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15 “Google-Proof” Ways to Create a Quality Niche Site [Niche Affiliate Income #2]

by Steve Scott | Join Him On Facebook

Niche Affiliate IncomeWelcome to the 2nd part of the Niche Affiliate Income Series.

Last time I answered seven questions about building niche sites.  This post will help you learn How to Stop Pandas from Playing in Your Sandbox.

As we discussed, this income model relies heavily on search engine optimization (SEO). Specifically we’re going to target Google.

Unfortunately Google constantly changes what they like and don’t like about websites. They even do frequent updates to their algorithm that weed out what they consider to be low-quality web properties.

They have updates and penalties with cutesy names like:

  • Google Slap
  • Florida Update
  • Panda Update
  • The Sandbox

I won’t go into detail about what each means.  Suffice to say, Google works hard to ensure they give the best search experience to the end user.

What does that mean to you?

You need to build websites that Google loves!

It’s important to know what they want.  That way you can prevent any sort of penalty to your niche sites.

I’ve done an exhaustive amount of research into the Google Panda update.  Plus I’ve even looked at how Google Adwords comes up with their quality score.  (In my opinion, I think these two are related.)

Bottom line is you need an “authority blogger” mentality with niche sites.  Your first concern is to create a quality web experience for the end user.  Only then should you worry about monetizing a niche site.

During my research I found fifteen ways to make Google like your site:

15 Ways to Google Proof your Niche Affiliate Site

#1 – Provide a Quality Website

Everything starts with a quality website.  Not quality web pages.  The Google Panda Update shows that they now look at all the content on web properties.

So your niche income site needs to provide an overall quality experience. 

There is a lot of debate what makes a “good” website.  The best resource I found is by Amit Singhal from the Google Webmaster Central Blog.  Here he lists some things to consider as you’re building a website:

  • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
  • Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • How much quality control is done on content?
  • Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  • Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
  • Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
  • Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

Think about this as you build a niche site.

Bottom line.  Does the content help you or the visitor? 

#2 – Offer Unique Content

The Google Panda Update hammered sites with duplicate content.  I know there’s a lot of debate about duplicate content and if it should be used.  So I’m not going to get into it here.

My opinion?  Never use duplicate content on your main niche income site.  This is especially true if you decide to use private label articles (PLR).  Every article should pass a Copyscape test. 

#3 – Write In-Depth Content

The Google Panda Update also penalized “thin content” websites.  These were the sites that provided little (or no) value to the web user.

Most people recommend creating 500+ words of quality content.  My recommendation?  Start at 600 or even 700.  Plus make sure each article is actually helpful to the reader.

Also, every article needs to be unique from another.  That means you can’t spin the same post and put dozens of variations on your website.  Remember your goal is to provide quality content to the reader.

#4 – Create Base-Level Content

Website thinness also applies to the amount of content.  Generally, small niche sites won’t be able to compete against web properties with hundreds, even thousands of pages.

There is no set rule for how many articles you need.  My recommendation is to start with ten pages.  Then add 2 to 3 each week.  (I’ll cover this strategy in a future update.)

#5 – Build “Trust Factor” Pages

It’s no longer possible to hide behind a computer screen.  Google wants complete transparency with all websites.  That’s why it’s important to build trust into your niche site.  This can be accomplished by offering a few simple pages:

  • About UsTell people who you are and how your niche site can help them
  • Contact Us: Give people multiple ways to contact you.  Include a contact form, an email address, a physical address, and even a phone number.  (Get a Google Voice account if you’re worried about using a real number)
  • Privacy Policy: Let visitors know how you use their personal information.    You can use a tool like this plugin to set up a Privacy page.
  • FTC Affiliate Disclaimer:  It’s important to tell readers you have an affiliate relationship with the products that are promoted.  So be sure to include a FTC affiliate disclaimer.  (Lisa Irby has a great post about this and even offers a basic FTC Affiliate Template.)

Overall, be honest with web visitors.  Tell them about yourself and be real.   This is a great way to make Google like you.  Plus is a great strategy for increasing affiliate sales.

#6 – Provide Clear Navigation

Make it easy for people to navigate through your site.  Display the category pages on your sidebar.  And be sure to put the “trust factor” pages in a prominent location.

In addition, it’s important to break down the content in a logical hierarchy. 

You should have at least three categories.  The articles in each section should directly relate to its theme.

For instance, here is sample navigational hierarchy:

Navigation for Niche Income Website

The main theme of the site is Green Energy.  This topic is broken down into smaller areas of content: homemade solar power, homemade wind power, and off the grid living.  And then you break down each category into pages that directly apply to this topic.

I know this is site structure 101.  But Google is placing a strong emphasis on how websites are organized.  So take some time to set up a proper content hierarchy.

 #7 – Include a Google XML Sitemap

XML sitemaps help Google navigate your site.  Plus this tool sends notifications whenever you make a change to the content.

Setting up an XML sitemap is not hard at all.  This plugin helps you do it in a few minute.  Plus it posts automatic updates to Google.  It’s the perfect set it and forget it solution.

#8 – Interlink Each Web Page

Make sure to interlink all the content on your niche website.  It helps with search engine rankings.  And it’s a great way to give a quality experience to the web visitor.

Let’s say you have a page about homemade solar power.  Within the content you talk about the pros of this home improvement.  But then you mention how there are some benefits to trying wind power.  You would then link to a page which talks about the pros of using wind power.

Again it’s important to think like an authority blogger.  Interlinking is the best way to give quality content to the end user.

#9 – Minimize the Number of Ads

One reason I avoid a Google Adsense model is the over-reliance on advertisements.  It’s way too easy to place too many ads and get penalized.  The Google Panda Update proved that they’re cracking down on these types of websites.

You can still have ads on your site.  But don’t blanket your site with self-serving content.  Instead, add elements that will increase the level of user interactivity.  (See #14)

#10 – Diversify Affiliate Links

It’s not just the number of ads that can get you penalized.  You can also get Google Slapped by repeatedly linking to the same product or service.

It’s okay to start with one product recommendation.  But the site should organically evolve to where you’re promoting a variety of offers.

Here’s another strategy…  Create a review page that gives a side-by-side comparison of different products.  This is a great way to make affiliate sales while giving a quality web experience.

#11 – Link to Niche-Related Authority Sites

Write content that links to sites with authority information.  This can be done in a variety of ways:

  • Provide an in-text article link to a relevant piece of content.
  • Create a blog post that features a YouTube video.  Give your comments on it and why it’s helpful to readers.
  • Write a “round-up” post where you include links that cover a tightly focus topic.  Use sites like Google, Digg, and Stumble Upon to find most of these resources.

You don’t have to go overboard with the outbound links.  Just make sure to occasionally link to quality content that does NOT benefit you.

#12 – Get a Variety of Backlinks

Backlinking is an important piece of this puzzle.  In fact, this series will go into nauseating detail about how to rank high in the Google search engine.

For now, I’ll say one thing:  Diversify your backlinks!

Don’t rely on a single source of links to your site.  Instead get a variety of links which point at your main URL and the 2nd & 3rd tier pages.

#13 – Make Sure your Site Loads Fast

Site load speed is important for Google’s Algorithm.  For more on this, check out this resource where Google talks about page load time.

#14 – Add Interactivity

Now more than ever it’s important to add interactivity to a website.  Google wants readers to take action on your content.

Interactivity can be increased in a number of ways.  Here are some ways to do this on your niche sites:

  • Encourage blog comments and respond to any you receive
  • Add social media buttons like Facebook, Google +, and Twitter
  • Use a tool like PunchTab to reward people for sharing your content
  • Go to My Guest Post and get articles from other authors
  • Set up a poll in your sidebar asking niche-related question
  • Create a “best of site” list

Help people take action on your content. This is another way to demonstrate a quality experience to Google.

#15 – Buy an Aged Domain

Go Daddy Auction Listing

Click to Enlarge this Image

Finally we’ll end with a tactic I learned just yesterday.  Google is also placing a strong emphasis on aged domains.  Simply put, they’re more likely to “trust” a website that is a few years old.

Most people think it’s hard to grab an aged domain.

Actually it’s not that hard to snatch up one of these sites using the Go Daddy Auction feature.  Here you can find aged domains by selecting these parameters:

  • Select auctions that are Ending Soon
  • Plug in a word or phrase that’s related to your niche
  • Choose a one (or two) year minimum
  • Select a .com, .net or .org website

This search will bring up aged domains that can bid on or even immediately purchase.  The best part?  Some of these can be grabbed for under $20.

Coming Soon...

Okay that’s my list of fifteen ways to “Google proof” your website.  Use these to create niche sites that will get a high quality rating.

I honestly feel that Google will continue to crack down on thin websites.  So it’s best to give them what they want and not worry about any potential slap or update.

So what’s next?

Part three of this series will cover my strategy for picking a niche.  I use a different tactic than most people recommend.  It might work.  And it might not.  Only time will tell.

Stay tuned…

Take Action. Get Results.




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{ 73 comments… read them below or add one }

John Garrett

Holy Hannah. This is some great info.

I was already operating under some wrong presumptions about how to structure the site.

Also the excerpt from the Webmaster blog make some valid points. It feels like these are common sense things that I should have already known but didn’t really think about.

The product comparison tactic is really awesome. It’s like you’re being less “pushy” and offering more to the potential customer.

I’m already taking action on your posts, so I’m hoping to build a really valuable site and get it up to full speed soon.

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks John!

Glad you liked the post.

Many of the things are common sense really. The problem is that with all the noise on the ‘net sometimes you hear conflicting reports on ways to “take advantage” of this or that Google loophole.

Maybe they even exist and work (for now). But the door will close on these. I was once (when Google was a baby) involved in making cheap adsense sites. (back in the day before I learned some hard lessons) sure i made money. But it was only a matter of TIME before they caught up to it.

Any policy that does not revolve around giving google exactly what they want is on a clock. These things may work today…but do not expect them to work next year…really don’t expect them to work 5 years from now.

The only way you can get lifelong success is with quality. Period. End of story.

After that it is just a matter of trying to figure out how to please the big G. Hopefully these all work.

Reply

Jay Gumbs

Good information man. I got a lot of these covered when I’m doing my sites and some I need to work on. Thanks for the aged-domain tip too – gotta try that.

Reply

Steve Scott

Glad you like it Jay.

Hopefully a lot of people do read this and go… “I do that” that means they are on the right track.

Reply

Bethany

Great tips! I know this last update affected some marketers I know, though it doesn’t seem to have affected my sites too much I just think about how awful it would be to just lose everything. I think marketers are going to have to learn to play a different game than what’s been played in the last 10 years if we are going to survive. The nice thing is that it mostly just means that if you are honest and want to provide people a quality service and info, you’ll probably be fine.

Reply

Steve Scott

If your sites weren’t effected at all, chances are you are doing the right thing.

Some people could have been doing the “right” thing and been hit too, though. If they relied on traffic from places like hubpages and ezinearticles. (Though, I think both of those specifically have recovered somewhat)

The real learning point here is like you said if you are honest and provide what people want you should be hopefully fairly unaffected by this or any future update.

Reply

Dakota

Hi Steve,
This is really great information. It’s almost like being inside Google’s head! :) Like Jay, I have some that I am doing well (I think) and others that definitely could use some work!
I think I definitely need to work on number 6, I don’t know how user friendly my site is. I am thinking about my set-up, and realizing that I need to make everything more clear. If you click on this, you will be taken here. I guess I don’t really think about how easy it will be for people to navigate, I’m more worried about the font, the colors, and new content. Thanks for reminding me that my website is here for people to be able to use.
These are definitely great tips that I will be reading again and again, I’m sure. Consider it bookmarked. =)
Thanks for a great post!
~Pianolessongirl,
Dakota

Reply

Steve Scott

Dakota,

The best thing about this method of trying to protect against “Google” is that you do also make the site (hopefully) more enjoyable for humans. It really can help out.

Reply

Joe

Exactly. A lot of the wailing and gnashing of teeth as a result of Google Panda is from webmasters who built their sites and businesses around fooling Google’s search algorithms, and not around providing human beings useful or interesting content.

I’m loving this series on niche sites Steve, keep up the great work.

Reply

AstroGremlin

Awesome depth, Steve. Nice job. I did not know tip #10: complement up your affiliate products instead instead of just promoting one offer, or risk getting Google slapped. This tips may seem like common sense to you, but the logic of search engines still seems alien to me. So it’s great to have “Steve’s version” of common sense with detailed explanations.

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks AG,

Yeah it is common sense. But one thing I have learned is that common sense isn’t always common. :)

People (myself included) can get so bogged down in the fine details they can miss the big picture. every so often pulling big and looking at the macro side of things can help a lot.

Reply

Dia

Hi Steve,

Excellent article my friend on making Google like our sites. Personally I love Google as over 70% of my traffic comes from search engine and most of my articles show up on the first page. I agree it is very crucial that we have unique content that is not found any other site. Although sometimes it could be difficult, but it should be done with at last most articles. This will also lead to creating trust between the website owner and the readers. The more value we give, the more our readers would love to come back. Thanks for sharing Scott, great post :)

Reply

Steve Scott

Dia,

I get a lot of traffic from Google here too. Actually more than I am comfortable with. Because they can be mercurial. Hopefully you never “get on their wrong side” these tips should really help that to never happen.

But sometimes you just don’t know.

Reply

Amy

Wow, didn’t know some of these things made a difference. For instance, page load time – really? I will be using your list and checking it against my website as soon as I’m done commenting! Finding a lot of things to fix … Thanks again for the well written, easy to understand and highly informative, useful post.

Reply

Steve Scott

Everything matters. These are just the tip of the iceberg too.

Page load may or may not be a panda indicator. But it is definitely a page rank indicator. Google has stated many times that is something important to them.

It all boils down to user experience and a page that takes extra time to load is not a great experience.

Reply

Tom

Pageload time is really important and as many are using Wordpress as the foundation of their site, it becomes even more important (too many plugins, non optimized pictures, too many posts on the homepage make it slooow).
So if you have a blog, use a chaing lugin to speedup the site.

Some general tips on how to tune for speed can be found at the developer site at yahoo.
http://developer.yahoo.com/performance/rules.html
Very informative collection of tips and tricks for gaining some speed and therefore lots of advantages in user experience and SE-linking.

Reply

Luis

Steve:

>>If your sites weren’t effected at all, chances are you are doing the right thing.

Sorry I beg to differ. Many evidence show that the latest update have no patterns. Quality sites with diversified back links are hit (no they don’t rely on hubpages and EZA as well). Suffice to say, this update (on 13 Oct) makes no sense.

Hmm… I guess that you are not affected at all?

I must say this is a rude wake up call that we should no rely soley on the big G for traffic.

Reply

Steve Scott

Luis,

Actually I was fairly affected with the updates. On first blush I thought they were pretty arbitrary too.

What you say about “we should not rely soley on the big G for traffic.

I agree with wholeheartedly.

For authority sites I always push for diversification.

The problem is that real micro targeted niche sites you almost can’t get away from Google being your primary traffic source.

While I agree that many site hits may seem 100% random. Somehow or another they aren’t. You certainly can’t give a static list of ten things to avoid. My point is that all you can do is try to figure out what Google wants and give it to them. It IS possible you might still be aftected, sure. But you improve your odds greatly.

Reply

Grady Pruitt

I think a lot of people mess up on the content. They skimp on it or try to use PLR content “as is”. Readers generally don’t like this kind of content, and Google is learning to weed these kind of pages out of their system. Fresh content will win every time.

You don’t necessarily have to do a 1000 word article on every page. But it’s really difficult to provide great content under 400 words unless you have video or audio content or are just updating your readers with some news about something you posted somewhere else or just want to pop in to remind them of something. Most of my posts tend to be around 600 to 800 words long, but I don’t force the content either to be small or to be long. I aim to make the content long enough to make my point.

Thanks for sharing these tips!

Reply

Steve Scott

Grady,

I agree. Of course I have seen great content at 300 words. But it is less likely. It is hard to really make an important point of explanation in so few words. But I agree…you do not need 1000 words.

Writing for readers is the way to go. I have a strong feeling. That google will only get smarter semantically and all spun and duplicate content will be weeded out. Just write naturally and to inform (and try not to have too many of the “shorter kind” of articles and hopefully all will go well on that front

Reply

Oliver Tausend

Hi Steve,

wow, what a thorough breakdown of your findings. It all makes sense to me because it’s just common sense what Google expects, isn’t it ? I also found out – thanks to your list – that I can improve a lot on my blog, for example the loading time.

Thanks for sharing your expertise, great job.

Be blessed

Oliver

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks Oliver,

Glad you liked it. Google can be a real pain in the butt…. but when you break it down like this it does make sense. Thanks for dropping by and commenting…

Steve

Reply

paul wolfe

Steve

I was thinking of diversifying and creating a niche site. But I’ve run into a problem. You say write 700 word articles – well I can’t write articles of that length. For me 700 words is when I’m just hitting the straps – 1500 words seems to be my minimum these days! LOL.

The real reason I think I may not create a niche site for myself is because I just don’t have the time to do it – I could make the time, sure, but personally I think I’d rather make the time to write some fiction.

Having said that I think that I’m going to follow along with your series of (great) posts – and then turn my kid’s website into a ‘niche site’ and teach him how to build a revenue generating website. Be a hell of a lot more useful to him than some of the crap they teach him at PC school. (PC stands for politically correct btw – not personal computer!).

Watching with interest – and love the ‘authority’ approach. That’s how to nail it in any market area I think.

Paul

Reply

Steve Scott

Paul,

I know what you mean. Writing those 600 word posts can be a struggle for me too. I have to constantly tell myself to that the time it tales me to write 1800 words i could have 3 posts done. LOL

Here I don’t think it matter. You know my feelings on big posts for authority sites.

But on niche sites you need a certain amount of posts with regularity and like you, TIME is the issue for me.

Of course a big part of this experiment is also outsourcing as much of this process as possible and just making sure dollars out < dollars in

I don’t even want to broach the topic of schools these days. I really don’t want to turn this comment into 1800 words (I could get 3 niche articles done ;) )

Reply

Thomas

Hi Steve

That is some great tips. I do follow a lot of them already, but there was also a couple of new between. My blog/domain is not even one year old, but already a Google PR3. That is pretty cool I think, but I would still like to improve.
Thank you for sharing.

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks Thomas,

Hopefully a lot of people do follow these tips. In many ways most of these are good practices even if google -isn’t- involved.

Thanks for the comment. And congrats. PR3 is nice in a short span of time.

Reply

Duy Nguyen

Well done Steve, you’ve created a very detail checklist here man :)

What I see in common after the Panda update is the “unique an useful content” question. And yes, I agree that we should provide our visitors the best information we can have so that they can make a better decision. But what confused me is the exact definition of that “unique and useful” words lol. I just don’t know how to define it.

Anyway, I know the content I have on my site now is useful enough to satisfy my visitors. If they are asked if that content is good or bad, I’m confident enough to say it’s all high quality and original. Because I have some knowledge on the topic I write about. :)

Thanks for sharing this with us, you’ve done very well as usual. Can’t wait to see the next step. Have a nice day man!

Duy.

Reply

Steve Scott

Duy,

I agree. There is a lot of ambiguity in the words, “unique and useful”. Being able to pass copyscape is definitely a minimum.

But it could, and probably is, more because you can make a copied document pass copyscape with enough spinning.

All we can do is do our best to ensure it is “high quality and original”. I am pretty certain that anyone who says that with 100% honesty should be fine, if they check all the other boxes (amount of ads, load speed, links out and in etc.)

YOu can never know with Google. That is why I like other traffic sources too. But I think if you do all this you have a great shot at staying in their good graces.

Reply

Cristina Ansbjerg

It took me a while to catch up but I finally did. I’ve just read the two articles of this series.
Great job so far Steve!

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks Cristina,

Glad you liked them!

Reply

John McNally

Very interesting and useful Steve. I guess you could summarise the whole thing by stating that Google rewards QUALITY sites.

John
Leamington Spa, England

Reply

Steve Scott

John,

Pretty much true, I think. This is as much a definition of how I believe Google really defines the word “quality” as anything.

Reply

Extreme John

You’ve made a difference Steve. Thank you very much for sharing this to everyone. It is quite helpful and it really did help me greatly. You’ve got such a great blog, too.

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks John!

Appreciate the comment!

Reply

Sandip

Great tips Steve – I’ve been thinking about how Google look at almost everything when ranking your website and you nailed it here. The days are over when one can write 1-2 articles, launch a site and start bringing in AdSense income. Webmasters really have to create a valuable resource

Black hat techniques of creating 100 spam links and not doing anything again just arent going to cut it. An important lesson I learned when it comes to backlinking is to be consistent and build links gradually over time. As you mention, you need to diversify the links. Diversify in terms of where the links come from, the anchor text used and whether it is DF or NF.

Thanks for this comprehensive coverage

Reply

Steve Scott

Sandip,

Yup. Diversification should be a buzz word for people these days. People (myself included unfortunately) get too bogged down in the traffic sources they “know”.

ON a site like this, that is not a big deal, because i don’t do a ton of backlinking anyhow. Just a few social media links, and of course blog commenting. the rest IS natural and therefore random.

But on a niche site you HAVE to backlink and force the issue. Therefore that ole’ diversification becomes essential.

Reply

Rob Cubbon

Really like this one, Steve, especially the point about “Trust Factor” pages. I always do an About and a Contact but I forget about the Privacy Policy and FTC pages – both really important. Thanks.

Reply

Steve Scott

Rob,

Yeah, those are important as a CYA as well as for Google purposes. In fact most of these things have reasons to do them beyond -just- Google liking them.

-Steve

Reply

Peggy Baron

Great information as usual, Steve. I had never thought of doing #15 so a big thanks for that!

I think not only does it make sense to build up your sites as authority sites and make them a great experience for your readers, but it just plain feels better to me to run sites that way. I mean, I like to be proud of my website and the work I put into it.

Thanks,
Peggy

Reply

Steve Scott

An aged domain can specifically be of use if you want to throw a lot of links at a site. It just becomes that much less likely that Google will react negatively. Of course they can cost more, but the difference can be worth it. (of course depending on how much more I guess…)

Reply

Jimmy

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the comprehensive list here. I was just running through all the list for my site and checking if I have done what you told us. I have come up with a few areas of concerns. Hope you can address them here.

1) If I have different posts/pages targeting similar keyword phases, will that help with ranking or hinder?

2) How inter-pages links are generally needed?

3) How can I provide better navigation on my site? Does this mean to strategically plan your blog post to cover the different categories?

4) When you mentioned diversify your backlinks, must the backlinks be keyword anchored? There are some site owners who prefer you to use your real name instead of SEOing your name. How can we have a balance here?

Cheers

Reply

Steve Scott

1) To a point. You will end up competing with yourself and only one will rank. But what you should do is interlink and target longtail keywords with slight variations. for instance rather than haveing article A and B both be targeted for the keywords “reduce stress. Have article A be “Reduce stress tips” and link that to the Article B with the anchor text “reduce stress” which will be the keywords you target for article B. Obviously in this case article B is the one you are trying harder to rank.

2) There is no limit on interlinking except how it looks. really it comes dow to user experience. Too many can look ugly and decrease the chance that ANY are actually clicked. I would say try to have a link every 200 or so words, no more. Some articles will be better for interlinking and some worse. Let your judegement be your guide. Don’t force it, but have at least a few in every article.

3.) Pretty much yes. Some of it can be afterward of course. (like: “I haven’t talked about X in a while”) but you should have an idea of at a few generic areas and try to make these plain to find. As you get more articles it will be trying to get people to the “top” articles in each area.

4) Any backlink counts. But a anchor text backlink counts more. These links are the ones that tell Google “this is what this blog/post is about” and passes a small bit of “authority” if it comes from a blog/site that Google considers to have authority on that topic.

But Google also wants to see diversity. It is good, in their eyes,0p to have some with name/ some with url. they think that is natural. and it is. Just like some links should be nofollow even though dofollow does more for you. In short, do what blog owners want. But if you get the chance to put some keywords in links take it but I wouldn’t worry if you can’t. The BIG no-no is to have ALL links with exactly the same anchor text. Make sure you vary this now and then.

Reply

Jean-Luc

Hmmm great post Steve…
I wish the best SEO would be just to write good articles…

Reply

Steve Scott

Jean-Luc,

I agree. That is a lot of the strategy I have employed on this site. ANd it just isn’t enough, unfortunately. (though with a good site and a little social media you can get close)

Reply

Extreme John

You’re quite right about google being a pain in the butt Steve. It is really hard to rely on SEO when it comes to Google. It is hard to find a quality niche site for it. Thank you very much for another great information Steve. It could truly help a lot of people.

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks John,

I hope it does. For authority niche sites i still recommend people try to get traffic from as many other ways as possible. (Like you ROCK twitter traffic). But for those small niche sites YOU have to trust Google, and it is best to play it their way.

Reply

Alex

Mate you are slowly taking over as the king of the niche sites.

STOP IT!

;)

I loved this post and think you touched on things that many of my readers are often asking in relation to when and how many links to build in order to stay in Google’s good books.
I think if you do as you have suggested here then it does not matter how aggressive your link building is (to a point) because you have a quality site to begin with.

I also have to reiterate the importance of combining points #2, 3 and #11.
These three alone can often be enough.

Oh, and I have a few sites that have NO quality content what so ever but because I belive in clean navigation and (SEO) related categories etc many of my sites got PR2 after the last update! (Yeah, I KNOW)

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Steve Scott

Alex,

HAha,

Not sure if I am the King of the Niche sites yet… the 2nd one is only in the planning stages. LOL ;)

I am glad you agree with a lot of these moves. Because a lot of the micro niche stuff is still theory to me. Of course…informed theory, but still a little in the theory department.

I agree about the semi-aggressive link building. If the end result site is good and 100% original chances are you can withstand a lot more. As long as you grow your link velocity normally. At least it is working “so far” on the first site.

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Janet

Steve, aloha. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the wealth of information you have already shared with us in this series. Your information to help us “get inside Google’s head” is priceless. While who knows what Google will change in the future, thanks to your guidance your readers can avoid some “penalties” in the future.

Yet another post of yours living on my computer. BTW, loved your comment on the aged domain as I am just thinking of domain names. Adding an aged domain into the equation makes perfect sense.

Best wishes for a fantastic week ahead. Until next time, aloha. Janet

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Steve Scott

Janet,
You might not be able to find one, and when you do sometimes the prices of agaed domain can be excessive. But it is worth investigated a few variations. When you get one, it can make a big difference and be wroth a few bucks extra. Thanks for dropping by and commenting,

Steve

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Tom

Re #12 Backlinking
I think it is imortant to not only have links to the homepage, but also to inner pages. This increases findability and alos looks more natural.

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Steve Scott

I Absolutely 100% agree. You want link variety and diversity. Not onlye for the source and anchor text but where they are linking to!

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Tom

An other point to make here is that sub pages sometimes can become good linkbait and go viral. So you gather a lot of natural links to that specific page and this increases PR over time (although I am not friend of PR). This linkjuice will subsequently get transferred to other pages this highly linked page links to.

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Mouh

Great and comprehensive post.

Internet users are Google main source of money. So Google always want to give them the best experience possible. That’s why they always change things, I believe.

It is always about users. If they love your site, Google will love it as well. Google states in the Webmaster Guidelines: “make pages primarily for users, not for search engines”.

Buying an aged domain is something not many people pay attention to. You benefit from all the work the previous owner did to promote it. It is often the preferred option for some marketers even though finding the right one is hard. I wanted to do that before and didn’t find the right keywords in the domain name. I wanted to use my main keywords in the domain back then. I don’t know if it is important to have your keywords there or not. What do you think?

I have some things to ask about an aged domain. Can it be a double edged sword? I mean if you buy an aged domain that was previously penalized by Google or other search engines… Can do hurt you? And what can we do to avoid buying the wrong domain?

Thanks for the great post. :)

Mouh
:)

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Steve Scott

Mouh,

There is still definitely a direct link between having exact match keywords and your results. It really does help. Google has made noises that this benefit will go away or decrease, but I do not believe they have done anything about it yet. So i would say all things being equal always go for exact match. But of course their could be good reason not too also (branding purposes a lot of time. It is hard to find any good 2 word combos left. Better to be original and take the hit).

On the double edged sword thing. You make a good point and one that I haven’t honestly thought about. I guess if it was previously penalized you could submit it for a manual review and make clear that you are a NEW owner and that should clear up any issues. But I really cannot answer that question with authority…good one.

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Tony Scott

“Most people recommend creating 500+ words of quality content. My recommendation? Start at 600 or even 700. Plus make sure each article is actually helpful to the reader.” I just want to say that your article is very informative but the reason I chose to cut this part is because I would like to express my opinion about the number of words which is made unimportant by your last statement. It means that the numbers do not matter as long as you wrote something useful for the readers.

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Steve Scott

Tony,

I see what you mean and to a point I agree. A 400 word piece of content can be just as good as a larger piece. Perhaps a lot better if it is just written “tighter”. But the thing is, Google has shown a proclivity for penalizing sites with shorter articles already. Currently these are the sites with 200-300 word articles. This is the reason many article marketing sites set 400 word minimums these days. So the minimum many people tout of 500 words is a safety net. Not like the article police will bust you at 480. But a good and understandable rule of thumb.

The reason I say 600 or 700 is -sort of- an seo thing. It gives you a few more chances to use keywords without changing your keyword density. So you can use a couple versions of the same text without even being noticeable or spammy to the reader. And of course it give MORE content for the search engines to rank (and perhaps match). Now I agree…the flow of the article should be the primary consideration. If the article is perfect at 450 words, there is no need to add more. But I guess my point is that you shouldn’t shy away from writing in depth stuff that will take 800 words to get out, because there are advantages to the longer posts.

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Mark of Success

Steve,

I’m glad you have this series running. Though there is a lot of information on niche site marketing out there, it is always a treat to see someone do it all over again. I’m sure I would learn a lot myself.

Your point about “Trust Factor” Pages is on the list for my new site that is coming up soon, but I had overlooked the FTC Affiliate Disclaimer. Thanks for that tip!

Keep up the great work!

Cheers,
Mark

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Steve Scott

Thanks Mark!,

I am glad you are finding it useful so far. Hopefully you will keep finding a few good nuggets every so often. ! ;)

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Christian

While Google keeps changing their methods of valuating a website, it is important for every blogger to adhere to their policies and be in the good books of Google. These 15 points are very essential in maintaining a good page rank in search engine.

Regarding the third point of writing in depth content, I have a question. While it is good to write in-depth content, do you think visitors will stay on your website to read long articles?

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Steve Scott

Christian,

Many of the BEST articles I have read have been longer. Saying that though…content does need to be there. You can’t make an article longer just for the sake of being longer.

It also helps if you break up the content. SHorter sentences and paragraphs and pictures and section dividers help. It doesn’t make it -seem- as if people have been on the site reading for as long.

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Carrisa Schaffer

Taking an action on your posts can really build a valuable site. Build ‘factor pages’ is a must, I always used Google XML sitemap. Thanks for all the tips!

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Eddie Gear

Steve, I believe these ideas can be applied to any blog or website. Mainly because Google targets all sites not just niche blogs. Good tips love it, printed it.

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Steve Scott

Sure, they are fairly universal. For an “authority” website, they should be sort of natural. But I do think that some of these points must be followed for a good niche site too.. Depth of conent is important no matter what you do now

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Saksham

Contact, privacy, disclaimer are a few pages which are necessary and regular content is a must. If not regular content, then at least a few quality articles each week must be published for sure.

And yeah, never use PLR articles, they are dangerous if not today, tomorrow!

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Steve Scott

I agree of course. PLR are bad today. If you want to use PLR use them for PDF freebies, scripts for video, or email marketing. Places where Google will not see the duplicate content.

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Salah Messaoud

well I am new to the affiliate marketing but I will make sure that I will follow the advises you provided good luck for all

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Hannah

Hi Steve Scott,

I was directed here from James Prutt blogpost entitled “Stop Struggling to Find More Traffic From Google.” I am here to find out the 15 Google Proof ways and actually you give great points in post. I am looking forward to read more from your tips. Thanks.

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Steve Scott

Thanks Hannah,

Glad you made it over here from James’ site. Hope to see you again soon. Have a great week.

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Dan

Hey Steve,

I enjoyed reading this article – a great breakdown of where Google is at the moment and how the technology is improving to make the user experience better.

Even though some of my websites were hit quite hard with Panda, I very much welcome the changes (the websites of mine that were hit were those that effectively ‘played’ the system and the content was not as good as I could have made it).

With the algorithm updates, I’ve been forced to improve the quality of these websites and, if I’m honest, I feel a whole lot better for it. I can now make money with websites I feel proud of rather than websites that I built solely for Googlebot.

The unfortunate thing is that before Panda, Google forced Internet Marketers to fill the web with spam and crap because that has always been the best way to get high rankings. There wouldn’t be as much blog spam, forum spam, bookmarking spam etc. if the search engines didn’t use an algorithm that was so dependent on backlinks.

It’s still not perfect – getting a website to number one for keywords with low to medium competition using blackhat/greyhat backlinking techniques is still relatively easy – but for long-term success I think webmasters will need to provide higher quality content and authority in their field of expertise because that is the direction that Google is heading in.

And it will result in the Internet being a much useful and spam-free resource than it is at present :)

Daniel

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Steve Scott

Dan,

Absolutely. Understand why Google made the change and look forward to the positive aspects of it. Of course when you’re hit and don’t know why, it can suck. But those that strive to abide by basic “good content” policies should be relatively safe from the wrath of Google in the long run.

And hopefully all those that don’t will fall by the wayside making room at the top of the Serps for those who really try to provide the best content

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Jac Evans

Hi Steve
I like your post of step by step to earn $1000 a month, albeit, it is not easy to accomplish to do all the plans you’ve drawn. If we do the right thing, it is only a matter of time to succeed and your plan is very clear and easy to understand but seems not to apply them in the real world.
thanks,

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Wilfredo Bowels

It’s difficult to find knowledgeable people for this subject, however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

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