November 1st is now upon us, so that means it’s the launch of the Triple X Niche Site Case Study. For any of you who missed the unveiling post, this is a niche site case study with a twist. Three people (Myself, Diggy, and Vladimir a.k.a Mr.V) will be tackling the same niche and trying to make as much money from it as possible with brand new websites. The twist is that I can only focus on social media, Diggy can only focus on SEO and Vladimir can focus on anything but he is a beginner to building websites.
We believe this has the potential to be the biggest and best niche site case study ever shared on the internet. We even solicited your feedback in the original post to make sure we give this every opportunity to be as useful for you – the reader – as possible. Thanks to all of you who left a comment (there are over 450 of them right now!).
As there were so many comments, I’m not going to be able to reply to every single one of them here. That being said, here are some of the main points that seemed to be a common theme:
There are quite a few important things I want to share with you in this introductory post so I hope you don’t just skim through it all. That being said, you have to start somewhere, so here are the strategies for each of us.
I didn’t really know which order to place these strategies in other than keeping our order consistent throughout the entire case study so I’m going with the order from the original post: Diggy, myself, then Vladimir. Please keep in mind that these strategies are very much subject to change. It would be pretty stupid if our plan isn’t working and we just stuck to that because we suggested it from day one. I think it will be interesting to look back in a few months and see whether we stuck to our original outline or changed things to improve the results.
SEO is like a recipe. It takes a certain amount of specific ingredients to get the end result, and it can be replicated over and over again. Based on my experience ranking websites, here is an outline of the strategy that I plan to follow for getting the site ranked and making money.
The way in which the site is setup plus the on page SEO is rather important in the whole process of ranking a website, and setting up the site in the right way is probably the most time consuming part of my whole strategy.
Phase #1 – Keyword research
While we have decided on a specific niche, I am relying on SEO to drive traffic to my site to make money. This means that I need a variety of different keywords that will drive targeted traffic, but also a variety of difficulty of competition keywords to rank for.
The bigger search terms are more competitive, and while they will be more profitable, it will take longer to rank for them so I cannot put all my eggs in one basket and purely rely on those large search volume keywords for sending traffic to my site. I need medium and low competition keywords too, so that I can rank for those in a shorter period of time and at least get some traffic to my site so that I can hopefully make some sales to cover my costs.
Pretty much anything ranking past the 5th result of page 1 is not going to be very profitable, hence the reason of needing less competitive keywords to rank for.
The keyword research part involves me finding 10-20 keywords that I want to rank for, related to the specific niche we are targeting.
Phase #2 – Page Structure Skeleton
Here I will create a skeleton structure of different pages for the different keywords I want to rank for. I plan to categorize them so that I can create a nice internal linking structure on my site, so that the links I’ll be building to the site will have maximum effect for ranking not just the root URL, but also the inner pages at the same time.
Phase #3 – Content
Here I’ll create unique content for all of the pages. I’ll aim for 300 word articles, and include images and Youtube videos within the content, as well as links to authority sites in my niche, to make my site look more legitimate.
Phase #4 – Monetization
This is the final phase of the site, but only needs to be completed after the SEO has been done since there is no rush to get monetization in place. Once I start getting some rankings and some traffic to the site, then I can spend time on maximizing the possibility of making sales from my visitors.
Phase #1 – Social Accounts
The first phase of my SEO is always to create profiles and a presence on all the major social media accounts like Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and so forth.
Phase #2 – Web 2.0
The second phase is to create a few dozen web 2.0 properties and create unique (but spun) content for these properties so that I can use them to link to my money site.
Phase #3 – Paid Packages
In phase 3 I always like to purchase a package (or three) of links from certain websites. This helps greatly for diversification of my link profile and anchor text. I like to do this within the first 2-3 weeks of starting a new site, but after I complete phases 1 and 2.
Phase #4 – High PR Links
In this phase I will add high PR links to my site to really get the rankings I desire. Since I’m working on a tight budget I have no choice but to rent links on a monthly basis rather than set up my own blog network. Renting links works out to be much more expensive in the long run, but in the short run it will allow me to get far more PR links to my site which will help me to get the rankings I want.
Phase #5 – Automated SEO Tools
In the 5th phase I like to use SEO tools to create multi-layered linking campaigns to the links that I have already built. I will use some SEO tool (still to be decided) to build mass links to my social accounts and my web 2.0 properties.
While I haven’t gone into the specifics of the strategy (like which tools and paid packages I’ll be using), this is the blueprint that I plan to follow for my part of the case study. I’ll be taking notes and keeping track of everything I’m doing, including any deviations from the above blueprint.
Social only means that my job will be mostly focused on creating content that is good enough to get shared around the web and pick up links naturally. Though I will of course employ some on-site SEO, I won’t be able to do things like utilise link networks or buy backlinks like I have done so successfully for my affiliate sites. In all honesty it has been a while since I build a new site with the aim of it being the ultimate resource on a topic, so I’m quite excited for the challenge.
Though the niche we have picked is not internet marketing related, it’s not a million miles away from the subject either. For that reason, I can’t tell you just yet which content ideas I have for the niche that we’ve chosen. Though there’s likely very little overlap in the two audiences (a.k.a it’s not web design or blogging or anything), I don’t want to get any boost (or lack of it) from people realising a website is part of mine from this case study. Especially if something I write goes viral (which is the aim).
Though there are lots of platforms I will be utilising, my focus first and foremost will be on creating high quality content for my niche. This is not an easy niche to stand out from the crowd in. It’s not very exciting and there’s not too much to say. I’m not trying to downplay my potential success here – I think I have some great ideas – but it’s definitely an industry where we have to think outside of the box a little.
Other things I will be doing to generate traffic include:
I think StumbleUpon will be one of my biggest traffic sources for this campaign. You can buy a few thousand visitors for very cheap (well within my budget) and the aim is that my content will be so good that it will generate a lot of free referrals after that. This will probably be the only traffic source I buy, since I rule Facebook and Google as PPC networks and that isn’t really social and thus out of my limitations.
I may also consider Reddit advertising at some point, but it’s not something I’ve played with before so don’t be surprised to never see me mention that again. No doubt the majority of my time will be spent creating content and making my website a very attractive place to land on. I want it to be one of the best looking websites in the industry, as at times it doesn’t have the best reputation, and I see an attractive site as one sure way to stand out from the crowd.
Though I am going to be trying to get social traffic, my main hope is that this converts into links and that increases my rankings in search engines for the terms that we’re aiming for. I think I’ll get a lot more conversions (sales) from people who find the site via search engines naturally rather than those who land on my viral content from certain social media platforms. This is going to be a great test of the Google SEO-motto which is to just focus on creating great content and the rankings will come.
As far as my domain name goes, I’ll also be choosing something brandable rather than something that specifically mentions the niche or the keywords I’m hoping to rank for.
Finally, I’ll probably do some blogger and influencer outreach and try to create connections with others which may aid me in future months or if I write something worth sharing. I really don’t like the idea of using Pen names too much but I don’t really see any alternative, I will have to lie to these people about what my name is. That being said, I will create connections which I think are genuine: This is a niche I would like to enter whether I’m doing a case study or not.
The mutual goal of this challenge is to offer audience great knowledge and experience demonstrated on live examples.
My goal in this challenge is to get practical experience. I know lot of SEO & internet marketing theory, but since I never managed to implement it right and success I still call myself a newbie.
The metrics – Every goal should have metrics. I would suggest recording both qualitative and quantitative factors + combination of those two. I suggest these metrics:
Most people look at net profit as only metric. However, I think we should record our conversion rate as very important metric. That judges quality of our work.
Phase #2 Pre-Launch
This part involves anything before site is live with content on it. I separated it in 4 smaller parts. Branding, keyword research, content strategy, and building resource base
My first option is the classic EMD / PMD style approach. In this case domain would be something like this (this is NOT our niche): “Lamps-for-Sale.Com”. The benefits include:
With the downsides being:
My second option would be to make the domain something more brandable like: “Mickeys-Lamps.com”, “Lampastic.com” etc. My personal opinion is to go for option 2, the brand way.
My first step before doing any keyword research to learn more about the niche. I will go to bookstore and buy a book about it or I will find 5-6 blogs which write on that topic and read them.
I think it’s good to know everything about the niche before you plan your keyword/content strategy.
My second step will be brainstorming. I would get the seed keyword (it’s our main keyword) and I will think of prefixes and suffixes for that keyword. In addition I will try to think of any other related phrase which can result in a keyword. Questions to ask yourself (the lamp example):
Here’s how the mindmap will look:
And here’s the lamp example done:
After I finish the mindmaps I will form a list of keywords. I will use combine those prefixes and suffixes and I will hopefully have around 300 keywords to play with. Then I will add them to Google keyword planner and filter out keywords with low monthly searches.
I will do competitive analysis on rest of the keywords. I will probably ask Glen many questions regarding competitive analysis. For example, I would like to see your priority list when judging competition. I need help in categorizing the keywords. Finally, I will categorize keywords in 3 categories + main keyword
I will use keyword category I mentioned earlier to create a good internal structure. Promoting those with SEO efforts. (Diggy style)
I will also create content that has the chance of getting shared around the web. This type is focused to be promoted by manual outreach, get natural shares etc. (Glen style)
Here’s the internal structure I was talking about:
Building Resource Base
This part will help all other processes. It will be used for brainstorming, SEO, marketing, etc. What do I mean by building resource base? Well it’s just an excel file containing URLs, contact information, links to social profiles, etc. I will try to generate an Excel file containing:
Phase #3 SEO & Promotion
This part is everything after the site launch. It covers onpage SEO, offpage SEO and marketing.
Make sure that each page on site is fully onpage optimized. Do site speed audit and fix errors. Make it secure.
I was thinking about implementing 3 backlinking types:
I can’t make more detailed plan as I don’t know much about it
Off-Page SEO – The marketing way
Note from Glen: As you can see, Vladimir is very knowledgeable on some things but quite confused with others. After he sent me this strategy he also had a lot of questions to go along with it. In the next few days I’m going to answer them all and turn them into a blog post here.
I don’t really want to give you a wristband, but if you’re interested, I do want you to let you join us on our case study and start your own. Even better: Myself and a few hundred others will be following your journey and giving you advice and suggestions along the way. Oh, and it’s totally free.
How? Well, for the last few months myself and Diggy have been running a Private forum. It looks like this:
The forum originally started out as a place for customers of a service of ours (the rest of the website is blocked, just the forum is open) to interact with each other. In order to get a bit more activity going we did allow select people who emailed me to pay for a forum subscription to post on the forums without actually being a member. This has worked out really well and we have nearly 2,000 posts in a very short period of time.
The biggest twist in this case study now is that we’re going to be updating the status of our niche sites every two to three days. I don’t think anyone has ever done this before. It was by far one of the most requested things for us to do since you hate waiting for updates on other case studies that you’ve followed. The updates we share won’t be hugely in-depth – and we’ll still share the main updates here on the blog – but if you’re really curious then you can follow along on the forums for free.
You don’t have to pay at all. Also, we’re also inviting you to join us on your own case study journey and who knows; maybe you’ll get feedback from myself and Diggy (and hundreds of others) with advice on how to take the next step with your website.
As you can see, we’ve really tried to cover all angles here to make this as valuable as possible.
You can find the forums here (once again note that the majority of the website is blocked since it’s a private service for customers, but the forums should work fine for you).
Finally, since there were so many entries in the original competition, I decided to split-up the $500 prize 4-ways. The winners of the competition were: Beau Blackwell, Alex Conway, Pierre-Yves and Paul L for making me realise how important certain aspects of the case study will be. Thanks to all of you who left a comment.
See you on the forum!