Niche Website on Steroids: My Experiment

by Galyna on September 26, 2011

In this experiment I will try to turn my Simple niche website to Niche website on steroids and try to significantly increase my AdSense earnings. I will keep track of all the things I’ve done and let you know about all my mistakes I went through, so you don’t have to.

About my niche website

I have a weight loss niche website. It’s been online for approx 1 year. It’s a simple HTML website with approximately 15 pages.  When I picked up domain name for this website, I intended to get traffic for a keyword in it’s name. But the keyword I chose appeared to be too competitive.  Back then I posted few articles, did on-page optimization, very slightly link building and that’s it.

Currently website is making $about 30 monthly with AdSense. Traffic mostly brought by one article. And because weight loss niche has high CPC, website manages to make this much money with not that much traffic.

Current traffic and earnings:

2,600 visits

$30 / monthly

My Goals:

16,400 visits (+13,800 visits)

$200 / monthly

Niche Website on Steroids: My Experiment

Niche Website on Steroids Experiment – Day 1, Day 2 

I started this experiment  few days ago. I was keeping track of everything I’ve done in a Word document and today intended to post it all to my blog. But that file gone missing forever 🙁 So I’ll try to catch up and post everything that I’ve done so far, in short notes.

First two days I spent moving my website from HTML to WordPress.

WordPress installation included time spending searching for a theme, wordpress plugins for niche website. Also I moved all the articles and set up 301 redirections from old pages to new ones.

This is the post about Essential plugins for Niche website on steroids that I’ve installed.

Niche Website on Steroids Experiment – Day 3-4

Traffic slightly dropped and I did not have any AdSense clicks. So I decided to play with AdSense. I put 160×600 in the sidebar and on the left of the each post page. I did it all automatically with Adsense Daemon WordPress plugin.

160×600 has always been converting very well and I would recommend to use it in niche websites.

On the next day I got my first AdSense click since the design change. Sweet!

To get new webpages indexed faster – I submitted my RSS feed to one of RSS feed submition website.

And now Googlebot comes to visit me right away after new post has been published.

Submitting RSS will not influence your rankings in Google in any way but it will make it indexed immediately.

Niche Website on Steroids Experiment – Day 5-7 

I am adding 2-3 new articles each day.

Each article is optimized for a long-tale keyword related to my niche. I go for keywords with low competition. I try to get keywords with 500 – 9 000 traffic searches (global monthly exact searches) but sometimes I go for even 50 or so when I see that there is almost no competition and it should be easy to get to the first page of Google.

Most of my keywords, better described as “keyphrases”, consist three words. Keyphrases that are even less competitive, usually have four words in them. I predict that soon niche websites makers will ran out of not competitive three-word keyword phrases. It will be hard to compete for them the same way it’s getting harder to compete for two-word keyphrases and impossible to compete for one-word keywords right now.

Ok, so I’ve noticed that even low-to-non competitive keywords’ articles are not appearing on the first page of Google. They ALL land on 2nd or 3rd pages.

Niche Website on Steroids Experiment – Day 8

Is link building is necessary

Initially I was trying to check my theory, is link building is really necessary to get to the first page of Google.  To check if it is true, I was picking almost non-competitive keywords to target. Non of my competitors’ webpages were optimized for that exact keyword but I still kept ending up on the second page!

I waited for another day and ranking has not changed.

I decided to do slight link building. But before I start talking about link building….I have to confess!

I hate link building! I takes more work to build backlinks than to create good content and I feel that it’s not fair. But we have to remember about Page Rank – main ranking factor of Google. Page Rank based on the idea that if others are linking to your webpage  – it has value. More links – more value. More value – higher rankings.  That’s it… Just have to deal with that.

As I mentioned above, I don’t like link building, so I went the easiest way – I submitted webpage to social bookmarks.

I used free social bookmarking tool SocialMonkee and submitted 25 bookmarks. It took me 2 minutes to do that.

Next day I checked my SERP and guess what! My page was on the first page of Google #8 and in just two days after three of my webpages are #2,#3,#4 in Google.

I guess webpage just needed that little push with links from social bookmarks.

Niche Website on Steroids Experiment – Day 9

My link building strategy

I am not rushing with my link building. One important thing I’ve learned about link building – is that you can not do it too fast. Or Google may think you are playing with it’s algorithm and website will get berried on the last page (maybe) forever.

My link building strategy is to make it look the most organic as possible.

So what I do for now, – every day or so I submit 1 article to 25 social bookmarks with SocialMonkee  and also I manually submit to few other major social bookmarking sites (StumbleUpon, ReddIt, Del.icio.us, Digg).

But don’t overdo it! And don’t submit the same article to the same bookmarking site more than once.

Is WordPress better than simple HTML website

This Google Analytics screenshot below shows the difference in my traffic before I moved to WP and after. Important to know that traffic brought by the same existed pages. They just were moved from domain.com/webpage-url.html to domain.com/webpage-url and forwarded with 301 redirect from old version to new one.

Niche Website Experiment Traffic Change

 

 

 

 

I think it tells that WP webpages rank better than simple HTML webpages.

How to use All in One SEO plugin correctly

While experimenting with my long-tale keywords articles, I’ve noticed one interesting thing about using All in One SEO… and how important for SEO this plugin is. I will write a post about it shortly.

Niche Website on Steroids Experiment – Day 10, Day 11, Day 12

Today I decided to try to submit one of my articles to 100 bookmarks in SocialMonkee.

They give an option to pay $3.97 to try out the service instead of paying $47 fee right away.

According to scroogle.org, my keyword that I’m targeting is on #14 of Google right now and have 3500 exact global searches.

When I was submitting 100 bookmarks to SocialMonkee, they give an option to spread out bookmark submitions in time so Google (hopefully) won’t notice unusual backlinks appeared at the same time rather it should look more natural. I chose to spread out 100 bookmark submitions into 7 days. I expect to get to top 5 afterwords.

During these 3 days I added about 10 more articles to my website. And submitted some of them to bookmark sites. I use free version of SocialMonkee and it allowed to add only one webpage to 25 bookmarks a day. Which work fine for me as I want to avoid being suspicious to Google.

I’ve notice one interesting thing regarding ranking after using SocialMonkee.

When I post an article and it get indexed by Googlebot, article take some position in search results (SERP). Because I’m choosing low-competitive keywords, my new articles usually lend on 2nd to 5th pages (not places).

Then I submit new posts to 25 bookmark sites with Social Monkee, but effect does not come immediately. It takes about 3 days to see the results. Often, webpage gets to 1st page on #10 or #8 place. And for keywords that had very little to none competition, they take #2 to #5 position.

Also I’ve notice that if keyword is not being promoted at all, it usually stays on the same SERP it landed after it was indexed the first time. I’m not sure if this changing with time,  but within short time range of 3-5 days ranking is not changing unless you do something about it.

Niche Website on Steroids Experiment – Day 30

It’s been about a month since I started my niche experiment.

I was going to post some good results there … if something bad would not happened.

So what happened??

And what happened is that my website got hit by Panda Update and lost 80% of it’s organic Google traffic overnight. It happend on October 13, 2011.

On a screenshot below you can see huge traffic drop.

 

Google Analytics Traffic Drop - Panda Update

So here are the results that I had just before Google slap:

Before Niche Experiment:
2,600 visits
$30 / monthly

After (25 days) Niche Experiment:
This is approximate data, because it has been less than a month since I started.

4,200 visits (+1,600 visits)

$55 / monthly

UPDATE 4 MONTH LATER

Right exact in 4 months – my  website got out of penalty. Traffic and SERPs came back right where there were before the hit!

And the next day after G confirmed that all is a part of Panda update.

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