My Niche Authority Site Project

My Niche Authority Site Project

As many of you will recall from my previous blog post, I briefly mentioned that I am going to focus on building a larger authority site.  I typically have focused on building smaller niche sites – so I wanted to discuss more in depth what I have planned for my next big project and why I am doing it.  I also feel like this will give you a little bit of insight into my business and what I am doing right now.  I know when I read other blogs, I want to know what that individual is doing to actually make money!  I get sick of reading “how to” blog posts that teach how to write well, or a clever top 10 list, or some other deep thought post.  I just want to know how people are being successful and what they are doing right now to bring in the dough!  Sorry, to get side tracked there, but I have found way to many useless blogs lately…

Anyway, I assume most of you are like me and just want to know what is working.  Right now my small niche sites are working very well.  They continue to be my primary source of income as I have shared in my latest income report.  And I continue to do my best to share exactly step by step how I build these niche websites – and you can find a list of all related posts on the Niche Websites Hub.  But now I want to focus on another way to take advantage of Long Tail keywords, and that is by building a larger niche site/Authority type site.

4 Advantages of Large Niche Websites

By building a larger site, I will have 4 advantages over building a small niche website.  Those advantages are that:

  1. Its easier
  2. Less costly (than building 100 smaller sites)
  3. I can target longer tail keywords
  4. Finally an authority site is more likely to attract natural links and be loved by Google!

I want to lay out these 4 advantages in a little more detail and then I will explain what I have done so far and what my plans are in the future for this niche authority site project.

First, when compared to building lots of niche websites – building just 1 large authority website is much easier.  With small niche websites, you need to do in depth keyword analysis for every new site, buy a domain, install wordpress, find a theme, install plugins, and much more.  Its time consuming to build a new site and you have to do this with each new small niche website.  An authority site only needs to be built once.  And in reality you have to do less keyword research for each article you add (as opposed to keyword research for each new site you build).  Keywords will be determined by the overall niche of the site – so you simply write about similar topics (I will discuss this more).

Second, a large niche site is less costly than building hundreds of small sites.  You don’t need to buy hundreds of domain names, or linkbuilding packages for each individual site.  You can focus your linkbuilding or other tasks on 1 site.  Of course if you only compare building 1 small site vs building 1 large site – the small site will be less expensive.  So, there are advantages to building small niche websites – they can be quicker to get started, quicker to rank, and quicker to make money with.  Small niche websites will also typically target less competitive terms and are more likely to rank well if done properly.  So, there are certainly advantages to both – Both are great business models!

Third, a large niche site can target longer tail keywords with each new article that is added.  A small niche site may only have 5 or 10 articles and therefore is limited in the amount of search engine traffic it can capture.  However, the idea behind a larger site is that each article that is added should target a low competition/low traffic keyword.  So, even if each article only gets a few visitors a day – in aggregate you can still have a high traffic website if you have enough articles.

Finally, and perhaps most important is that a larger site is more likely to attract natural links (assuming the content quality is high) and Google is more likely to love your website.  Don’t get me wrong, I have small niche websites that get plenty of Google love (they rank #1 for their chosen keywords); however, Google is more likely to view a site with lots of content as being higher quality simply because you are able to fill out your site with a more in depth discussion of whatever the topic may be.

Okay, trust me, I am not trying to convince anyone that small niche websites are not the way to go – I think both are great business models!  I am simply diving into the authority site arena here head first and want to share up front with everyone what I am doing.

Plans for My Authority Site

As with any website project based on Search Engine Optimization, I started with keyword research.  I actually have several small niche websites that do very well all in the same niche.  So, I decided to build a larger authority site in this same niche because I know from experience that there is lots of traffic, it pays well, and I can rank well for various long tail keywords.

So, I started with this overall niche, then I used Long Tail Pro (of course) to find specific keyword ideas.  You can also use the Google Adwords Keyword tool to find additional keyword ideas.  After doing lots of research, I found what I hope will be a great primary keyword.  This is a keyword that will be in the domain name and is the core theme of my site.  Here are some stats on that keyword:

  • My keyword receives somewhere between 12 to 17k exact match local searches per month
  • My keyword has a CPC between $5 to $10

Before I bought a domain, I of course looked at the top 10 competitors in Google.  However, instead of using the strict guidelines that I use for small niche websites, I allowed myself to tackle “mid-level” competition.  For this reason, I expect that it could take me 6 months to a year before I crack the top 10 in Google for that keyword.  Its going to take more linkbuilding than usual.  But hopefully it will pay off.

What I’ve Done So Far

I purchased a domain name for this keyword in July (about 2 weeks ago).  The exact match domain was not available, so I just added a suffix.  So the domain is keywordpro.com (where keyword is my selected keyword).  I’m not sharing my domain at this time, and don’t have any plans to – but I want to at least share what I am doing.

I immediately ordered about 50 articles off of Textbroker.com.  I used authors of level 3 and the articles are between 450 and 550 keywords long.  Each article that I ordered is centered on a long tail keyword related to my primary keyword.  However, each of these secondary keywords only gets on average between about 200 to 500 searches per month (some less and some more).  What I did was generate a huge list of related keywords to my primary keyword.  I had a few thousand keywords.

At this point, I only looked at keywords that were right around the 200 to 500 search volume range.  By doing this, I got rid of the more competitive terms.  So, the analysis I did of the top 10 competition for these terms was very quick.  It would be extremely time consuming to analyze in depth a thousand keywords.  So my choice of keywords was more based on search volume and then whether or not it made sense or would add value to the overall authority website.  The site is built first for humans – so it needs to be useful and make sense to them.

Anyway, at this point I think I have now ordered around 65 articles and have posted 15 or so to the site.  I am adding 3 to 4 per day at this point and expect the site to have around 100 articles or so on it by the end of August.  I have not done any link building at this point, but the site is indexed.

I will start some link building in the next week or so, but my primary focus is getting some content on the site.

And of course, I will be monetizing the site with Google Adsense.  I have already placed the Adsense code on my site – so its up and ready to go.  I have done very well with Google Adsense in the past in this same niche; so I have the advantage of knowing that this is an excellent monetization strategy.

Future Plans for the Site

Once the site has about 100 articles or so and I have done some link building next month I will analyze how the site is performing.  If it is showing promise and I can see that my theory of capturing long tail keywords with lots of content on my site is a good one, I will probably order another 100 articles or so.  I believe this site could easily have 300 to 400 articles based on related keywords.

Overall, I believe the income potential for this site is pretty good as well.  For example, if I just rank well for my primary keyword the site could be doing $5k per month based on my experience in this niche.  When you add in the long tail keywords traffic, this could easily be a $10,000 per month site.  Obviously it could even be more than that if I build the site even bigger. Then again, there is risk with every site that is built – so perhaps this will be a flop!  Every business has risk and building niche authority websites is no different.

Anyway, I will plan on sharing the success of this large niche site along the way.  So, stay tuned for more updates on this site!  Overall, let me know what you think about my niche authority site project?  Do you think its a good idea?  Am I missing something that I should have discussed?  Let me know if you have any questions!


How Long Tail Pro Can Help You Capture Way More Search Engine Traffic

If your business could benefit in any way from getting more search engine traffic, I have some good news.

Search engines are in love with long tail keywords! If you are able to provide relevant content targeting these long tail keywords, then you can see a dramatic increase to the amount of traffic Google and other search engines send you.

Long Tail Pro is a powerful keyword research tool that makes finding these valuable long tail keywords a breeze.

What are “long tail keywords”? Essentially, these are words or phrases that people type into the search engines to find very specific things. Rather than searching for “dog training” a user might search for “how to potty train a pitbull”.

This is an example of a Long Tail Keyword. To visualize how Long Tail Keywords work...

Click to Continue Reading


167 Comments for this entry

  1. Amir says:

    Looking forward with the updates on this project!

    • I been reading Spencer content for a good while now and I think what he has in stored will be incredible.

      Lets stay tune Amir..

      “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  2. aldo says:

    I agree with you 100% by building a one big site , you could put more effort and love and also work to make the conversion higher.

    With just one site you could develop some skills that you don’t use on snipe sites.

  3. aldo says:

    Normally which type of links are you planning to build?

    • Spencer says:

      All types! I hope to get natural links from other sites linking to my site (the best kind), but then I will build some article links, blog network links, social bookmarks, and others.

  4. Tiptopcat says:

    It will be interesting to track the difference in speed of this type of site getting to the top of Google compared with a niche website.

    Good luck with it. I look forward to reading your updates.

    Tiptopcat

  5. Sean says:

    Sounds good!
    Question: When you say you are putting up 100 articles… 3 or 4 per week, do you mean you are adding them as blog posts or as separate pages on the site.

    I’ve always been confused about this. Thanks for your help!
    Sean

    • Spencer says:

      The articles will be “posts”.

      • Sean says:

        Excellent. Thanks for clearing that up. And these posts will run a few times per week… can you say anything about what kind of content you will have as pages? Maybe as a future post ;)

        Basically, the difference between posts and pages in an authority site.

        • Spencer says:

          The only “pages” I usually create are a contact page, about us page, privacy policy page, and that’s about it. I may add other “pages” on this site for hubs that link to various posts on my site – but I really don’t know yet.

  6. Anton says:

    Great project Spencer!

    I’m currently building 3 authority sites, and this is a lot of work… Mini usually takes several backlinking routines and bam – it’s in top…

    But huge stite – here we can get that domain authority that eventually will lead to rapid top rankings across loads of keywords and hence massive traffic….

    That’s what mini sites cannot provide! So, let’s do it mate )

    The only thing is to make the domain a real authority…

    • Spencer says:

      Awesome Anton! Best of luck with your sites. Yes, building that domain authority is really what can help in the long run…

  7. Ray says:

    I think that authority site model is best for someone with long term approach. Do keep up updated with your progress.

    Can you tell me which plugin u use to display social media buttons on left side of post?

  8. Ritsos says:

    Cool .. currently pursuing a similar thing for many of the reasons you outline though probably not as lucrative .. I’d be delighted if I got £1000 a month from it or anywhere near that!

    At the moment I’m writing the articles myself which is obviously slower and I’m wondering how much it costs you per article from textbroker?

  9. Hi Spenser
    Good post and interesting project.
    You will do well I am sure because I have 3 sites like this and they are consistent moneymakers.Just wondering about any instructions you give to your textbrokers writers?
    Do you just give them the article topic or a list of related keywords which you also want included in the article(as I do)?
    Terry

    • Spencer says:

      Terry – Yes, I give very detailed instructions to the writers on textbroker. I don’t tell them which related keywords to write about, but I do cover what types of things should be included in the article, which really forces them to write about related keywords naturally anyway.

      • Ben says:

        Spencer – I was going to ask this question as well. I’m writing my own articles on my first niche site right now, and it’s pretty time consuming. I’d love to see a post about how you outsource your articles (instructions to writers, etc.)

        As always, awesome post. Thank you so much for your constant inspiration and fantastic information!

      • Boris says:

        Spencer so you do not research related keywords that you want them to write about? If so then there is no keyword optimization there i assume?

  10. Alex says:

    I’ve used adsense on an authority site and not earned much at all. Is there a type or writing or type of subject that works well with adsense?

    Thanks

    • Spencer says:

      Alex: Adsense pays very well in some niches and not so well in others. It all depends on whether or not there are advertisers. That’s why its important to look at the “CPC” of your keywords. The writing style won’t really make a difference. Just make sure to use your chosen keyword in your title. Ads targeting your keywords will automatically be displayed by google.

      • Sereyboth says:

        I think the main type of website is the main reason of getting click or not.
        Most type of content that only talk about information won’t get much click as well as buying keyword. I already test them.

        eg: “Cheap LCD TV in Singapore” will get much more clicks than “The disadvantage of watching TV” .

  11. lisa says:

    Hi Spencer,

    Thank you very much for sharing your project and knowledge!

    I have a question:
    “However, the idea behind a larger site is that each article that is added should target a low competition/low traffic keyword”

    Is that because usually “high traffic keywords = high competition; low traffic keywords = low competition”? Or just because to analyze the competition costs too much time?

    • Spencer says:

      Yes, typically a higher traffic keyword is also higher competition. I did look at the competition for some of the keywords. But when it comes down to it, the site is build for humans and you should build a site that makes the most sense to them. (which may mean writing about some higher competition keywords every now and again).

  12. Patric H says:

    Hey Spencer!

    I have a lot of experience in this area and have built a few “authority” sites over the years, so I just want to throw a bit of caution to the people reading this post. :)

    Authority sites are great and can make a lot of money! However, do not get too tied up in one site especially if it is your only means of income.

    Why? I have a site in a very competitive industry, the site is several years old, has thousands of indexed pages of content, all unique and most of which was written by me. Thousands of backlinks, many of which are other sites linking to me because they want to, as well as some link building on my part. Before the recent Panda update, the site was earning around $200 per day in Adsense earnings and another $100 – $200 per day in affiliate earnings. It did this for over a year.

    After the Panda algorithm changes, my site was kicked back several spots by a site using poorly spun content and buying high pr homepage backlinks. None of which was ever done on my site. They also have around 300 backlinks all bought, spammed. Whereas I have thousands of backlinks including many editorial ones.

    Since the ranking changes, that $400/daily site now averages me around $20 per day total income, on a good day. So the point of all this is, that while you may be doing everything right, you can still take a hit at anytime. So be sure to have other income to fall back on.

    I personally would not recommend anyone going the authority site road until they have a consistent income from other avenues first. I wish I had done this, because I am left in a race to rebuild my income before I run out of money. :(

    • Spencer says:

      Hey Patric – sorry to hear about your experience! I knew you had taken a hit, but I didn’t realize it was that extensive :(

      I think your warning is a good one. I recently wrote an entire post on this subject: http://www.nichepursuits.com/the-real-risks-associated-with-building-niche-websites/

      The risks are very well and everyone should be very aware of these before “betting the farm” or anything like that. Thanks for sharing…

      • Patric H says:

        Must have missed that article somehow, quite good though so thank you for the link.

        I will be the first to admit that this is a great business and even after taking a hit I am climbing my way back up with a series of other niche sites that were in the process of being ranked at the time. So I am not too worried about it, but I could have done without the experience.

        Also, I wanted to briefly point out that my intention was not to scare people but rather be an example that “sh@t happens” and you have to be ready for it. Had I started with a series of niche sites that were earning regularly and then moved onto my authority site, when it tanked I would have had the niche sites to fall back on, which would have made it a lot easier on me and my blood pressure lol.

        At the moment, my plan is to build out a bunch more niche sites, get my income up to your general area and then hire a couple of writers to go back and start building out all of those niche sites into “semi-authority/authority” sites. If you think about it, you have what roughly 200 sites, if each one of those made $20/day you would be making around $4000/day or roughly $120,000 per month.

        I could live with that for a while! ;)

        • Spencer says:

          Sounds like a good plan Patric! SEO is a risky business because Google has all the control – unfortunately.

          I wish I could build out all my sites to reach that kind of income! that would be sweet! Although, I doubt that will happen…

        • Boris says:

          Is is interesting how low quality website would outrank your auhority site. Just tells us that Panda is not accurate as Google wanted it to be and we should expect more updates.

          Whatever may be, keep going because this business is more than worth it.

          • steve wyman says:

            Hi Boris

            Panda has not stopped “lower quality” sites outranking authority “quality” sites.

            Its true today as it always has been that you can write the most beutifull text optimsed and with a stuning graphic interface. BUT if i have more high qulaity links coming into my site, and my text is not highly duplicate, then the “low quality site Ive built will outrank your high qulaity site every day.

            Were a long way from Google being able to judge quality (other thanm spammy duplicate content).

            Where Quality onsite text and graphic starts to win through is in conversions. But not in rankings.

            regards

            • Boris says:

              The problem is that low quality sites are not long term. Don’t forget that should low quality website catch top rankings, it is a matter of time before visitors and Google quality raters start reporting it.

              • steve wyman says:

                I disagree.

                Simply put the situaion is to complex to make a statement which is this simplistic. Neither the algo nor seo is that easy to define.

                You would have to define exactly what you mean by low quality.

                Also when targetting 100’s of low compettion longtail keywrds driving 1000′ of visitors to teh site the above again doesnot apply.

                Lastly I dont believe that “qaulity” is an indicator that anybody at google does.

                They DONTO visit a site based on user reports that the quality is low!

                ANd as most affiliate sites have bounce rates over 50% then your competeing against other low quality sites.

                Therefore the competition defines quality not the user and certainly not goole.

                Now if you wre enterntering a batte field such as car insurance and through up a single page site with just content. Sure it would never rank in the top100 of google.com

                But for the vast majority of Niche websites (as discussed here) this is not the case.

                Ofocurse I would advocate qualiy sites and content. But as i said this is all to do wih conversions not serps/

                Even post panda keyword stuffing works on one of my sites that has 4000 visitors ta day to page with just a list of keyword terms

                regards

  13. Steve says:

    Hi Spencer,
    It’s great to see you sharing more info with us during your journey.
    I understand not giving up the niche site name. As you go along I hope you’ll sharing rankings (without the words) and income by sub niche.
    I build both Micro-Niche sites and authority sites.
    The benefit of an authority site is all the internal linking you can do :-) Google loves internal related relevant linking and it will power you site along nicely. Also the Domain will have a lot of pages and that will also look good post panda.
    However a note of caution I don’t see much reduction in the need to link build. I get the idea that because there’s lots of content you will attract links. However think about competing with a large site with your niche sites? You take on big boys and beat them I guess. So what’s to stop the small sites outranking your authority site? A question not a negative.
    I look forward to reading more as time goes on
    Regards

    Steve

    • Spencer says:

      Yes, I take on the big boys and beat them – but I am just beating 1 of their pages – not all of them and certainly not their primary keywords. So I would imagine that someone building a small niche site would still be able to easily beat 1 of my pages – but its just one of my pages. In reality I am hoping to garner traffic from keywords that don’t receive enough search volume to get much competing niche sites.

      • Steve says:

        HI Spencer

        Thats cool. my strategy with niche sites is to attack those long tails anyway so im ranking for them even on a micro niche site. But then Im a SeNuker so i dont mind building backlinks anyway,

        I think your also making an important point (if not directly). Ultimately your authority site doesnot have to rank highly for the “money keywords” if you rank for enough long tails. Thats the approach im taking in a Amplifier Mega Niche im working on. Its impossible to rank top 3 for the Mega keywords but easy to rank 1000,s of nano longtail keywords

        regards and best of luck

        Sev WYmab

  14. Mohit says:

    Hi Spencer. I always read/thought when building an authority website, one should go after the high search volume (perhaps more than 2400) long tail keywords to fill in the articles. As even if 1 out of 10 articles starts appearing on the first page (after link building), it should probably bring in more traffic than many of the low traffic 200-500 search volume keywords. Also, popular secondary keywords may rank for many variations of keyword searches as the domain/page ages.

    This is something new experiment (200-500 volume) I’m going to witness. It’s going to be an interesting approach, and please keep us updated about the results and whether you stick with/tweak this strategy.

    All the best!

    • Spencer says:

      Mohit, I don’t think targeting these higher volume (2400 +) is a good idea. This would require you to build a massive amount of links to every single article that you publish. Otherwise small niche website builders like me will just buy an exact match domain and beat you quite easily because of the power of my domain and a couple of links. Someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but I plan on capturing the really long tail keywords that I specified in the article. In aggregate there is way more traffic in the long tail anyway.

  15. Audrey says:

    Spencer,
    Good luck and keep us posted with the authority site! I started my own authority site about 8 months ago. The homepage is now ranking for some pretty competitive terms, while my inner pages are getting some good long-tail traffic. The site is currently making me over $200-250 a day, so it’s definitely possible. My goal is to hit $300 a day, which I suspect will happen in a couple of months.

    • Mohit says:

      Hi Audrey,

      Congratulations on achieving the good results so soon!

      How many articles have you posted on the site in the last 8 months?

      Thank you

      • Audrey says:

        Mohit,
        I have about a total of 60 articles published on the website so far, with about 100 more in queue. In the beginning, I posted a new article a day, but I’ve since slowed down to just one a week.

    • Spencer says:

      Audrey – that’s awesome! Thanks for sharing your success. Sounds like you are doing well with an 8 month old site. Is your strategy similar to mine? In that you are targeting these long tail keywords with each article?

      • Audrey says:

        Spencer,
        Yes, very much like your strategy. In fact, my main keyword gets 14,800 exact searches a month too (hopefully you’re not targeting the same…haha). My homepage targets my main keyword, while all my inner pages (articles) each target a lower-competitive keyword that gets between 100-400 searches a month. I found that once I was finally ranking top 3 for my main keyword, other similar keywords were very easy to achieve.

    • Steve says:

      Hi

      Indeed thats very impressive. $200 a day $6000 a month and near on $65,000 a year from one site. Way to go.

      regards

      • Audrey says:

        Thanks, Steve! Keeping my fingers crossed I can keep these rankings. I dont have to do much in terms of maintenance, but it makes me nervous that I’m at the mercy of the Google gods.

  16. Kate says:

    Hi Spencer,
    I look forward to your sharing the progress of your new site. My main site is an authority site, done in static html. I get some semi-decent traffic despite no real backlinking. This was my first site and thus, my learning site. I chose a niche that I have great passion for but the cpc is very low.
    I started last month on another authority site, this time on WP and in a niche I am less passionate about (but interested) with nice, high cpc. WP does not come as easily for me as it seems to for others but I learn as I go. I am struggling a bit with the idea of pages vs posts. Didn’t need to worry about that with the static sites since everything fell nicely into a structured order.
    Good luck on your authority venture.

    Kate

    • Spencer says:

      Best of luck Kate getting WordPress figured out and your new site! Generally speaking a “post” is typically added for any new articles or updates.

    • Boris says:

      Kate, as long as your income offsets your expenses and makes dedicating your time to website worthwhile, you should keep it because as it ages, it can become valuable asset in the future that you can sell later and invest in new projects.

  17. Shane says:

    Hi Spencer,

    Yours is always the first email I open out of the 30 plus I get each day because you’re one of the few marketers left that actually provides real value.

    I was excited to discover that you’re embarking on creating an authority site, this couldn’t come at a better time for me.

    I’m just planning and creating the framework for my own authority site right now so I’m at the absolute beginning stages.

    Would love to follow along with you plus it’s a great motivator for me as well.

    Look forward to further posts.

    Cheers.

  18. Dave M says:

    Awesome news Spencer! As time goes by, I would love to see you break out your rankings for each article to see how well each keyword is performing.

    Also, I remember you saying a while back that you were looking at Elance and Odesk for writers for this project. Any reason why you opted for Textbroker again over the others? It seems you could cut costs a good bit with a dedicated outsourcer or two, providing you still get the quality you are used to.

    • Spencer says:

      Dave – I am going with Textbroker for now because its more convenient. However, if I plan to make this a significantly bigger site, I may opt for more permanent writers via Eland or Odesk. So I haven’t completely ruled that out.

      • Boris says:

        When i spoke with their representative, it was said that i can keep best performing writers and always use them and since Textbroker has already screened writers (if i am not mistaken, i think it should be good idea to use them for topics they specialize in.

  19. Chris says:

    Spencer, this will be great to follow. I’m starting an authority site right now as well. I already bought the domain name and I ordered some articles. I’ll start setting up the backend when I get some articles to post.

    The niche I picked is pretty competitive but is very broad and covers a lot of ground. For example sake, let’s say it’s “Insurance”. There’s car insurance, boat insurance, etc. Then you got yachts, fishing boats, sailboats, etc. Then specific articles like “How to insure your competitive sailboat.” My site starts at the boat insurance level. I decided rather than picking a name for the site that I could rank for specifically, like “boatinsurancepro”, I decided to go for a brand name like “captaininsurance” or “insurancepirate”. My plan has been to rank for the long tail keywords because I figured I would never rank for boat insurance and hopefully get some name recognition off the brand name. What do you think about brand names vs keyword based names when it comes to an authority site?

    • Spencer says:

      Interesting idea on trying to brand yourself right away. I personally put a lot of stock in having keyword rich domains (for keywords I believe I can rank for). In your example it sounds like you know you will never rank for the keyword within your domain, but you have created a more brandable name. I think it can work either way. I have just seen some great SEO results from having a keyword rich domain, so I’m not trying anything new. However, we all know huge websites that are brand names (Amazon, ebay, Google, etc) – so obviously there is nothing wrong with it. Its just a different strategy is all.

      • Boris says:

        Spencer, i think everybody must first think about brand/trademark infringements issue before picking branded domain since you don’t know what can happen if you are not careful.

        Maybe this is a good idea for updating your post about niche websites risks?

  20. Moon Hussain says:

    Hi Spencer,

    This sounds really excellent and you bet I’ll be following. Thing is, I have what I consider to be a “broad niche site” meaning it could be positioned as an authority site. (Main keyword: 8000 exact searches per month).

    But, I have to figure out a direction for it.

    I’d rather send you an email to see what you think… if you’re up for it, of course!

  21. Federico says:

    Great post,
    I’ve bought a wso few days ago about authority sites quide good….

    The only down thing here you will spend a lot money
    (8×100=$800) just for the articles,you still need to spend with seo off-page…. if the site is a flop? it’s too much risk…
    But yes I’d love to try it as well

    And I’ll keep an eye on your future posts here as always.

    Regards,

    • Spencer says:

      Yes, its a bigger investment which is probably why I haven’t done it sooner. Small niche sites are great because the investment is so little. So, yes I will probably spend a $1000 or more dollars just on content before I really know how well the site is going to perform, but the potential payoff is so large, that I believe the risk is worth it. And you have to realize that $1000 is an extremely small investment as far as businesses go in general – so really we are still talking small potatoes here.

      • Boris says:

        I also think Spencer that before going into authority sites, one should first focus on niche websites in order to learn the stuff inside out, but mainly for financing authority site project.

        Start small, grow bigger as financing, time and knowledge allow.

  22. Paula Mooney says:

    Love it, Spencer, another informative and interesting post.

    And yeah, when you went off your rant about wanting writers to just tell you how they did things instead of just “10 Tips to Whatever,” that’s what made me hit the FB like button on this post.

    I pray your authority site goes very well — and that your Adsense income goes up even more from the added earnings.

    Plus, you may be surprised at how you can take over some of the big boys’ keyword rankings even with your new site. One of my niche sites kind of did that.

    • Spencer says:

      Yes, I could have made my rant MUCH longer, but I didn’t want to offend too many bloggers out there, lol. But maybe I will make a full rant one of these days…dont encourage me!

      Thanks for the encouragement on my new project!

      • Boris says:

        I actually understand the conflict here. Some blogs provide general information about business model and how it works, but sometimes too much general becomes tiresome because you want to learn new/advanced things.

        I think the latter is more valuable as it shows actual trial and error of a person and insight into new information.

  23. Awesome, Spencer, glad to see you got this up and running. I was hoping I could ask you a few questions related to the authority site project?

    1. What on-site strategies are you using? Are you using categories and sub-categories? Will you be putting content on the category pages and writing articles under each? What theme are you going with for this test?

    2. What’s the budget for your authority site test and the break down? i.e.

    $8.00 domain
    $200 content
    $300 linkbuilding
    etc.

    Thanks as always!

    • Spencer says:

      Justin: I don’t know if I can do your questions justice here – may have to be more in depth in a future post, but here’s a quick hit:
      1. Yes, I will be using categories and sub-categories. At this point I don’t plan on writing content on the category pages. I am using a very basic theme right now, but as the site grows I plan on getting a premium theme (maybe) and a custom logo done.
      2. I plan on spending probably at least $2000 on content creation over the next few months. Domain $7.50 from Godaddy. Then I am going to put probably around $200 per month into link building for this one site. Maybe more. So, in a year’s time I expect to put around $5k or so into this site. Once you consider the fact that I could easily be making $5k per month with the site, I don’t consider that too bad of an investment.

  24. Gautam says:

    Hi Spencer:

    Thanks for sharing your plan on Authority site building.

    I am also building couple of sites… but a bit slow..

    I will follow your updates closely.

    For KWs for your 100+ articles, are you just going to see
    the search volume ( >200), or are you evaluate top 10 competition too?

    Cheers!

  25. Sudarshan says:

    Hi Spencer,

    Its a great article and thanks for sharing with us on how your approach will be for building an authority website… I saw in one of your comment replies that you wont specify the long tail keywords exactly but give the writers specific details… can you give us some examples on that ? I came across your website only a week back and I regret for not knowing about it… Never Late Than Ever :) I am building niche websites and making 1500$…My next goal is to make 2000$ per month consistently,I hope to achieve that with tips and good motivation from people like you :)

    • Spencer says:

      Okay, to clarify – I do give the specific long tail keyword that the writer should target. In fact, I also specify how many times that keyword should be used in the article. However, as discussed in the comment you are referring to, I don’t specify additional keywords besides that first keyword. Glad you found my site! And best of luck getting your income to $2000 per month and beyond…

      • Boris says:

        You mean if you have “dog training”, “dog training collars”, “dog training commands” keywords, you just give “dog training” to the writer and ignore the latter keywords?

  26. Joe says:

    How many separate pages will you have on the site? Or is there only one page, supported by posts using various long tail keywords?

    Thanks for letting us following along on your journey. I really look forward to seeing the results.

    • Spencer says:

      Joe, its a confusing question because pages and posts look exactly the same on wordpress. For example, for this site (nichepursuits.com) I have 6 “Pages”. However, I have 41 “Posts”. So in reality I would say that my site has 47 pages of content. So, my niche website will have 100 separate “posts” that work exactly like this blog does. Hope that makes sense.

      • Joe says:

        Thanks Spencer. Yes, your answer makes sense. I assume you have 6 pages with different target keywords. Your index page is, I assume, your best keyword. After that, I assume you are adding posts to the index page using the long tail keywords you have found.

        Is this correct? I appreciate your time, and would like to follow along and understand the specifics of your project.

        Thanks again.

        • Jim says:

          I sent a question to Spencer basically asking this but not as clearly.
          Do I set wordpress to show only my latest post (article) on the index page?
          If I have say 8 posts (articles), even though only one is visible do search engines consider the other 7 still there or are they considered to be on separate pages?
          Basically I have no idea how to set the site up properly. If anyone can send me an email explaining this I’d be forever grateful :)

          • Paula Mooney says:

            Hi Jim –

            I’ll take a shot at answering you. If you have a website set up like I have my PaulaNealMooney.com one, yes, you’ll see that I have my latest 3 posts showing on the home page and many more not showing. But Google still indexes these posts — and my pages.

            “Pages” and “posts” are two different things, but as long as Google is crawling your site and you answered “yes” to the have my site appear on places like Google and Technorati when you set up the WordPress blog, they technically should be indexed by Google, baring anything wrong with the site — and if it’s not a really new site.

            • Paula Mooney says:

              But Jim, you can also choose to set one of your “pages” as the front of the site, like I did on my RedboxFranchiseCost.com website — and I still have other posts appearing on the site that are being crawled and indexed by Google.

              Another option is to make a few posts “sticky” with WordPress, like I did on my DarkGirlsMovie.com website.

              Right now I’ve got a few “sticky” posts appearing at the top of the website so readers will see those first. There are lots of options with WordPress, but generally, if your goal is to get traffic and Adsense clicks, you want as many post and pages crawled by Google as possible.

              • Jim says:

                Excellent Paula :) It makes a lot more sense now and your examples will help as well.
                I very much appreciate the time you took to answer my questions.

                • Boris says:

                  If you want to rank your website for “main keyword”, then make sure you make article optimized for “main keyword” index page of your blog.

            • Spencer says:

              Thanks for answering Paula. I just have my latest posts on my homepage. I leave the defaults essentially as is in WordPress; your pages are still indexed and you can still rank for your primary keywords.

          • Tom Ripley says:

            Hi

            The answer to the question is it depends :-) the beuty of wordpress is you can make a blog or anything else you want (other than full blown ecommerce ) so if its a blog I’d have the latest posts If its a product sales machine I might well use a staitic page.

            Pages and post have different function sin wordpress but they both hold articles hence why they can appear confusing initally.

            If your starting out a great resource id forgotten about is CHalleneg 2010 google it or i think its still at challenge.co a full blow start to finnish course that fres..

            regards

      • Chris says:

        Spencer, In my experience, WordPress doesn’t naturally let you put specific posts on specific pages. Normally, you can write directly on a specific page, but if you make a post, it gets added to the main page only. I tried a plugin awhile back that let you choose which posts are displayed on which pages based on keyword, category or tags. The problem is that it didn’t work with the newer versions of WordPress, so I dropped it. Is there a specific plugin that you are using to do this?

        • Spencer says:

          I just use the default settings in WordPress. Just like my site here. My posts show on the homepage for a few days, and then they get replaced as I write new posts. This is just fine. So, you can do that with your posts on your homepage (what I usually do), or you can create a static page to be used as your homepage. I have also done this and either route works just fine. You don’t need to over think this too much.

        • Stephen Dailey says:

          Chris, I use a plugin called “astickypostorderer” to order all my posts in a specific order since I only show 6 on the home page. My sites are review oriented so I am always switching up which ones show up on the home page by using that plugin.

  27. Spencer, one thing I am curious about, are you going to venture into localized search for this site, such at keyword Dallas, TX or is it a large niche where you will be going after US traffic only?

    • Spencer says:

      localized search for this particular niche would not make sense. I expect almost all of the traffic to come from the US.

  28. mike says:

    Great post Spencer. I’m just curious – with that kind of cpc and your prior experience in the chosen niche, how long do you think it will take to reach $ 5000 per month? What about $1000?

    • Spencer says:

      Who knows. But if I can rank on the first page of Google for my primary keyword in 8 to 12 months (probably a good estimation) – then I should be able to attain that income of 5 to 10k/mth.

  29. EM says:

    Hi Spencer

    I’ve read your ebook, the free one actuallly. I got some inspirations from it. You got som many differences with the others, Honestly, I love the way you shared. I’d like to come next time to see the update. Thanks anyway!

  30. rahul says:

    You are going to get combinations of new keywords which no keyword tool have and no niche website can target. I am sure you will do well but need lot of time and link building.

  31. Yeok Heng says:

    As you said that you own many niche sites. Are you going to do link exchange between sites with related niche/topic?

    • Spencer says:

      Great question Yeok! I may indeed – not sure. In fact, I was thinking about doing a post about the somewhat “taboo” topic – Interlinking your own sites. Do, you think others would want to hear about this sort of discussion?

      • Tom Ripley says:

        Hi Spencer

        Id be wary of discussing whats out the T&C from google perspective on a global forumn espcially with adsense site!

        What we do is one thing but to make it public knowledge that one built sites to then help another rank might be unwise.

        regards

        • Spencer says:

          Hey Tom, large corporations interlink their sites all the time. Just look at Huffington Post (all the links at the top) or CNN.com or 100s of other sites – they all interlink their own sites. I would be interested in seeing where in the Google T&C it says you can’t link to one of your own sites (I don’t think its there). But if it is – let me know!

          • Andrew W says:

            I agree with Spencer that you wouldn’t find anything telling you that you can’t interlink sites.

            I’d say that the relevant portion of the Webmaster guidelines would be here: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=66356

            You aren’t supposed to engage in any “link schemes,” including “links intended to manipulate PageRank, links to web spammers or bad neighborhoods on the web or excessive reciprocal links or excessive link exchanging.”

            Later: “Before making any single decision, you should ask yourself the question: Is this going to be beneficial for my page’s visitors?”

            I would certainly think that if you have a network of several sites in one broader niche, it would provide real value to readers to interlink them. I know I’d want to check out related sites if I knew they were created by the same people as a website I already respected.

            I’d definitely be interested to see a post from you with more about this.

            • Spencer says:

              Andrew:
              You hit the nail on the head. I do think this deserves a full post – might even ruffle some feathers along the way! I don’t think Google would ever say don’t link to your own websites – because well Google does it to. It only makes sense that a company should be allowed to link to multiple products that they have. I link to LongTailPro.com all the time and I own that sight as well. Its relevant to this blog here.

              The key is whether you are linking to something relevant and useful to readers or whether you are simply linking to manipulate your rankings.

              Thanks for the link and additional information Andrew!!

              • Steve Wyman says:

                Hi Guys, Hum Tims being rough but i believe he has a major point your not really seeing.

                Linking from your own sites that you own for the express perpupose of improving your main sites status is against the principles set out in the T&C

                Ok I get your not specifically trying to “links intended to manipulate PageRank” quoting your quote but you were (i believe) suggesting a public test of SERP rank maniuplation. I think he merely suggested that a public test might be unwise. Not that you should not nor that people donot do this. After all have you heard of SEOVine :-)

                What your suggesting will work 100% thats the case. Why after all do people (cough) buy high ranking PR dropping domains with names that are not exact match nor are they particularly relevant to the money site niche

                Have a great day and t

                reghards

                • Spencer says:

                  I agree that if the only reason you are interlinking is to manipulate your rankings (not just PR) then its not a good idea, but if your sites truly compliment each other – there is nothing wrong with this. Sounds like I need a full post on this – I’m adding it to the Niche Websites Hub right now! Thanks for the feedback…

                  • Boris says:

                    I think it also depends how Google staff will look at interlinking. If somebody incompetent to judge will notice your interlinking then who knows what will happen, not to talk about somebody who had bad day, but if you are to interlink then i would suggest not to make anchor text your exact match keyword i.e. not “keyword keyword” but “check this keyword keyword” or “see this post about keyword keyword”. The idea is to make it look as you are catering to your visitors and not search engines like Spencer advocates.

                    Search engine or visitor? I think it is the act of balancing.

      • Dave M says:

        I’d read it!

      • Yeok Heng says:

        I am sure others would like to hear about it as well. Today I have just came across a linking method called “3 way link” which sound like very effective.

        Another question. I heard that link exchange between sites hosted in same server or ip are not effective. If that’s the case, what you are going to do to exchange link among your niche sites?

        • Spencer says:

          Yeok:
          I already have multiple servers all on separate IP addresses.

        • Mark Conger says:

          Yeok – if you come across where you may have read the information regarding sites on the same IP, I would appreciate a look at it.

          It may be an urban legend, though. Shared hosting, which makes up the majority of medium to low traffic sites, is dependent on IP sharing.

          Back in the early days of hosting, everybody got a unique IP. It wasn’t until later that IP masquerading (i.e. sharing) became prominent.

        • Boris says:

          I once read on Warrior Forum that somebody had his website deindexed and blamed someone’s “3 way links” service. It is hard to determine the cause since too many variables are in play here.

  32. Tom Ewer says:

    This is exactly the kind of case study I have been looking for. I’m excited to see how this goes for you Spencer – best of luck!

  33. Mark Conger says:

    I think this post is a great one and I’m looking forward to the updates.

    One thing strikes me, though. It seems that all of the SEO tactics required to get rankings indicates that if you don’t try play the SEO game, you can’t get traffic at all.

    Frankly, as a newbie to niche sites (about to launch my first one) I’m somewhat discouraged that if my site has unique and quality content and is designed to sincerely help people learn something that can be of benefit, it is defeated before launch if SEO and keywords and backlinking isn’t leading the charge.

    But, I’m going to pursue it anyway. Maybe it’s naive, but I have to hope that the SEO can come after launch either by natural searches or by me tweaking it.

    Any constructive comments are greatly appreciated.

    • Spencer says:

      Mark:
      Choosing whether to promote your website via SEO or other methods is a strategy. Some websites perform very well that may not necessarily get any traffic from search engines. There are lots of ways to get traffic – SEO just happens to be one of them. I utilize it because it is free traffic and can be hands free.

      You CAN indeed implement SEO after you have launched your site. Its usually easier to start out with a specific SEO plan before launch, but you can certainly start tweaking your page titles to target specific keywords that you want to rank for and make the rest of your site content SEO friendly.

      I would recommend doing some keyword research and find a keyword or multiple keywords that you feel like gets enough traffic and is that you can also rank for. Then begin adding content to your site that targets these keywords. Unfortunately, even if your site has the most useful content ever created – it will never be found without some sort of promotion. SEO is ONE of those ways.

  34. Jim says:

    Mark,
    Not naive at all. While I’m a newbie as well, I can tell you from experience that SEO after launch is easier than you may think.
    The website linked by my name is obviously not mine…it belongs to my daughter. She writes all the content herself. I used to develop software and had the domain sitting doing nothing and she asked to use it.
    I tweak her posts after she puts them up, and have even changed the main keywords numerous times. Yet after a few days I consistently rank in the top ten, using ‘long tail keywords’.
    Basically I have all of 8-15 backlinks (using social bookmarking), change the keywords weekly or bi-weekly and still end up ranking. So in short, YES you can SEO optimize at any point, not just before the site is up. I hope that makes sense, and hope its accurate.

    • Mark Conger says:

      That’s actually very encouraging news, Jim.

      I’m hoping to significantly over deliver on the content, then use Facebook and other venues to establish some traffic initially. Sounds like what you’re doing as well.

      You do have an advantage over me, though, and that is your domain has been registered for several years. Mine is pretty new.

      However, I do have some domains parked that are several years old too.

      Ultimately, I plan to build an authority site with links to the narrower niche sites.

  35. Ritsos says:

    as a relative newbie and presumably I’m not the only one here, and given the time it would take to write loads of articles to get links. If you had a budget of say $50 (or a little more) what would you spend it on to improve your search rankings?

  36. Jason says:

    Hey Spencer,

    I was looking through a few reviews of textbroker. I’m wondering, do you edit the level 3 articles you receive. Some examples I saw online were good, but not great (about what I would expect is level 3 is middle of the road).

    Enjoying your site. Keep up the good content.

  37. Chris says:

    Great info on the Authority Plan, hope it works out for you Spencer.

    Question (not sure if this was mentioned before on your blog)

    What do you think about using Google Analytics to track and improve your ROI?

    I have heard mixed opinions on this subject, I have also heard from so called experts on this that it doesnt matter if you use this as your Analytics software of choice, because Google can still see everything you do anyways, as an example thru your adsense id’s, your gmail, etc.
    What software do you use Spencer? What seems to be the best?

    • Spencer says:

      Great question. I decided about a year ago to stop using analytics on my niche sites. I have been using Piwik on lots of my sites. For the reasons you infer. However, I do use analytics on this blog and I went ahead and installed them on my new authority site. I love Google Analytics because its the easiest to use and install. I used to think it would make google aware of all your sites, but I’m not as convinced that it matters anymore. This one is up for debate.

      • Boris says:

        I guess if you are confident in your authority website and plan to create value, then you should consider Google Analytics. However maybe it would be good idea to isolate that authority website from all other websites so Google won’t be able to track all your other websites.

        What i want to say is it will be better to separate high quality webisites from less qualitative websites.

  38. Vijay says:

    Hi Spencer,
    Learned many good things from you. I think there is just one thing you have not covered in detail is “Link building strategy” for niche sites.

    Can you please write a detailed post on SEO and link building for niche sites mentioning ways methods that work.

    Thanks,
    Vijay

  39. Brenda says:

    Spencer, Spencer, Spencer!

    What a wealth of information … what a hands on mentor!

    The students are here and the teacher comes.

    I learn so much reading your posts.

    And how generous you are with your explanations and time.

    Best of success with your authority site …

  40. Steve Wyman says:

    Hi Spencer

    Nice write up. Contains a lot of details that help bring together the work youve already done in the other posts,

    Ive been building a spreadsheet workbook along similar lines.

    The concet is the 1st page (tab) is a summary with a message such as “This a winner” “Loooooser” when a niche hit my target goals :-) together with a summary of the per month income expected.

    The second tab has the data for the main keyword and longtail variant for the niche. Other tabs are use for Groups of longtial keywords as approporiate.each tab would show the potential income etc for that sub niche of thse site.

    As well as validating the main niche (a niche can be an authority site after all) it can throw up that a sub niche could also be a site in its own right.

    Another thing is today we dont need to worry about using excel for these task Google docs spreadsheet system is free fast and easy to use. Also its online so easy to access anytime.

    regards

  41. Oleg says:

    Hi Spencer, could you please share the instructions you give to writers on textbroker? I always have to post-edit articles I get from writers to remove meaningless filler text like “it is pertinent to mention here” or “when it comes to”…

  42. frank says:

    Eecellent stuff spencer, im doing atech blog now and i was wondering how you can find long tails for that too???

  43. Vlad says:

    What are the advantages of textbroker.com compared to odesk or elance?

  44. Jay Dee says:

    Hey Spencer,

    When you submit an article to eZineArticles, would that article already be posted on your website? – or do you submit an article to eZineArticles that exists ‘exclusively’ on their website only?

    Cheers,
    Jay

    • Spencer says:

      I would recommend doing an original article to Ezine. That is preferred, but I have submitted an article that already existed on my site before and had no problems.

      • Boris C. says:

        Somewhere i read that it is best to publish original article on your website, wait until it is indexed and only then submit to article directory. That way Google will think you are the originator.

  45. Chris says:

    I see I’m a little late to the game, but really enjoy the article and comments.

    I am also on the front end of the effort to build a large authority site. I have been building some niche sites and have had marginal success with them.

    I developed a larger authority site and wrote content for it. The site is monetized with an eBook product that I wrote. I developed the sales page and all the copy associated with it.

    I’m now in the process of continuing to develop content and work on-page on-site SEO as well as link building and continuing to drip feed content to the site.

    I appreciate your continuing to share such great information with everyone. Very refreshing.

    Chris

    • Spencer says:

      Chris, thanks for stopping by and sharing your progress with your authority site. Everyone is great here with their comments!

  46. Steven says:

    Is adsense your only sort of monetzation for the niche site or will you end up pushing affiliate offers?

  47. Hi Spencer – First, thanks for the awesome post. Good luck with your project. Couple of quick questions:

    #1 – When do you normally add adsense to a site such as this ?

    #2 – I’m not sure if this will make sense but let me try. When dealing with a subject that say has 200+ keywords associated with it, do you do 1 article targeting each of the keywords ? What about some of the super competitve keywords that have like hundreds of thousands of monthly searches, do you sometimes do multiple articles on that particular keyword or by doing the related long tail keywords do you just keep adding those and hope to eventually move up for the super competive keyword ??

    Thanks in advance

    • Spencer says:

      I added adsense right away.
      Yes, 1 article per targeted keyword. I don’t target super competitive keyword – EVER! That is why I actually rank for stuff – I ONLY target very low competition keywords. You will never make money if you target super competitive keywords – at least not very likely.

      • Boris C. says:

        Spencer, if i am not mistaken, i read that you said that sometimes you target competitive keyword because you have visitors in mind first and search engines come second.

  48. Wesley says:

    Sorry for the dumb question, but how do you determine Keyword CPC?

  49. Aaron says:

    Great stuff Spencer, I think im going to try this myself. I have a full time job already so if I could supplement my income with an authority site that would be HUGE. Im going to start researching today!

  50. Spencer, I came to your site from adsenseflippers’ site. Ita nice reading contents here and what I target as well is an authority site. I am currently building one but my question is this, i am doing a review site but each article/review is targeting different niche (all relating to the domain) do i need to do the whole link building to the main site or i need to do link building to each link/post? Is it advisable to post the whole reviews once and be writing 1 or 2 articles per day to promote/post on the main site?

    Thanks

  51. This is all good stuff Spencer.

    But if you really had to choose, which would you go for?

    One large authority site, or loads of small niche sites??

    Regards
    Daniel

    • Spencer says:

      Great question. I can never decide which is why I do both. I think doing both is the best strategy. lots of small niche sites helps you diversify, but one large site is probably really what google wants to see. So I’m sticking with the both strategy :)

  52. Clio says:

    Hi Spencer,

    First off all, great blog you have here! There is so much I want to read it is hard to keep up.

    I have a question concerning the whole niche vs authority site thing. I feel it is much easier to concentrate all your efforts in one place (authority site I mean) and become an expert who can deliver great content. After all I keep reading that content is THE thing to invest in, the foundation of it all. So why are small (even micro) niches so popular? Are they really so much quicker and profitable? Why are people creating niche after niche? Why not create a small niche to benefit from the immediate advantages, then build an authority site from there? If you rank #1 for “best survival knife” thanks to a few articles, couldn’t you post another series for “cheap survival knife” and other things like that, to eventually have a massive site about knives? The fact that the domain already has pages ranking well can only help new posts, no?

    Basically, what I am saying is that I did not need convincing about the advantages of authority sites. On the contrary, I think they are great and I would like to understand why people seem to prefer small niche sites. Can you share your thoughts on this?

    Thanks

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