Welcome everyone to another monthly update of what’s going on with my niche website developments.
In case you’re new here, I started building niche sites about a year and a half ago in an attempt to make more money from blogging and greatly accelerate my path to financial freedom. If you’re a blogger or even just a regular person looking to add on to their regular monthly income, then you’re going to want to check this series out.
All I can say about May was that it was a pretty eventful month in terms of up’s and down’s for my niche sites. Here’s a look at how things have gone over the past few weeks:
What in the World Happened to the Rank of NS4?
Oh no! About a week after I published my last Niche Website Update (#17), my latest website project (a music themed one which I call NS4) dropped from #13 in the Google ranks all the way down to #41!
Darn! No one is ever going to click on any of my affiliate links if my website is all the way back on Page 4 of the Google search results.
So what in the world happened? Last month all signs seemed to be pointing in the right direction for this site. I have a few theories about what possibly went wrong.
The first problem is that I let my anchor text proportion get all out of whack. In case you don’t already know, your anchor text (the words people highlight when they link to your website) plays a very crucial role in how your website ranks within the Google search results. If too much of your anchor text is a perfect match to the exact keyword you’re trying to rank for, then you’re going to get in to trouble and penalized by Google! (If you want to know more, check out this article on Quicksprout).
I’m pretty sure that’s what happened to me. A quick check using the free web-tool Ahrefs reveals that the anchor text for my main page (the one I want to drive most of my traffic towards) was over a 5% match to my primary keyword. That’s a problem.
Take my competition for example. When I look at the page that is sitting at number 1 for the keyword I’m trying to rank for, I find that:
1) It only has 16 links pointing to it.
2) None of the anchor text matches the keyword it is ranking number 1 for.
You might ask yourself: How do I control what words people use when they link to my site? The answer: Most of the time you can’t.
That’s not necessarily always a bad thing. Usually when someone genuinely links to one of your articles that they liked, they’ll use some variation of a phrase that matches your topic somewhat closely. That’s good for you and helps you to develop a natural link profile.
Now what about the links you can control (such as the ones you put in your guest posts or other exchanges)? Those are the ones where you’ll want to make sure you’re choosing a good variation of anchor text. Unfortunately that’s not what I did. I foolishly choose to link using my exact match keyword too much (thinking I’d have a far greater total of number of links than I have right now and the proportion would be much lower).
So How Do We Fix It and Get Our Rank Back Down?
First things first: I did some damage control.
To all the places where I had my website added to a blogroll or guest post, I reached out to the webmasters and asked to have my anchor text modified so that it appears more general in nature.
Another thing I decided to do about this problem was to bring out the big guns!
My friend Matt over at Dumb Passive Income had just written a post about his success with a service called Lightning Rank. Lightning Rank is basically a membership into a clandestine group of websites designed specifically to help its member improve their rankings. Seeing as how the cost is pretty low, I decided to give it a try and see if it’s everything people say it is.
About half way through May my links were placed in the form of a new guest post on one of the sites. As promised, the post appeared on a niche-related website with a link from the homepage that has a PA39 and DA29.
A short time after the post went live I did notice my homepage crawling back up to Page 2 ranking somewhere between #18 and #20. To be fair it is tough to say if the benefit was from the Lightning Rank post or one of my attempts to re-allocate the anchor text.
Successful Niche Blogger Outreach:
Another thing I recently started doing (and should have done a long time ago) was to make a stronger effort to reach out to other bloggers within this music niche.
Last month when I talked about following the advice of Brian Dean’s Skyscrapper Post Technique, I tried to reach out to those websites that were already ranking to my competition to see if I could persuade them to link to my better +2,000 post instead. But I was disappointed when I received nothing but radio silence.
encouraged me to get right back on the horse and give it another try – only this time it would mean reaching out to the other music bloggers that fit well with my latest website niche.
The process was simple:
1) First I complied all the “approved” comments that my VA had made for me over the past month in Excel. My logic here was that I’d probably have the best chances of connecting with website owners who had previously approved comments from my site.
2) Next I removed the duplicate websites from the list.
3) Then I visited each site and found the name and contact info for the website owners.
4) Lastly I sent each website owner a personal short message asking if they would like a guest post from me or if there was anything else we could do to help each other out.
How did that strategy work out for me?
Not bad! Out of 10 or so communications I received at least 3 invitations to write a guest post for their site. Comparing those efforts to the cost of Lightning Rank’s service, that’s a value of almost $225. Not a bad relative return for simply sending a few emails.
Over the next few weeks in June, I’m going to submit these guest posts and hope that it helps improve my overall ranking.
My Niche Website Income Report and Changing Focus:
Here are my earnings for May:
So far I have yet to earn a dollar from NS4. Although that’s pretty frustrating, the thing I need to keep constantly reminding myself about building this latest niche is that I need to be patient if I want it to be a long and steady success. The overall ranking of this site isn’t too bad and has plenty of room to grow. But what it all comes down to is how much more I want to invest in the project; both monetarily and time-wise.
The reason I bring this up is because I’m a big believer that you can’t do everything at once. To be the most effective, you need to concentrate your time and efforts where you’ll get the greatest amount of return.
Earlier this month I was very inspired by Matthew Allen’s latest income report when he stated that he made $1300 this month from Google Adsense alone! As you can see from my report above, I’m not making anywhere close to that with NS1 and NS2.
But what if there was a way I could?
With all this focus on NS4 with reaching out to other bloggers and doing guest posts, I figured: Why not do the same thing for NS1 and NS2? Not only will the same strategies likely work, but I’ll also probably see a much bigger boost in benefit from Adsense growth than I will from my NS4 efforts.
This doesn’t mean that I should give up on NS4 or stop working on it. But it does mean that I should experiment to see if my rate of return could be any better from working on it.
So far it has! Early experimentation with NS2 has almost doubled my numbers for traffic!
For NS1, ever since the Google Panda #4 update, it’s sitting at the No. 2 position! For me, that’s incredible! (Especially if you read all the way back to my first niche website updates where this site had virtually no ranking at all).
So in terms of my next big investment, I’ve decided the next thing to do is to pump more money into NS1 by way of having more content created. I researched some new low competition keywords using Long Tail Pro Platinum and hired a writer to create 20 new quality articles. When outsourcing writing, I’ve proven to myself time and time again that paying a little more to produce quality content greatly out-weighs going cheap.
All throughout June and probably July I plan to start adding these new articles as they become available. Let’s hope the financial impact is enough to persuade me to outsource more content for NS2 as well!
Readers – How many of you have found success with reaching out to other bloggers or website owners and offering to work with them? What other things are you doing to promote your blogs or niche website projects?
Previous 3 Niche Site Chapters:
- Update 15 – A Slow Start for NS4 and $935 in Passive Income!
- Update 16 – NS4 is Growing – Plus My Passive Income Report
- Update 17 – How I Went From Spot 500 to 14 in the Google Search Ranks!
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net