My Background: I graduated with a degree on business management with a minor in marketing back in 2008. Seriously. What a great time to graduate with a business degree in the midst of one of the worst recessions the world has seen. We never had the mass layoffs in the area where I lived which was great, not so great was the lack of new job openings. As most of you probably know, it’s pretty hard to get a job when entry level requires experience – a frakkin oxymoron if there is one. I worked odd jobs here and there while spending 2 years getting a job. I’ve worked call centers on night shifts – which was just miserable drudgery (the health benefits were pretty good though) On 2011 I heard about Odesk. I wanted to try it out since it would save me from the misery of 2 hour commutes and 10 hour night shifts. I started doing basic VA stuff (data entry, basic research) early on I realized that it pays to do your job really well and get a regular client. I eventually got good enough that I earn $4000-$5000 a month. A comfortable living where I live. The WHY: Money. That’s basically it. I’ve worked with enough clients to know there’s money to be had in this business. I want more. I want enough passive income that I can take time to travel before I get too old to do so. I want enough that my kids can get into any university they want and not have to worry about the tuition and not saddle them with student loans. That’s the dream right? I’ve got the skills. I’ve gotten my clients sites to no. 1 so I feel that I can do this. It’s not that crazy… or is it? I’m practically giving up a steady paycheck to do something that may take a year to be marginally profitable. Interesting times ahead. First steps: I started the journey on November 12th 2016. Marked it on my calendar, had a beer and got to work. I first did some keyword research. I followed the steps detailed here: https://www.blackhatworld.com/seo/a...ay-100-outsourced.759612/page-42#post-8122071 though instead of SEMRush we used AHREFS. I tweaked the steps detailed there slightly by planning early on in the process by tailoring the content with the intent of capturing the front page snippets. You can get snippets even if you are at the bottom of page 1. At least that was the theory. I planned the articles to have a minimum of 2.5k words with the top keywords I chose had close to around 4k words. I looked for an auctioned domain which was brandable and had good metrics. I found one. Got blinded by the numbers, got it at a bargain price of $ 25. It was then I looked closer that I realized that at some point this site was hit by Panda. It wasn’t a big deal and I wasn’t out a ton of money but it kinda doused some cold water on me. Had I not looked closer I would have potentially wasted months of my life on this and not have anything to show for it. I eventually got the domain I wanted. Really good metrics, 5 year old brandable – perfect. This time I did my due diligence. I really dug deep into the site’s history. No red flags raised. Cheap at $25. I went for it. The site: I decided to make the site multi niched (like best buy). Since I found that my keywords were more or less in the same categories, it could work well. Instead of multiple sites for multiple niches, maybe one site to rule them all? I’ve deployed 60 sites (60 separate niches for a client) before and it failed horribly. There just wasn’t enough time to do the required work for all of them. First of you’ve got to do outreach. You’ve got to write the content. You need to do on page SEO and other daily maintenance. If you’re a small outfit, it’s impossible. You’ll go bankrupt hiring the manpower to do it right. Anyway, I settled on using thrive theme as it was easy to use and you’ve got a lot of resources online to make it look fancy.I found it was important to really do the detail work for the site. Branding is very important. Make the images have a consistent look and always- and I mean always- have the brand visible. I also did videos for each article (1-2 minute) which we live streamed in youtube and posted the archived video on our main site. (It did really well and ranked the low competition keywords I had) Scholarships, do they really work?!: Short answer: Fuck if I know. Viperchill shared what 10beast did on their own site and I decided to give it a try. Spent a few days writing custom emails to various universities. Got a few edu backlinks. Didn’t really see an immediate noticeable jump. Though google loves us right now even with Fred out (we actually surged up) having edu backlinks possibly helped? I haven’t done enough testing to really find out but to be fair, this is a legit scholarship, I could fake winners like other people have done, but seeing people submit their stuff and put effort in it, I really felt like I have to pay out. It’s not that much money and I need all the good karma I could get. Off site SEO: My rule of thumb that I’ve developed is that any link that results in traffic is good traffic (within reason you’ve still got to be smart about it). Forum posts, bookmarks and social shares – they all work (again with the caveat that they are done right). All the links must serve two purposes, one: to bring traffic. Two: to diversify. What I’ve found to work well is posting in niche related forums (see caveat above) You need to make it look as natural as possible. Join the conversation. Resist the urge to automate everything. Google can recognize automated shit. You need to realize Google is Skynet at this point. You’re john Connor. Skynet hates john Connor. Trust me you don’t want this knocking at your door: Q & A sites, videos, infographics – they’re all variation of the same theme: engagement. Google loves engagement. Sneak your site in the flow of an actual conversation and the robot overlords will reward you. I’m also not above doing sneaky shit. No, not negative seo, that’s dirtbag amateur level stuff. I mean study your competitors. By study I mean, look at his backlinks. Do the same stuff as they are doing. It’s not to gain an advantage but to get parity. Remember, you’re always going to be behind somebody else. They’re always going to have homecourt advantage. The goal is to remove the advantages and level the playing field. Let the content do its thing. SIDE PROJECTS While this is all going on, I’ve slowly been grabbing up auctioned domains. Mostly aged 100+ RD 40+ Dr –meaning they’ve still got traffic and organic keywords and all of them fresh drops (one month at the most). I got sites from ay fashion - parenting - beauty - crafts and DIY. Word of the wise, you can go auction crazy and go on a bid battle – if you’ve got a limited budget like me, for the love of God don’t. Realize that you’re going against people with deep pockets with bots bidding for them. Set a budget for yourself and stick to it. It’s going to take time but do it every day and you’re going to get some wins eventually. January This is the first month we added our affiliate links. Added it late January. February Traffic has doubled. 547 UV. March March earnings, my long tail buyer keywords have just hit first page. UV has seen a nice jump with 347 in the first week of march alone. I expect more than double the traffic from febuary (longer month + more traffic) These are the keywords that have ranked for me the past 3 months. I've seen a lot of dancing which freaks me out sometimes (going from 20 to a 100 in one night) These are my main keywords. I saw big jumps during "Fred". Not sure if related or I'm just finally out of sandbox. I'll update you guys as things develop. Overall a great start.