now the task is to choose keywords for inner pages. Call these keyword2, keyword3, keyword4 and keyword5.
These should be around 700+ exact local US searches, at least medium Adwords CPC and -this is important- they must not be the same (or variations) of keywords used to build the homepage.
Think about it. You want your inner pages to complement the homepage nicely. To be like an extension of it. No need to repeat the same (homepage) info over and over again in the inner pages.
4. Once you have your inner page keywords ready, it's time to find 1-2 related sub-heading keywords for each of them. These can be anything related (must make sense in the article) with at least 300+ local US exact match searches.
2. Domain name selection
I know that EMDs (exact match domains) are still all the craze, but I honestly don't use them.
- I use partial EMDs that make sense and can be branded.
- Only .com
Most of my sites are bestkeyword1.com or topkeyword1.com or aboutkeyword1.com or keyword1advice.com or keyword1fast.com or keyword1quickly.com... you get the point.
Because I'm not obsessed with finding EMDs, I tend to go after much more lucrative keywords.
3. Website structure
1. Homepage. I go with at least 1500 words of quality content. Most of my sites have 2000 word homepages. This allows me to rank for multiple keywords.
[page title - main keyword]
[sub-heading1 (remember keywords)]
[either related posts area or a disclaimer if needed]
Now don't forget to format the whole thing properly. Put the main keyword in h1 tags and each sub-heading in h2 tags.
Content tables aren't necessary, but they do help. Especially if the page is long. Think about user experience.
Related posts at the end are not necessary either, it's all up to you and what you think would improve visitor experience.
I always have Facebook like and Google+ buttons at the top of the page, under article title. This is important to me, because most of the sites I have get regular likes (daily). That tells me that people love the sites. Great.
Pretty much the same as the homepage, but less content.
- Articles 500 to 1200 words long (depends on the topic and how many sub-headings you have for each article).
- Same structure. Don't forget to h1 and h2 relevant keywords/titles.
- Don't forget Facebook like/Google+ buttons.
- Related posts at the end if you feel they are needed. In most cases I have Google Ads there.
Format the articles well. Use related images/pictures throughout, place them inside the text nicely.
Some more structure stuff.
I only use WordPress. I like it, find it easy to use and all that. No other reason.
All of my sites have static homepages. Inner pages are set as "pages" as well. I don't use "posts" at first, but I do have a "page" called /blog or /articles for future use (if I want to expand the site and add a blog part).
Get rid of all the crap links. Credentials, meta stuff, bylines, all that crap goes. Clean and nice.
Okay, there's a lot to talk about here and I can't cover it all. Just a quick summary.
Build the site, add homepage content and 2 inner pages. Set the other 3-4 pages to be posted weekly.
Blast the homepage with 1000+ social bookmarks using 4-5 anchor text titles (remember main keyword+sub-headings). I do this on days 3-5 or whatever...
Get someone to send 100+ Facebook likes and 20 or more Google+1s to your homepage. This is important to get the ball rolling. People are hesitant to "like" a site until they see others doing it. It really does make a massive difference.
Purchase 5-10 high quality blog posts. Unique content, PR4+ blogs. Drip feed these over 3-5 days. I only use the main keyword, one URL per blog post and target the homepage only.
Get 30+ high PR blog comments to the homepage. Use all of the homepage keywords.
I tend to blast all of the inner pages with 1000+ social bookmarks (200-300 bookmarks per page).
Order a press release. Use the homepage keyword (just one). You need to use a quality service for this, not just any $20 provider.
Use ALN (authority link network) to post to 500 or so blogs rotating all of your inner page URLs and using random anchors (blog/article/here/post/my blog/this post/click here, etc).
Use ALN to send 500+ posts to your homepage using loads of anchors (all of your target ones along with click here, here, post, this blog, blog, site, read more, more, to learn more, etc).
ALN posting can easily be outsourced for around $100.
Note that this step is only needed in seriously competitive niches.
I use my own blog network to post 1 blog post a day with an anchor to the homepage. Rotate all homepage keywords and do this for 30-50 days.
Note that this step is not compulsory, it all depends on your current rankings.
I like to strengthen my link portfolio and send a huge 3000+ social bookmarking blast to the homepage using 20 or so anchors (random phrases, very short keywords, etc).
At this point I'm normally #1 for at least 2-3 homepage keywords. How you proceed from here is up to you. Tweak your pages, rank inner pages, add a blog and do some internal linking to the important pages, etc.
At this point adding a /blog and scheduling 50 or 100 articles to be posted to it over a few months can pay off big time. Only do it if you see that the site has lots of potential.
I use Adsense. Only add it once the site starts getting 50+ search visitors daily.
- Make sure that the ads complement the site structure/colours nicely.
- I don't have ads at the very top.
- Play around with different placements.
- Sidebar ads never convert for me.
Some of my best earners are bottom of page ads. Either using a large rectangle (text only) at the end of each article or using two medium rectangles (image only and text only) side-by-side.
I tend to have two 486x60 (I think) text-only ads inside the content. You need to know where your visitors focus most of their attention and place them there.
6. Some extras
Don't obsess with tracking your rankings. I use serpfox.com and find them good for my needs. Cheap as well. Only check rankings once a day. Sometimes less often.
Never used Google Analytics myself, no reason why. I like getclicky. Get a paid (very cheap) version - it's amazing. Real time visitor statistics, etc. Simply amazing.
Aim for a bounce rate below or around 30% (search visitors).
You can try using clicktale.com to find where your visitors are focusing their attention. They have a free account which was enough for me when I got started.
My worst earners average $4-$4.50 daily with Adsense. These sites cost me around $400-$500 each to build and rank (depends on niche). Can go all the way up to $1000 if I see lots of potential - but those earn $10+ daily.
When you have rankings proof, proper visitor statistics and earnings history (at least 3 months of steady earnings) - you can easily flip the site for 15x monthly earnings. It also helps to wait until a PR update hits, because you'll normally get PR3 or so which helps the site look more established.
Sell some of the sites, keep the rest.
I'm pretty sure that I've forgotten to mention a lot of important stuff, but this is getting really long. I'll stop here - feel free to ask questions. I may take a while to answer, cause I only check here once a day.