EMD Sniper Sites or One Large Site? Thoughts?

20 replies
  • SEO
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Hey guys,

I do a lot of testing and consider myself quite knowledgeable when it comes to SEO. However, I was wondering if any Warriors have tested EMD sniper sites vs. building larger authority sites.

Based on my test results I believe EMD (exact match domains) do carry a lot of weight, especially for long-tail keywords in niches that are not very competitive.

But, I feel that Google is giving more authority lately to larger sites and would like to see sites with more than just 3 - 5 pages and an EMD.

Which one of the following options do you feel will work the best, based on your test results:

Option 1: EMD Sniper Sites

Domains: Three different domains (just a stupid example)
howtowalkfast.com
howtowalkslow.com
howtowalkhome.com

Option 2: One domain.

Domain: One domain with different pages
howtowalk.com/how-to-walk-fast/
howtowalk.com/how-to-walk-slow/
howtowalk.com/how-to-walk-home/

Option 3: Same as option 2 but tld is generic.

Would you build three seperate sniper sites with EMDs around a very specific long-tail keyword or would you build a larger site with a page for each keyword?

Please let me know if you have tested this and what your results are. If you have not tested it feel free to give your opinion but please motivate what you are saying.

Thoughts?
#emd #large #site #sites #sniper #thoughts
  • You could really go either way. Google likes authority sites better right now, and it's easier to management one site than three. However, if site one drops off the table and you have two other sites making you money...

    PM me if you need more help.
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    • Profile picture of the author Francois du_Toit
      Originally Posted by Michael Curran Smith View Post

      You could really go either way. Google likes authority sites better right now, and it's easier to management one site than three. However, if site one drops off the table and you have two other sites making you money...

      PM me if you need more help.
      Thank you for sharing your opinion. Have you done any tests lately?

      I am under the impression that Google is giving less "points" for EMDs than they used to and is leaning towards larger sites with more content, targeting different but related keywords i/o only one keyword.

      I am just curious about the test results of others.
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      Destiny is not a matter of chance, it's a matter of choice.
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      • Profile picture of the author bitriot
        I would go for your second proposed option - the larger site. Those keywords are pretty tightly themed so it doesn't make sense to EMD all of them you will end up tripling your SEO cost.

        You are better off trying to rank 3 pages on one domain and building something in between a micro niche and a true authority site.
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        • A lot of big wigs are saying EMD's will be "dead" in 1-2 years. Who knows? They still work and I like having my eggs in different baskets.

          The main thing is this...don't build out three sites unless you have a budget to build out three sites the right way, and manage them, etc. I'm not trying to be patronizing, you seem like you know what you're doing. But, that is the mistake I see over and over again. SEO doesn't mean FREE traffic, it costs a lot in links, content, web design, graphics, plugins, webmasters stuff, conversions tracking, etc.

          Good luck!! I'm sure you'll crush it!
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          • Profile picture of the author Francois du_Toit
            Originally Posted by Michael Curran Smith View Post

            A lot of big wigs are saying EMD's will be "dead" in 1-2 years. Who knows? They still work and I like having my eggs in different baskets.

            The main thing is this...don't build out three sites unless you have a budget to build out three sites the right way, and manage them, etc. I'm not trying to be patronizing, you seem like you know what you're doing. But, that is the mistake I see over and over again. SEO doesn't mean FREE traffic, it costs a lot in links, content, web design, graphics, plugins, webmasters stuff, conversions tracking, etc.

            Good luck!! I'm sure you'll crush it!
            I agree with you that EMDs still work. My impression is just that Google is giving them less weight and I am curious if other Warriors have experienced this as well, especially in competitive niches.

            I don't really care about costs. I am only interested in ROI and hardly ever target keywords that won't give me at least 10,000 unique visitors a month per keyword. But, your point is very valid as many webmasters spend too much time and money trying to rank for the wrong keywords and by following old and outdated SEO techniques that are no longer effective.
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        • Profile picture of the author Francois du_Toit
          Originally Posted by bitriot View Post

          I would go for your second proposed option - the larger site. Those keywords are pretty tightly themed so it doesn't make sense to EMD all of them you will end up tripling your SEO cost.

          You are better off trying to rank 3 pages on one domain and building something in between a micro niche and a true authority site.
          Thank you for your comment. Is this just your opinion or is it based on your test results?

          I run a lot of tests on many different domains, some targeting very competitive keywords and niches while others have hardly any competition. It gives me a good idea of what Google prefers. But, I am only one guy and there is only 24 hours in a day... That is why I am curious if other Warriors have been testing this as well lately.
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          • Profile picture of the author bitriot
            Originally Posted by Francois du_Toit View Post

            Thank you for your comment. Is this just your opinion or is it based on your test results?

            I run a lot of tests on many different domains, some targeting very competitive keywords and niches while others have hardly any competition. It gives me a good idea of what Google prefers. But, I am only one guy and there is only 24 hours in a day... That is why I am curious if other Warriors have been testing this as well lately.
            Not from testing no. From my limited experience though. My feeling is once you get a domain ranked and that juice flowing, adding extra pages to that domain is going to provide a pretty good bump to begin with - and aside from SEO you get the added benefit that google review may come down lighter on your site.
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      • Originally Posted by Francois du_Toit View Post

        I am under the impression that Google is giving less "points" for EMDs than they used to a
        I think you are right in that they have toned down the value of an EMD, but I personally always think this will be a big factor in their ranking algorithm because their goal is to return relevant results.

        There is no better way to determine what the content of a website is about then be looking at its domain name.
        I'm not saying brand names like 'Nike' can't rank for the term "sport shoes" with their branded domain name, I'm just saying it will always be easier with an EMD, or at least with the keyword density being really high in the domain.
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        • Profile picture of the author theverysmartguy
          how about this:

          Create an "EMD" site. Then take about 20 - 30 lower volume keywords that can be ranked without much help at all.

          Point these pages towards the front page. Then go about ranking all the lower keywords. Like I mentioned this shouldn't take long at all.

          While you are back linking all of those other pages you will be passing on that link juice to the front page.

          Once all the pages are ranked on the first page, go and put your efforts into the front page keyword. You shouldn't need much back linking power for this because of all the effort put into the back linking for the other pages.

          I have created many sites like this in the past ( this is still how I create most of my sites ) just like I have described, and they work wonders. You start getting traffic very quickly from all those lower volume, insanely easy to rank for keywords while you build up your sites power and push it towards the front page.

          -- Jeff
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  • Profile picture of the author dminorfmajor
    I'm about a week away from getting BMR for the first time. I then plan on launching my first authority site.

    I've used EMD's since day 1 and I've had little success with making the "loads" of money that I really want in return for the work that I put in. I've learned to have more patience with Internet Marketing so I think an Authority site is just what I need. I'm pretty excited about it. I just need to decide on a niche, sigh.
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    • Profile picture of the author Francois du_Toit
      Originally Posted by dminorfmajor View Post

      I'm about a week away from getting BMR for the first time. I then plan on launching my first authority site.

      I've used EMD's since day 1 and I've had little success with making the "loads" of money that I really want in return for the work that I put in. I've learned to have more patience with Internet Marketing so I think an Authority site is just what I need. I'm pretty excited about it. I just need to decide on a niche, sigh.
      If you need a second opinion just pm me what niche & keywords you are going to target and I'll give you my opinion on it.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
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    I would go with a larger authority site only because it's easier to get people interested in being repeat traffic long term.

    Look at this forum for example, If the Warrior Forum had 10 pages of content for the entire year of 2012, nothing was updated, would you ever return to the Warrior Forum? I wouldn't return, why should I, considering I could read the entire sites pages in one visit. What's the point of returning to a small site?

    It's far easier IMO to retain old traffic than get new traffic. That's just my own experience & why I stick with larger sites (1K+ pages).

    I get 1/2 my traffic from niche forums, 100% targeted traffic that literally ask for more/new content. The other 1/2 of my traffic is from the SERPs which I do optimize my pages for. The difference is, my site doesn't go belly up If a keyword/page drops in the SERPs, I've got plenty of time to recover my SERP positions, while still monetizing the non-SERP traffic.

    Another benefit of having an authority site is I generate email list that I control, I keep a backup of my list offline. With a small MFA site, I kinda doubt you'll get people signing up for an email list.

    I'm not bashing small MFA sites, everyone has their reasons for what they do in IM. I'm just saying a large site is a lot less complicated to manage than 100's of small sites.
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    • Profile picture of the author packerfan
      Just think about the math of a small site...

      Lets say you get 1000 exact searches. 30% of that traffic clicks google's ads, so now you're down to 700.

      You rank #1 for your keyword, and get 50% of the traffic. So now you get 350 visitors/month.

      If you're getting $1 per click, and a CTR of 10% (which is unlikely) you'll make $35/month with that site.

      That's why you need 100 or more to make any real money. Make a larger site, target higher traffic keywords, build a list, get repeat traffic, and add something useful.

      Personally I have both kinds of sites. Little MFA sites just plain suck IMO. They're a PIA for what you get out of them and there is nothing good that comes from them except a little money.

      Find something you're passionate about, make a killer site about it.

      My $.02
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  • Profile picture of the author Domainate
    As an overall income strategy, why not both? Build EMD sites in the areas you're not HUGELY into to get the quicker rankings and quicker income while building a bigger authority site in the area you're most passionate about as a long-term project and larger revenue potential.
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  • Profile picture of the author JSProjects
    Option 2 because I don't think EMD's have enough of a benefit to register and manage all of them. (Especially if you're looking at managing 20+)
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  • Profile picture of the author papamo44
    In my experiences it much easier to rank an EMD even today. What I do is try to find an emd and then build an authority site around that. having about 15-30 pages/post targeting separate keywords.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brendan Mace
    I've always preferred the sniper sites business model. It's hard to tell beforehand how profitable a niche will be. If you only choose one site, you are gambling on the commerciality of that niche. You are also risking your entire business if google decides not favour your website for whatever reason.

    With sniper sites, you get to discover what niches make you the most. You can then focus on the sites that bring in the money. You can also keep the small passive profits off the sites that are only lukewarm in terms of profitability.

    It's almost impossible to not make any money if you build a number of sniper sites. But you sure as heck can get it wrong with a single site.
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  • Profile picture of the author YasirYar
    Just my 2 cents.

    I have a good number of EMDs and they are ranking extremely well.

    So whenever I get a chance, I always favor going with EMDs and targeting smaller niches as opposed to just trying to build a large website.
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  • Profile picture of the author chow
    did a google search for what EMD sniper meant and this page came up. I like the idea of exact match domain, but I still use the one domain approach.
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    • Profile picture of the author mrdomains
      I do EMD sites if building thin physical product sites and authority setup for information and any combo of info/product/services.

      If doing an authority site the domain is less important for me as long as it is on-topic and provides some support for my main terms, or theme.

      My current strategy would not include a high-value keyword in the domain because 1) it saves a lot of time searching for free domains 2) you can only have it in the urls so many times before it starts to be too much, and I prefer to use it in the site structure(categories and/or post name)

      Just using your example( and assuming "how to walk xxx" is most valuable):

      howtowalk.com/how-to-walk-fast/
      howtowalk.com/how-to-walk-slow/
      howtowalk.com/how-to-walk-home/

      I could go for something like

      pedestriantips.com
      walkinglessons.com
      smartwalker.com
      travelbyfoot.com
      etc

      One might think that this would waste the domain name as a keyword anchor but the domains are still related, and I can maximize my term use in the categories / titles.

      The process keeps changing of course but this is how I am doing it now. Good or bad? Time will tell, but it gives me peace-of-mind while building :rolleyes:
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