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Generally speaking, the more traffic you can get to a website the more money you can make. I like to focus on building search engine traffic to my sites because once you have rankings you can usually sustain them with little effort and the traffic they send is very targeted.
Over the last two years I focused on fairly small industries which I would build minisites for, which received their traffic from search engines, and then monetised them with affiliate offers. These days I’m spending my time focusing on much bigger (and more competitive markets) and having a lot of success.
This isn’t the first time I’ve tackled big markets – I used to have clients in some of the biggest niches out there (casino, mobile phones, etc) – but it’s the first year where I’ve really started to take on these industries for myself. Some success is from sites I purchased which were ranking on the first few pages of Google and I built some great links to get them on the first page. Other success is from sites I built towards the end of 2009 which are now doing very well.
The upside of huge industries is that there’s a lot more money to be made with the downside, of course, being that it’s a lot harder to get rankings.
The problem with these huge industries is that you could be waiting over a year to see any results for your hard work in terms of search engine rankings. Because you can make so much money in the large niches there’s a lot more people trying to take a slice of that traffic and many of them are focusing on SEO in order to do so. Health, gambling, forex and gaming industries for example, are very competitive online.
If you’re entering an industry with a brand new site, the last thing you want to do is wait that long for some good search engine traffic. Yet, you want to be building links with the anchor text of the big phrase you’re going for so, in time, they will take effect.
A strategy I use, which I’ve never read online before so you may want to keep this to yourself, is to actually pick two keyphrases which are very similar to work on. One of them should be short and competitive, while the other should be slightly longer and much less competitive.
Some example short and long keyphrases I may pick include:
Ideally, your ‘long’ keyphrase is simply a word or two extra on the original keyphrase. The reason I do this is very simple.
Ranking for how to lose weight fast is much easier than how to lose weight because less people are optimising for that term and it will take less links to get on the first page of Google. When you build links for how to lose weight fast you’re not only helping yourself get traffic from search engines quicker, your also building links for the phrase how to lose weight, which is your long-term strategy.
In other words, you want to pick a keyphrase which helps you bring short-term traffic but also helps you get long-term traffic later on. You aren’t going to rank for ‘internet marketing’ within a few months from scratch, but you may rank for a variation on the term fairly easily.
It’s also much more natural to try and optimise for other terms rather than the huge keyphrase right from the get-go.
Once you have your main phrases that you’re going to build a site around, you can then do what I do and pick 4-5 more which will make up your main site structure. Generally, these get less search volume and are less competitive than your first two phrases, but are still phrases it would be good to optimise for.
Using cell phones as an example once again, here’s a sample structure:
Note: Mobile phone recycling refers to trading in your old phone for money to companies who will then resell it for a higher price. This is very popular in the UK. I know a few people making thousands of dollars per month in this niche on autopilot with affiliate offers.
For many sites online, long-tail keyword traffic probably makes up the vast majority of search traffic. As an example, ViperChill gets a few thousand hits per month from terms like ‘viral marketing’ and ‘wordpress seo’, but it also gets thousands of hits per month from all of the longer phrases grouped together such as ‘how to become likeable’.
These long-tail phrases don’t get much traffic individually but combined, based on how much content you have, the figures can quickly become substantial. The phrases in the example above are considered to be long-tail phrases as they contain more words and have a much smaller search volume, but they’re also easier to rank for.
As I wrote in my post on How to Dominate Google, search engines generally tend to follow people. If your site is very static, uninteresting and plain then you simply aren’t going to rank in the biggest industries online. Not unless you have a huge link-buying budget and know how to get paid links that still count.
Let’s look at ViperChill as another example here. If the homepage of the site was simply an article that covered a lot of things about viral marketing, do you think I would be able to rank as easily?
In a typical scenario I would have no blog subscribers, no ‘popular posts’ and I would be a total nobody in the space. I would probably struggle to rank this site for anything which gets thousands of searches per month unless there was some amazing service attached to it, it was my brand name, or I was running a blog.
Look at all of the top sites ranking for phrases like internet marketing, car insurance, seo and you’ll find that they aren’t just basic information sites. They usually have some great offering that searchers love and webmasters link to. I actually took a look at the results, rather than offering general analysis and from the first page of Google for the phrase SEO, this is what I get:
I get at least a dozen effortless links to ViperChill every week because people talk about me and what I’ve built here. Having other people promote you – and not having to do everything yourself – is crucial to dominating a huge industry online.
To really get a site going I like to add a lot of content to it. I usually build these sites on WordPress (though they look nothing like your typical blog) and pump out around 25 quality articles to start with, then a couple of articles per week from there on out. I outsource this process and while you certainly don’t have to produce that much content, I do find that it helps.
I would then use my site structure phrases from earlier and make those categories of the blog. If I owned www.losingweightonline.com and my main phrase was how to lose weight I might have pages like:
These would become my blog categories. So, at the top of each of these category pages I would have a lot of unique content related to that topic which is both interesting and static. It doesn’t change. What does change is that everytime I publish an article relating to one of these things, I put it under that category and that page instantly has more information. There is no homepage which collects these posts like a normal blog, just categories which display them.
I believe search engines put more importance on pages which are updated frequently with fresh, original content. If you can write content which you can get links to then even better. The point is that you have a solid structure in place and you can update your main pages very easily from the WordPress back-end, or whatever CMS solution that you use.
Though I have written a guide which covers 15 ways I build backlinks, I only use a few when it comes to conquering big industries so I thought I would cover them here. By default, the homepage of your site is usually the most important in the eyes of search engines, as that is naturally where most of your links will go.
Many people link to individual articles on ViperChill that they like, but far more people talk about the blog as a whole, so they link to the homepage. It’s generally just a way of the web so expect that your homepage is going to have the most link juice and you should use it to target your most competitive phrase (both long and short versions).
You’ll also need to build links to your internal phrase pages, which make up the structure of your site. For the rest of this section I’ll either refer to the links as being good for building home (homepage) or internal (your longer phrase “category” pages).
Undoubtedly my favourite way to build backlinks, guest blogging helps you build some of the most valuable links out there. It’s what allowed me to rank top 10 in Google for the phrase ‘personal development’ and it also allows me to rank internal pages very easily. With guest blogging you can write a bio at the end of your posts so you don’t only get to link to your homepage with your desired anchor text, you can link to a chosen internal page with them too.
If you want to learn more about the practice then read my guide on it over here.
By nature, directory links are of a very poor quality. If you submit an order of 500 submissions for $10 to some guy on Digitalpoint then the majority of them go to PR0 pages which have tens if not hundreds of other outbound links on them.
Yet, for some reason, they still work quite well for me. They either help me get a site with a very targeted, uncompetitive phrase to rank quickly, or they help me to get links with the anchor text I need for sites that already have a lot of links, but not with the phrase in them that I’m trying to rank the site for.
Sometimes I’ll also pay $100 or so to BOTW.org which is a human-filtered directory which can give me some great link juice. As soon as I’m cached in this directory I find my rankings to increase almost instantly.
As you can see from my examples in the SEO niche, you really need to create something useful for people to build a lot of natural links which are most likely to help you get those big rankings. It could be a script for webmasters, a blog with amazing content, a guide that nobody else has written or something else of that valuable nature.
Thankfully for people like us who want to build quality sites, Google and other search engines can do a fairly good job at keeping out sites that don’t deserve to rank in big industries. This means that you really are going to have to create something useful and valuable if you want thousands of targeted visitors landing on your site from search engines daily.
What you build really depends on whats out there already. Once you have a niche in mind, look at the top search results and see if there’s anything you think is missing. A gap you can fill. If not, then you’ll probably just have to do something better than anyone else. I never said that ranking highly for these big phrases is easy, but it’s definitely possible.
Once you have this unique resource; you have to get it out there. I use networking as a very broad term which chould include creating connections with bloggers, finding companies who can help you to get your offering out there and utilising other areas of social media to get eyeballs on your creation.
Here is the data from this post as a visual representation: