My 2 New Niche Sites: Showing Positive Results!

By Spencer Haws |

This has been an “interesting” year for niche sites to say the least.  With my Google Adsense getting banned (and then opening a new one), the Penguin Update, the EMD Update, and more; my niche site business has seen its share of ups and downs.  However, through it all, I’m still a firm believer in natural search engine traffic.

These changes have forced me to stop building 1 page micro niche sites and move up the value chain to larger and higher quality sites.  Over the past couple of months, I’ve been focusing on 2 sites, as I mentioned I would briefly here.  I wanted to provide an update on both of these sites so far.

What’s Different About These Sites

Rather than building lots of “micro” sites, I’m focusing on larger niche sites (or authority sites if you must call it that).  I’m also much more hands on with these sites.  I’ve written some of the content for both sites, but I still hired a couple of authors to fill out the content based on my keyword research.

So far each site has about 20 quality articles.

What about domains you ask?  Well, “site 1” is an exact match domain.  And “site 2” is an PageRank 3 expired domain that I’ve turned into a niche site.  This is a non-match domain name.  Its a related phrase, but not a match to my targeted keyword.

I purchased about 50 or so expired domains a couple of months ago, and one of them just happened to be in a niche that I’m familiar with.  So, it has lots of links that are related (but not specifically targeting) my chosen primary keyword.  I wanted to see how using an authoritative domain right off the bat would affect rankings.  So far, I’m seeing positive things as discussed below…

Keyword Choice

Both of these niche sites are targeting keywords that I’m familiar with.  I’m “familiar” with them because I’ve had niche sites in the past targeting them specifically.  These were small niche sites that at one point were ranking well for these keywords, but through either the Penguin update or other reasons are no longer ranking as well.  I could try to recover those penalized sites, but for at least these 2 keywords, I’m trying new sites out.

I KNOW that “site 1” has the potential to be a $1,500+/mth site if I rank near the top of Google.  I also know that “site 2” has the potential for $500+/mth for its primary keyword (much more with related keywords).

According to Long Tail Platinum (currently in beta), the keyword for site 1 has a keyword competitiveness of 38.

Site 2 has a keyword competitiveness of 24.

For a frame of reference, anything over 40 starts to get pretty difficult.  Anything under 30 is usually fairly easy to rank for.  So, it should come as no surprise that site 2 has started ranking well pretty early on.  I’ll discuss the results further below.


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Link Building

I have been doing link building for both sites, but with 2 distinctive strategies.  For the first site, I’ve hired a company to do all the link building for me.  For around $100 or so, I’ve paid for an initial round of link building with web 2.0 sites, high PR blog links, Facebook likes, and more.  This is really an experiment to see if I can outsource the entire link building process without my involvement.

For the second site, it already had lots of links pointing to it because it was an expired domain.  So, right away the site is a PR 3 and has relevant links.  In addition, I plan to build all the additional links to this site myself using expired domains or other tactics.  I’ve only built a couple of expired domain links, but I’m seeing good results.

How Are They Ranking?

So far, I’m happy with the results!  The first site is a fresh domain that I just started building links to (hired someone) a couple of weeks ago.  So, its sitting around the 100th position in Google; but I expect it to make a jump up soon in the next few weeks when Google re-crawls the sites quality and fresh links.

The second site didn’t take long to break into the top 50; I assume because of its existing PR and links.  However, after placing a couple of my own expired domain links, the site is now ranking #12 in Google!  Pretty good for a site less than 2 months old for a high paying keyword.  However, this is also a less competitive keyword (as shown above), so I suspect it has jumped up so quickly due to both the low keyword difficulty and the existing PR and links.

I’ve been really slow about building links, and suspect that if I added just 2 or 3 PR links from my expired domain network, it could jump to the top 5.

However, my time has been really stretched with developing Long Tail Pro and the Platinum version; so I haven’t been able to focus on these niche sites as much as I would like to.  This is the primary reason I am hiring some interns right now.  These interns will help me build out my expired domain network, add content to my existing niche sites, and overall help me be more effective.

Future of these Sites

If you are wondering how much they are earning, the answer is nothing.  At this point, they are not monetized at all.  I’ve decided to wait until they are ranking in the top 10 before I put any ads or other monetization tactics into play.  I don’t have any good reason for doing this, other than its just an experiment.  I wanted to see if it would take longer or shorter to rank in google based on the ads on my site.  I haven’t noticed any difference at this point.

The future of these sites (and others) is bright.  Once they start ranking in the top 10, I plan on building out more content and going after more long tail phrases.  At this point, they have a good base of content and are getting traffic, but the plan is to grow them into something much more significant.

So there you have it!  This is the current state of my “new” niche sites.  What about yours?  If you have any comments or questions, I would love to hear them below!

Blogging & Niche Websites | 44 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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What % of the new links is going to home page and article url. Also did you create links directly to the homepage of the expired URL or just the content?


Spencer Haws

Most are going to the homepage at this point for site 2. Site one is probably 60%.


Great article, I have pretty much the same tactic for my niche site, allready have written about 120 articles and hope to finish with at least 300 articles, this is my one year project ,so I am testing and hope that it will worth it 🙂 Started publishing articles weak ago, bookmark every article with google plus, fb and twitter and allready have PR3, pretty suprised for brand new domain without any history 🙂

Financial Samurai

Mate, can you tell me what your secret is to writing so many articles in one year?

It’s taken me 3 YEARS to write 600 articles on Financial Samurai!



Guillermo Velderrain

WHats the number of monthly searches for you main keywords? you say they’re high paying keywords, what do you mean by that please elaborate..thanks your the best

Spencer Haws

They both have over 10k searches per month (exact match). They also have high CPCs, over $1.

David Landen

I am creating articles for my blog and hope it will reach an authority level at some point! I have not had much success with people commenting up to this point but hopefully that will change. I am taking the same approach as “Curious” is. I look at my blog as something that I want to build up over time. Thanks again for more inspiration!

Spencer Haws

Blogs have to start somewhere; keep working at it!

Financial Samurai

Give in at least two years… I promise you, if you keep it up you will see the results.

Quinn at Cubicle Free

Thanks for the update! I often wonder how Hayden has faired with his expired domain strategy. Your podcast with him was super interesting and I can see the benefits of owning sites developed from expired domains to be used for link juice. Look forward to further updates. Cheers, Quinn

Spencer Haws

I will definitely keep you updated. I think Hayden is still doing well, but moving from smaller to larger sites as well.

Alex B. (@DreamJobGuy)

Congrats on the continued success you’re seeing, Spencer! It’s awesome being able to follow along with you through this process, so I certainly do appreciate all of the content you produce about what you’re up to!

All the best,

Spencer Haws

Thanks Alex!


Great to hear Spence! I am about to start my next niche site and I was considering making it slightly larger than the 5 -10 article sites that have thrived in the past. I’m thinking a 15 – 20 Article site. But I may hold off to see how your sites work out.

Spencer Haws

I don’t think you can go wrong adding more content…

Don Knowles

Great post! I have been very interested in learning more about purchasing expired domains and how to use them. I know you are busy with Longtail Pro but if you have any more information on that subject I would love to hear about it.

Spencer Haws

Don – I’ve written several posts on expired domains. If you do a search, you’ll find several posts and a couple of good podcasts on my blog here. I’ll write up some more though…


Hey Spencer,
Great job as always… Have you made any drastic changes to the way you are backlinking these new sites as compared to the thinner one you were doing ?

Spencer Haws

Yes, the link building is much different. I covered in the post pretty well the linkbuilding I’ve done. But for one site its expired domain links. The other is web 2.0 properties, facebook likes, and more (outsourced to a company). I’m not using UAW or other automated tools to link directly to my sites. 2nd tier links using automated tools can still be useful if done properly.

Financial Samurai

Hey Spencer,

Have you ever done a calculation of the total number of monthly uniques and pageviews you have for all your sites? I’d be curious to know and whether you can calculate a CPM to it.



Spencer Haws

Yes, I’ve calculated the traffic…never calculated the total CPM, but that would be easy enough to do based on the data I have…



Great job with the new niche sites, I see one is an EMD…..are you worried about a slap with the site or just focusing on creating a quality experience for users (which is what google wants anyway) rather than a thin site.

How has your anchor text an backlinking strategy changed if it has changed at all?

I currently am experimenting with press releases and news type sites to rank in google, no news yet as far as it’s effectiveness since I have been at it less than a week. It’s always nice to have a few new strategies working.

Joe @ How I Got Rich

Good stuff!

I’d kill to be sitting on two keywords/niches that has the potential to earn $2000 per month in total.

I’m just working on one big niche site at the moment.

It has about 50 pages but is only getting about 20 hits a day now after a short period of getting about 50 hits a day.

Each page targets a low traffic keyword but they are not really ranking very well yet.

Not done any backlinking yet though apart from FB, Twit etc

Who did you order the backlinks from?

Good luck with the sites.

Spencer Haws

I haven’t been impressed with the backlinks – so I can’t recommend.

Lewis Saka

very impressive results – definitely helps me get more focussed

Kyle Proctor

what service are you using for link building? you mention in this post a service for 100 but I don’t see any company names. Care to divulge that info?

Spencer Haws

Kyle: I wanted to test before recommending. I’m not as impressed as I’d like to be – I’m looking for a different service.

Jon @ Authority Site Income

Spencer, definitely interested in how the expired domain does vs the non expired domain. Are you doing any 301 redirects from the old pages to the new pages etc?

Spencer Haws

No 301 redirect right now, but I should.


Hey Spencer,

Little off topic, is the CTR website theme still good for these sights? Any recommendations on how many ads I should use and what layout works best in your opinion?




Great job, The change in strategy might even help your focus, and eventually giving you better returns for your time..


How do you find out your page ranking in Google?

Marc @ Internet Nischen

Great stuff, Spencer! I am curious to know how much time you spend on each niche site every day or in a week?

Spencer Haws

Most of my niche sites I don’t spend any time on. They are meant to be passive. However, when I’m first building them it takes more time, but once built, I do all I can to outsource or otherwise keep them passive. This site (nichepursuits) is different of course; I actively put alot of time into it.


When you say 20 articles, are some of them 1,000 words long or are they mostly the 500 word range? I noticed Hayden is going really big into content now instead of links. Amount of indexed pages plays a roll he is thinking

Spencer Haws

The primary article is 1000 words long (or longer), but most of the other articles are 500 words in length or so.


Sounds great! I’ve got one site in particular I’ve been really working since I found Pat Flynn. I’m really excited about this niche site thing, though the site I have right now, which is a topic I’ve been in for quite some time except I used to sell a physical product through it and now I’m turning it into a how to site, is giving me fits trying to get it to rank well! It’s not a huge niche though is the thing, so I think I’m just not doing something right lol Hopefully it won’t take more months to figure it out and break through.

Frank @

I’m glad you’re building some of these sites now. I can apply what you teach to my new blog.

Thanks for another great article

Rinus @

Hey Spencer,

Thank you! You’ve been a great motivator. I’ve been reading your blog for some time now. I’m all new at this but I finally started and purchased Longtail Platinum 2 weeks ago. Found my first keyword and build my first site, using your theme. Started linkbuilding now but it’s difficult because it’s all new to me. Anyway, I’m going to worl hard and try to make succesfull niche sites with your help 😉

Best regards,


Dale P @ poyserdk

Interesting that your micro niche sites were only one page!

You were able to rank and monetize one page niche sites?

How are those sites doing post panda and penguin and EMD?

Spencer Haws

I don’t built 1 page sites anymore – but they were working well. I’m more focused on sites I can build out long term. The 1 page sites only work for a short period of time.


Hello Spencer,

Nice to to see that you are getting some great results in your Niche websites.Seeing your success,i also launched one of my niche websites recently.I have not been putting much effort to create some content and back-linking,except for 1 or 2 articles that i wrote so far and nothing else.I have prepared some more articles, to push them through various article directories, so as to get some back links.My site is on page no 4 in yahoo and Bing,but i am yet to see my site anywhere in Google.I wanted to know is that a good sign??and should i continue to give it some more time or there is something wrong that i am doing??Kindly advice me what i should do.


Spencer Haws

Give it some time before you get too worried.


At the end of the day it all comes down to the Content.

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