NSP Update 6: Ranking on the First Page of Google!

By Spencer Haws |

I started the Public Niche Site Project about a month and a half ago.  Obviously I was quite apprehensive about sharing one of my niche sites publicly for a number of reasons.  However, at this point in time, I can say I’m VERY happy with the way this project is turning out!

In fact, as of last week, my site started cracking the top 10 of Google!  Sometime around March 15th, my niche site ( reached the first page of Google for its primary keyword, “best survival knife”.  And as of today, March 19th, I’m seeing it at the #4 position in Google…awesome!

Today I wanted to share what I’ve done since my last update, and why I think my site is ranking so well.

How to Get on the First Page of Google

I believe that the primary reason I am ranking near the top of Google is because of my solid keyword research.  I showed EXACTLY how I went about choosing my keyword on a webinar here and a further post here and my analysis video here.

I’ve made it very clear all along that the most important step is keyword research in building a niche site.  If you find an easy to rank for keyword, everything is just details (but important details still).  But if you target the wrong keyword that is too difficult, no matter how well you do everything else, you won’t rank in Google well (or make money).

I use Long Tail Pro (Platinum version) to do all my keyword research.  Yes, I am the creator of this product and make money if you happen to buy it.  But the reality is that its Keyword Competitiveness function works extremely well.  The software allows you to find the true difficulty of ranking at the top of Google by calculating all the important data from each website already ranking in Google.

If you haven’t tried out Long Tail Pro yet, I recommend you do right here.

Link Building

Now, I have done a little bit of link building as well; and this has helped my site.  But I have actually done mcuh less than I was expecting to at this point.  As I wrote in my in-depth link building post here, I was planning to submit my site to about 50 web directories and then start building many more links in the first couple of months.

However, I stopped building links for a bit after my site was penalized for having too many Amazon affiliate links on it.  As explained in that post, I actually had my VA remove most of the web directory links he had built, because I wasn’t sure if that was causing the penalty.  So, I probably only have about 10 links from web directories now, instead of the planned 50.

The ONLY other link building I’ve done at this point is blog comments.

I don’t know the exact number, but I’ve probably commented on about 15 blogs is all.  In order to find blogs to comment on, I simply did Google searches for things like, “best survival knife” + Leave a comment; or “survival knife” + “leave a reply”.  This brought up relevant blogs that were accepting comments.

I did NOT worry about the PageRank of the blog OR if the comments would be do-follow.  (I think they were probably all nofollow…but I didn’t check…doesn’t matter).  So, most of the comments I made were on new posts that had either no other comments or only a handful of comments.  A few of the blogs I commented on did have lots of other commentators, but not most.

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These blog comments just provide me with links coming from relevant content (very important), and they give me a good base of links from LOTS of different domains. The comments I left were not spammy either.  My comments were relevant to the posts, and they were all original and genuine.

However, overall, the links pointing to my site are not very powerful at all.  The keyword research I did and the content provided on my site has much more to do with why I’m ranking so far than the links.

Future Plans

I have a few more articles to add to the site, which will bring it very close to about 20 total articles on the site.  I’ll be doing that this week.

In addition, I’m feeling a bit better about the site (after the penalty scare), so I’m going back to my original link building plan.  I actually may cut it back a bit, as all the links may not be needed (I’m already ranking well without them).  But over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be implementing my plan that I laid out here.

I really didn’t think I would be ranking this quickly in Google!  But as I approach number 1 in Google, I’m started to get more long tail traffic.  If this continues for the next few weeks, I will most likely start adding more and more content…knife reviews.  Ideally, I’d like my site to become more of an authority in the niche and enjoy the long tail traffic that comes along with that.

Earnings and Rankings

I will provide a full earnings report after the month is over.  But right now, I’m sitting just shy of $50 in Amazon associates earnings for the month of March.  Not bad for a site that is only a month old.  I’m going to stick with what I have for the next month or so, as far as monetization; but will start testing different strategies out later.

Again, the original goal of the niche site project was to reach $500/mth within the first 6 months.  I think this is attainable.

And just for fun, here is how the site has ranked over the past few weeks:

Now, before you get too hung up on these rankings, you should know that Google rankings are changing constantly!  Many of the sites on the first page of Google change positions several times each day.  So nothing is set in stone; however, it is interesting to see how the rankings change over time.

Finally, if you need to catch up on any of the previous posts for the niche site project, I’ve made a brand new page here.

Your Thoughts

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts, comments, or questions.  Feel free to add to the discussion below.

Stories & Projects | 172 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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Congrats on page 1 Spencer. Huge accomplishment!

Do you plan on stopping at 20 articles, or does that depend on the profitability of the site?

Good job.

Spencer Haws

I mentioned it briefly in the post, but I plan on adding content if the site continues to do well after a month or so.


Well, you are sort of stuck with making your survival knife site awesome now, Spencer. Otherwise, you’ll get overtaken (probably soon) by the “copycat” niche site builders who are too lazy to do their own keyword research. I’m curious to know how many similar domains were registered the day that you posted your keyword.

Spencer Haws

Yep, I agree; I better make the site epic now 🙂 And yes, I know there will be copycats; already know of at least 1 for sure…probably plenty of others. (Some people aren’t very smart…there are other markets wide open besides this one).


Hey Spencer,

Yea buddy I was just looking at your niche site and I see other sites that are probably using your site as a blueprint.

The site looks great Spencer. Just do what your doing an continue turning that niche site into an authority site just like your doing.

The proof is in the pudding as they say! The copycats will drop the ball because some people just are not authorities on much of anything it seems.

If they had to copy your work to get their site started they will drop the ball sooner or later.

Have a great day Spencer!

P.S. I just shot you an email in response to an email I just received from you today. I hope to talk with you soon!

Spencer Haws

Thanks David!

Tung Tran

My public niche site got penalized too! I’m moving it to a new domain. Let’s see what happend =)


How to check where a website ranks in the Google search engine results?

Aaron Haynes

Hi Spencer. Thanks for the update. Yes, I’ve noticed with a couple of my clients sites in not too competitive KW areas that some newer sites and/or sites with few backlinks move faster to the first page (and even replace) sites that have larger numbers of links.

Reading from SEJ, SEL, SEOmoz, etc., there are tons and tons of theories and case studies and ideas about what to do and not do in terms of SEO in 2013 and beyond. From my own experience thus far, I don’t think anyone really knows unequivocally. Even in terms of what not to do – while this may be a bit clearer – is still not 100% certain.

I love seeing studies like yours because they show again and again how simple the process can be and effective as well.


Wow, pretty impressive results there. How quickly did you deploy your current articles?

Spencer Haws

I added the articles just one at a time very slowly. Sometimes once a day, sometimes just a couple times a week.

Vijay @ Save Money

Congrats Spencer!
You deserve it!!!

Spencer Haws

Thank you Vijay!


Wow! Impressive! Looks like I’ll need to go back to the start of these posts and check out your complete strategy!


Spencer, Did you get my email I sent to you about my adsense account getting shut down?

Spencer Haws

Yes, I did; and I responded the same day. If you still can’t find it; send me an email reminder.


What tool are you using to figure out day by day what your site page rank is in google?


Longtail pro has a rank tracker tool that works well


Thanks for sharing . Its a good news that you got back the rankings. As you said here , after building 100 links you will try to build links using expired domains if you need to . Will it be the only link building strategy that you will repeat to reach $500/month goal ? Or you will repeat some of other strategies too ?

Spencer Haws

I may repeat others, depending on how I’m ranking. But for now, I’m not even close to doing the link building I laid out there yet.


More than likely there was never an affilate link penalty and his site was simply doing a google dance.


I read your post previously and I’m sure that you actually believe you were hit with a penalty, but you do not have any empirical proof that you were actually hit with a penalty.

I have dozens of niche sites with hundreds of affiliate products using a commission junction plugin and I have never been hit with any such penalty.

I do not touch these sites and they have all miraculously stayed on the first page of Google. They earn money on autopilot every year and I haven’t touched them for years. It’s an extremely ugly website at that.

There are dozens of product based websites on the first page of Google showing nothing but affiliate links.

But hey, if you truly believe that the amount of affiliate links killed your rankings then by all means, continue to believe it. However, there are tons of newbies who read your sites judging by the comments and your thoughts may serve to mislead them in their efforts online.

Spencer Haws

Rich, if you want to discuss this further, please post it on the relevant blog post I linked to. There’s a whole discussion on the other blog post, and these comments are not relevant here. Rich, I own hundreds of sites and have many on autopilot like you. If you want to re-read my arguments for why I thought it was a penalty, go to the other blog post.

And finally, I don’t think telling newbies to go easy on the amount of affiliate links is bad advice. In fact, I’ll say it again, “Don’t put 100 affiliate links on one page!” I could really care less if it was a penalty or not (I think it was)…the site bounced back after what I did, AND the resulting advice of watching the amount of affiliate links is still good as well.

If you don’t like that advice, don’t follow it. I’ll let everyone judge for themselves.

My Money Design

That’s very impressive. You’ve done some great work and provided a great follow along. This gives me encouragement that my niche site will soon also be ranking on the first page if I stick to it.


Hi quick question how do you check the ranking in google do you have software or What??



google analytics , webmaster tools, or clicky works good.

Jeff Brady

Long Tail Pro can check a site’s ranking for a given keyword

Spencer Haws

Yes, I have software. Long Tail Pro has a rank checking function that I use.

TJ McCue

Way to go, Spencer! Loving your new series and learning a ton. Keep it up. I saw (sun night or mon morn) that the site hit Page 1 and have been eagerly awaiting your update! Figured it would be a joyful update that’s for sure.


Wow, congrats Spencer! It’s good to see your analysis of how your site has ranked – you’ve obviously picked a great juicy keyword and niche!

Looking forward to hearing more about the site going forward 🙂

Jeff Brady

Awesome! Congrats on hitting the first page! The info you provide is amazing 🙂 How many knives have you sold in the past month?


Well done Spencer. Do you have a video that shows Long Tail Pro’s SERP position tracking feature?


Spencer Haws

No video yet as its still early testing phases, but I will when its ready.


That’s freakin’ awesome, Spencer!!! Way to go, man!

Casey Dennison

Keyword research, good content and those relevant blog comments seem to have done the trick.

Mk Akan

congrats man….


Hi Spencer,

It’s INCREDIBLE you’ve moved up so quickly to your current spot! I’ve read all of your keyword research articles and have learned a great deal from them. Quick question, though: do you consider ALL Squidoo pages to be weak? Some keywords I noticed had Squidoo pages whose PR was 3 or 4 and with optimized keyword relevancy. In other words, if a keyword has a Squidoo page (with, say, PR 3 and less than 10 juice links), you can ALWAYS outrank them, right, even if they’re optimizing your keyword? Thanks.


PS: I’m using Long Tail Platinum right now, and it’s a beaut. People who say SECockpit is better don’t know what they’re talking about because SECockpit doesn’t show keyword relevancy, which is essentially the whole ballgame!

Michael Taylor

Spencer, nice job. Watching you develop this site is very helpful as part of the niche site development learning process. I’ve been curious about the YouTube video that is just ahead of you at position #3. It has a low Page Authority, but a very high Domain Authority. I have been unsure of how to address very high Domain Authorities. Do you expect to be able to out rank the YouTube video? Thoughts?

Michael Taylor

Spencer, my question has just been answered. I just checked on Google and your now at #3, just ahead of the YouTube video. I a newbie on niche site building so this may have been obvious to others. Again, very helpful to be able to watch and learn.


Congrats Spencer, that is great news – its amazing how quickly you’ve managed to rank the site for its primary keyword. In terms of SE traffic, how many uniques would you say the site averages since you hit page 1?

All the best with increasing the sites income and thanks for showcasing this project publicly, much appreciated 🙂

Spencer Haws

The traffic is up for sure. However, it can be difficult to truly gage because there are obviously people from my blog here visiting the niche site as well.


That has to be the hardest part to figure out.

I know I have visited the site to see what it looks like and how it is progressing, so it only stands to reason that other people would be doing the same.


Hey Spence

I was wondering how may impressions and clicks have you had from amazon yet…

I also sent you a wholesalers catalog with hunting knifes in it. Hope that helps you out a bit

Spencer Haws

Yes, I received your email…thanks! I’ll share more detailed statistics on the month end report.


Congrats, Spencer. This case study could have gone either way, but I’m glad it’s moving in a positive direction.


Well done sir. You are an inspiration. I’m seeing you at number 3 from Mexico, though I doubt many Mexicans will be ordering survival knives via Amazon.

Casey Dennison

Yea, I’m seeing him at #3 from Texas.


This is inspiring. Good job.


Great work and thank you for all of your help and tips along the way


That is fantastic Spencer. Excellent job.

I am amazed as to how quick Google has responded to what you did. That is fantastic.

I like how little linkbuilding you actually had to do in the end. That means there is hope for people who do no linkbuilding at all.

I look forward to the time when it reaches 500$/ month.


nice going Spencer..can you give details on how to submit your site to web directories?

Spencer Haws

No I wasn’t. Its a pretty straightforward process, just fill out the forms usually and hit submit.

Joey Bones

On your blog comment links, are you linking back to the main URL, or subpages? Very interested in this, and great work as always!


Well done Spencer. I love it when a plan comes together, especially when it’s exactly what you set out to do!


I am tracking your site since the beginning of March. Here is a graphic – feel free to use that if you think it will show the movement better :]

Spencer Haws

Thank Dimitar. I actually have something similar that I was going to surprise everyone with…but now you stole my thunder :). Thanks for tracking…


Good, Congrats
I see your niche site is slowly at opining, does not it
why you don’t earn from adsense at the site? only amazon
does amazon is productive adsense


Hi Spencer,

Nice work. Just wanting to let you know that a search from my end shows you at position #3 rather than the #4 I saw you at yesterday (non cached search).


You have made some really good progress already. Congrats!
What tools do you use to calculate your google position? or do you just search?

Spencer Haws

Long Tail Pro.


Congrats! As a newbie I am motivated but at the same time have to remind myself that Spencer is a niche website professional with many years of experience. Are there any newbies out there who have success stories to share?


David Michael

Hear Hear… I’d also like to hear of some brand newbies nailing it (or failing it), and why. 🙂

Spencer Haws

I believe a couple of people have commented on this very post explaining their success, check it out.


Nothing builds credibility like consistently demonstrating results! Well done Spencer!

Enda McLarnon

Thanks for being brave enough to post and share this valuable information. I built a site in the UK using a very similar method but in a different niche.

I used Long Tail Pro to get my keywords and competition.

I only had maybe 3 Amazon links on each post and a total of 6 posts.

It took about 6 weeks to rank No4 on Google and I have made 12 sales in the two weeks since it got to the first page. That has now paid for the domain so anything more is profit as I paid my hosting for 2 years and use it for other sites.

I am well pleased with that and what is even better is I have done ZERO links to get there. I had to test that as I hate linking with a deep passion.

I have just built two more using Long Tail Pro and can’t wait to see the results on those. I know they may not all work but it will prove to me once and for all that it is all about going after the right keywords.

Spencer Haws

That’s great to hear of your success using Long Tail Pro Enda!


I gotta be totally honest with you Spencer…

I’ve loved and read your blog for quite some time now..ever since the Niche Adsense Challenge days.. but a part of me, in the back of my mind, thought you might be exaggerating about your income claims, or your capabilities.

Seeing live proof (Google ranking) of what you’re capable of, and seeing exactly what you’ve been doing, step-by-step, is incredible. Now I have no doubt about what you’ve claimed in the past, or what you’ll claim going forward.

Thanks for running this case study and keeping us all updated. It’s certainly something we can learn from.

Spencer Haws

Thanks for being honest. That is one big positive reason for me to do this project, is to let people see my full process. Having me talk about what I do is one thing (as you know), but being able to see my live website is hopefully enough proof that this isn’t my first try :).

And for the record, all of my earnings reports or anything I’ve shared about my business is 100% accurate.


I second that! I am a full believer now lol!


Awesome 50 days from conception and your squarely on page 1 and earning a few bucks. I’m looking forward to seeing you attaining the $500 pm this will be the ultimate test 🙂

I have a couple of questions, If your adding comments on blogs with a “nofollow” tag does this not mean that G ignores them? Meaning that their is no association between your site and the site you commented on.

Have you added any outbound links to other sites in your niche?

Spencer Haws

No, google does NOT ignore “No follow” tags. Perhaps do a quick search on what a no follow tag is, it will be instructive. No follow really just means that PageRank will not be passed and the true “juice” of the link page is not passed on. But google most certainly follows the links and will index the pages.

Yes, as you can see on my niche site, I have lots of outbound links to other sites. (Linking out is important and good).


I knew PR was not passed. After searching for docs on a google site, they state a nofollow link all alone will not get your site indexed. I have always wondered if they do keep a check of all those nofollows and give some kind of credit, particularly if they are coming from relevant sites?


In general, we don’t follow them. This means that Google does not transfer PageRank or anchor text across these links. Essentially, using nofollow causes us to drop the target links from our overall graph of the web. However, the target pages may still appear in our index if other sites link to them without using nofollow, or if the URLs are submitted to Google in a Sitemap. Also, it’s important to note that other search engines may handle nofollow in slightly different ways.

Spencer Haws

Great info Neale, thanks for following up. Yes, I believe they do give some kind of credit.


I have read and re read that statement, cause I knew something was weird in it.

The 1st if (if other sites link to them without using nofollow) Means you need at least one do follow, to get indexed. “without a sitemap, see second if below”

The 2nd if (or if the URLs are submitted to Google in a Sitemap.) Means you do not need any dofollow links.

This loosely implies, if you submit a sitemap. Having a nofollow link, helps getting indexed. Which kinda explains the “In general, we don’t follow them.” statement.

Michael Taylor

Spencer, do you set your outbound links as no-follow so you are not leaking link juice from your inboun links?


His outbound links are dofollow if they were nofollow google would not technically not follow them and thus not see the relevance to the site.


Nice one Spencer, I agree re: KW research, if you find a non competitive niche (something under 30 in LongTail Pro KC) you can rank without a single backlink. I have a couple of sites now making 10$ a day without a single link, it’s all in the keyword research.

Fred @

Spencer, you are killing it!

Good stuff my man. My niche site is ranking on the first page of Google as well for a 22k exact monthly search keyword.

Anyone who says making money online is difficult just needs to read all of Spencer’s posts about this project. You won’t find info this good in many paid courses, and believe me, I’ve been through quite a few.

Spencer Haws

Thank you Fred!! I will not say that everything online is easy, and I’m not trying to make it look easy…but its certainly possible as I’ve shown here. The process is always the same, solid keyword research, quality useful content, and a little bit of link love and google will do the rest.


good job! enlighten me, what did you use to build up the matrix?

Spencer Haws

TablePress plugin.


Spencer, I love what you are doing and I love my Longtail Platinum. I think however that your rankings are being impacted by traffic from your niche persuits audience and are not typical results. What do you think?

Spencer Haws

That’s very possible…I don’t know the full impact of having my blog readers visit my niche site. Although if you look at ranking factors (SEOmoz has a nice list, as do others); getting traffic to your site is not what makes you rank better in Google. Otherwise people would just buy a bunch of traffic to their sites until they ranked at the top of Google.

But I do think that bounce rate and returning visitors does help rank better in Google, and I’m sure that my blog readers spending time on the site are improving my bounce rates and time on site. BUT I can also tell that natural visitors (visitors coming from very long tail phrases) are also spending just as much time on my site and have a low bounce rate. In other words, everyone is finding my site useful. So, its really hard to quantify the impact of my blog readers.


Wow.. today, your site 2nd place on Google… Can we use the exact method on subdomain or free blog like blogspot and

Spencer Haws

Toni, you can try, but I wouldn’t expect the same results. Owning your own keyword rich domain, provides lots of advantages. Maybe others can chime in here though, I’ve never tried to rank free blogs before.


Great to see your success, Spencer!
…..your site is at #2 from Australia – outranked only by the Discovery Channel.
It’s very heartening to see that you can do this, & how you do it – your case study has come at just the right time for me, to understand & make use of the info you are sharing here.
I’m using Long Tail Pro, & a week ago signed up for LTP Platinum, which is definitely worth the extra. It’s saved me no end of time doing KW research – which I had started to loathe…. just felt like I was beating my head against brick walls over & over. Now I’m trying to sort through the miasma of conflicting ideas about SEO & link-building, so this is just such a welcome relief, to get a clear path through the maze.

Spencer Haws

Wow, great to hear its near the very top in Australia…sweet! I’m glad my project is providing some clarity for you.


Man, you’ve motivates me, I thought its impossible to rank in big G in certain time. Now that I know you accomplished more than I expected. Its a great appreciation for sharing this ideas. Good luck and more power!

For now I’m using your Long Tail as trial. My goal is to buy the pro sooner. No budget yet! :))




Your willingness to share your knowledge is greatly appreciated and it is nice to see that you can be helpful to others and still make money. Keep up the good work!


Hi Spencer,

I am just wondering when you do the commenting, do you just leave the name and the URL of your niche site on other’s blog and if so, is the comment approved by their webmater.

Spencer Haws

I just leave my name, “Spencer” or “Spencer @ Survival Knife Guide”, or something similar. Yes, the comments are approved because they are quality comments; much like this one 🙂


What a great way to prove to everyone that your keyword research tool actually works! haha!

I wish that other internet marketers would do the same. Most of the garbage they are trying to sell doesn’t even work. I am glad that your methods do.

I decided to follow along with your niche project since day 1 and I told myself that if you could prove to me that niche sites work, then and only then would I create one.

As soon as you got hit with the google penalty I was about to scrap the whole idea of doing my own niche site. But then you showed us how to bounce back after getting a penalty and that gave me renewed hope.

Thanks for sharing your journey with us Spencer. I think that there are a lot of noobs out there like me who want to get into IM and affiliate marketing but just don’t know how because we have been reading all of the bad advice from all of the fake gurus.

Spencer Haws

Travis, I’m glad you are taking some inspiration from the project! Ranking in Google can certainly happen and does for “normal” people all day long.


Hi Spencer,

Congrats! I think the fact that you are ranking so well so fast has to do with your awesome content. But I have no idea how Google judge awesomeness:)

Keep up the good work!



Hi Spencer,
I tried to comment here a few times but comments never show up. What’s wrong?

Spencer Haws

This comment was in my spam folder and I just happened to see it. Askimet is recognizing your comments as spam for some reason…


Thanks for the response.
I am using your keyword research tool and it is quite effective, my niche site is on first page now and I am writing a review of the LTP tool.
Thanks a lot.
Btw, I have issue with the rank checker. It almost doesn’t work.

Spencer Haws

Glad you are enjoying Long Tail Pro. If you continue to have any issues, please submit a support ticket to


Hi Spencer,
That’s the problem with Adwords. Somehow they blocked my IP address after I use LTP. I am using proxy and it works properly now.
Anyways, I just wrote my first impression on your tool. I’d love to know your thoughts and let me know if I miss something.
Have a great weekend,


Hi Spencer,
My site was ranked on 1st page for a week but it disappears on the top 500 now. What could be the reason?


I did the same thing for my other blog and got to page one on Google. It did take me a little longer than you did but congrats!


best single cup coffeemakers

Your survival knife site looks really good. The content is really useful to anyone who visits your site. Did you pay someone to write these type of review articles or did you write them yourself?

Spencer Haws

I did the homepage and one of the other articles. (Along with about, contact, etc pages). I paid others to write the rest of the articles.


Congrats Spencer! It is really nice to see the progress from start until it reached page one! Great way to learn the steps on creating niche sites.

Shahbaz Ali

Spencer impressive butt not 4th position i am seeking on first page on 2nd number 🙂 awsome

Spencer Haws

Great 🙂


Hi Spencer

What have you used for the comparison table? I have been after a way of being able to sort columns just like the table on the homepage for that niche site.



TablePress Plugin for WordPress


great job spencer, glad to know your site ranks well in google..and so fast!! i always follow your email newsletter and so far you have given me interesting info. thank’s and happy rangking and happy earning


Nice one Spencer, you`re position 3 here in the UK.



Thank you for this interesting read.
I was wondering, why you don’t just hide the affiliate links with some sort of java-script integration?



One more question: With how many visitors did you make those 50 dollars? Thank you!

Spencer Haws

I haven’t analyzed all the stats yet; I’ll do that for an end of the month report.


Spencer, You are a Rockstar.

I truly believe this result had more to do with keyword research than anything else.

I have read all your posts related to keyword+competition research.

Criteria your selected keyword can be achieve easily using LTP and so it keyword competitiveness. But I am sure many other things also go into this.

Can you please elaborate or make a post of those supportive factors we must choose before deciding our primary keyword from brand new niche site.

It will be really helpful SIR.


Spencer Haws

I believe I’ve covered everything in these posts: . But I will likely be covering more details down the road as a refresher as well.

Chris G

Hey Spence,

Long time no visit. Been busy helping my wife build her authority site.

Question: Why are some of the articles set up as Pages while most of the others set up as Posts?

Spencer Haws

The homepage article is a page, and the full knife chart is a page. The rest are all posts. It just works easier that way for setting up menus and a static homepage.


Congrats Spencer for the vast improvements in ranking.
In my area, your site is appearing at #1 in Google.


How’s your earnings from Amazon going? Have you made any sales after the last post you shared?

Spencer Haws

I shared my earnings in this post.


Thanks for pointing out. I missed that before.

Have you planned to try Adsense and/or Click Bank at this site?

Spencer Haws

Sure, I’ve considered those options. I’ll make decisions after I have a chance to really see how Amazon is performing.

Chris Desatoff

Man, that’s awesome! Your rapid progress on this site is such a HUGE encouragement.

The past couple days I’ve been reading your posts on this study and thinking, “Dude, I remember when he didn’t even have a keyword yet. It was barely a few weeks ago. And now he’s ranking and earning money. And what have my sites been doing in these past few weeks? Nothing. I gotta change that.”

And last night I finished a 6,600 word mega post on my niche site. I was dragging on that post, but every time I felt like getting up and taking a break, I just thought about your knife site and forced myself to keep writing.

Whew! It felt SO GOOD to get that post up on my blog!

Thanks for all the tips and encouragement, Spencer!

Spencer Haws

Glad you’ve found some encouragement from this case study…and that you got your blog post done!


Spencer- do you your partial EMD has anything to do with your ranking at all? Or have all the bonuses from EMD’s been hacked away?

Also- Ive heard ‘traffic’ can temporarily influence rankings- What do you think?

Great site !

Spencer Haws

Yes, of course I think it does. That’s why I included the keyword in the domain. Its provides a little bit of value for sure. Not as much as it used to, but still some.


Hello Spencer.
Congratulations this is cool!
Could you tell please how many visitors per day do you have now, (traffic from Google/other)?

Spencer Haws

I’ll share traffic and other stats at the end of the month.



I believe that you mentioned using BlueHost for your sites. Do you use 1 account and have several sites hosted in an account, or do you open a new BlueHouse account for each niche site?

Is there a difference between these 2 methods?

Spencer Haws

I have lots of niche sites under one bluehost account. Having one bluehost account per website would get way too expensive.


Hi Spencer,

Good going! Congrats on these first very nice results.

I am not sure if you decide later on adding adsense to your nice site but I heard having several niche sites one bluehost account (which I have for example) can make you very visible to google if you use analytics on all of these.

What I did is that I searched for an alternative to analytics and found a wp plugin that I already use on several niche site. Here it is (I’m not the creator of the plugin!)

It’s nowhere near as comprehensive as analytics but it gives some good basic information, like refereers, visits per day, page per day and several other useful stats.

To me, the less information I give to google the better. What do you think?

All the best,


Spencer Haws

I use Google Analytics. But there are lots of alternatives; is a good alternative that very well known/used.

TJ McCue

Fast tactical question: Do you use Google Analytics on your sites or do you use another analytics package? I was thinking that having a large number of sites and using GA on all of them might trigger some extra attention that you wouldn’t want or am I just paranoid?

Spencer Haws

I use Google Analytics. I used to be paranoid about it and tried Piwik stats. But I’ve gone back to analytics and haven’t had issues (that I’m aware of). Just create good sites, and you’ll be fine.

TJ McCue

Thanks Spencer. That’s what i’ve been doing because it works well enough for my simple needs, but I wondered since you have so many sites if you found it created issues. Thanks for clarifying.


Well done mate.
I really think this shows just how good your KW research was.

I’m still stuck at page 4 :S

Jim Weston

It’s awesome you got on the first page without having to do too much link building. I thought your original plan of doing 100 base links was pretty awesome, but the fact that you didn’t have to do even that is fantastic!


Spencer, I just wanted to say these series have been EXTREMELY helpful — thanks for sharing! Awesome job man!


Hi Spencer,
It’s very interesting reading about this project, kudos!!

I’m really curious to see if the high ranking is here to stay.
My impression is that Google gives high rank to new websites to let users “test” their quality.
Checking how many and how fast users go back to the search results page, for example.

I would not be surprise if after few weeks the website will sink down a bit (or a lot).

Of course I wish you not, but this is what I saw in my projects.

Anyone else can comment on this?




Is there a difference between using a rel=nofollow in the ahref for amazon affiliate links?


This probably isn’t the correct post to be asking this question on, and if not, I apologize.

Anyway, I have a number of domain names that I’ve acquired over the past couple of years that I based on keywords that I thought, at the time, were good ones.

After putting them through the Long Tail Platinum software I’ve seen that the keywords are in the range of 30-50 KC scores.

What I want to know is, can these domains be used as they are, but basing the content on other lower scoring keywords in the same niche?

You’ve said that EMD’s aren’t as important anymore, and it seems to me that the keyword that the site is based on is more important. At least that’s the way I’ve interpreted what you said…lol!



Great work! You are number 2 here in Thailand using

I need to start my site ASAP. Time is a ticking.

Thanks for the posts.


Looks like you hit #2 congrats dude


Spencer did you started to using blogroll links?
I found this two pointing to your site
[links removed]

Spencer Haws

No, I didn’t put those links there (or request them). I believe someone is trying to spam my site with these links, and I’ve found others as well. Either someone is trying to help, or trying to penalize my site. Either way, I would ask that people PLEASE DON’T build links to my site!


Hi Spencer
just wondered if you could shed some light on this.
I have been following your project exactly with my new site, I’m a bit behind you but am making progress. I have a concern where I have been checking index status with google by searching site:(url) my posts were getting indexed ok but I now have 6 posts on my site and when I do the index search the first 3 posts that were on the results are no longer showing. Does this mean they have been de-indexed? or is it too early to tell.
Sorry if I’m asking too much but I cant find an answer anywhere else

Spencer Haws

Perhaps too early. If you type in site: in Google and someone comes up, then your site is indexed.


Spencer, i just look at ur backlinks. Your website is waiting for a slap to happen. 81% exact anchor.

Spencer Haws

I’ve had only used my exact anchor text on 1 link total. However, I’m seeing some issues where it looks like someone is trying to help or hurt me by building a bunch of links to my site. They are using my exact anchor text. I may have to try out that disavow tool…



Based on Long Tail Pro, you’re at #2 now. Looks like you’ve got a winner here. Only a matter of time before you take the top spot.

I noticed on ahrefs that you have over 1,000 backlinks, and I’m sure a lot of it is natural because of your content.

If you don’t mind my asking how much backlinking have you done so far?

Kim B.

Awesome post, Spencer! Bookmarked!


Good Stuff, I know it can’t never hurt to follow your Link Building Strategy even when you don’t really need it. Just scares the competition/Copycats away..


It seems someone is placing side-wide links your site with your exact anchor, that’s strange, maybe that person own all of the sites or this can be a link network like Sape, because the links are for totally non-relevant websites.

My question here is, why do you people try to ruin this case study ? If you are trying to help, stop, you are not helping at all. This is one of the best case studies I have ever seen and I want it to continue, so no matter who are you stop building links and let Spencer show us how it’s done.

Public case-studies like that are rare, I mean really rare, so stop this sh*t and enjoy the study, we all can learn a lot from it, including Spencer himself, so don’t ruin it people, just don’t.

Spencer Haws

Dimitar – I agree 100%…please stop whoever you are! I’m doing a full post on this today…


Hi Spencer,

I am confused about how to rank the Primary keyword because you said you only use your primary keyword in your home page and the other posts are targeted to the secondary keywords. How google knows to rank your primary keyword? Please advise. Thanks in advance.

Spencer Haws

Google ranks pages, not sites. So, if your page is about your keyword, Google knows to rank it. Re-read all the niche site project posts is this still doesn’t make sense:

James Brolin

Hi Spencer,

I accidentally build too much blog comments backlinks on my site that it began to “vanished” out of Google search results…can you kindly advise how should i go about removing those links?



Yea there is someone definitely trying to NUKE this project.
There are now dozen sitewide links coming from spam unrelated blogs ALN style websites.
Spancer’s site is still no.2 google global
It’s a shame someone is trying to ruin this


Hey Spence,

Right now your site is #1 where I’m at for ‘best survival knifes’ and #22 for just plain ol’ ‘survival knifes’. That’s pretty good. I hope it just keeps getting better for ya man!


Hi Spencer,

i see you’re on the right track. Kudos to you on behalf of your fans and thank you for beeing so open minded and sharing everything here on your blog.

I am curious, how much time did you invest in this project until now?

Spencer Haws

Maybe around 15 hours? That’s certainly a cost I should have mentioned. But now my time is pretty negligible. I will likely spend less than an hour or 2 each month.


I am new to this site and am sure glad I found it. Thanks for the terrific resources! I was wondering how you find out what your website is ranking for a specific keyword? Is there a tool or website that will display that information?

Spencer Haws

I am using Long Tail Pro.


Hey Spencer,

I’m going through all your posts regarding this case study now. And I haven’t seen this mentioned…but…how are you determining where your website is ranking in Google?

You mention what number it is…what software or website do you use to determine this?


Spencer Haws

I am using the software Long Tail Pro:


Love the website Spencer and the case study is also great. I am still just amazed that you got to #1 so fast without many backlinks or much diversification on your backlinks. That being said, do you think the overall length of your main content played a major factor? Once you pass say 1000 words, does google give you more ranking juice the higher you go?

Spencer Haws

Sure, I think the content helped for sure. Focus on great content first, then get links second.


Hi Spencer!

I am very happy, that you made this public niche study. However it is a shame, that there are people, who want to ruin it….

I have a little question…

I made my first niche website. At the homepage, I had an ~1000 words article, written by me. It has ~1,3% primary keyword density. The problem is, that the site is alive for 2 weeks, and it hasn’t got any position for it’s primary keyword. However, there are secondary keywords in the content, for the site has 8th-10th google position.

What could be wrong? The main page content should only contains the primary keyword, and nothing else?

If I now change the home page content, will I loose rankings to my secondary keywords?

How long does it take for Google, to reindex my site, after I modified it?

I hope you have some time for me.

Looking forward your answer.

Best luck, Susan

Spencer Haws

The site is still very young, give it some time and perhaps build a few basic links (blog comments, etc) to let google know you are around.


It’s ranking number one for me for your keywords, but it has thousands of backlinks. Definitely not just the result of keyword research only since it’s also a pretty competitive market.

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