A couple of years ago building yourself a niche website and profiting from it was a simple procedure, and soon enough almost everyone that could use a computer was doing it.
It was just too easy:
- Get yourself some hosting
- Install wordpress
- Find a popular or profitable niche (interest in the niche optional)
- Buy a domain name (EMD’s or exact match domains that contained your keywords were a favourite)
- Spin/copy a few articles to post up
- Buy 6ooo backlinks from Fiverr
- Add some Adsense
- Get ranked on Google
- Watch the cash roll in!
Then Google Moved the Goal Posts
It wasn’t long before the search engines became so saturated with these poor quality sites that Google realised something had to be done. Fast forward to February 2011 when the first major algorithm changes came, affectionately known as Panda. The change aimed to de-index or lower the rank of low-quality sites and return higher-quality sites near the top of the search results.
The idea was good, but a lot of quality sites suffered alongside the spam, and the forums erupted in a frenzy of protests!
Since the first Panda was rolled out, Google has introduced these updates on a regular basis; including Penguin (April 2012), Panda refresh (Sept 2012, the one that hit my sites!), and Panda 2.0 of this year.
The Changing Face of the Niche Site
The algorithm changes have made significant differences to the way we need to present our sites, no longer acceptable are the old methods:
- Keyword stuffing – It’s not necessary to get your keyword in at every opportunity for the search engines to know what your content is about.
- Old School Black Hat Tactics – These included thousands of poor quality backlinks, hidden text (junk at the bottom of articles in the same colour as the background), scraped content and many more sneaky tricks to fool the search engines.
- EMD’s – There is still strong debate as to whether or not your keyword should be your URL, many got hit but a few survived. If your keyword makes sense as a URL, go ahead an use it, but it’s not the be all and end all to ranking a nice site today.
How To Build a Successful Niche Site Today
Regular readers of our blog will already know that Blog Munchies is taking part in Pat Flynn’s Niche Duel, and building a brand new niche website along side Pat and the other Duellers.
We will be finding out first hand exactly how to build a successful niche site in today’s competitive market. Here are some of the strategies we have used in our journey so far:
- Niche Selection – We started this process by throwing all of our ideas and suggestions into the ring. Arvin, our keyword analyst narrowed down the choices by comparing competition, the popularity of our niche ideas (search volume), and the possible income forecast.
- Keyword research – This needs to be methodical and thorough, it’s not unheard of to spend weeks on keyword research, it will be the foundation on which your new niche site will be built.
- Domain name – Once we had decided on our niche using the above factors, we then debated possible names. Instead of EMD we have gone with a more brandable name, enabling us to look to the future of becoming an authority on our chosen topic. Where possible your URL should be short, easy to spell and memorable.
In our next Niche Site Duel post we shall be revealing our website and going through the process of theme selection, layout and logo.
If you would like to follow along with our nich site building, but are feeling a little lost with it all, don’t worry help is at hand! It’s not too late to get started and join in:
- How to participate in Nich Site Duel 2.0 – http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/niche-site-duel-2-launch/
- Our Facebook support group for duellers – https://www.facebook.com/groups/455454601205024/. If you are not participating in the Niche Site Duel, you are still welcome to join the group for general help and support with all aspects of building a new website, or improving an existing one.
- Our keyword research service – http://blogmunchies.com/keyword-research-services/
- Still all too much? Blog Munchies can build your site for you from scratch! http://blogmunchies.com/i-need-a-blog/