Selecting an online niche to dominate is one of the more difficult tasks associated with making money online. Since many profitable niches are occupied and already dominated by sites with thousands of indexed pages and backlinks, the effort required for SEO and link building would be enormous. This is not to say that that niche development is not possible.
There are still many opportunities to make money online if a webmaster concentrates on targeted niche development and follows some SEO guidelines. Targeting smaller, less profitable niches means SEO efforts have a greater effect on overall results. Webmasters can see fairly significant results in a relatively short period of time.
Keep in mind that SEO results do not happen overnight. There are very few techniques that can be used that will show results overnight. However, there are things that can be done to improve the performance of a website, see some immediate (yet moderate) successes, that will position targeted niche sites to dominate for specific keywords and keyword phrases.
These targeted niches can be dominated with small sites, and strategic SEO and traffic building techniques.
To illustrate this point, in January 2008 I had identified a niche that I felt could turn me a $100 – $200 profit per month with minimal effort. I had a domain that was sitting idle, doing nothing to increase my online revenue stream. The existing site was receiving just approximately 10 visitors a month and generating zero revenue.
The niche market identified involved health, and the top sites in this niche had approximately 3,000 pages indexed with over 25,000 backlinks. Competing directly with these sites would require a major SEO effort, and from a keyword analysis, the revenue from Google Adsense and affilliate marketing in this niche would not come close to compensating for the effort. However, a minimal effort that could add between $100 – $200 per month to my revenue stream would be a nice addition to my online money making portfolio.
I had decided to concentrate on 10 keyword phrases that would allow me to target this niche using longtail searches rather than specific keyword searches. While some may think that this would limit my ranking and limit the performance from the site, my analysis indicated that there would be more than enough traffic from these long tail searches that would produce approximately $100 – $150 in revenue. The following table summarizes the number keyword searches in the targeted niche selected.
These numbers may seem insignificant, but the competition for these search terms were the best in my targeted niche. With these being the total daily searches performed in this targeted niche, I was hoping to capture a majority of the traffic if I could optimize my content in this area.
Once the longtail search terms were selected, I researched and wrote 20 articles that incorporated one primary longtail keyword phrases in each and 2 to 3 secondary keyword phrases. I kept the keyword density in these articles for the primary search phrase to approximately 5 – 8 percent, and approximately 2 – 3 percent for the secondary phrases. Each article was approximately 500 – 600 words in length.
Where possible, I incorporated the longtail keyword phrases in headings. I was deliberate in including this phrase in the first paragraph of the articles, and in the last paragraph of the article. Plus, if there was an opportunity to include section headings that could include keywords, I took that opportunity as well. Images and externals links in the article included appropriate ALT tags. This was not rocket science, it was simply basic SEO practices.
In all, it had taken approximately 10 – 15 hours to construct a series of targeted, keyword rich articles for the targeted niche being developed.
I wanted these articles to be of highest quality, keyword rich for the longtail search terms I had selected, and written with solid SEO principles in mind. These articles were also constructed in a way that would allow cross linking between pages, which not only increase the chances of these pages being indexed, it also provided an opportunity to keep visitors on the site for as long as possible.
A few of the articles were written in such a way that the user would have to seek clarification on another article, or maybe click on the Google Adsense links that were presented on the pages presented. With the keywords phrases used, and by using some creative filtering within Adsense, the ads presented were extremely relevant to the displayed content and generated revenue between $0.50 – $2.00 per click in this particular niche. Ensuring that these ads matched the style & content was crucial to success in this targeted niche development.
Each article was scheduled to be published inside the blogging software. I varied the publishing times and the number of days between publishing to give a more natural appearance to the site growth. With the 20 articles that I had written, it gave me approximately 2 months worth of articles that I could publish without an extra effort, allowing me to concentrate on link building.
I built the site using a blogging software that I had purchased called Article Live and developed the site over January, February and most of March 2008. I was busy learning the software, maintaining a few other sites, vacationing and this was not my main source of online revenue, but more of an experiment into targeted niche development with a relatively small website. Plus, I had to learn the basics of search engine optimization as well before proceeded with this project.
The first article was published on March 27, 2008.
As each article was published, I systematically added the articles to the following social bookmark sites:
- Google Bookmarks
- Yahoo! This!
- Live Favourites
It took approximately 15 minutes total to have each of these these articles bookmarked once they became published on the site. I also used Technorati to ping and pull the content.
On the off days where there were no articles publishing, I made a point to spend 1 hour a day seeking out links and building relevant one-way links to the site. This included posting on relevant blogs, link solicitation from other sites, directory submissions and article publications.
Directory submissions took the longest time, and produced the worst results. For the article publications, I took an two existing articles, rewrote them to contain a little less detail and published them on article directories. This took approximately 30 minutes to accomplish.
Google Adsense was my primary source of revenue from this site, and the ad types selected was 468 x 60 ads at the top and bottom of the website homepage. Within each article I displayed a 200 x 200 ad at the top, a 300 x 250 ad within the body of the article, and a 468 x 60 ad at the bottom of the page. I had included a 160 x 600 advertisement as part of the right side panel, and a 120 x 90 link unit integrated as part of the navigation section of the site. I alternated the advertising between both text and image ads.
Traffic in April increased from 216 in March to 1534 unique visitors, and over 3200 visitors in total. The following table summarizes the increase in traffic over the next several months. The only month where traffic did not increase was in August 2008. This was the month from hell when my hosting provider had a major hard drive crash and the site was offline for a period of 7 days. A table and graph summarizing the traffic details for this particular website are shown below.
As traffic increased, I continued to feed the beast by publishing articles approximately once or twice a week. Topics were selected from relevant news stories and related websites. Great caution was taken to ensure that the content published was written to be totally unique. It may have contained the ideas or summaries of what was in press releases in this particular niche, but at no point was text copied and pasted to my site. The time required to find relevant ideas and write articles meant I was spending approximately an hour a week researching and writing.
Maintenance of the site and tweaking certain elements took another 1 to 2 hours a week. I was deliberate in examining how people were finding my site, what keywords and keyword phrases were being used, where referalls were coming from and how the traffic converted.
Over 60 percent of the traffic came directly from Google. Another 18 percent from Yahoo! and only 8 from MSN. Thus 86 percent of the total traffic was coming entirely from organic searches.
Traffic continues to increase as I follow this pattern of targeted niche development. Traffic for January 2009 will be approximately 5200 unique visitors based on current trends.
Revenue on the site has increased with daily revenue varying from $3.50 – $7.50 a day. Reaching teh $100 – $150 level as anticipated entirely from Google Adsense is no problem. Most months the revenue is around $180 – $250, with me spending approximately 5 – 7 hours per month developing content and link building. My highest month using this method was over $500 in November 2008. December 2008’s revenue was $349.45 from this single site.
I think that it is evident that targeted niche marketing using small sites and simple SEO strategies can be effective.
With this methodology of targeted niche development and longtail keywords, my site ranks in the top 10 for all the selected longtail keywords that I’ve chosen. Most pages the site will rank in positions 1 through 3 and generate revenue for me constantly. This particular site continues to see improvements in traffic and ranking, which has in turn meant more revenue.