Podcast 9: $30k a Month from Niche Sites Post Penguin with Hayden Miyamoto

Podcast 9: $30k a Month from Niche Sites Post Penguin with Hayden Miyamoto

I always love to hear the success stories from readers of my blog.  And this story is a big one.

I am absolutely blown away by the success that Hayden Miyamoto is having with small niche sites.  In particular, Hayden has refined his process post-Penguin and is doing better now than before!  I certainly can’t take credit for any of Hayden’s success, but he has been a faithful follower of this blog for some time and contacted me to share his success.

Up until this point, Hayden has essentially been “underground”.  This simply means he doesn’t have a blog where he has been sharing his tactics, nor does he have any training products that people would know him by.  However, Hayden and I have been communicating via Skype for several months now and so I asked him to join me on podcast interview.  When I first asked him, he wanted to do it anonymously…but after some discussing decided to make himself known.

As you all know, the bulk of my business has always been niche websites, and this business allowed me to quit my full-time job a little over a year ago. So, it always does my heart good when I hear of others having great success as well.

In the podcast interview today, Hayden discusses how he was making a lot of money before Penguin (he tells you how much on the podcast).  But then he was hit hard with Penguin, like many of us.  Luckily he had been changing his site building and in particular his link building process a couple of months before that.

Now only 2 months since Penguin, this new process has proved to be extremely fruitful – his income is already back up to $30,000 a month – all from small niche sites.

Here is what we cover in the podcast:

  • How traffic from his small niche sites was higher after six months, compared to his “money site” that he had been doing SEO on for 8 years.
  • How he now owns over 3,000 small niche sites
  • 400 sites post Penguin are doing extremely well
  • Niche Selection/Keyword research is a critical step
  • Keyword value calculations
  • Some keywords do not require any links to rank for
  • Hayden inflates my ego with some kind words!
  • Contextual targeting tool for Adsense CPC estimates
  • How to “own your links” for linkbuilding
  • Using expired domains
  • The importance of anchor text variation post Penguin (10% or less exact match, majority partial match or no match, URL only 15% or so)
  • The positive future of niche sites
  • Get additional tips from Hayden right here.

Of course, I always love it when someone emphasizes the importance of keyword research.  I can honestly say that the reason I have been successful with niche sites is because of my keyword selection, not because of anything special I have done with link building.

Overall, Hayden covers some very in-depth tactics that I have not discussed before.  In particular, some of his link building strategies are quite advanced.  Hayden is willing to come back and do a couple of additional guest posts and perhaps even another podcast down the road.

Since doing this podcast, Hayden has decided to put together a brief video course on some more advanced tactics that he is using.  If you are interested in what he has to share, you can do below:

Click to Access to Hayden’s Free Video Course

As always, I’m very interested in hearing your thoughts and comments below.  Thanks for listening!

Listen to the Podcast:

If you have any specific questions or comments, please join the discussion below!


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129 Comments for this entry

  1. tim says:

    how about income diversification. thats 30k adsense income but how about other income stream? diversification strategies?

    • Hayden says:

      Hey Tim,

      This is a separate business for me, within it I really only diversify through sales of text links. It is not as much as Adsense but much more stable. On some sites I do infolinks on the homepage instead of Adsense.

      I do have a couple furniture businesses that bring me my more reliable income.

    • Pat says:

      Nice…but you know I wonder how long *any* free traffic will be lasting in light of the fact that Google is moving to pay per listing model.

      Starting with products already. Do you figure they will stop at informational type sites for Adsense and continue to get away free listings when they could be making even more money…?

      I really do doubt it. I would love to see some additional conversation about all aspects of post Penguin and not just Adsense.

      Thanks for doing this interview!

      • Jenni says:

        Pat, Google isn’t moving to a pay-per-listing model.

        They are still making a large cut from Adsense don’t forget. And Adsense sites display many more ads than the numbers Google is limited to displaying in search results.

    • Trent says:

      Tim,

      I have a site called HowToCleanAnything.com that, up to recently, was only monetized with Adsense and makes me about $800 a month.

      For the last 3 weeks, I’ve replaced the Adsense block in the upper right of each post with the video that you see there now and have realized about a 40% increase in income on that ad block – largely because the video is on autoplay. Without auto-play, it didn’t work as well as Adsense.

      Now, via Lijit Networks, I’m also trying something on the sidebar which I just installed yesterday. I don’t have any data on it yet, but when I do, I will probably write a post about it on my blog.

      So, based upon my experience so far, Adsense is definitely not the only viable game in town.

      Hope that helps,
      Trent

  2. Mary says:

    Hi Spencer, To the video training, I entered my name and email to http://www.nohatseo.com/ but nothing came.

    I also checked spam folder and still could not locate the link to video.

    • Bobby says:

      Do not worry Mary, it is the same for me, maybe you just have to wait for a day or so? This is just confirming it is not your email.

      Great Pod Cast Spencer.

      • Hayden says:

        Hi Mary, Bobby,Reeja, Edwin and Gillian,

        I’m having a strange problem with WordPress at the moment, so I disabled the immediate autoresponder. I will send it as soon as it is fixed. If it isn’t fixed within a couple hours I will just email a link to the video hosted elsewhere.

        Sorry about that, was setting this up last minute!

      • Steve Wyman says:

        Hi

        I got mine within 45 minutes of signing up

        check spam filters (probably not) and you could sign again i guess.

  3. Snoop says:

    I am glad hayden has a counter-strategy for his sites but I feel sorry all his income is Google Adsense.

  4. Reeja says:

    Hi Spencer
    I have been waiting for the course
    I registered for didnt get it

  5. Gillian G says:

    Hi Spencer – looking forward to hearing this podcast.

    Like Mary in previous comment, I signed up for the video training and haven’t received any response either.

  6. Edwin says:

    Hi Spencer,

    Same here on the Hayden Free Video course at nohatseo.com site. Signed up for it but no email with user/pass or “secret link” etc has been send.

    Maybe you can contact him and ask if all is ok on his end as it looks like we all would realy like to see his video :)

    Best regards,
    Edwin

  7. Rbo says:

    Panda is nothing too worry about. The people that got stung shouldnt have any reason to complain.

    Have a read of the google information online by google themselves. Much of it hasnt been updated since mid 2011 which when reading this stuff points to the facts:

    1. many people had sites that were not compliant eg. putting adsense on non information pages such as contact pages or where there were videos only. Hey dimwits! the advertisers pay money for textural advertising.

    2. Even having links and adsense in the same colour as the links close to each other to blend is a no no.

    I could keep going on and on about how many sites arent compliant. Those that get banned need to get off their big fat asses and stop trying to rush to market to make money and just relax, sit down with a coffee and read the google adsense compliance information.

    • Spencer Haws says:

      This post really has nothing to do with Panda. However, Penguin was very recent and brings up a whole host of other issues, which Hayden and I discussed on the podcast.

  8. Chris says:

    Building a blog network for backlinking purposes might be more economical than we thought.

    Sometimes ideas like these do not make any impact until someone comes out and says he successfully put the theory into practice.

    There’s a lot of risk involved in it but I admire people like Hayden who are courageous enough to implement risky ventures.

    One of your most informative podcasts to date. I’ve heard of people who own thousands of websites but never heard them discuss it until now.

    Thanks for the podcast Spencer.

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Glad you enjoyed it Chris!

    • Tom J Ripley says:

      Hi

      You should be aware that this is OLD black hat techniques. Not new untested or unproven.

      Hayden is simply implementing process’s tested elsewhere.

      Good luck to him and I admire the drive.

      If you want to explorer how to and then why not to. Spend a weekend on trafficpplanet.com and see the techniques like this that were used and have since been dropped.

      TerryKyle is really one of the top guys at things like aged domains, 301 redirecting, homepage backlinks, etc etc.

      they have a market place for the types of domains spoken about here as well.

      Best of luck to one and all.

  9. Andre Garde says:

    Props to a fellow Canuck for scaling up by building his own tools and network. Owning everything is really the way to go. The takeaway is to keep building stuff and trying things. Get off the fence and take action.

    I don’t really know why people like Snoop above feel sorry for him in that his income is from AdSense at the moment. He said that this was just ONE of his businesses. Besides, he’s got $30 grand to invest in other businesses if/when AdSense fails. Sounds like he’s ahead of the game.

    The only thing missing from this is who gets to determine what is blackhat or not. If you’re playing the Google game, that is their decision, regardless of what we think. Hayden has a strong network though, from the sounds of it.

    • Hayden says:

      Hey Andre,

      I chose the domain NoHatSEO because of just that. Who determines what is blackhat? Having these stereotyped categories is really damaging to the SEO world as a whole.

      Frankly, unless you do zero link building at all it is against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. They want you to focus on content and outreach. This means “organic” link building over time, which in most cases will take years to get good rankings. That’s all well and good, but that isn’t viable for 99.9% of businesses. We should do what works while providing value to the end user. Providing value is all Google cares about in the end.

  10. Dave says:

    Great podcast. Sounds like the message that we should all be listening to, that quality is the way to go, and that even applies to linkbuilding now.

    Low brow linking building techniques are just not going to cut it anymore.

    I dont think SEO is dead as some people have been saying, its just that Google has raised the bar again. And we have to raise our game to match if we want to continue to make a few pennies.

  11. Hayden says:

    Thanks for the kind words Chris. Unless you’re paying a fortune for them on the big auctions, setting up expired domains really isn’t that risky imo. It’s just tough to figure out how to get started. Once you do it’s a really fun puzzle and quite addictive :)

    If there’s enough interest I will do a training course on how to find good expired domains available for manual registration, but it is quite advanced and requires knowledge of some tools like Scrapebox, as well as a bit of creativity.

    • Mahlon says:

      That would be great. I am itching to start buying aged domains but it is a minefield of information.

      Advanced is no problem for me. I find it fascinating, even if I don’t apply all the techniques.

  12. Josh says:

    A few points on a great podcast
    1. More proof that the Niche site business is scale-able.. I just wish adsense wasn’t the monetezation strategy here as I believe having hundreds or in this case thousands of adsense sites is a huge red flag. That’s why I’ve eliminated it, and Analytics.

    2. We really need to hear more about this model. His sites still sound like they require just as much work as any other niche site strategy, yet he has thousands of sites vs hundreds or tens like most out there. Is he just working 10x as hard? What in the process makes him able to create sites so fast?

    3. Why go through the work of creating private blog network of news sites when sites like these already exist that companies and Internet Marketers use. Press release sites are news sites, with high PR which allow you to link back to you’re own site. Plus your news can be picked up by larger networks if it’s any good(and if you know where to post). You could get tens or hundreds of high PR links very quickly if you have the right content. With a private blog network (which BTW Google is on the hunt for) you are putting all your eggs in one basket. If Google finds it they’ll de-index your whole network. That’s much less likely going to happen if you are submitting press releases to legit news sources (which 9 out of 10 times are being used by real businesses).

    4. I also signed up for his newsletter and haven’t received anything. He might be having a problem with his mail program

    • Hayden says:

      Excellent questions Josh. I will try to reply to as much as I can here, but #2 especially is enough to warrant a series of podcasts…

      1 – I can reply to this point over email if you like.
      2- I work about 3 hours a day on average on these sites. Everything is a process, and everything is automated as much as possible (except content). I also have staff in the Philippines.

      Keyword Research: I have scraped millions of keywords and built a tool to automatically analyze the competition and potential earnings for the sites. This will be in the keyword research training video (apologies again, it should be sent out soon).

      Site launching: I have a central CMS that is tied to NameCheap’s API (nameservers adjusted, virtual hosts created, etc.). Launching a group of 50 sites takes about 10 minutes.

      Content: I have 2 content managers in the Philippines, as well as 2 full-time writers and several part-time writers. One of the manager manages content for new sites, the other checks existing sites and specs out new content (if a site is doing particularly well).

      Link building: One article link builds 25 sites. This is not possible with existing article networks.

      There are other aspects to, but to go deeper likely warrants another post or two.

      3 – I respectfully disagree here. Google has already really hurt article marketing with large existing sites, they don’t care about a little news site with 100 quality posts on it, they care about the spammed to death news sites with 100,000 posts. I agree if you do QUALITY and I mean QUALITY press releases and can get syndicated on QUALITY news sites, that’s huge. But again it’s only a link to 1 site, and a lot of effort. If I were trying to rank a major authority site I would do this, but for ranking uncompetitive micro niche sites I don’t see it as high ROI.

      The other benefit of these sites is getting in Google News, which can be a huge money maker. Once in, you write a post for a huge traffic term with a twist that goes high CPC. IE a post on Megan Fox and her rapid weight loss. Can get $200 in a single day on Adsense this way with a single post… Anyway again that is definitely another topic.

      • Andre Garde says:

        I’m looking forward to more of a discussion on your automation tools that you created in future casts, or if you’re willing to talk about them over email that’d be great. I’m trying to tackle them with the things that I’ve got and needless to say they only scale up to about a certain point (~200 sites or so).

        This is the thing that stands out the most to me as being unique. Don’t take this the wrong way, but really this is what makes you stand out the most. The rest of what you do is already tried and true, and not revolutionary by any means.

        My point is that you are absolutely correct when you say that ANYONE can do what you’re doing. But the thing is most have a hard time wrapping their heads around irrelevant minutea in the grand scheme of things, and don’t focus on the basic processes and hard work (however menial) that it takes to get there. Moreover they don’t realize what is possible with your own tools and processes. You developed your own tools and your own system and that is f****** awesome. I didn’t even realize Namecheap had an interfaceable API. Way, way cool.

        • Hayden says:

          No offense taken, I totally agree.

          The podcast was meant to be accessible to Spencer’s entire audience, and a lot of content is tried and true (but still there because of that reason). Maybe the expired domains thing is the only part that’s not old news, but I really need to go more in depth into how to find them.

          The content in the training course will show some new things, and it seems there is an audience that can appreciate the more advanced stuff, which is what I’m most excited to teach. If Spencer’s up for it I could do it in another podcast (how I automate – the list above is maybe 1/4 of the tools I made and use).

          • Dan says:

            Can you give a simple range what you pay for expired domains with PR3, PR4, PR5, PR6(?) (& only the home page has PR to keep it simple), and do you bother with PR1 & PR2? sites?
            Thanks for sharing all this. Look forward to your emails.

            • Hayden says:

              Hey Dan,

              PR3: $9
              PR4: $9
              PR5: $9
              PR6: $9
              PR7: (only have 1) $9

              Most of the domains are expired and PR doesn’t get reset until the next update (depends on how long they are out for).

              PR is only one of the metrics I look at, the most important metric to me is MozTrust. Will dig a little deeper here in the future I think.

              • Mahlon says:

                This is what I’d really like to learn.

                I have read a few things about buying aged domains but most of them just teach how to find things at drop websites and do proper due diligence (age/pr/backlinks) so you don’t get ripped off.

                Few tell you how to dig out valuable aged domains that you can hand register.

      • baaltazar says:

        Hi Hayden,

        Could you send me the answer to Josh’s first question? I’d be really interested. My email is baaltazar dot shanton __at gmail dot com. Thanks!

  13. Marc says:

    Hi Hayden,

    I’m new to this game but I’m beginning to get a handle keyword research I think. However competition is another story. I realize keyword research and competition go hand in hand.

    After doing a search for my own purpose cause I wanted find something to personally buy for myself online I decided to investigate this search of mine. After using the Google keyword tool I found a keyword/phrase exact match that seems doable. According to Google keyword tool it’s medium competition and the CPC is $1.45, exact match searches are 880. 880 a bit low. The #1 site is an authority site, the rest are online sellers.

    In this case although 880 exact match searches are what’s the best way to access the competition?

    Regards!

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Marc:
      I hope you are not thinking that the competition listed on the google adwords tool will tell you how hard it is to rank for a keyword. This “competition” tells you how many advertisers there are for the keyword, which is important to know, but is something totally different than ranking in Google.

      You need to look at the top 10 results in Google and analyze how strong those results are.

    • Hayden says:

      Hi Marc,

      Not to toot my own horn here, but go signup at nohatseo.com – I show exactly how do that step by step in the first video (which should now be sent immediately).

      If you still have any questions you can leave a comment there.

      Hayden

  14. Hayden says:

    The issue has been fixed on my end, if you sign up you will receive the autoresponder now :) I have scheduled a campaign to all the people who have already signed up, it will run on the next cron run in 20 minutes.

    Apologies again for the delay and thanks to all who signed up! I hope you enjoy the video, the first one is on exactly how I do my keyword research manually. The 2nd one will go into partial automation and will give away a cool free tool, and the 3rd will be about how I did this with full automation and ideas on how you can do it yourself (much more advanced).

  15. John says:

    Hi Hayden, how are you managing hosting for your niche sites, you must be having 100 hosting accounts for your 3k sites?

    Also, do you host your blog network domains on separate IPs?

    • Hayden says:

      Hey John,

      I have dedicated servers for my Adsense sites, hosted across lots of IPs. If I were to design a V2 of the CMS, it would have a central Mastermind that holds all content, and then each hosting account just would have a piece of code to grab all content from that Mastermind. Allows for a lot more IP diversity and ease of updates across servers, only downside is if the Mastermind server goes down….

      I host every one of my blog network domains on separate IPs. I have a staffer dedicated to doing this and only this. This is truly important, I’ve recycled links for a long time and know the diminishing returns when you get multiple links from the same IP.

  16. Ali Haidar Tanshir says:

    Hi spencer, I requested you to publish also a pdf format of the podcast which help us more to understand all the ins outs. I know its take time but you may consider the option.

  17. Matt says:

    Hey Hayden,

    Do you plan on creating a more in depth course or selling any of your tools?

    I’d love to learn more about how you find expired domains. I am very familiar with Scrapebox and its GoDaddy auction scraper, but haven’t had much luck finding good domains with it.

    Sounds like you’ve got a good model going here.

    Congrats!

    Matt

    • Hayden says:

      Hey Matt,

      Honestly I’m not sure what my plans are. This is all quite new to me, but I realized I would enjoy the process of helping people out and could meet lots of great folks this way. I guess my goal is to give away all the most advanced secrets for free – SEO is too much of an old boys club – the “Gurus” do what actually works while promoting “Pure White Hat” techniques to the masses. That really annoys me.

      If there’s enough interest I will definitely show how I find the expired domains. It is fun and creative work.

      Re: Selling tools – I’m still undecided. Right now the tools work fine for my personal use, but to package them up and release them would require quite a bit of work. I will definitely show the tools in future videos and email those to subscribers, so people can have an idea on how they work, and maybe how to build them themselves (doing a proof of concept version is not that difficult, only took my programmer a couple weeks).

      Perhaps there will be a way to sell or give away some aspect of the tools or byproducts of the tool, not sure, we’ll see!

      Thanks Matt,
      Hayden

      • Matt says:

        Just finished watching your KW video, great information. I have used SEOmoz’s KW difficulty tool in the past with some success. What do you think about using KW tools that use the API to do the analysis? Lots of work to look at each one manually through SEOmoz, but maybe worth the extra effort?

        Thanks much!

        • Hayden says:

          Hi Matt,

          That would be part 3 of the video course :) I custom built my own and will display it and explain how it was built for anyone interested in doing it themselves. There are some specific challenges which I will also talk about, and those challenges make this kind of tool difficult to give or sell to the masses.

          Please note that I am kind of doing these videos as they come up, this wasn’t a long planned “product launch” with an end goal in mind. I think this is the only way I would actually get around to doing it. But I’ve enjoyed it thus far :)

          What I’m thinking I’d like to do is create several free 3 part courses, the first with a more beginners overview but with good info, the 2nd would be intermediate – how to optimize the process and hack it *a little bit*, and the third would be advanced, how to totally automate it and showing how I’ve done it (or how I’d do it).

          • michael says:

            That would be awesome. Learning how to automate this on my own would be great. I can totally appreciate no wanting to actually sell software and support it.

            Do you primarily need PHP skills to build the automation tools. I’d definitely have to have a programmer, but was curious about that part.

            Thanks Hayden!

          • Bryan says:

            Hayden, that would be awesome with a beginner, intermediate, and advanced video course set. Great info here, and thank you SO MUCH for sharing what you know. Already tremendous value here.

          • Matt says:

            I’ve pulled in SEOmoz API data into Google Docs before, so that may be a good workaround. Problem is, unless you pay for one of the more expensive API plans, your account will get throttled pretty quickly if you try and evaluate a bunch of KWs at once.

            Can’t wait to see the other videos!

  18. Marina says:

    Hi, very interesting podcast! Hayden said that he have a lot (1000s) of web 2.0 sites , i would like to know how he post articles to them,with what software?

  19. Adam says:

    Spencer,

    Great podcast. You did seem a little puzzled when he was telling you about his link building strategy though.

    I did want to point out one thing. He says that what he is doing is great because there is no way he will ever get hit. What are your thoughts on this as what he is essentially doing is just creating a private blog network. Google is smart and I think at some point a 2000 site blog network will all start to tie itself together and some point and then he will get hit.

    Adam

    • James says:

      Hey Adam – I have to agree with you there. At some point Google will find your sites and if they don’t like it it will get hit hard.

      There is no such thing as a website that can never get hit by Google. Google can do whatever they like. If they are in a bad mood one day they can just kill your ranking and your adsense account if they wanted.

      As we’ve seen from previous banning’s of people on adsense they really don’t tell you why you are getting banned either. Just that you might pose a potential threat to invalid clicks which is super vague.

      So I’d just be careful Hayden and diversify your income as quickly as possible to be safe!

    • Hayden says:

      Hi Adam,

      I didn’t mean to come off as to think that I would never get hit, or that what I was doing was great. I am doing my best not to get hit, but I’m sure eventually something will happen and I will get hit, whether I am deserving of it or not.

      The key is to roll with the punches. I’ve been hit so many times, but always come back to earn a lot more than what I was earning before. That is the nature of SEO.

      Anyone who does “White Hat” SEO and relies on Google traffic is also naive to think that Google will never touch them. I have a friend who was hit by Panda, he had never built a link in his life and had over 100k unique articles. Nonetheless his traffic dropped by over 50% for over a year now.

      It’s important to note that my old sites that did get hit are fire-walled from the currently earning sites. The sites that earn now are just over 400 sites.

      Also I am a firm believer that what will hit me will be algorithmic and not some detailed review by some spam-team engineer with a magnifying glass. That is now how Google operates. They like to rollout algorithmic changes, throw the baby out with the bathwater and then correct obvious errors. Matt Cutts is a good poster-boy because he will out these things and make people believe that big G is watching. They aren’t.

      The only instance of Google doing anything manually is through quality raters, which do not have the know-how to figure this out. They are staffers in India being paid peanuts to follow a step-by-step manual. I have a copy of the Google Quality Raters guidelines, hit me up on email if anyone would like a copy.

      • Tom J Ripley says:

        Hi

        Did you not get slammed by penquin? based on the data in the audio stream I’d say you did loose a lot of sites?

        It makes sense. Your strategy is volume and when a ton die you just keep building more.

        This fine once your up and making money

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Hey Adam, I wasn’t puzzled – I just think I wanted to ask a few follow up/more detailed questions to get a clear picture of exactly what he is doing to build links :).

  20. michael says:

    Awesome podcast. Thanks to Hayden also for sharing.

    Adam points out that Google is smart and that Hayden will get hit at some point. With the investment that he has made in his sites I would hope this guy knows how to hide the ownership and host the domains on different hosting accounts with varying Class C ip addresses. Or maybe there is even a better way that I’m not aware of.

    It should look as if all or most of his sites are not connected. The outbound links may very well be a footprint. I just doubt that a site that has many categories with original quality content and relevant outbound links will be penalized. If that was the case then Google should be penalizing the many large companies that have links to many of their subsidiaries. These links boost the linked to sites in a similar way.

    Personally, I think this is a sound technique that most people will never attempt due to the effort that it takes to develop a private blog network. And for that I’m thankful.

  21. Paula says:

    Good stuff, thanks Spencer.

    I’m using the “contextual targeting tool” and SEOMoz tips contained in the podcast right now.

  22. Wow! 3000 sites is really amazing – I wonder how many of the 400 making him money are going to continue after the next few updates. Going to be interesting to see…

    Thomas

  23. Josh says:

    Hayden,

    Thanks for sharing your process and success with us. I’ve subscribed to nohat (still waiting for the return email). Just wondering if you plan on discussing how your strategies could be implemented on a smaller scale. Also, you told us your earnings but how much do you have in expenses each month?
    Thanks again,
    Josh

    • Hayden says:

      Hey Josh,

      Did you receive the email with the link? It shows how to do this manually on a smaller scale.

      It is totally possible for anyone following that tutorial to find dozens of $30/mo keywords by working at it for a day or two. Once you get the hang of it you can find a bunch of them in an hour or less (the key is finding the right niches).

      If you outsource the content, one could easily set the sites up and do some basic link building like the techniques Spencer describes here and get the sites ranked. You could get to the point where you can set up a dozen sites a week in this manner all manually. 2 months of doing this and you have 100+ sites, and the Adsense income starts rolling in. Your total investment per site would be no more than $20 (domain plus articles) plus your time.

      I will be including more tutorials on the other aspects after this (launching + hosting is next, have some good tricks there). But the keyword research is really the key element.

      For these 400 sites I am paying $300/mo in hosting (one dedi with 15 ips holds about 1500 sites easily). This is more expensive than shared hosting, but I save a ton of time in launching.

      Aside from that I have one employee in the Philippines that works on bettering these sites. The rest work on new sites and in-house tools. I am developing about 100-300 sites a month right now, the only real inhibitor here is content.

  24. Aron says:

    Hi Hayden,

    In the podcast, you had mentioned that initially, you place just one article on a site and add more articles later on if the site starts to rank well. I was wondering the following :

    Do you place adsense on this one post site right away or only add adsense to this site once you have added more articles to it?

    Thanks:)

    • Hayden says:

      Hi Aron,

      I post adsense as soon as the site is ranking in the top 20, as it is usually bringing in some long tail traffic by this time.

  25. I don’t think I’ve ever learnt so much about niche websites in a single podcast before! Hats off to both of you guys, that is quality content!

    Next podcast idea: How to scale! :)

  26. Kev says:

    Starting out is it ok to host sites as add on domains?
    10 to 20 sites per ip?

    Who do you recommend for analytics?

  27. Tom J Ripley says:

    Hi Guys

    Spencer as a leader in your field i think you need to be even clearer than you were.

    Hayden you are clouding issues.

    Buying an aged domain especially when you going after PR7 sites etc

    IS BLACK HAT SEO where your only objective is to MANIPULATE THE SERPS TO ACHIEVE A RESULT THAT YOU WOULD NOT OTHERWISE ACHIEVE. Thats against All common sense and more importantly Google guidelines. Its an instant penalty de-indexing of your network and you sites.

    Also you’ll get a adsense ban.

    The black hat community has been doing this for years. its only BMR in private hands.

    New people to this field need to know that this practice is one sure way to go and loose a load of money.

    Plus you (hayden) have said you have 1000’s of free sites on blogger etc. Again this is just to manipulate the serps.

    My view is your $100 plus sites are all getting link juice from your private network to make the money they are.

    Spencer – there’s nothing new here you’ve surely read all this stuff before on other sites such as seoblackbelt etc.

    Best of luck just want to warn new guys that this is problematic.

    • Hayden says:

      You are right, my objective is to manipulate the SERPs and rank higher than my competitors.

      And what about forum profiles? Blog comments? Spun UAW articles? Are these common-sense tactics?

      Black hat, white hat, grey hat, whatever – this is SEO – we are trying to manipulate the SERPs as efficiently as possible.

      I am not creating spam, I see that as immoral. When I recreate an expired domain, or an expired freehost site, I recreate it as a quality site with high quality, useful articles. The way I linkbuild these sites is in my opinion a lot more valuable than the other methods above. Genuine articles on genuine sites, linking to genuine sites that do attempt to provide value. Like I mentioned in a comment before, I even have some of these sites in Google News. You can’t get there with complete garbage content.

      You are right to warn new guys though, and I think Spencer did a good job of that during the podcast. But the truth is nothing is safe. I feel what I’m doing is much safer than the aforementioned common-practice tactics. The most dangerous link building tactic is the tactic that the most people are using, as that’s what will be attacked first (especially if said tactic provides zero value to the internet).

      • John says:

        hey Hayden, what you said expired domain is “drop domain” or “expiring domain” but buy from the owner?

        • Spencer Haws says:

          No, he doesn’t buy expired domains from the owner. These are domains that have expired and are available for anyone to register. Just go to any domain registrar and buy it like any other available domains for $9 or $10. The key is figuring out how to find the expired domains that have valuable links pointing to them.

      • Tom J Ripley says:

        “you are right to warn new guys though” thanks that was my objectove.

        There is only white hat and balck hat.

        White hat doesnot work.. for micro niche sites

        White hat doeswork for authority large scale slow build sites.

    • michael says:

      This goes back to the discussion of what is black hat? Black hat is black hat if Google calls it so. If you call it black hat then is it so?

      Some promotional activities work, barely work, don’t work, and some work well. Now many past promotional activities are hurting sites. Everything we do to promote our sites is a risk of time and money.

      If you are successful using what you may call white hat techniques then that’s great.

      Maybe Spencer will interview you and you;’ll share your highly thought out processes with us? I’ll be sure to comment.

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Hey Tom – Its always good to emphasize what Google wants, you are correct on that fact. I tried to be clear on the podcast that these tactics would not be considered “white hat”. However, Hayden has some advanced tactics that are working well for him.

      And certainly if you have some whitehat or other techniques that are working well for you, I’m open to doing a podcast with you or anyone out there!

      • Tom J Ripley says:

        Hey spencer

        Oh im not against grey hat its the extreme black hat i have issues with. Why do i have an issue with it. Its dangerous and to many folks just listen to the method with out understanding the consequences.

        great info. just needs a warning label on it.

  28. John says:

    that’s a large podcast, downloaded to my ipod to see if there is something new

  29. scott says:

    I like the drive and motivation but I have my doubts about this strategy. I think you have blinders on if you feel this is not a BlackHat technique. These links are “gaming” the system. It’s not spam perhaps but the idea of “natural” link building is that people (OTHER People) find your content informative and they add a link directing others to your content. Buying a domain from a former politician and putting links to your content isn’t natural.

    I’m not knocking the strategy, obviously it works. It just bothers me that you feel creating your own link wheel, blog network isn’t gaming the system.

    It’s all a game. Google recently de-indexed some well established blog networks, why is your private network any better? Again, it is obviously a strategy that works (right now) but I’d be a little cautious.

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Scott:
      Hayden is well aware that he is “gaming” the system and essentially stated that in the podcast and in the comments here. He never claims these are white hat techniques at all. In fact, what he stresses is that ANYONE building ANY type of link to their site is trying to manipulate the search engine results just as he is and is therefore gaming the system as well. He certainly wouldn’t claim his links are “natural”. Anyway, perhaps I’ll let Hayden answer for himself :)

    • Hayden says:

      Thanks Spencer, only one thing to add:

      In regards to: Why is my network better than established blog networks:

      I will rephrase this to, why is it safer, and I will compare it to one of the best blog networks that got hit, BMR (the rest use/allow spun content, STAY AWAY from spun content).

      Firstly, sites do have topics that they stick to, and they are relevant (not all sites are news sites). If the site is a news site, it’s not going to post an article on niche widget schools in utah, it will instead post an article on the growth in the widget sector, the number of widget jobs projected in 2020, etc. The articles are high quality, useful and interesting.

      My network also does not have thousands of 250 word articles on a single site, in over 1000 categories (or everything uncategorized)… that combined with the above (no specific topic) is a dead giveaway.

      Also each expired domain is hosted on a unique IP, can’t the same about BMR.

      The average PR of my network is 4-5 (BMR was 2-3), and the average MozTrust is around 5.5 which is WAY higher than BMR. Just about all of the sites on the network have links from large authorities (newspapers, edus, etc.). PR was not the reason I bought, but the actual link benefit that the sites would give.

      Finally, it is a private network and not touted about on every single IM blog out there. Only I use it, it could not be manually infiltrated if in fact Google does that (which they may do just to find a footprint and then algorithmically stomp it).

  30. Rob Cubbon says:

    Really great interview with Hayden, Spencer. I’ve signed up for his course.

  31. John says:

    hi, you just mentioned that you bought expired domain for link building, and you have a couple of hundreds expired ones and 3,000 sites, but how do you spread them to multi c-class ips?

    • Hayden says:

      I commented on this above (to perhaps a different John):

      “I have dedicated servers for my Adsense sites, hosted across lots of IPs. If I were to design a V2 of the CMS, it would have a central Mastermind that holds all content, and then each hosting account just would have a piece of code to grab all content from that Mastermind. Allows for a lot more IP diversity and ease of updates across servers, only downside is if the Mastermind server goes down….

      I host every one of my blog network domains on separate IPs. I have a staffer dedicated to doing this and only this. This is truly important, I’ve recycled links for a long time and know the diminishing returns when you get multiple links from the same IP.”

      Note that by IP I did mean C-Class IP.

  32. $30K a month sounds great, but with so many sites, and ‘unique content’ going on the the private network sites, what are the expenses? I’m thinking putting up unique content , if hired out, can get expensive. $30K is your gross or net?

    Also do your private network sites also have adsense or other advertising on them?

  33. Hayden says:

    Hi Artur,

    Good questions. My expenses for these 400 sites from inception (End of Jan) until now are:

    400 Domains – $3600
    Hosting – $500 ($300 covers about 1500 sites, so let’s say $100/mo, been hosted since February)

    Content on the Adsense sites – $6000
    Approx. Five 400 word articles per site at ~$3/post including posting

    Content on my private network – $2400
    Works out to 2 articles per site that I am linkbuilding, so 800 articles at $3/per): $2400 (I only link built these to about 25 sites, I will increase this for some sites that are not at their peak potential, a concept I call “Thirst” – will go into that in a future training video).

    Total: $12000 (only about $100/mo in ongoing expenses)

    Total Income thus far $75000 and change (ongoing earning approx. 30k/month):
    Note: Added Adsense to sites throughout April

    I’m very happy with that ROI, even if Google were to kill me today, that’s still 60k+ in profit, and I didn’t work more than about 100 hours on these sites. Hopefully it will continue to last for many more months or, fingers crossed, years.

    I do no other advertising on my private network sites except for the two that are in Google News and then I just add Adsense to certain pages at certain times. I do have some expired domain that are not part of the linking network but that I have just redeveloped as Adsense sites. Again that’s a subject for another day.

  34. Barry says:

    Great, another SPAM Google’s index in mass business model.

    It’s because of this very business model that Google has to create updates like Panda and Penguin.

    It’s a shame for the REAL businesses out there that get hit by updates like Penguin because Google have to flush the crap out of their index.

    MASS spamming of Google’s index is a terrible business model.

    • What do you mean spam? Hayden is creating small websites with useful content (not spun content) that helps to answer a query or provide people with information.

      And you are kind of proving this point by saying that legitimate businesses get hit by spam updates. If they were legitimate, then surely they wouldn’t get hit?

      • Barry says:

        These sites are thin, spam, junk!

        What are you saying, because the content is not spun then it must me useful? These sites are thrown up with outsourced content as fast as possible. – Known as “crash and burn” sites, not long term businesses. The whole purpose of these websites is to get the person to click on an AdSense link, get the person off the site to bank money on the click.

        Legitimate businesses (high quality sites) are hit by almost every spam update, it’s called collateral damage. I can provide some shocking examples.

        Google does not want these kind of sites in their index. Penguin hit his sites because these are the kind of sites that Google is targeting. It’s now only a matter of time before his AdSense account gets banned, just like what happened to Spencer.

        • So just because a site only has one article, it cannot provide good information?

          I’m not saying his sites don’t have awesome quality articles on them, but I’m assuming that Hayden has at least some kind of standard when outsourcing writing.

          And the sites don’t stay 1 page forever, they are expanded if successful.

          I don’t want to equal quantity with quality, which is what you seem to be doing.

  35. sandema says:

    Thanks Spencer,
    Listening to another podcast today and I just posed and wondered is this internet marketing ( intense IM) meant for men only and single young girls. I ask this because I looked at all those I follow online and 99% have been men and the 1% have been single women who are teaching other women to make money.
    Having struggled for years making money here and there and using it on kids and then getting broke, I wonder of this is a mans world. Apart from mum bloggers ( of which I do not want to be talking about the carrots I gave my kids) I wonder if there are any stay at home mothers who do such kind of work with great success.
    I have been doing niche sites and with no money to outsource, the link building is so no,no..
    Anyway all the best Hayden and here I go again joining the mailing list of another man.

  36. Bryan says:

    Hayden,

    Where are you finding high PR domains for $9? Must be scraping for expired sites somewhere–other than the main services that list soon-to-drop domains?

    Also on your private network, are you really linking out to 15 (or 25?) of your adsense sites on each 400 word post? SO many OBL, and all going to sites that contain your adsense code worry me.

    I’m also curious about your web 2.0 setup.. how many do you point to each $ page/site? Are they manually made with unique content? Do you pump juice to these properties?

    thanks

    • Hayden says:

      Hey Bryan, fantastic questions.

      Re domains: Two places, drop lists that SEO guys never check (but domainers do), and long expired domains (domains that expired before blog networks became big).

      It takes a lot of creativity to find them… I will delve deeper into this in a future video on my blog or maybe even here if Spencer deems it appropriate.

      If you want a bit of a head start you could download Xenu Link Sleuth and Scrapebox and then let your imagination run wild…. or perhaps think of a source that might have historical data of domains that we knew once ranked. IE the 2006 AOL leak gave me a list of 700k now expired domains that at one point ranked in the top 10 of AOL for something. That’s a lot to mine… Web logs could be another good source…

      I am indeed linking out to 15-25 sites on each 400 word post. The links are very scattered though – within content, within comments, within images in content, within author bio in intro and conclusion. I am aware it is a risk to have this many OBLs, but at the same time the link to content ratio isn’t ridiculous, the content is high quality and the links are relevant. The fact is, if I only did 5 links in each post I would have to write 3-5x more articles…

      I do think Adsense and search are pretty well firewalled from each other so the fact that they link to sites with the same Adsense ID doesn’t worry me.

      I just point one from each free host root domain (blogspot, typepad, etc.). Anymore and there are serious diminishing returns. I do not pump juice to them, they just use the juice they had naturally obtained.

      • Bryan says:

        Thanks for the response Hayden.

        There are many many web 2.0s available. I was wondering how many do you use, and is it all spun/scraped content? I imagine most of your link juice is from the private network.

        How are you streamlining the link building with so many sites? I recall you said 4/day for maybe 100 links ? How many of each type of link is used and how do you streamline the addition of links to multiple sites when 100 isn’t enough?

        thanks

  37. Great podcast Spencer/Hayden

    I just had one question, how do you preserve the PR of the expired domains once you get them? Won’t the PR drop in the next upgrade if you do nothing?

    • Hayden says:

      The PR only drops if the links get removed. These links have been up for years and usually will not get removed by the other authors.

      Technically the PR doesn’t DROP but rather it RETURNS. Since the site has been out of the index for a long time. The only case where it doesn’t return is if you pick it up from a drop list and it hasn’t fully expired yet.

  38. Fred says:

    Hayden, thanks for sharing, lots of good tidbits in there. How many Adsense accounts do you have and have you ever had an Adsense account terminated?

  39. Marc Ashley says:

    Amazing interview I thought is was jam packed full of information. I don’t really understand why so many people get so worried and almost complain. Either you do it or you don’t! Seems like a lot of people spend too much time thinking why they can’t do something which is a shame. For anyone not sure Hayden explained, you don’t need one single backlink for certain niches to get ranked which is exactly my experience as well. In fact I have a site myself that gets on average 460 visits a day and I’ve never built one single backlink to it!
    Incredible how much he has built and very inspirational.
    Great interview!

    • Hayden says:

      Thanks for the kind words Marc, and I’m happy to hear I’m not the only one telling people this :)

      Is your site an EMD? I do find EMDs rank better with zero backlinks, which is something I probably should have said in the interview.

  40. Ted says:

    hi spencer, long tome nosee and how did it go with your iphone gadget?

  41. Ted says:

    Hi heyden, when you looking for writer to outsource your article wrting, how do you ask your employees to finish your work, usually i just gave 1 or 2 keywords and a title to writer, but the article is not fit for my requirement.

    • Hayden says:

      It really depends on the writer. I will tell them the title of the article and the meta description, and then tell the writer to fulfill the promise that the meta description makes. (Or rather my staffer tells them this).

      Get rid of bad writers right away. You can’t tolerate it, it will affect your business negatively.

  42. Steven Smith says:

    @Hayden I some some of your websites and I saw your ads placement in most of them are really aggressive.

    Are you concern about being banned or you do some sort system like turning them off in certain months to improve ranking?

    • Hayden says:

      Hey Steven,

      I don’t find that Adsense placement affects my ranking. I recently went from roadblock to two 728×90 and adjusted my launcher. I moved a few hundred sites over to this as a test. This is much less spammy looking, and actually earns better overall (lower CTR but higher CPC).

      I have some strategies in effect if I ever get banned on Adsense. Send me an email if you’d like more info.

  43. Brock says:

    Spencer and Hayden,

    This was an epic podcast. I might take the comments section alone, turn it into a WSO and go bank on Warrior Forum (jk…kinda).

    Definitely signing up for the videos.

    -B

    • Hayden says:

      Haha thanks Brock. Ya I’m considering publishing a text version of the podcast with the comments on the WF and answering questions. Would probably get a lot of TLDRs though…

  44. Andrew says:

    Amazing!

    Each time I visit this blog, I don’t just enjoy the blog post or in this case the podcast as well, but the dialogue via the comments.

    Hayden – Very impressive sir.
    Spencer – Cheers for sharing via your blog.

    All the best

    Andrew
    – 3images.co.uk

  45. Juan Pablo says:

    Hi Hayden, congratulations on your success.
    Could you tell me if you have all of your adsense sites in a single account ? If not, could you dig a little into how you organize that ?
    Thanks a lot,
    Regards,

    Juan

  46. Julie says:

    Hi Hayden, Great podcast! I was wondering if you can create a PDF of your techniques, especially on finding expired domains. I know I would be willing to pay for this as this would be very valuable information!
    Thanks,
    Julie

  47. Spencer, can we get the pdf of this interview please? Kindle transcribe both this and the follow up as I love to read text based.

    Sheyi

  48. Josh says:

    Awesome interview! Very inspiring even for me. We use very similar strategies to get our micro niche sites ranked. We also only build a single page of content… I’ve been having slightly higher success with 1k words though. But we have done it with 500 words and ranked as well. Hopefully we’ll be at the $1k per day mark soon as well!

  49. Jen says:

    Although I’m happy for those who are making thousands, it really saddens me that I can’t even make a $20.00 a year. No job, no money, where do I begin again.

  50. Awesome podcast!

    Hayden you must have some massive self built systems going on there. With keyword research and with posting to your private blog network as well.

    How to you get content for your private blog network? You buy unique content?

    And how can I get access to your network ? :D

  51. Hayden says:

    Hi Kris,

    Mainly I have an army of Part-time writers. I do have some interesting content tools which I will be showcasing on my blog next week. I don’t use it a lot, but created a nice proof of concept tool that cuts content writing time in by 50-70%. I plan on developing it further to make it more or less automatic.

    At the moment I’m not selling access to my network, sorry. I may pick up another network of PR5+ domains and sell access to it in the future though.

    Between all the readers of my blog it seems like people have picked up hundreds of expired domains, which makes me think I should setup a little script that allows people to cross-promote as well.

  52. Darren says:

    Hi Hayden, I’m coming into this a little bit late, having only listened to the podcast today. Great podcast btw, lots of very valuable information shared. Just wondering, are you placing all of those 3000+ sites on the 1 adsense account? Do you think there is a limit on the number you should have with 1 account? I’ve got many sites myself, and am in the process of expanding to create more, but seeing as most of my sites have about 5 pages in total (not including about us, privacy etc), I’m a bit worried about getting into the hundreds in regards to sites, all under the 1 account.

  53. Jon says:

    Using the expired AOL data is actually relatively simple. The amount of data being 20 Million Rows seems staggering but even starting with a small number can lead to some good finds.

    Thanks Specer, Hayden for the tip!

  54. Chris Weber says:

    Hey Spencer,

    I never usually comment here, but I must say I am attached to your blog like a crack head. I’ve listened to some of your podcasts 10 times over again on repeat. I truly love you (non-creepy way) but yeah.

    I have spend hours upon hours thinking about how Hayden traces these domains that have link authority.. I have tried his scrapebox method with Xenu and had no luck. ExpiredDomains.net is helpful but your just paying up the rear for anything PR5 and above which is fine I guess for now. ALSO, how do you feel about google cache-ing these domains that are becoming expired. I fear that if google caches-s them with no content that they pretty much know it is expired… what do you think

    Also

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Thanks Chris! Good to have a crack head reading, I guess :)

      If you use ExpiredDomains.net, only search for “free” domains. This means domains that have already expired that you can buy for $10 or less. This is what I’ve done and found lots of PR 3 and a few PR 4 domains.

  55. Lewis Saka says:

    Game changer! Epic podcast – with real quality content

  56. atif says:

    thanks for great article

  57. Amazing podcast! Hayden’s method sure is a game changer and I am very interested in learning more of what he does.

    But before I launch off into the more advanced SEO stuff, I still need to learn the basics. And that’s why I’m here with you Specner. You’ve taught me a lot and I’m looking forward to a long-term relationship. Thx so much for creating this site and sharing. Apprciate it.

  58. Wow! what awesome info man, i have a couple of sites already and man i have to say that a large part of my success was due to niche pursuits.Really awesome and the best part is it’s free.

  59. Michele says:

    I went to Hayden’s site but could not find the free videos. Can someone send me a link that goes to the videos?

    I saw something that required a $500 application fee.

  60. Andy P says:

    @Michele The videos I think you are referring to can be found on Hayden’s website which is here http://www.nohatseo.com/blog/how-to-find-high-pr-expired-domains-compiled/

  61. jhon says:

    Nice…but you know I wonder how long *any* free traffic will be lasting in light of the fact that Google is moving to pay per listing model.

  62. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I have truly
    enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  63. Goran says:

    Hey there nice podcast, i just want to know if Hayden monetize the blog network with adsense, or any other relevant products except selling links which is of course the most relevant way to earn money.

    Cheers

  64. Glen Wilson says:

    Awesome interview. Picked up some great tips there Spencer. Time to apply some of these to my sites.

  65. Natasha Wong says:

    I was wondering how can one person spare so much time to handle 300 to 400 sites?

  66. Jack says:

    Now that it is 2014 is there a strong likelihood of these 1-3 page niche information/question answering sites to get banned by adsense?

    I just recently found a great low comp 9k keyword in LTP. Question based like “how to talk really fast”. Obviously this would be adsense based and hard to write tons of pages about. Plus you’d also want to “test the waters” to see if it will earn and rank.

    In Hayden’s case he probably has multiple strategies and money in case a ban occurs, to get back on adsense.

    But for the typical upcoming internet marketer is this a risky road to be going down?

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