9 Common Mistakes to Avoid for SEO and Niche Sites

By Spencer Haws |

One of the best ways to learn something on a deep level is to experience it, rather than just watching or reading about it.  This is true of SEO and niche sites as well.

I have said many times, that the best way to learn the process is to just jump in and starting building your first site.  Sure, you will make a lot of mistakes along the way, but if you learn from these mistakes you will be much wiser because of them.

When it comes to building a niche website that you hope to rank at the top of Google, you could potentially make hundreds of mistakes.  As a result, there is no possible way that I could cover every possible mistake that someone might make when trying to build and optimize their site for SEO.

However, I do believe that there are some very common mistakes that many newer people might fall prey to when building niche sites.  As a result, I’m going to cover the 9 most common mistakes that people make when building niche sites and doing SEO.

1. Poor Keyword Research

The most common mistake that I personally see is poor keyword research.  In fact, this is a mistake that I made for a long time when I first started building websites as well!

I believed that if I picked a HUGE keyword that got high search volume, all I had to do was rank at the top of Google and I would be rich!  While perhaps that’s true, its just not realistic.  Those HUGE keywords are extremely competitive and are usually dominated by large corporations or those with much larger “SEO” budgets than you and I.

As a result, I credit my niche site success to the fact that I made a mental shift in realizing the importance of long tail keywords.  By targeting keywords that perhaps didn’t get as much search volume, but were also MUCH easier to rank for, I was able to land on the first page of Google…over and over again.

I’ve demonstrated how to get to the top of Google for these lower competition keywords in Niche Site Projects 1 and 2 here.

In addition, here is a quick guide I wrote for how to analyze the competition and how to pick great long tail keywords.

If you only get one thing right about SEO and building niche sites, make sure to get your keyword research done properly.   I recommend using Long Tail Pro to help find these long tail keywords and to analyze the competition properly.

1a. Not picking a good market

In addition to just picking keywords that are too competitive; a related mistake is picking keywords that are in a bad market.  In other words, if you hope to make money from your SEO efforts, you should focus on commercial keywords.

If there are no advertisers or products related to your keyword choices, it can be extremely difficult to monetize.  So, even though you might rank at the top of Google because you picked such a low competition keyword, that traffic might not be worth anything.

To avoid this mistake, you can look at the amount of advertisers on Google for your keyword.  The level of advertisers is also displayed in the Google keyword planner and Long Tail Pro as “Advertiser Competition”.

In addition, some products are high priced or low priced, this can affect your bottom line.  And some markets are made up of people that buy lots of products, while others only buy one.  Perrin and I discussed this a bit in our last podcast.

Overall, pick a low competition keyword, that gets just enough search volume and is in a great market, and you will be well on your way to SEO/Niche site success.

2. Spammy Link building

Google has evolved with Penguin, Panda, and other updates.  If you are still using link building tactics from 2010; you will be shooting yourself in the foot.

Google can detect when automated and unnatural link building is occurring and will penalize your site.  (Here’s a few examples from Google)

I would avoid these methods of link building:

I’m sure there many other types of link building I could list, but this will give you an idea of what to avoid.

2a. Overuse of keyword anchor text

Even if you avoid all these spammy link sources, you also need to avoid overusing your keyword anchor text.  So, if your keyword that you hope to rank for is, “Best Leather Wallets” and a huge percentage of your anchor text is “best leather wallets”; then Google will indeed penalize your site.

I don’t have a magic number for how much anchor text to use, but its certainly less than 10% and probably even 5% of the time.

Instead use variations of different keywords, phrases, URLs, brand name, and no keyword anchor text.

3. Over-optimization

Over-optimization has become a big deal.  I’ve always said that you should be using your keyword less than 1% of the time on your site.  Unfortunately I commonly see people using their keywords 5% or more in their articles.

This is a big red flag for Google.

Also, to truly look at how over-optimized your site is on-page; you need to look at site title, category titles, tag pages, and more in addition to what you’ve written in your articles.  So, even if you are only using your keyword less than 1% of the time in your article, if you combine that with your URL, site title, and category pages you could be over-optimized.

And finally, some say that you should combine how often you are using your keyword off-page (i.e. anchor text) with your on-page keyword usage to get a feel for how truly over-optimized your site is.  Here’s a guide that Hayden Miyamoto recently wrote about over-optimization.

In a nutshell, to avoid over-optimization penalties, stop using your keywords unnaturally!

4. Poorly Written Content

If your content sounds like crap, then Google isn’t going to rank it.  Google has developed ways to automatically detect bad content; so spend some time to make sure its good stuff.

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In addition, Google utilizes manual reviewers to spot check sites.  If these humans detect poorly written that may have passed the automated content filters, it will be reported.

In a nutshell, if you are putting up spun content or outsourcing low quality content to someone that doesn’t speak English (for your English articles); then you run the risk of getting penalized.

This isn’t a difficult threshold to pass, but I’m surprised to still see how many people put junk content on their site and expect it to rank in google.

Just don’t put out content that you would be embarrassed to show your friends, okay?

5. Not Enough Content and Not Scaling

When you have a site with some success, its important to try and expand on that success.   More content will bring in traffic from more long tail keywords, and can often be the easiest way to increase the profits for that site.

For example, during my original niche site project, I kept a chart showing where my traffic was coming from.

So, as you add more content, you can get traffic from MANY more long tail keywords than the 1 or 2 that you originally selected. (This content shows I was getting traffic from about 1,800 different keywords). Adding more content is often the answer to increasing the reach of the site.

In addition, if you have a winner on your hands, you can look into other ways that you can scale the business.  This might include other revenue streams, selling related products, or creating your own product.

Perrin and I have actually been discussing this quite a bit in our business lately.  We are trying to decide: do we build more sites or do we simply grow the ones we’ve already built?  As we look at the costs and benefits, we are becoming more convinced that just growing the sites that we already have is a better long term approach.

6. Lack of Patience

When I first began building websites several years ago, I could often get to the top of Google within 30 to 60 days.  However, those days are for the most part gone now.  SEO requires patience, and a new niche site can often take up to 6 months before it cracks the first page of Google.

I rarely see results in terms of rankings and earnings earlier than 90 days now.  This is likely Google’s way of preventing poor quality websites from dominating the first page of the SERPs.

For whatever reason, ranking websites just takes longer nowadays.

Unfortunately, I am seeing many people lose patience after the first couple of months and wondering why they don’t see any results.  However, if these people would stick with their content or link building plan, they can often start seeing results just a short time in the future.

So, don’t give up half way through your SEO plan just because you aren’t having some immediate results.  You need to have some patience.

7. Worrying Too Much About the Small Stuff

If you sweat the small stuff, you’ll never get to the big stuff.  Everyone wants their site to be perfect, but don’t let this get in the way of simply starting!

Some of the small things that should not prevent your from creating a great site are theme choice, plugins, design elements, ad placements, and more.  All of these things can be changed over time.

However, the more important aspects such as picking the right keywords and finding a great market cannot be changed as easily.

8. Copying Others

I’ll be first to admit, that seeing others build successful sites has sparked ideas for some of my own websites in the past.  There is nothing wrong from learning a thing or two from successful people; however, if you get stuck in the trap of just trying to copy exactly what someone else is doing, you will not be as successful as you might hope.

A big part of success in niche sites, SEO, and in life is trying to be unique.  How is your website different or better than your competitors?  Copying directly will not make you stand out or make other sites want to link to and mention you.

Want to copy Facebook exactly?  Save yourself the time; don’t do it!  But if you want to be the next Facebook for cats…then maybe you have something! 🙂 (or maybe not).

The point is that you need to be just a little bit different than your competition to truly stand out.

9. Being a Loner

As much as I like to hang out by myself; my bigger sites would never be where they were if I didn’t reach out and network a little bit. has grown in part because of the relationships I’ve built with other bloggers and podcasters.  These links have in turn made Google pay attention and rank my site well for lots of long tail keywords.

The same can be said of Long Tail Pro…if I tried to do everything on my own without networking or reaching out to others; that business would not be where it is today.

True SEO at its core is a social venture.  Reaching out, mentioning others, interacting with other bloggers, and truly becoming a part of the community in your niche is the best way to secure high quality links and a true following.

Your Thoughts

Overall, if you can avoid these 9 common SEO mistakes, you will be ahead of the competition when building out your own online business.

I’ve personally made many of these mistakes, but have learned throughout the years.  In addition, I still get emails and comments from people all the time asking about their own niche sites; and it becomes obvious that they have chosen the wrong keywords or made other common mistakes.  

Hopefully, by reading this post, you can internalize some of the lessons here, and avoid making these blunders for your next big project.

If you have any comments or questions, I’d love to hear your thoughts below.


Niche Business Ideas | 133 comments

By Spencer Haws

Spencer Haws is the founder of After getting a degree in Business Finance from BYU (2002) and an MBA from ASU (2007) he worked for 8 years in Business Banking and Finance at both Merril Lynch and Wells Fargo Bank.

While consulting with other small business owners as a business banker, Spencer finally had the desire to start his own business. He successfully built a portfolio of niche sites using SEO and online marketing that allowed him to quit his job in 2011. Since then he's been involved in dozens of online business ventures including: creating and exiting Long Tail Pro, running an Amazon FBA business for over 3 years and selling that business, founding, and co-founding You can learn more about Spencer here.

Want to learn step-by-step how I built my Niche Site Empire up to a full-time income?

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These are all such great points, and I definitely had to learn a few of these the hard way!


Hi Spencer & Perrin – Do you have any timeframes to add around point #5 — when to scale?

How much more content would you add?

I’ve shifted a bit and I’m adding less content initially to see how a site will rank. And, then I hope to be able add more articles/content/reviews if things are going well.

It’s a little easier to start more sites that way as well. For example it might only take 5 – 10 articles to kick off rather than 15 – 20.

Alistair Cochrane

Ditto Doug. I build sites with skeleton 8 pages and only maybe 1 or 2 backlinks and then let them marinate for a while until I start seeing a trickle of traffic.

It’s my signal to start adding more content and more backlinks.

I agree it’s way easier to improve an existing profitable site than to grow a new one from scratch.


Hey Doug 🙂

The amount of content depends on the market and your goals, I think. You can’t write 100 articles on leaf blowers, for example. You also might not want to. However, you could expand to cover more gardening products and get 30 more good articles easy. This is one of the reasons I prefer more hobby-type niches: there are usually more keywords, and they are often more fun to write about.

As for the amount of content when launching, I’m actually doing the opposite of you with my next site. Instead of waiting to see if the site works, I’m just trusting my keyword research and launching it with around 40 articles. It’s got about 35 right now, and I may even get it up to 50 or so — and it hasn’t earned a penny.

“But Perrin, you’re crazy!”

A little. The idea is to get more long tails ranking much sooner, and I’m willing to make a bigger upfront investment to do it.

One of the things I’ve discovered is that the value of each article on a site is usually really big, so I don’t think it’s a big deal to spend a couple hundred more dollars up front to see a bigger return sooner.

That said, Spencer and I are doing a mix of those two strategies with the site’s we’re building for the business.

And, as you know, since we talk every week, you and I have slightly different tastes, I think. I prefer to have a portfolio of fewer, bigger sites instead of building a bunch of small ones — mostly because it’s much easier to rank content on an existing site, you get more value for your links, and it’s easier to turn them into bigger, broader businesses (like Douglass Smythe did with

However, both strategies are good; a lot of it is just preference & budget. 🙂

Sorry for the novel!

Spencer Haws

We are still playing around with this. We are experimenting with one site; just adding tons of content from day one…to see if that ranks long tails faster. In general, I wait until the site starts ranking well (first page?)…which can take a few months. If its making money and getting good traffic, its probably time to scale.

Adam Roseland

Well said. I agree with all of the above, especially #6. Anything worth ranking for usually takes a good amount of effort and patience. Anyone expecting to make a quick buck after 3 posts and buying links is going about it the wrong way!

Josh Escusa

One thing I noticed also is that my really successful sites will rank for lots of long tail keywords on the home page alone. The main keyword only accounts for a fraction of the traffic.
You gotta choose keywords that have lots of sub-keywords, otherwise you won’t be getting the traffic you want.


Good point, Josh. For most of my sites, around 90% of my traffic comes from long-tail keywords that I never specifically targeted.

Spencer Haws

Very true…the great keywords also have lots of related/similar keywords as well.

Alistair Cochrane

Probably because your homepage is the page with the most authority because more of your backlinks are pointing there…

That’s what happens in my case. Lots of variety in keywords but the homepage is by far the biggest landing page.


Spot on Josh. I always look for LSI keywords to support my main keyword.

Using Spenser’s example of “Best Leather Wallets” a couple of LSI keywords would be pocketbook or billfold. I usually try to find about 4 LSI keywords to use. This also helps google to understand better what your content is about.


Great point Josh, my recently released site had a product review ranking in the top 3 and earned my first sale while my main kw is still at 500+


Hi spencer, great post. I’m good at keyword research and somewhat at seo. I own LTP… The best! Little off topic but my adsense account got banned last year. I have the same computer. Do you think I can apply for adsense with mobile phone at local library with different name and address? Also, when applying can we use yahoo or something else besides gmail email? Thank you!

Spencer Haws

You can reapply at another location on your laptop or even the library computer; that’s fine. Yes, you can use a different email than gmail.


Hi Spencer,

You are right about keyword research being at the core of every site. I’m currently using your Long Tail Pro software to comb through a site with hundreds of posts to ascertain why it’s not getting as much traffic as you might expect (on the face of it) and why the AdSense earnings are so low.

After reviewing about 50 pages, it’s become obvious that hardly anybody is searching for many of the keyword phrases within the posts, and the posts that do get traffic, are low earners in AdSense.

It’s a real eye-opener, and the site is either doomed to failure or in need of a massive revamp. A

So, yes, I totally agree with you on 1 and 1a.

Spencer Haws

Yep, its a tough but very important lesson to learn.


Best post ever written on!

For anyone just starting out (and for the rest of us too), avoiding these mistakes will go a long way. I’m still doing a few of them… Need to stop right now! 🙂


Agreed! This post was a long time coming, I think. Working at Niche Pursuits, I get to see a lot of people’s sites, and a few of these mistakes are fairly common. Spencer’s helping a lot of people out here, I’m sure!

Spencer Haws

Wow, thanks!


Yes thank you Spencer ! I follow your advice/tips regularly and also like Perrin’s comments/perspective. I was able to have some success with my niche sites and I am sure your advice as well as owning long tail pro really helped me.

Paul VL

Awesome and timely post, I was starting to lose heart not ranking for my main keywords if it weren’t for some timely reviews that shot to #2 in Google I might have scrapped it.

Another point is choose a niche that’s not in violation of Google Adwords and Facebooks advertising policy. My ninja star site qualifies for that unfortunately and has limited some of my options.

Velin Naydenov

Hey Spenser, great post as always!

I am still developing my first niche website and I have a link building campaign running for almost two months. Last few days I see some strange results in the SERP of my rankings and I started to loose patience about the project. I may not be the only one feeling the same way (thinking that the project might be lost) and I have to find motivation to continue to see how the thing will go from now.

By the way, will you share some thoughts how you are motivating yourself to continue working on a website when you do not see the results you want yet?



Spencer Haws

As far as staying motivated, I just try to remember that it can take some time. Google can be a tough nut to crack in some niches… It also helps that I have multiple sites in different stages, some are yet to rank; while others are doing well. So, seeing those successful sites helps me stay motivated as well.

Alistair Cochrane

Good points. I would add… 10. Too much strategy/learning and not enough taking action.

It’s easy to decide your lack of knowledge is holding you back and if you just learn this or that then you’ll be all set to finally start doing it proper. But it’s probably a cop out. You likely know enough already, it’s just easier to spend your time reading Spencer’s (excellent) blog that it is doing any real work.

and 11. You want untold riches but you’re not prepared to spend more than $10 to get it.

It’s entirely possible to make some money online without spending any money. It’s also possible to drill a hole in a wall with a screwdriver but most people use a power drill these days.

WIth a closed fist money can’t get out, but it can’t come in either – buy my $199.95 ebook to learn more about this (joke)


GREAT point. I see this all the time, too. Lots of people spend crazy amounts of time preparing without actually BUILDING something. Very good point.

Spencer Haws

Great additional points, Alistair! I agree 🙂


Excellent write-up, Spencer.

Alistair (crazy cool name btw) hits it spot on for those extra 2 making it an even dozen.

The most important thing is to understand Spencer’s core rules and JUST FRIGGIN’ DO IT.

Laura Radniecki

Haha, I had to laugh at this, Alistair.

I’m on the edge of being guilty of your #10.

I’ve been reading and researching [Thanks for all the great content, Spencer!] and I can feel a little anxiety creeping in now that it’s getting close to time to take action.

Instead of hemming and hawing, I’ve made a timeline and I’m going for it! No more stalling…


Just remember: there’s no failure. Only learning!

Pham Hong Chien

10. Exactly. Action better than just reading. ^ ^
11. Saving money and invest in a power drill.

John Devlin

Thanks for point 5!

I currently have 4 sites, 1 making good money and another looking very promising. The other 2 are new.

After buying LTP (which is what you say it is for sure) I started storing all these new amazing niches i was going build.

Now with 4 i am starting to realise how much work I have on. I have decided that with 2 success’s I have and the 2 new sites I am going to stay there for 2014!

Expanding the high flyers and giving the next two the attention they will need.

Far too much time spent looking for niche opportunity’s when I already have plates spinning and spinning well!

Spencer Haws

Yep, its tough to sometimes just focus on what you have and grow it.

Jon Haws


I love this post. As I read through each mistake I made a mental comment “Yep, I’ve done that”. This is a good reminder to re-focus on what really matters.

I also need to do a better job of reaching out. I too am not a hugely social person so reaching out to more bloggers is one of my goals this year.

Spencer Haws

Good luck, Jon!

James Blews

Thanks Spencer for some great info, and some awesome things to consider here.

The one that I find incredible is how many people think “the newest thing” can rank their sites super quick; i.e., in a day/weekend/week.

A page on an established site can be ranked really fast (using the authority of the site, a PBN, etc), but a new site takes time. And no matter how much we trust or distrust Matt Cutts, there has got to be a sandbox new sites get “locked” into:) Kind of extends the patience, with a little bit of perception, right?

Have a great one, and be well!

Spencer Haws

Great points, James!


Great points Spencer! I just want to interject on keyword density. Some people don’t know this, but if your key phrase is “blue widgets”, that is 2% density for a 100 word article. “best blue widgets” is 3%. I’ve seen some people use 5 word key phrases 5 times in a 500 word article, no bueno.

Also, I totally disagree on copying! 🙂

I know it isn’t exactly what you are saying, but I suggest that you copy the hell out of the top 10 SERPS. Use their backlinks, keywords, and information, and make it better. Especially if your a newbie, don’t try and reinvent the wheel, walk in the footsteps of those who came successfully before you. Perrin “copied” your niche site project 1 for instance 😉


BTW, a plugin you can use if you have firefox is something called Quark SearchStatus for calculating kw density

Spencer Haws

I hear what you are saying about copying…


Great post, Spencer.

Yeah, I had to learn #1 the very hard way with my first site. I did so much on that site; I can’t even begin to count how many hours I’ve spent on the site – all for nothing when I later on bought LTP Platinum and for the first time realized my ‘golden nugget’ of a primary keyword has a KC score of 44, despite having a search volume of 18k+….

You certainly are helping newbies out with this post; if only it existed when I started out lol.

A little off topic I know, but I have 2 quick q’s about PBN’s if you don’t mind…

1.) If I have 20 expired domains in one PBN network, and 5 niche sites, would it be okay to use this one PBN to link to all 5 my niche sites? So I create the first few base articles on each domain, article 3 or something I link out to niche site #1, article 4 to niche site #2 and so on, and start all over on domain 2?

2.) How many times do you link to your niche site within each article, just once using exact match anchor text or perhaps once to the inner page article using exact match anchor + another to your home page somewhere else within the article?

Thanks again for the post!


Spencer Haws

1. Yes, as long as those niche sites are on different hosting accounts/ips.
2. Once or twice per article – almost never using exact match anchor. Just 2 different pages/articles on my site. Phrase match, non-match, long phrase match, but rarely exact match.


1.) Sure – took your advice and got an account with Host9.
2.) Interesting – I thought that since having a number of base links from Web 2.0’s, commenting etc, which all use generic keywords as anchor or the naked URL’s, having a couple of powerful PBN links with exact match would be a good thing. I’ll have to look into this then.


Spencer Haws

Yes, having a couple of exact match anchors from a PBN is fine; just not alot is what I meant.


Thanks Spencer, I’m an addicted reader of your posts for a long time now !


Great, got it – thanks!


Hi Ruan,

Does Host9 delivers various IPs for your websites? I was checking various hosting provider that can do and I found one that is quite cheap – problem is I can’t find any reviews on them.



Host9 provides different server locations, 6 or something if I remember correctly. Being in different locations = different C-Block IP’s (I think). There are a couple of servers at each location, which means different C-Block IP’s even at the same location. The nice thing is you can use which location to host each domain with. That essentially means with 6 different locations you already have 6 different C-Block IP’s to work with. Spread the hosting setup at each location over a period of time and I’m sure you’ll get different C-Block IP’s at the same location.

They are expanding so it will continue to increase, I’m sure. I currently have 8 hosted expired domains on one account at Host9, in some instances more than one domain hosted at the same location and each resides on a different C-Block IP, so yeah, it’s definitely worth the cost and exactly what you need.


Hi Ruan, thanks so much for your feedback. Right after I read your message I went to their site and talked to the support. It does exactly what you say. I’m definitely going to get an account with them and see how that goes. They should give you a commission 😉 Cheers


Hi Spencer,

Great informative article. I’m not sure if I can add 11th one, “not too many websites on the same IP”?

I noticed that my first ten websites (at bluehost) were indexed and ranked quite rapidly on google. Since then it’s been a real hassle to get some indexed at all (after 4 months they’re still in page 15-20 or nowhere at all) and I haven’t done anything special really. Each website is typically 15 to 30 pages, and I haven’t started backlinking.

Also I do not link the websites between them and I don’t use adsense to monetize my websites.

Could it be that google notices that there are too many websites on the same IP / account? Not sure what to think really. Any idea?


Spencer Haws

Alain, its probably a good idea to not overload your hosting for a number of reasons. Shared hosting often has many other websites on the same IP address that just your websites anyway…


Hi Spencer,

You mentioned from 3 to 6 months to rank on the 1st page of google.
Let’s say that I have a 3-word keyword with KC 25 to rank on
How many pages/post and how many “natural” links from PR 0 – 1 – 2 pages would be needed to get there within the 3-6 month time frame? I would be glad to have an estimated guess from you. Thanks a lot in advance


Alistair Cochrane

I’ll have a guess at this just for fun 🙂

It depends on the nature of your keyword. If it’s purely a product google will kick into it’s “this is an ecommerce search mode” and you’ll be overrun by amazon and ebay and other high authority shops. Google just loves to return them for ecommerce searches.

If it’s an informational search… i.e. “Best Survival Knife” rather than “Survival Knife” then you have a better chance.

This is my estimate for your question:

PR 0 – Maybe never
PR 1 – 500 – 1000
PR 2 – 100 – 200
PR 3 – 20 – 40
PR 4 – 5 – 10
PR 5 – Maybe just 1 – 3

However all these links need to be good links. You can have a link from a page that says PR 5 but in reality is worthless. Or you can have a link from PR 0 that in reality is strong.

You can’t trust PR so I’d advise you to lose that mentality now ))

I have ranked and earned from sites with 0 links, but not a lot. 1 good link can support an amazon niche website to earn $200 (again from experience).

And it doesn’t need to take 6 months. There is a clear point of impact in google’s system. i.e. you can tell exactly when a link has had it’s impact if it will have any. And you can hence measure the value of that PBN link. But this is all for another day on my own blog 🙂


Great recap post on everything you’ve talked about before, Spencer. Reading this put a smile on my face because I know I’m doing the right things.

I love these types of posts because they keep me on my toes! 🙂

Spencer Haws

Thanks Angel!

Mirza Atif

Well these are very important and informative points, all we need to do is a good content and a point patient, if we follow these two point Thoroughly, then probably we can succeed our goal.

Sandeep Rao

I too agree with bad linking practice by many of the bloggers, especially newbies forgets to make the link natural and a valuable link. Secondly, instead of immediate ranking I would prefer immediate popularity making.

If a blogger is successful in making his/her story or blog popular in a couple of weeks, then surely the ranking will get on the top in just a month’s time. Its the popularity and value of the posts, stories and media he/she is sharing on his/her blog that makes the site a valuable resource.

For best linking practice, I would prefer to use long tail anchor text instead of choosing 1-2 keywords for making links. This practice works wonderful for making a large list of keywords targeted towards a blog or site.

One thing I would say is Never, Never and never copy content from other blogger’s site. Although, If you urges to re-share some post on to your own blog, don’t forget to mention original source with adding some value to original post if possible.

Anyways, thanks for sharing the post here on


Hi Spencer,

Thanks for this valuable article.

I have a beginner question that I can’t find a solution how I can post on pages I mean for example if i have a page called blog what should I do so that a specific posts goes to this page and appears separate each time I’m going to add now?

Thanks right now I’m working on a website and i’m 42 SERP after 2 months with 8 Articles the niche is a little competitive, but the first page I see just some youtube videos and some stores ranked there I hope to come one day and post in your success story section 🙂

Spencer Haws

There is an option in your wordpress settings, under “Settings” and then “reading”; select a “Posts page”. I think that’s what you are looking for.


Hi Spencer,

You seem to contradict yourself a little here. You say seo is now harder and ranking is more like 90days or sometime 6 months.

You then link to this page:
which has an image of how to ran in days with rankhero.

So which is it? Rank in days with your service or rank in 6 months with your methods?


Alistair Cochrane

When a site is brand new it’s hard to get it moving.

In the past I’ve built sites and let them sit with no backlinking. After 3 months you can start to see some activity.

Basically google doesn’t like totally new sites.

When I start to see a little traffic without backlinks that can be the time to start linking and your site can jump up in a couple of weeks.

So the answer is… it’s both 🙂 It can take 3 months but once your site is aged you can move your rankings in a few weeks with a few high quality links.

Spencer Haws

A new site can take six months. If you have an existing site (over 3 to 6 months); rank hero links can indeed boost the ranks quickly. It all depends on your site, could be immediate results or 6 months, or never…all depends (see above 9 points).


I agree. I spend more than three months worried about my site’s looks…. plugins etc and during tht time i was researching on plugins and not researching on keywords and content to write.


Regarding #3, if my keyword is “Best Blue Widgets” and I have, is that URL and page title considered over-optimization? Or might this still be ok if I’m using the keyword 1% or less within the page’s actual content?

As always, thanks for your insight!

Spencer Haws

Its probably still okay, but definitely take that URL into consideration (may need to reduce in article usage).


Hi Spencer,
I agree with other comments here that this is a fantastic post with great information, so thanks for sharing. My own experience has certainly been to over analyze and plan, rather than taking action to start a small site. I also got caught up in searching for new niches rather than completing and expanding old ones. I’ve now taken a step back from creating new ones and have focused my time and resources on expanding out the ones I have started.
One question on what you mention about copying others. What would you think of starting a site based on multiple keywords that have existing niche sites in the top ten? For example KW1 “best survival knife”, KW2 “best fishing knife”, KW3 “best hunting knife”; then create one branded site to cover all keywords, rather than setting up three different sites.
Do you think that is too big a project to combine?



Spencer Haws

I think that’s just fine.


I think the one of the most important things mentioned was the time that it takes to now rank a site compared to even this time last year.

Patience is a virtue and I have ruined many sites by panicking when things shuffle around as they normally do in google. For the first few months to a year you have to wait out the ebs and the flows of niche sites bouncing around in the SERPs.

I see (and have done) a lot of mistakes happen when your site suddenly drops from the top 100 for a few days and then you start blasting away with links only to ruin the sites link profile. There are ebs and flows with this stuff and you have to be patient enough to let things sort themselves out.

Now I have found that adding a few links at a time from PBN’s to be the most effective method followed by WAITING for the site to settle down. During this time just keep hammering out great content and things tend to sort themselves out.

Great post here Spencer as always.


I have fallen victim to gungho reactions too. Had a site that had started earning about $10 a day from Amazon and suddenly all traffic dropped. I went off and created loads of new links and signed up for some pretty crappy links as well. None of this worked and eventually reduced my traffic even more. I then decided to back track on as many actions as I could and have done nothing for over 6 months. Slowly I’m starting to see some improvements again.
As you say, patience is a virtue.

Spencer Haws

Thanks Steve!


great advice!

Eric Carrell

Great post!

Someone might have already said this one, but this was a quagmire for me: stressing too much about competition from other niche sites. Even if there are a few other niche sites on the front page with you or in front of you, your site can still make money.

I spent too much time stressing about having competition from other niche sites, and I know for a fact that others go as far as to spend time and money to knock down other sites that rank for a particular keyword. There is enough room in SEO for everyone.

And there are certainly more productive ways to spend your time.

Spencer Haws

Hey Eric :). I agree with your points. I see other niche sites on the first page of Google as a very good thing actually. This tells me that sites just like mine CAN indeed rank for this keywords…gives me confidence to tackle the niche.


I learned lesson 1a (picking a good market) the hard way. I spent 4 years building a website based on a hobby/passion of mine that never made any money despite decent traffic to the site.

It really helps to think about who your target audience is. Do they have an immediate need that they need a solution to? Are they looking to buy a product or just surfing for information?

I finally put that first site aside and followed your advice step-by-step during Niche Project 2. Last July, I used LTP to find a profitable niche using your keyword selection criteria. Built out the site the same way Perrin did focusing on very high quality content, slowly built links to the site including links from Rank Hero (those really helped!) and it worked! Traffic grew very slowly but steady over a 6 month period as the site climbed in the rankings.

The site now gets about 200 very targeted visitors a month looking to buy a very specific product. I’m having my best month so far and have made over $750 this month. I continue to trickle feed content to the site and just started another site using the same strategy.

Taking the time to do the market/keyword research, focusing on quality content and quality backlinks, and patience are definitely key.

The method definitely works if you give it a chance and persist.

Thanks for all you do Spencer (and Perrin), it’s made a real difference in my life!

Spencer Haws

That’s awesome, Ken! So glad to hear that you were able to pivot after your first site and find some success! Best of luck down the road.


Awesome! And I agree with Spencer: great pivot. SEO is an exercise is problem solving. Nice work. 🙂

Pham Hong Chien

Congratulations Ken. Your story inspires others around.

Don Modekali

Hi Spencer,

Thanks for this post. I have to admit No. 7 is specifically about me.

And perhaps another important point is doing a lot of reading and planning instead of simply starting.

Don M.

Anthony Tran

Hi Spencer great article on some mistakes people make with SEO. I like how you pointed out that poor keyword research is probably the biggest mistake. I agree ranking for a keyword that has low traffic levels is really wasting your efforts. However, how do you rank for keywords that have a high competition level. Most keywords that generate a large scale of traffic are very competitive because of course everyone is targeting them.

Spencer Haws

Its all about finding a balance between competition and search volume. Keywords in the 1k to 5k per month tend be in the sweet spot for high enough search volume, but low enough competition. (Obviously there are lots of exceptions to this range).

Jeremy Brown

Great post!
I just started my first real niche site and I keep getting stuck on things along the way. This post totally just addressed some questions I had and helped me move along. Thanks as always for all the good info Spencer!

Spencer Haws

Thanks Jeremy!


Good day Spencer

If there’s external anchor text over-optimization, what is your opinion regarding internal anchor text over-optimization? Is there a penalty for such?

Spencer Haws

Yes, I actually think internal and external link anchors should be combined to come up with a total anchor text usage.

Dominic Wells

I knew coming back here today would prove fruitful!

I think point 1a should maybe get a point all by itself. I remember the second website I ever built was a classic example of being in the wrong market. The keywords were big, the competition was low, and without really knowing what I was doing, my site was getting 10,000 visitors a month. It made absolutely ZERO money, because it wasn’t a buying niche. No matter what I tried, there just wasn’t much money available.

I ended up flipping it for $1,000 USD (not bad for a site with no income!), but the buyer ended up with the same issues I had (I disclosed that I couldn’t monetize it in the sale).

Before even thinking about finding out if there are keywords for the niche (there always are anyway), we should be asking ourselves if it’s a niche that’s worth being in.

Cheers for reminding me of that!


Spencer Haws

Thanks for emphasizing that point, Dom!


You mean you could not monetize traffic with AdSense?


Hi Spencer:
Do you have a link on what you exactly do to get your sites to rank? You use to have a step by step method. Thanks ahead of time. 🙂


Hello Great Post!

Now that Google doesn’t show the keywords in analytics, how would you tell what keywords your website is ranking for?

Thank You


Google webmaster tools will give you all the keys you are ranking and indexed for.

Amarnath Chakraborty

i Like Your Point About ‘Patience’ I really like this post !

Patience is the key if you had just started to blog many bloggers stops blogging due to not getting traffic ! And due to lack of patience ! One must have to wait to get some fruits from your blog ! ..

i agree to all your points . I have seen my friends starting and quiting blogging ! Due to not enough traffic..

Give Your blog some time and soon it will start responding !


Hi Dean for rankig your site you can find valuable articles in the nichporsuits you can find out here :

It’s a very detailed guide I think.

For nich websites think also for 1 page optimisation it’s the first page of your website good luck.


Beat me to it! Thanks, Adil. 🙂


I’m going to rock the boat a little, and suggest that exact match anchor text isn’t the worst thing in the world. Brian Dean at Backlinko has an article about it here:

He suggests that as long as Google trusts your site, your exact match anchor text can be a little heavy. I’ve seen this, as well—I was researching a keyword that had about 10k/mo searches, and the #1 listing on the SERP had about 75% exact-match anchor text on its backlinks. I was a little baffled, but then I looked at the MozTrust number, which was very very high. Makes sense.

I think it’s a great idea to be careful with your backlink anchor text, especially when your site is new and Google is uncertain about you. But I think if you’ve got a lot of high-quality backlinks pointing to your site, you’ll probably be ok.

Spencer Haws

Great points! My point about anchor text is primarily for those with newer sites (less than a year old). I would agree that you can likely get more aggressive as your site ages has more authority (although 75% anchor isn’t something I would try personally).


I have a question about people in this site especially for those with 9 to 5 job do they find any difficulties to separate he two worlds because it’s very hard to forget about your niche sites during the day or at least check the states of your site.



This is a great blog you have spencer. I came across from empireflippers. This makes me want my adsense account back! I had 1 beginning of this year and I never used it so stupid me deleted the account and I don’t have it anymore.

The website I applied it with was sold:

Since I can’t find my adsense account is it find if I use the same information as my last 1 with a new website or will adsense say I already have an acccount and not approve me?

Once deleted from adsense can I reapply without having problems with same info.

Thank YOU!!

Spencer Haws

Google will not approve you, because its the same as your previous account.

Joe Magnotti

Great article Spencer, very concise and mistakes I have made myself. Definitely, going to share.

Spencer Haws

Thanks Joe!

Donald W

Great post Spencer,

I’m definitely guilty mostly of points 1,2a,3,6 ,7, and 11 or 12 whatever that point in the comments was above analysis paralysis (credit for analysis paralysis goes to Mark N in one of the first few success stories). I lucked out with #1 on my first niche site and ended up ranking for a massive keyword without even meaning it. 2a I though I had exact match under 5% but didn’t…Penalized… for 6 and 7 I used to always worry about ranking and small stuff which led to doing so much research I never focused on my site.

By far the best way (for me) of learning these points has been to experience them for myself and learn by doing.

Thanks for all that you do. You and Perrin truly change lives!

And will Someone add Perrin’s name to the wordpress dictionary so I don’t think I’m constantly misspelling it. LOL!

Dhruv Bhagat

Well, patience is the key.. After Google Panda 4.0 , I see my site getting 800 daily visitors which was previously getting 250.

Now, its time to scale up that site 😀

Also, I really want to thank you for Long Tail Pro. That’s incredible 😉

Spencer Haws

Thanks Dhruv!


Great post, Spencer. Just remind me to avoid these mistakes.

Patient is really important. I waited for 6 months to get my first dollar. So, let’s be patient and work hard on content and appropriate link building. Good Luck, everyone!


Hi Spencer,
I’ve a question about how to rank pinterest boards in google
and where to get the pics to pin

Teresa McKattry

Youtube is not exactly an easy example to out rank. Google has a special spot in its heart and it’s top ten roster for youtube vids. When google decides that a keyword needs a YT video, you could think of it as having an assigned slot. It may actually be easier to get another youtube video ranked and displayed near or in place of that original youtube video instead. Basically your site is put in somewhere around it, and it’s placement is somewhat independent. It would be surprising indeed to ever see a video slot ever disappear completely from somewhere in the top ten for certain keywords.


Thanks for another great post Spencer. I’ve been building sites for a few years and its amazing how you can get into bad habits and forget the basics. I’ll be using this as a checklist for my sites going forward 🙂


If it takes 3-6 months to rank well for a keyword, how long do you think it would take if I targetted a 500 searches per month keyword? I really don’t want to wait that long. Thanks for the insight you provided in this article.

Spencer Haws

If its a new site, it still could take a while; but anything is possible (3 months is a maybe)…if its an older site, then your chances are much better.

Apeksha Khanna

I spend most of time online on Blog commenting and making backlinks but Still my backlinks shown by alexa are low. I was wondering if there is a way that google index my backlinks fast?


Hi Spencer,
I’ve a question about how to rank pinterest boards in google
and where to get the pics to pin


This is a great post Spencer. I began to understand what a great job I have to do to be able to thrive. I began to be patient in building the site. Do not expect results too quickly, but continued to work according what works. Thank you.


Hi Spencer

Thank you for another great post. I couldnt agree more.

I am having issues with Over-optimization on one of my sites lately.

It got hit hard and i cannot get that penalty undone.

Do you have any tips on how to “regain trust” after a Over-optimization hit? Should I just try to find what keywords i overuse and remove / replace them?

TYVM for all your work.


Spencer Haws

That’s correct. Just reduce keyword/anchor text usage and if that was the issue, your rankings will restore when Google does a refresh.


Great post that lays out the facts. Still not sure that I know a good niche when I see it, but I’m still trying!

Glad to hear your comments about being patient also. I was starting to question my niche and tactics, but will keep adding a blog post at least weekly. We’ll see how things look at the 6 to 9 month point. Thanks for sharing your expertise!

Pham Hong Chien

Thanks Spencer Haws,
I love Long Tail Platinum and your blog, they’ve helped me a lot in building niche.
You help others succeed. That was great.
Admire and follow you.


Really appreciated this post and subsequent podcast Spencer. One point that could use some clarification is when to be patient (#6) and when there’s a real problem (like with Perrin’s site in Case Study 2).

For example, I have a 3 month old site that’s indexed, but nowhere to be found in SERPs… that is 500+ for my keyword.

When is patience the key vs. when is there a problem that needs to be addressed?


Spencer Haws

Perrin’s site never had any issues, its still doing fantastic. The original NSP1 site did have some issues. If you are building links to your site, its not uncommon for it to take 3 to 4 months to show up in the serps. Usually its a bit quicker, but I wouldn’t give up quite yet.


I’ve got a question about your first topic, keyword research.

Let’s pretend my keyword is “travel laptop.” On LongTailPro, it gets a lot of traffic. But so does “BEST travel laptop” and “travel laptop reviews.”

Is the best route to combine all 3 to form “best travel laptop reviews” or would that be a huge mistake? Would I get combined traffic from all 3, or would the combined keyword actually lose power?

Thanks Spencer!

Spencer Haws

Sure you could do that.


New to niche site building so this post was perfect and I’m loving the podcasts. My BF thinks I’m bonkers because I have earbuds in 24/7 now catching up with back episodes of this one, Empire Flippers, Tropical MBA, and Smart Passive Income! I have analysis paralysis and I’m afraid to jump into my second site. #1 wasn’t researched, slow!

So now I’m trying out Long Tail Pro, but not Platinum. I think I’m getting the hang of comparing the competitor analysis, but I’m afraid I’m misjudging. Would anyone be willing to look at a few screen shots and give me a “YAY” or “NAY” for a beginner (I have graphics/web design/some SEO experience)??

Spencer Haws

Thanks Bex…there’s a lot of info to consume for sure.

Raniel Douglas

I love your site and I now visit a few months ago. I am Brazilian and has many speaking of niche sites here but I see that your tips are the best! Thanks a lot. I believe my biggest mistake that beginning is not to have patience to see the results of the projects.

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Hello Spencer

Indeed, SEO already isn’t easy, fast, or cheap nowadays. With the recent algorithm changes applied by Google, the role of SEO consultants for business success is getting more critical. Thanks for elaborating these common mistakes. This key enumeration is definitely a great rescue pointer for many struggling websites. Well done!

tony tong

Hi Spencer I am using ltpp too to help with my keyword competition. Great info on the over optimization and time frame pointers. I guess i have to be patient and slowly up my seo results.

Ben Turner

In the podcast you mention that you theoretically invest $700 into a niche site. Could you breakdown the activities in which you would engage and their portion of the $700? How much would you invest into each activity (i.e. web dev, article writing, link building, etc…)?

Thank you for all your knowledge sharing and your podcast.


Good points! I could get used to the advices you gave, especially in SEO application. I am much affected by the “Lack of Patience” mistake; thus, I will correct it myself.

Roland Zongo

thank you for the patience tip.i saw a couple of videos on youtube that promote ranking websites under 24 hours.i followed their advices but i am still not ranking,maybe i need to get out of the making fast money online mentality and just be patience.Thanks for the post


Useful info,

I started my first website, not intending it to be a niche website. However, as I learned more and more about niche website building, I’ve become more interested.

Would it be unrealistic to try and average building one website per week (by this I mean creating a profitable websites with the equivalent of one week’s work)? Obviously I’d have to work on multiple websites simultaneously, though.

Spencer Haws

I wouldn’t recommend it. I would recommend only focusing on one or two websites…total.


Thanks for the reply!

I guess it’s just hard first starting out. I probably have a hundred or so back links from tumblr (which, from what I know this is an authority site). Yet my website isn’t even on the first 10 pages. Now I just have to keep building my website and wait I guess.


Tumblr is great for targeted viral traffic if people share your content…..I have been experimenting building targeted tumblr accounts for my niches… biggest site so far is about 1500 targeted followers after about 4 months!

There is a guy named “the lazy ass stoner” who has some great tutorials on using Tumblr….


Hey Spencer and Perrin!

I’m trying to follow your advice and build a PBN…….I have found a domain that has expired with domain authority 15 and page authority of 29. The back link profile is very limited to just a few non spammy links (less than 10) Is this worth buying from a PBN point of view?


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