Category Archives: Niche Sites
I’m sure I’m not the only website owner who has a love/hate relationship with backlinks. Sometimes they’re your best friend, you may have a solid link profile and know that google holds your site in high esteem, or you may have a relatively new site or one that it is hard to get links to, and thus be struggling with your rankings. Backlinks are a huge part of SEO and the marketing of your website and thus are not to be ignored, here I’m going to look at how many backlinks you really need for your site.
Backlinks Are Not Your Number One Priority
Where a lot of people seem to trip up is thinking that SEO is the main aspect of internet marketing. It isn’t. You can have a thousand brilliant backlinks but if there’s nothing worth seeing on your site and nothing to hook viewers in then you just wont succeed, not to mention the fact that you won’t get the links in the first place! The point of links being a key factor in SEO is that you usually only get the high quality ones by posting great content, the BBC don’t link to rubbish sites, NASA wont link to you if you aren’t a real authority in your field, and nobody will want to link to you if your site is poor. The flip side of that is that if you make a great quality site you are much more likely to get links from people who find it.
Links are needed, especially in certain niches, but CONTENT should always be your priority. Your content is the linchpin holding your site (and possibly business) together.
Ranking Without Links
Because Google knows that links can be manipulated, and aren’t always the most accurate representation of a website’s quality, it isn’t the only ranking factor, and you can get your site to the top of google in certain niches without a single backlink. People like the adsense flippers make a living out of this method. Choose the right keywords and as they put it the “low-hanging fruit” and you can rank without links, taking a big job off your hands. You can bet that the sites that rank in this way have good quality content on them and follow all of the other key areas of SEO to get to the top of the SERPs.
Ranking With Links
Most of us aren’t lucky enough to get to the top with no linking, and though it should ideally take care of itself (eventually), sometimes your link profile needs a helping hand. It isn’t as simple as putting a good site online and waiting for it to rank, and links pointing to it can be extremely powerful. A good way to gauge is to look at the QUALITY links pointing to the top ranking sites (especially if they are niche sites built in the same way as yours rather than a wikipedia, eHow or Squidoo article). Unfortunately there is no yardstick by which to measure, and you have to play it by ear, but my main advice to you would be to focus on quality in links. One link from a Nasa or a BBC could be worth thousands of links on directories, social profiles or other average to poor sources. Keep your links relevant and from authority sources and you can get your site to the top of the rankings without slaving away on tons of links. Find good quality guest posting opportunities and get your site featured in the best places and watch it soar to the top. Quality trumps quantity in this game, especially after the penguin, panda and EMD updates.
As any experienced Internet Marketer will tell you, making a living online is an art that is constantly changing and evolving. When I got into the game, micro niche sites were popular, and having an “exact match domain” for the keyword you were targeting could help to propel you to the top spots in Google even with a small site. This is becoming more and more difficult to do, and though you do find these kind of sites in the top spots of Google, it might not be the wisest business model, so are micro niche sites dying?
What is a Micro Niche Site?
So that we’re all singing from the same hymn sheet, I’m going to lay down my definition. Micro Niche Sites are 1-5 page sites that target an extremely specific keyword. These kind of sites will target a keyword such as “red shoes for men”, buy a domain that matches the topic and build out a small site with that keyword heavily targeted. A niche site or authority site is more likely to be about shoes, or men’s fashion, and to target the keyword with an article instead of a whole site.
The EMD Update
Google has released a series of updates that target smaller sites, lower quality sites and sites with fewer pages, which have served to kill off a LOT of smaller sites. Not all of them, but a lot. It was called the EMD update because the exact match domains were a lot less powerful after it, and having “redshoesformen.org” for example would probably not be enough to get you to page one. Of course, there are some sites that only ever need one page, as the search query can be answered with one page, such as “what is the time?”. Google will never completely ignore one page sites but that doesn’t mean it isn’t more beneficial to have multiple pages.
Why I Err On The Side of Authority Sites
An Authority site is pretty much what it says on the tin, a big resource of authoritative information on a website. A lot of internet marketers who would once upon a time have focused on smaller sites are now focusing on these larger authority sites. They are still within a niche, they just cover a broader range of subjects. So what are the benefits?
- More likely to be linked to. People see a big authority site with loads of great info, they’re more likely to link to it than a one page site.
- Google holds it in higher esteem. Google loves content, new content, lots of content and content that interlinks. A 100 page site about Pianos will often hold more weight than a 10 page site about pianos.
- More profit. It makes sense that if you cover a big range of topics you can achieve higher traffic and make more money out of your website.
- Mailing Lists and Social Networks. Have you ever signed up to the mailing list of a one page site? No? Me neither. If I see a huge site with loads of new articles added regularly, though, I will sign up so that I don’t miss out or follow on social networks. The holy grail of niche sites is not to have to rely on search engine traffic, and this allows you to build an audience outside of the big G.
- You can establish yourself as an expert. It stands to reason that people will trust the opinion of somebody providing 100 great articles than just one. Become the one person in your niche providing huge amounts of great info and you will be the expert, which will increase not only reputation but affiliate sales (due to a more trusted opinion), more back links and recommendations. Set out to be the best.
- It’s cheaper. If you set up 1,000 sites with three pages on each you are going to have to shell out a fortune. One site with 3,000 pages is still only one site and will cost you a LOT less. If you don’t have a lot of capital to invest then this should definitely play a part in your decision.
I’m not going to go so far as to say that micro niche sites aren’t worth making, as I have some that are ranking and making money, but my focus is now definitely on authority sites with dozens and even hundreds of pages of quality, relevant content. In the modern age of Google, it just makes a lot more sense.