Tuesday, February 7, 2023
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Building and ranking a niche website in 2022


First things first; when you get started on your project you need to have your head in the right place. Think BIG, think POWERFUL, think of your niche website as a samurai sword – you want to keep to the original specification of a sword, you don’t want to over-complicate it or turn it into something else, but you do want to put everything you have into making it. You want that simple metal blade to be the strongest and most powerful blade you can build.

Thats the biggest mistake I have made in the past – not understanding what a niche site really needs to be in order to succeed – it isn’t an authority site, OK; so does that mean its small, basic, “a quick build”, $5/1000 words content? NO. When you are thinking about the QUALITY of your niche website, you can think like an authority site builder, but when you are thinking about the scope, the size and scale of your website, you can think like a niche site builder. Don’t get confused though and build a crappy little 10 page website targeting 10 keywords and a few longtails. No no no.

Also, you want to make a living from this right? So don’t think about cracking out a website in a few days, outsourcing all of the content because its easier and you can get it for $5/article. Instead, think about it like you are doing a 9-5 when you are working on this website. Invest AS MUCH TIME AS YOU CAN into it. The reason for this; the people that you are competing against are doing just that; often they have teams of staff that are working 9-5 with the exact same goal as you, so if you want to earn a full time living from this, you have to put in the same amount of effort as you would if you were working a 9-5 – day in, day out, all day, every day. If you think this is easy then its not right for you.

Niche Selection

Now that you have your head in the right place, lets get to work with the first step – selecting your niche. Everyone says it; find something that you are interested in. I will say something just slightly different; find something you CAN GET INTERESTED IN. Why do I say that? Because it is a bit of a trap looking for something that you are interested in; we are all marketers, we are all computer people, we like technology, we like making money online etc. I have found that if I look for the topics that interest me, it tends to be the same thing everyone else is doing and the competition is crazy.

Equally, if you try and build a site focused on a topic that you hate, it will be a really hard slog. So I would look for the middle ground; you need to find a niche that has lots of buyers, one that is not too popular among internet marketers, but one that you can somehow get a little interested in; even if its a bit of a chore.

How do you do that exacty? Well you can brainstorm ideas – think about products you have in your house, think about products that are sold in the shops near to you, think about every day life and what you buy, what you use, what the people around you are buying etc. There are millions of things out there, that people need and use every day, that you can build a website around.

Checking out the competition

Once you think of a few potential niches that you think will be appealing to a large audience and that you think you can get interested in, the next step is checking out the competition. Take your time to search up the niche on Google and check out the top sites. Don’t look for the amazons and the wikipedias, look for other websites that are your direct competitors – look at the types of sites you are aspiring to build. It doesnt matter if these sites are bigger than yours will be, or if these sites are authority sites. You just want to find the sites that are dominating that niche; these are the ones you will be competing against and they are also the ones that contain vital information to help you on your quest.

Choosing your topics

Notice how I use the word “Topics” in this heading and not keywords. I would say forget about keywords entirely. Its another mistake I have made in the past – I am going to write an article about “blue widgets” because that term gets 2500 searches per month and its low competition. Big mistake. Completely forget about targeting individual keywords and think about targeting topics. Your keyword-target-count for each article should be 400-500. Thats right, and that is why you don’t want to think about targeting a keyword, or a keyword and 10 longtails. You want to think BIG when it comes to your articles, your topics and your content.

Thats how Google thinks now; they are looking for content that covers the full spectrum of a topic, comprehensively. Thats how they differenciate between crap $5/article content and high quality content that has been researched.

So with that in mind, you want to pick or find say 10 topics within the niche that you chose and then for each topic. For example if your niche is coffee machines then you might pick topics such as how to make the perfect coffee, how to clean your bean to cup machine, is coffee good for you, etc.

As you pick these topics, you need to search them up on Google, see which sites are currently ranking and then look at the content they have written.

An invaluable tool here is ahrefs. With this tool you can look up the ranking articles and find out how many terms the content is ranking for as well as how much traffic they are getting. You want to find topics where the top result is ranking for 400-500 organic keywords and getting 1k-10k traffic as a result. You might find a lot of the time that all of those keywords are 50-100 search volume and if you were taking a different approach, you might have completely bypassed them. But taking all of those longtails together (That are all ranked for by a single page of content by the way), the topic becomes very lucrative.

take your time with this stage and don’t stop until you have at least 10 topics where the number 1 result has 400-500 organic ranking keywords and 1k-10k organic traffic. Also you want to start building up an understanding of your competition. You should see the usual giants such as wikipedia, amazon and other niche specific ones. You should also start seeing sites that pop up all the time – the niche and authority sites that are dominating the niche, but the ones that are doing the same thing as you – and when you pick your topics you want to see those niche and authority sites dominating, as apposed to the giants like amazon.

You also want to look at the backlinks and refering domains for the articles that are ranking number 1 for each topic; you should be looking for pages with 0-500 backlinks and 10-20 referring domains. On the basis that they are not going to be too difficult to beat. But don’t think too much about that, we know that when it comes to backlinks we can think quality over quantity.

Lastly, think carefully about the topics that you pick; you should be able to write 5k-10k of content about each topic. Thats how broad it should be. If you search up a topic and you see the same page ranking as you saw in the previous topic, then its too closely related; Googel sees that as a single topic.

You also want them related closely enough that you can link between the topics; as we know that internal linking is very important when it comes to SEO.

Once you have the list of 10 topics, you have the framework for your website. Now its time to write the content.

Writing the content

Make no mistake, this is THE most important part of the entire project. You simply cannot take this too seriously. Do not order content that is $5/100 words. It won’t be good enough. You either need to write this content yourself, or you need to find a writer that is really going to take the time to research your content in detail – serious detail. Think about this; you want your content to cover the topic FULLY. You want your content to be comprehensive enough, that Google can happily rank that single article for hundreds and hundreds of keywords. Perhaps even thousands.

Don’t worry about how long the content is from your competition either. The longer the better for you; basically as long as you can make it without any fluff. Thats right, you dont want any fluffy shit in that content. You want to read every single one of the top 10 results for whatever keyword led you to that particular topic in the first place. then you want to list out 10-15 key areas within that topic that are relevant. For example if you are writing about “the health benefits of coffee” your key areas might be what different nutrients are in Coffee, details about each one of those nutriants, what areas of the body absorb coffee when you drink it and what effects it has on those areas. Different feelings that people get from coffee and whether they are good, bad or indiferent. Within each of those key areas there should be peices of information that often come up; you want to include those as well.

You should also be on the lookout for things that are not covered well by the top ranking sites. If you can find areas that everyone seems to gloss over, or where there is conflicting information, or even better, where you see lots of sites quoting similar sources, then you can research that area in detail. Ideally you want to break off into areas of research where you start seeing completely different websites; that way, you are bringing new and unique information to the topic that nobody else is currently covering and that is where you can add real value.

After you have done all that, you will have your research notes. Thats not your article. At that stage you should definitely have a few thousand words of content that covers every possible aspect of that topic. Now you can write it up, make it look nice, make it interesting to read. But make sure its comprehensive. the more comprehensive it is, the better.

Repeat that same procedure for all of your 10 topics and put everything you have into it. I will lean a little towards the whitehat side of things here and say that you want to create some content that really adds value to the reader. In fact, I will go one step further and say think of it like this; think about your competitors, when they are writing this content, and searching on Google for information, well you want your article to be so good, to cover that topic so comprehensively, that YOUR ARTICLE is the one that gets searched up and found by the competition, and the information in it gets used as part of their research. Thats where I’ll come back to the hard to find information that nobody else is covering, thats what you want to include because thats what adds value.

The time that it takes to write this content will vary for everyone. But I can tell you that it takes me several weeks to write a well researched peice of content like that. If you put in the time it will pay off 10-fold. In addition, if you spend some serious time and effort in the content then you are also taking care of the time-factor and letting your website bed in before you get to work with the offpage SEO.

Buliding the website

Keep the website simple. You want a nice simple, fast theme and you want to structure your website so that its easy to navigate, with your content clearly divided into individual sections and interlinked where relevant. You want to think about two things here – first of all, if a visitor comes to your website and its about Coffee, you want to make it logical and easy for them to navigate. So you might have 5 headings – Coffee machines, Coffee beans, Health benefits, drinking guides. You also want to intelligently link your content together; think about your visitors, who will typically land on a page deep within your website. For example they might land on a page about different types of coffee beans. You want to make sure that the rest of the information on your site is easily accessible to them where relevant. So for example you would want to link to your page about bean to cup coffee machines; because that would definitely be relevant for someone who is researching about coffee beans.

Not only is this good for your visitor, but it is also good for Google because they are using those internal links to further understand the topics that you are covering within your content, and how they are related to eachother.

Thats all for the build stage; the key here is to keep it simple. Don’t over complicate it and don’t spend too much time or resources on this part; all of that should be going into your content and your link-building.

The rest period

I don’t know that its definitely a thing, people talk about the sandbox period, Google denies it, but I feel like there is something in it. Whenever I leave a site to just sebtle in for a few months, it tends to do much better than when i don’t. If nothing else, it gives you a good understanding of where your website is at before you start throwing links at it. It also teaches you to be patient, which is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, when it comes to SEO and niche site building. Lastly, as I mentioned above, if you are doing the content properly, then you will easily have time to let your site bed-down, whilst you are pushing out those 10 articles – they should definitely take you somewhere between 2-6 months if done properly.

Offsite SEO aka link-building

So you have let your site sit for 5-6 months. That is a minimum in my opinion. before you start building any links. I will also say that if you have done things correctly, you should start to see some rankings and some traffic from your content alone, by this point. If you have not, then go back and check on your content because you haven’t done it right.

now its time to build some backlinks but hey, don’t think about quantity. Don’t think about that at all. Also, don’t think about exact match anchors and about contextual links to keep your anchor text profile balanced. No. You can forget about all these types of links –

  • Web 2.0 properties
  • Tiered link-building
  • Blog comments
  • Contextual links
  • Profile Links
  • Cheap PBN links

And seriously, I don’t mean, oh build some of those links purely for diversity. Don’t even bother, they are just a waste of time, they probably won’t even get indexed and if they do, they won’t stay indexed for long and even if they somehow manage to stay indexed, Google will probably just straight up ignore then, you will spend loads of effort thinking that its helping and it just won’t be.

the links that you do want to build –

  • Link drops on RELEVENT sites
  • Guest posts
  • Manual outreach
  • Privately owned PBNs
  • Subscription PBNs

And honestly I can’t say it enough; think about the quality of these links. You want to be thinking about these factors when building those links –

  • High quality and relevant content
  • Sites that are exclusively related to your broader niche
  • Sites with good quality referring domains
  • Sites with traffic
  • Sites that appear in the serps for your chosen niche
  • Sites that are NOT spammed to death with content on all different topics

You should also keep your anchor text really varied. I would go so far as saying not to even think about “telling Google what your content is about” through your anchor text. As I have hopefully drilled home already, your content should be doing the talking here. Your content should be so focused on the topic and its keywords, it should be like that guy in the highstreet selling phone contracts that you simply can’t get past within them catching your eye.

Keep your anchor text to brand, naked URL, page title, generic, super-broad and a few long-tails. Honestly, resist the temptation to throw in those exact matches otherwise, before you know it, you have just given a big red warning flag to Google about your intentions. Google knows full well what your content is about and if they see authoritive sites linking to that content as well, you are golden. End of story.


Thats it guys. Follow that guide and you will have your niche site up and running, ranked and bringing in some well-deserved affiliate commissions in no time at all. Well, it will take some time actually, it will take a heck of a lot of effort and it will not be a walk in the park. Thats the truth. But once you have those green arrows, those sky-rocketing unique visitor numbers and those dollars in your affiliate control panel, it will all be worth it.


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