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[SEO] Zero Competition Zero Effort

Discussion in 'My Journey Discussions' started by SEOMadHatter, Jun 27, 2016.

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  1. SEOMadHatter

    SEOMadHatter Junior Member

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    The Goal:

    Rebuild three existing sites to this structure.
    Setup ten new sites.
    Try something entirely different with my SEO.

    Brief History:

    I've been in and out of IM for a while, mainly with SEO. I've had sites running at several hundred dollars a day and periods where I'm just bored of the whole thing and bugger off to try something new.

    Current situation:
    I work full time Monday to Friday as a software developer from home. Started self teaching myself about a year ago and been doing the job around six months. It eats up a lot of time but it's paying the bills and a lot of what I've been learning to do... Well it involves a lot of proxies and a lot of automation. It'll go pretty hand in hand with SEO.

    I also work a day a week with kids which is a pretty full on eight hour day. I don't need the money so much as it helps keep me sane.

    I make affiliate sales with existing sites but this journal won't be including anything from them. The goal of this journal will be to see if I can get a decent enough income without the usual SEO grind.

    On top of that I have another bit of online work which is surprisingly lucrative but scalability is limited and isn't passive.

    So that's quite a workload.

    On the plus side I have a fondness for coffee, a penchant for automation, some pretty frightful determination sometimes and to top it all off I'll be doing the whole thing with one or two other people.

    At least I'm hoping to be working with them. My goal here is to write and maintain a lot of automation tools and help write some copy. I don't want to be the one writing filler content and finding niches when I have other work to be doing. But I'll see how this goes.

    The Websites:

    My SEO philosophy this time around is pretty simple. I'm not building massive authority sites for beefy keywords requiring dozens of PBN domains. I'm not buying stacks of pointless links which will be deleted within 6 months.

    I'm also not looking to spend 6 months working on a single site.

    Probably the biggest authority site I built has made a little shy of $40,000 to date. But by far one of my best sites earned maybe $3,000 in its three month run - but I consider it my best because it literally took me a half dozen hours to do.

    I found a keyword I thought had decent intent but little to no competition and ranked a sales funnel. Not a blog, no depending on CTR rates to a banner or opt in. Literally ranked a story driven sales funnel 5 pages all in which I never even split test.

    Didn't even have to build a single back link.

    Now that's the kind of SEO I like. So my plan is to replicate this again.

    This was a while ago however. And even then to rank a sales funnel you had to make it look a little less like your average sales funnel to Google. At the moment I don't know if the same kind of structure would rank even with these keywords. I might dedicate a few sites to test this theory out but for the most part I am thinking a more standard layout.

    I think there's a fair amount of randomness to the serps. Yes I know it's an algorithm with certain predictable patterns but anyone who claims a deep enough understanding to say this isn't the case hasn't done enough testing in my opinion.

    So to take advantage of this (and spread my eggs out of a single basket). I'll be taking a scatter gun approach. Build each site to about 10 pages (roughly 2-4k words per page with plenty of media) and set it lose.

    Most of these domains I'll be using are existing ones with a decent (generic) history and existing branded links.

    Whatever domains make it at least near the top of page 2 (at least) without any help will get backlinks. Otherwise I'll consider it a dud and move to the next domain.

    The Keywords:

    So first up I have three domains which currently rank. They make sales from time to time but either their ranks have slipped or I just don't have the time to compete in that niche.

    So I'm not going to bother. They're all perfectly capable of making three figures a day in #1 of Google if they got there. But I'm not looking to actually have to work hard on an individual site and the. Rely on it. The goal is to churn through sites and niches until the randomness factor works in my favour and then I'll put in some real work if required.

    So these will be in *roughly* the same niche but on much lower competition keywords. This also means lower traffic but I'd rather be pumping out little $100/month sites with ease then slog for bigger sites I have to work on.

    So these will be swapping from 50kish keywords to 1-3k keywords.

    At the same time I have about a dozen domains sitting there indexed and ranking for various long tails for generic articles they have which I'm going to overhaul to target similar keywords.

    I'm thinking minimum of 800-1k a month 2-3 words with competition I judge to be weak enough. Of course I'm looking for some kind of buyer intent but I don't mind writing a funnel or getting a small-ish product together if I think the return will be worthwhile.

    I've started writing a script for finding the sort of keywords I'm after. If I can make the time I'm hoping to have it up and running on the server in time for tomorrow.

    The Backlinks:

    I don't plan to build many. The goal is to target low competition keywords and let the domains existing links to the heavy lifting.

    I won't be sharing a huge amount of detail on how I build the links I will be using. No - it's no super secret guru super sauce but it involves some private code I wrote a few months back and some stuff I plan to write in the next week or two.

    I'm not the only SEO in the world doing this but I know it's a fairly small pool and I'm not really looking for the competition in this area.

    I will say it partly involves PBN links. Normally I build these to the extent that some of my SEO friends can't spot it as a PBN but for smaller keywords I don't know if I'll invest that much time into them. That said the strategy shouldn't involve that many links so I'll circle back to this.

    I'll also include some of the standard linking practices 2.0's and straight up asking other sites for links (it's surprising how often non marketer sites will happily send you a beefy link) but this will be niche dependant and only for domains which rank well enough for me to consider it worth the time.

    The Journal:

    It's an SEO journal so there won't be hourly updates. I'll update when something interesting happens.

    I don't sell to the make money online niche so you won't be seeing affiliate links for anything. If you post a question on something I'm not intentionally keeping quiet then I'll do my best to answer.
     
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  2. SEOMadHatter

    SEOMadHatter Junior Member

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    Day 1

    While doing a little testing for the keyword script I stumbled across something with pretty good potential. 2.9k a month for a buyer keyword the SERP is a few Amazon products, a quasi related blog post and one competition site somewhere in the middle of the page. Haven't done much digging but it looks like a handful of links mostly from other sites the company owns. Based on the onsite SEO I don't think I need to go looking for a hidden PBN.

    Pretty weak competition, especially for the traffic. It's for a $50~ product and not a brand or model search... the trend is growing and I can see some decent products which would convert.

    I'll do a little bit more digging but I'm pretty sure I'm happy to move this one out of the maybe pile.

    Today was mostly spent picking through my domains and seeing what I wanted to do. Tomorrow I''ll need to do some tidying to make sure all the domains I'm using are set to renew etc... and same for the hosting.

    I'll then be working on the keyword script tomorrow night should get it done fairly quickly and if I have the time I'll get started on converting one of the domains for this new keyword. Hoping to get at least one of the others to get started tomorrow so they can help me put together the content for it.

    As an interesting side point I spotted a web 2.0 ranking which was less than 100 words and stuffed with dozens of affiliate links and no obvious backlinks. Did a little digging and the author has a lot of articles like this. Very similar niche and nothing but affiliate links. It looks like they're maybe doing something to game the onsite metrics for the 2.0 itself but to be honest that wouldn't be too hard to manipulate.

    I think it bodes well for my first keyword. But while I'm usually against relying on a third party property for SEO rankings if it'd be that little work I'm tempted to try something similar. It's literally nothing but post affiliate links and for some reason Google is ranking these things all over for their keywords. Won't last long I'd imagine but hard to argue with their current results.
     
  3. SkullGuy

    SkullGuy Regular Member

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    This sounds interesting. I will follow with interest.
     
  4. *AMEX

    *AMEX Regular Member

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    Subbed! Good luck with your journey!

    ...and finally something thats like super interesting and well researched and not these "50$ day PPD"-journey type of threads :)
     
  5. SEOMadHatter

    SEOMadHatter Junior Member

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    Sigh. So much for sleep.

    I dug a little deeper into what this person was doing with the 2.0 thing. I have no idea how Google hasn't caught onto this yet she's all over the place with page 1 rankings and she's literally done nothing other than post a few dozen affiliate links for each keyword.

    I do still suspect they're gaming the onsite metrics but it wouldn't be more than a few hundred bucks to get similar stats by the looks of things.

    The bigger bonus is it looks like I could automate the hell out of building these. I'm doing maybe a dozen or so manually just now and taking a note of them on a separate spreadsheet. If I start seeing sales come in from them it'd take a few hours to write a script to build these on autopilot 24/7.

    It's still building "content" (if you can call it that in this case) on a third party site but I'd literally just have to feed it a stack of keywords.
     
  6. clark123

    clark123 Junior Member

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    OP, pretty interesting story and post. We have lots of things similar :) O

    What you doing for monetization?
     
  7. SEOMadHatter

    SEOMadHatter Junior Member

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    Entirely depends on the niche. Amazon or CPA if it's a physical product. Gotta love the margins on digital products but I don't know how much time I'd spent writing a full on sales funnel for smaller keywords. If I find a keyword I like the look of enough though I'll maybe build a list out of it or throw them straight to an affiliate sales page.

    I'd potentially go for PPD as well if there was enough traffic without a decent product and I could put a basic .net app together for it.

    Anything which sells basically. ;)
     
  8. Gosocials

    Gosocials Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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  9. SEOMadHatter

    SEOMadHatter Junior Member

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    Ooft it has been an interesting day.

    So first up I built a beta scraper to help me find the kind of keywords I'm after. There's a lot of stuff I want to add to this but a slow clunky version is running for now and it's found some potentials already. So that'll help out a little.

    But I've a much bigger development. After a lot of reverse engineering and screwing with code I think I potentially have something pretty sweet which I'm going to start testing keywords with. In fact it's already running.

    I can't go into too much detail because it'll get saturated but I can say I've spotted someone doing it manually and they're ranking all over the place. They must be making some bank. I'm not a fan of manual work however so when the keyword tool finds something I like the look of I can give that keyword to the script and it'll create something which will rank in surprising competition serps.

    If it makes money by itself that's a bonus (I have absolutely no doubt the other guy doing it manually makes money from this alone) but any keyword I rank in without backlinks and converts I'll know that's one to build a proper site for.

    I'm actually pretty excited about this script I was considering hiring a VA to do this last night but the march of the machines continues I guess. ;)

    So the goal now is to find keywords I might like the look of and have the server start putting these together. I have a couple setup already but I'm going to have it build a bunch more and start adding SERP tracking. I'll update when I have some numbers to show. There's a decent potential some of these keywords might rank within days but I'll update with the kind of traffic numbers I'm looking at and how many are built etc...

    I still need to do the housework of making sure all my domains and hosting for this project are going to renew etc...
     
  10. HenryHavoc

    HenryHavoc Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    You look like you know what you're doing! Count me in on this journey.
     
  11. atultanna88

    atultanna88 Regular Member

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    Any chance of sharing the KW script or putting it up for sale for BHW?


    Atul
     
  12. SEOMadHatter

    SEOMadHatter Junior Member

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    I don't sell to the IM/make money online niche so you won't see it on BHW I'm afraid.

    So far I'm up to around 20 keywords being tested. Goal is to get that to 200-ish by the end of the week. I put together another script to help them get indexed and look like they're actually useful but I'll be running that once the main script has them all set up.

    Ran into a delay finding keywords so I've rebuilt part of the root keyword scraper and plugged it into the Semrush API for search metrics.

    The Semrush difficulty rating seems a little off to me however. I know these things are a rough guess at best but that seems pretty far off.

    If I get the time tomorrow I'll build a more customised competition gauge on it. Maybe hook it up to Moz or Majestic and use their metrics a bit. I do want to be able to detect things like forum posts and 2.0's in the top of the page so that'd give me that as well.

    It's been a long day. I've other things to work on tomorrow so I'm not sure how much of this I'll get to work on but the server will be running to find keywords. If I find something I really like the look of I'll skip the testing and go straight to building a site this week.
     
  13. SEOMadHatter

    SEOMadHatter Junior Member

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    The biggest part of doing this is going to be finding the right keywords to target. And finding enough of them so I can properly play the numbers game and not get too hung up or reliant on just one. So I don't mind the start work being a little front loaded.

    The goal is to link all of these keyword systems together so it'll find root keywords itself, grab the related keywords for those root words and then judge the traffic and competition. If it fits then it passes it to the next system which puts together a page to see if Google ranks it. It's about as close as I've come to actual push button SEO. It's mostly at that point but I don't think I'm getting through enough data without paying extra for it with the current setup.

    We're up to 25 pages being tested now. Spotted two of the keywords which were added in the early AM that I really like the potential of but I'm trying to not get attached to one keyword or niche. The goal here is mass bulk. Fling it all at the SERPS and see what sticks.

    I think the SEMrush API related keywords is overpriced for what it's actually providing. The more related keywords I pull the more credits they charge (which is fair of course) but most keyword tools are happy to provide hundreds of keywords and volumes at the top of the hat and while the case studies do suggest they has good coverage I don't think it's enough to justify the cost. So I think the custom competition check will wait for today.

    I'm going to try hook up a different source for the related keywords and hook it up to the SEMrush difficulty for today. I'll run a couple of thousand results through that while I get on with some other work. I'll be checking their competition manually if they make it through those filters before passing it on to the next part to create the page. If I'm happy with that setup then I might get to look at automating the competition properly tonight.
     
  14. SEOMadHatter

    SEOMadHatter Junior Member

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    Keyword tool fixed up a bit it's processing more data now. Closing in on 30 keywords waiting to be indexed while the server is creating more as I type.

    Still not decided on how exactly to automate narrowing down the competition yet. I've been looking at some of the services doing difficulty metrics and weighing that up against doing my own. I think this has gotten a little harder since when you're looking at one serp result Google might know fine well it doesn't target that keyword but has the same intent. So I'm thinking of considering onsite as secondary other than looking for specific weak points like forums or answer sites ranking. Then using metrics like cf/tf from Majestic to get a rough number.

    Ideally for now I'm looking for a quicker option but all the third party difficulty readings seem to massively disagree with each other making it a tough sell. Hopefully some of these pages start ranking sooner rather than later so I can get a better idea of what I'm after for this kind of keyword.

    One of my JV partners started doing some of the keyword research although I've automated 80% of the work she was doing now. As soon as I find a keyword I like well enough to build a site for without testing she'll be starting that. While she's doing that I'll take the time to update some of the stuff I normally use to build PBNs. I might build a small PBN if I think a keyword is worthwhile but if nothing else I might use some of the domains as money sites for these keywords.
     
  15. SEOMadHatter

    SEOMadHatter Junior Member

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    I've gone through my SEMrush API credit and I'm not sure it was worth it. I generally prefer working with the Majestic metrics but their keyword results seem so broken right now missing and outdated data all over the place. This is a pity because I use Majestic stats for a different script.

    I've a stack of filtered down keywords to look through and some other work to do before I'll get a chance to work on this project today but I'm thinking of looking at the Moz stats for competition filtering and we're up to 40ish pages live.

    Nothing ranking or even indexed yet but I've got something else ready which should sort that. That'll probably start running once we hit around 100 pages.

    I have found one keyword which I'm liking the look of. Around 7k searches, buyer keyword for a $50 product. I'm not sure if I should wait a few weeks and see how the tester pages go before I start building them. The competition on this is certainly low enough if I was building backlinks for it I'd know I could rank but it might be pushing it for just a decent looking domain with a bunch of content.

    I think the rule is going to be tester pages for everything since the server handles that and takes no effort on my part but for a site to be built before the results from that I'd have to really see some weak competition ranking.
     
  16. SEOMadHatter

    SEOMadHatter Junior Member

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    So Google has changed a few things with it's keyword tool. I was working my way around it last night thinking it'd just caught me for automated requests. Interesting timing.

    I'm working tonight on (hopefully) finishing a chuck of the competition automation. I gave up using third party ones they're too arbitrary and don't take into account some of the things I would when I'm looking at competition myself. So I've built a more customised version so far which I'm liking the idea of. It's based on the way Google treats certain types of sites for some keywords at the moment.

    I'm adding a bunch of threads to check the sites in the top 5 results for word count, title tags and keyword density. It's a good thing I don't pay for bandwidth.

    And I think I've decided on Majestic metrics for the offsite analysis. I need a Majestic sub anyway for a different tool and I tend to trust them more. Need to see how much their API would cost me with this. If I only check the offsite data for keywords it likes the look of onsite then that'll help cut it down but doing it on scale and automatically (which means without really being able to check for buyer intent before it runs unless I hire a VA for that part) means it'll still add up pretty quick.

    That said if I can churn through enough data to uncover keywords which don't need back links at the click of a button I won't mind the upfront cost and work so much. It's going to be a late night ahead.
     
  17. atultanna88

    atultanna88 Regular Member

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    Let me know in advance wgat would be the cost of those KWs

    Atul
     
  18. SEOMadHatter

    SEOMadHatter Junior Member

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    Well the goal here is to get keywords which rank with little to no work. So the cost should just be $10 on the domain + hosting (cheap if I keep them on shared hosts) and content which I'll either outsource or do myself. Hopefully a JV can handle that which would be even better. Goal is to keep my monthly costs down while finding these keywords as well.

    OK so a lot of this work was seriously front loaded.

    I built a rough bulk competition checker. So much for nice neat API's this thing is going to do a whole lot of scraping.

    So it will find the root keywords, dig variations out of that and filter them. Anything passing the filter will then be checked for competition and any passing that will be passed on to the last script which is creating pages which (should) rank in low comp niches somewhere on page 1/2 and from there I'll build a site myself aiming for top 3.

    Rinse and repeat.

    My competition judging just is based on a few factors just now. It's pretty rough but I can tweak it over time. The settings just now should (in theory) find keywords which are really un-targeted by the current serps. I *think* it could stumble upon some real gems but it will get tripped up by Rankbrain just now because it doesn't work with synonyms.

    It also doesn't pull in linking data yet. I'm going to plug it together for an hour and see what it comes up with. If I'm reasonably happy with it I'll hook up the Majestic API and let it work CF and TF into the equation. For now it's looking for keywords where ranks shouldn't even be a factor.

    Once that's pulled together and running on the server I'm going to apply some fixes to the keyword tester. Closing in on 50 pages up for testing but I need to make some changes to speed it up. A lot of the keywords it's testing are eCommerce ones. The test pages might well rank (based on the other person doing the same thing) which will be cool but I don't know if I'd be able to apply a normal site the same way without having to actually backlink.

    It's not new information that Google treats some sites differently in some niches. Search a product keyword and you'll likely get Amazon regardless of the content for example. And they're far from the only ones. I understand it, it's buyer intent being met. But I'm not looking to create a proper eCommerce site to compete with. If one of the test pages does that well then I might consider it but I'm doing two different calculations for the competition taking this into account and I'm modifying the tester script to let me test non commerce keywords as well.

    Damn so much to do. Hopefully once this is done it'll be front loaded and I can leave this to spit out keywords worth taking further.
     
  19. atultanna88

    atultanna88 Regular Member

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    Got my hosting

    So 10 usd for how many KWs ?

    Atul
     
  20. SEOMadHatter

    SEOMadHatter Junior Member

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    I think we've crossed wires here I'm afraid. I'm not selling keywords. And if I was the kind I'm looking for I wouldn't sell them for $10. I'm guessing there are plenty of people in the marketplace happy to sell you one but if the keyword is really worth money they wouldn't be selling it for $7.

    Updates:

    Kinks ironed out and the KW tool is now running on the server. I'm tweaking the competition calculation but it's already stumbled into one or two very interesting looking keywords. This might actually go somewhere. It's running very slowly at the moment. Single thread with throttling. If I'm happy with it then next step will be giving it a bigger proxy pool and speed it up. It'll also need some more api access for keywords and Majestic for the offsite stuff.

    What's pretty interesting is it's finding some with very little relation to the keyword. Other keyword tools are reporting very high competition based on the backlinks but they're not looking at what I'm seeing and if I think there's a big enough gap between the intent and the SERPS I'll at least do a tester page to see how that goes. It might well be the offsite is strong enough to make up the difference and I'll get more accurate results once I put Majestic in.

    It might be Rankbrain making a bigger gap between serps and intent than I'd imagine.

    Or it might be that Google doesn't have anything better for the results so is showing the nearest things with links so a small site would rank easily there.

    Again I'm not looking to fight over these keywords so if the test pages don't rank I won't be going into the SERPS against a lot of backlinks but it's food for thought and worth a try.

    Fixed the tester tool as well now. It was taking maybe 40 minutes or so to put together a page once it had a keyword. Now it can pull together more content and still have it up in around 5 minutes. Next step will be threading it to handle multiple pages at a time.

    It's been a very long day. Going to leave the server to do it's thing for a bit.