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IM Journey to Rank and Monetise a Site

Discussion in 'My Journey Discussions' started by Sampsonite, Aug 8, 2017.

  1. Sampsonite

    Sampsonite Newbie

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    hi all,

    been on this forum for a while, haven't contributed a whole lot, but i've been doing a lot of reading, absorbing all the information that i can.

    I'm starting a journey that i hope you will all follow me with and watch me succeed in!

    *** personal back-story, skip to goals if you couldn't care less***
    Over the past 5 years, i have attained a solid career, worked my way up the ladder of success somewhat, and bought my first house. However, I am not fulfilled by what i do, and have wanted to break into the IM world and have my own business for years now.

    In the wise words of Young Dick, Lil Dicky " I'm not one of those younguns on the block who had nothing to lose, i must've wanted this a lot i had something to choose "

    Goal:
    The goal of this journey is to design, build, rank, and monetise a website by the years end.
    I won't be setting any targets just yet. While i've built many websites and started many projects, i always fail and i've never had a search result on the first page of google. By not setting any targets, i can always course correct and adjust my plan.

    Plan:
    - Choose niche
    - purchase a niche relevant, expired domain
    - decide how to lay out the site to start with, providing content and structure to the user
    - perform keyword research and competitor analysis
    - write x amount of articles and deliver them to the site and interlink
    - let the articles rest and get naturally indexed by google
    - start a campaign to help the articles rank in google (social shares, quality back-links, reaching out to other people in my niche)
    - produce more content so the site is active in googles eyes
    - repeat previous 3 steps

    I'll get more specific as the journey goes, and i'll answer questions on what i'm doing.
    I'm more than willing to listen and learn from everyones advice and experience on this forum. If there's one thing i've taken away from SEO and this forum, is that there isn't one right way of doing things, and there are many different strategies depending on keywords, niche, personal ability, etc... However there are many many wrong ways of doing things, and these i will try and avoid. If i don't manage to avoid them, then let my mistakes serve as a lesson to myself and others!

    Sooo... let the journey begin!

    I will post an update either tonight or tomorrow based on what i've done so far
     
  2. Sampsonite

    Sampsonite Newbie

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    The Journey So Far

    Before starting this thread, i had already completed the first two points in my plan. I have already chosen a niche, and have already purchased a nice relevant, expired domain.

    The Niche

    Obviously i'm not going to reveal my niche, however i would consider it evergreen. There are large communities based around this niche, and there is an entire rabbit hole to follow down, should i wish.

    The niche is something that i am passionate about, and something that i know a pretty decent amount on already. It's probably a medium difficulty niche, but i'd rather choose something that i think i could write about for a long time thats slightly more difficult, than something easy that i'll lose interest in.

    The Domain

    As was my plan, i found an expired domain that was niche relevent. I checked out the backlink profile, and it was pretty clean from spam etc. It sports a DA score of 20 and a PA score of 33, and is a 4-year old domain. It's brand-able for sure, but i would like to change it eventually i think.

    Site Structure and Layout

    I got the domain set up on my hosting, installed wordpress, and installed the Newsmag Premium theme. I've never used a Premium theme before; usually i take a lite/basic theme and completely change it, but this looked pretty good and customisable, so i'm running with it for now.

    I created the following pages: 'About Us' 'Contact Us' ' Privacy Policy' ' Guest Post'. All pretty self-explanatory.

    Until today, i had planned to do 10 initial articles and drip feed them to the site. They were to alternate in focus from adsense/affiliate/adsense/affiliate.... with adsense articles being more informative, and the affiliate articles being more about buyer intent; 'what is x product' and 'ten best x product under 200'.

    However, i have since decided to create an ultimate guide to the niche. I will create a pillar article of good length, which will link out to supporting articles, which will eventually link out to further supporting articles; think of it like a spider web.
    Once this structure is complete, i will then consider whether to turn the site into a magazine style site, with that guide being a way of drawing visitors to the site.

    Phase 1 of this plan will require 9-11 articles, including the pillar article.
    Phase 2 will add a further quantity of support articles, getting much more specific.
    Phase 3 will be to turn this 'Guide' into a focus point of the site, and decide what direction to take the site in; i imagine phase 3 will take me beyond the years end.

    And that's it for now! I will be back soon with keyword research and how i'm conducting it, and the results from that.
     
  3. W9go

    W9go Elite Member

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    so 9-11 is you niche ? ;)
    good luck anyway.
     
  4. Sampsonite

    Sampsonite Newbie

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    haha, no of course not :rolleyes: and thanks!
     
  5. Sampsonite

    Sampsonite Newbie

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    Pillar Article Keyword Reseach

    The first thing that i need to do is to start my keyword research on my pillar article.

    Since i know the niche, i know what the pillar article needs to be about, i just start by googling related words, noting search volume and CPC, and seeing what google thinks is related to my search term.

    Brainstorming keywords doesn't need to be a difficult task, google has already done most of the work with their algorithm, you just need to make good use of that.

    Often i'll go many layers deep into googles rabbit hole of related search terms. I'll use an example of reptile enclosures..

    Original Seach: reptile enclosures
    Related Search Terms: large reptile cages, plastic reptile cages, stackable reptile cages, custom reptile cages

    Now i'll note down all the search volumes and CPC, and then search each of those terms. Google thinks that these are all related, so chances are you should take that attitude too.

    I'll then google each of these terms and check the competition for the top 10. I'll take a quick glance at how many have the keyword in the title, url, and description, and whether any of these are authority sites.

    I'll also do allintitle:"keyword" and allinurl:"keyword" searches in google. This gives me a good idea on whether people are targeting the keyword specifically, and how many people are optimised for it. I'm not totally sure how useful this is as i'm sure google displays relevant results not necessarily optimised for your keyword, but are more authoritative. If anyone can help clarify the usefulness of these search, and whether i'm correct about google, it would be appreciaited!

    Next i'll take the top 10 and put them into semrush, to see what their backlinks are, keywords, competitors, etc.. I only use the free version so anyone can do this too. The backlink profile says a lot about the site and page, but it isn't entirely reliable, incase they have any hidden PBN's. However, it gives a good idea about how hard it would be to outrank or compete. In my specific niche, many of the backlinks are forum links, media submission sites, and website submission sites. I believe i can use guest posting to my advantage here.

    Combining many of the free tools together can yeild good results to help with keyword research.

    I've decided on a main keyword for the pillar article, plus 4 to 5 supporting keywords to catch variations in searches, and increase amount of serp positions. This should also increase the general relevancy of the article so google knows exactly what im talking about, and rank accordingly.

    Extra Competition Research

    So something that i've been doing for this project is to analyse competitors in semrush, and follow the rabbit hole.

    I know from my niche who roughly would be my competition, and what some of the bigger authority sites are. I put each one in semrush, find THEIR top 5 competitors by organic keyword, and then find their top 5 backlink domains.

    Once i've done this, i'll add their top 5 competitors to a spreadsheet, along with their top 5 backlink domains. Doing this over and over i can generate a list of competitors i didn't know about, and places to try and get backlinks so i can imitate my competitions behavior in google. Doing this over the past couple of nights, i was able to get about 60 competitors listed, and 5 backlink domains for each one, totalling 300 domains. Obviously there is some overlap as many of these will share commonalities, but building up this data should prove useful in the future.

    ------------------------------------

    That's all for today. I might not be able to post a full update until next week now, due to work being so busy. Any free time i do get will be dedicated to keyword research over the next week or so.
     
  6. Sampsonite

    Sampsonite Newbie

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    Monday Update - 14/08/17

    Going to do weekly updates on Mondays as i can log my progress from the weekend which is when i get the most amount of time.

    So the two major changes i made to my site were:

    1. installed an SSL certificate from Godaddy
    2. started using CDN cloudflare

    I read a few things over the weekend about SSL and CDN's, and then @t0mmy posted this thread https://www.blackhatworld.com/seo/on-site-seo-in-2017-the-definitive-guide-to-higher-serp-rankings.963988/ which convinced me to get a proper SSL certificate and start using a CDN. Took about an hour to setup and edit all of my links and content. Hopefully it will pay off in the long run. I decided to use a paid certificate over a free one; worth it? I don't know, i'm sure someone will be able to tell me!

    I've also been using google lighthouse to analyse my site and see where its shortfalls are. i've been able to increase load speed and stuff, which should help with future bounce rate issues, etc..

    I'm about 95% done on my pillar article with my main keywords + interspersed related keywords. Just need to add a conclusion, images, and links.

    Week Targets
    - complete the pillar article
    - keyword research for two more articles
    - finish at least 1 more article and post to website


    I figured having some weekly goals would be good for me, keep my on track...
     
  7. Sampsonite

    Sampsonite Newbie

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    Monday Update - 21/08/17

    Time for my weekly update. Here are my previous weeks targets i set myself:
    - complete the pillar article
    - keyword research for two more articles
    - finish at least 1 more article and post to website


    I managed to complete all three targets, and half finish another article. I think i'll be able to finish that mid week and possibly have another ready by the end of the week!

    Serp Rankings

    I ran my website through semrush and google search console, and started tracking the keywords that have appeared there. Below are the results as of today.

    [​IMG]

    I'm pretty pleased with the results so far. This is all on-page SEO, I've not implemented any link strategy yet. I have a strong suspicion that these results are due to the domain rankings. Once i have a good amount of articles, i can then start my off-page SEO.

    Weekly Targets
    - Finish current article
    - keyword research for 2 more articles
    - start planning a solid link strategy

    I've been thinking about buying scrapbox to help scrape some expired web 2.0's, so maybe i'll have that this time next week too!

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    On a side note, i've been talking to a buddy of mine from work about starting up a little side venture to help bring in some income. It would be ecommerce related, and we think there's a good market for it. No idea if we'll move forward with this as work is quite busy at the moment and i'm working on this current project, but we'll see!
     
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  8. Sampsonite

    Sampsonite Newbie

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    Delayed Monday Update

    This is a quick and delayed Monday progress update, not that anyone seems to be following me at the moment...
    It was a bank holiday weekend in the UK, so it's been pretty hectic. Got pretty trashed, music festival, etc...

    I managed to get a good, 2,000 word + article out last week. Took a lot of effort but i was really happy with how it turned out in the end, so hopefully i'll start to see that ranking soon enough. Seen my keyword rankings slowly move up which is good, still no back links. Some made a good jump up and have only come down a little bit, so I think it's going well. Going to try and get out two articles this week, one long and one short-medium. It's taking me ages to research and write these long 2,000 words articles, what with home life and work life taking up most of my time. So i have an idea I want to start testing out...

    Method Testing

    I know this is not new, and i know i have not come up with it, but i feel like if i write it down here i'm more likely to action it and maybe i might help someone else out too.

    I've got a list of keywords jotted down. These are mainly brands, makes, models, and big keywords in my niche. What i'll do is google each one of these terms, search within a 24-48 hour period and see if there are any 'hot' topics or articles. Then i will try and blast out an article on my own, optimise if for LSI keywords and related content, and then publish.

    Not sure if this will be worth it or not, but i'll see. My idea is if anyone is closely following a release, topic, news item, etc, then i might be able to appear higher up in the serps, get some visitors to my site, and maybe even have my site used as a source, and therefore a natural backlink. I have to be quick off the mark with this though.

    Other than that not a lot to report. I think when September finally hits i'll be able to be more productive.
     
  9. Nut-Nights

    Nut-Nights Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Best of luck OP. Keep updating.
     
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  10. Sampsonite

    Sampsonite Newbie

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    Thanks! Definitely will keep updating. I know i need to change my mindset to work/life. That in itself is a journey
     
  11. Sampsonite

    Sampsonite Newbie

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    Monday Update - 04/09/17

    It's been a good, but unproductive week so far. I managed to write two articles targeting low competition keywords that i found using keywordrevealer, and they've done really well. The articles are informative, but can naturally link out to sales articles and even a couple amazon products.

    I really wanted to start a backlink campaign, guest post outreach, or blog commenting this week. I've instead been doing slight modifications to the website which have improved speed and google score.

    This week, I'm going to start to put a plan together for backlinking. The sooner i get something down the more i can improve and refine it for when i start implementing it. I need to pad my site out a bit first i think so it's got more content.

    Serp Rankings

    [​IMG]

    My serp movements have been pretty good considering I've done no backlinking. Got 1 result in the top 10, a couple others moving in and out of the top 30, and 22 in the top 100. Things keep improving the more articles I add and interlinking, so will keep doing this before i start any backlink campaign.

    Stats

    Going to start tracking week to week stats so everyone, including myself, can see progress and performance.

    Posts: 7
    Top 10: 1
    Top 30: 2
    Top 100: 22


    Thanks!