Niche Site Case Study 1 – Update Jul-14

This is the first update for the Niche Site Case Study, where I will show you how I take a niche and attempt to rank a website that ultimately earns a passive income. With the ultimate goal of flipping this site for a 16-20x multiple.

Starting On Shaky Ground

Shortly after I introduced this niche site case study to you last month, I was contacted (via email) by someone with less than good intentions. It was a weak attempt at blackmail.

Here is how it went down;

I have removed the guy’s name and email as I don’t want anything to happen here. Chances are it’s a fake name, email, and account – but I would prefer it to remain private.

Blackmail Email 1

So right off the bat, he tells me he’s found my sites and is threatening to out them, or worse still perform Negative SEO or try to get me banned from Google.

Blackmail Email 2

I try to keep my replies polite and remain calm. Truth is, I’m not attached to either of these sites. They make ‘some’ money, but its not a large part of my overall income.

I wanted to try to understand why he is threatening these actions to gauge how serious he is.

Blackmail Email 3

So he ignores my questions and is asking me if he should go ahead..? WTF is this guy on?

I decided to dig deeper to see what he wanted.

Blackmail Email 4Bang, there it is folks. MONEY…GREED.

So taking a line from the movies “I don’t deal with terrorists” – I decided to let him know that was not an option and see if he would tell me how he found my sites, so I can learn too.

I also tried to cater to his already inflated ego and suggest he puts his “skills” to good use.

Blackmail Email 5So is this is the response of a madman?

At this point I’ve wasted 10 minutes of my time with this chump and I want to know what he’s going to do – in the meantime, I want to protect my Google account so I drop in an index.html file into my root domain so when he visits he gets this message;

“Thanks for the heads up [INSERT NAME], email address [INSERT EMAIL], I will not be blackmailed by anyone.”

 

Blackmail Email 6

This is his final response.

I think he saw the message on my niche site and realized from my replies that I was not going to pay him anything and he changed his mind. From his replies, he could very well be a 14-year-old kid with nothing better to do.

I did try and change tact and actually offer some free coaching to this guy to help him make money online. However, he was having none of it and I left it there.

I don’t yet know if he will do any of the things he says, I have been getting some strange traffic to both of these sites since this blackmail attempt and rankings have also suffered.

As a result, this could very well be a short-lived case study.

It does make me think if it’s really all worth it. I mean I share my strategies on this site to help others but then this!

I will continue to publish on the blog, however, I will be changing strategies in the near future. As my business changes so will this blog, it will become less and less about SEO and more about online business, what I’m working on and the things I learn.

Let’s get back to the niche site update shall we..?

What Did I Do In July?

Fresh Content Added

Adding new content is an important part of your ongoing SEO for any site. Having fresh content for the search engine spiders is really important, along with the fact that you should be building out your sites as much as possible.

In July I had 13 pieces of new content written for the site. This is the criteria I set for my writers;

  1. Between 700 and 1,200 words
  2. Discuss the pros and cons
  3. DO NOT try to sell the item or service – be natural
  4. Include paragraphs and blocks of 3 lines maximum
  5. Link out to the brand/manufacturers webpage

I have a great tip if you are struggling for content for an Amazon niche site – Just look at what’s selling.

What do I mean by this?

It’s simple, once you start making affiliate commissions you can go to your associate’s account at any time and look at the Earnings Report. This report breaks down the exact items that people bought and the associated commission you earnt as a result.

Look for products related to your niche (as you will ALWAYS sell unrelated products – that is just the nature of Amazon shoppers being driven by Amazon’s amazing funnel). You will be able to find products or related items that you didn’t even know existed or thought didn’t need covering.

I did this can came up with 10 products that weren’t on my radar and 3 product manufacturers that I could write about and create “brand” pages within my site.

Try it – it works.

New Links Built

Another important step as we all know if link building. Whilst I’ve stepped away from performing any link building myself, I still have go-to processes that my team can follow.

I’m not like most SEO’s, I am a slow and steady kind of guy and in fact, I am getting further and further away from SEO as I build my businesses, but that’s a story for another time.

This month I created just 3 new PBN links and also purchased a Hoth Package for one of the higher search volume inner pages. You can see the results of this below!

Running a Test

I also decided that my site looked too amateurish and made a theme switch to see if that improved conversions, sales and ultimately Amazon earnings. Let’s just say that pretty isn’t always better and I learned the hard way as you will see in the section below!

What Happened In July

SERP Movement

SERP Rankings July-14

As you can see from the image below, a nice little bump in rankings up to the 8th spot for the main keyword (22k exact searches). This occurred after minimal link building, just a few well placed PBN links and The Hoth Package as mentioned above.

Traffic

Niche Site Traffic July-14

Traffic has seen a boost due to the improved SERP position – I still think it will be very hard to break the top 5 with the type of sites that have been there for some time, but it’s worth a shot!

Bounce rate is crazy high but I much prefer the way clicky track the bounce rate;

Clicky Basics

As you can see, a much lower bounce rate is shown by Clicky and that is because of the way the track a “bounce”;

Our bounce rate takes this into account. A visitor will only count as a bounce on Clicky if they only view a single page and they were on your web site for less than 30 seconds. We figure, if someone is there for at least 30 seconds, they were at least mildly engaged and should not count as a bounce.

This for me is a much better way to track your traffic engagement – the Google stats are just crazy. If you’ve not used Clicky before I highly suggest you check out their free account trial and see what you think!

Earnings

This is the most fun part. I don’t normally share income on the site, however, for this and other niche sites I am willing to break that rule!

Amazon Earnings July-14

The site made a total of £64.54 ($107.69) in July which is up from the June earnings of £47.53 – which is an increase of £17.01 or a 35% increase!

Total Earnings To Date

  • June-14 – £47.53 ($81.54)
  • July-14 – £64.54 ($107.69)
  • Total – £112.07 ($189.23)

Despite an increase in earnings, most of that came from the last 2 weeks of the month. As I mentioned above, I decided to perform a test with a new theme on the site to see if the performance improved.

Well, it didn’t and the first 2 weeks of the month we dismal in terms of affiliate earnings. I wanted to see if a clean looking theme would outperform the dark, ugly theme i am currently using.

It turns out that ugly does work, and after making just £5 in the first 2 weeks, the earnings shot up when I switch the theme back.

Next Steps….

All of the below is dependent on how the rankings perform over the next few weeks – I suspect negative SEO is being performed, however, time will tell.

More Content

I will be taking my own advice from my tip above and finding the products that my traffic is buying and creating additional product reviews and general info articles around those products, brands, and manufacturers.

Mini 5-10 site PBN

In August I will be completing the mini 5 site PBN that will serve as a good source of powerful links that I have full control over. This will also be offered in the sale when I come to flip the site in the future, which I think add a great deal of value to a potential buyer.

I will be using RankSource.com, which is an SEO services business I own, as my source of quality domain names. You can get a PBN built in no time by using a domain broker and we have some great package deals where you can pick up blocks of 5 or 10 domains with Wikipedia and BBC links etc at some great prices.

If you are interested in that, check out RankSource and drop me an email with the volume you are after.

Key Takeaway Points

  1. Don’t deal with terrorists – period.
  2. Is SEO really the best way to make money online?
  3. My link tactics still work…but for how long?
  4. PBN’s are getting easier and quicker to build

– Lewis