This is a sample from my book “How I made 100.000€ in 10 months with 10 blogs“.
I need the blog to be fully working, and I need the niche to be low-medium competition, true.
- 1 Articles and writing quality
- 2 What makes the blogs to actually rank
- 2.1 Track the site traffic
- 2.2 Links for rankings
- 2.3 A bit of patience
Articles and writing quality
The quality of the articles I publish and how I rank the site are the most important steps. So I put special emphasis in this part and the one below.
What I keep in mind here, is that I want to create the best quality article, but also the longest. Usually more than 2.000 words or even 3.000 is the best, but I’m glad when I’m able to write even more than that, because I’m sure that the competition won’t be able to follow. Sure, it will take me a couple of days to write sometimes.
I get in the mind of the competition in that sense. If I’m exploring for new niche opportunities to create an article and a site, and I see a website (mine) with a long-ass article and very well explained, I’m not going to risk investing time and resources to try to over-rank it. That’s why I write long when I find a niche opportunity.
Also a short article that explains everything very good can be fine, but “quality” can be misleading, specially for Google. So I always make sure to go for long and well-written articles.
Let’s go back to the example of the ice cream makers. In this hypothetical example I will create a new Word document to write an article about them.
In the beginning of the doc I will write the list of the keyword related to that topic that I found. So again:
- buy ice cream makers
- what ice cream maker to buy
- ice cream maker guide
- cheap ice cream makers
My goal here will be to mention these keywords during the article in a natural way. I’m going to try to write these lines as exact as possible as I found on the Keyword Planner, but if it sounds very robotic I might change it a little bit. For example, “buy ice cream makers” I will say “so, if your plan is to buy an ice cream maker check out this guide to find cheap ones”.
Mentioning several times but in a natural way the keywords that the users look for on the searcher will help rank the article and the site way higher on the rankings, because Google will detect it’s actually relevant. That’s why I keep that list on top of the document, to always check the keywords related to the article while I’m writing it.
So, how do I actually write the content if I’m not an expert on the matter? After a few months of making money with it, I just hired freelancers on this site to do the job, explaining them what to do. But of course in the beginning I was the one crushing the key pad for many months.
What I did was reading a lot on the subject in many different sites, and keep writing accordingly. It helped a lot the fact that I’ve been studying languages. Thanks to that I had access to way more resources, although it’s important to not just translate directly, for copyright reasons and not getting people specially mad. Ideally I would find three, four or five good resources and get the best of all of them to create a great article in my target language.
It’s important to emphasize that copy and paste is totally forbidden. Google robots which crawl automatically on sites, will mark my site as spam and rank it deep and deep if they find copied lines. That’s why I always use my own words even if I want to explain the exact same as other sites.
In some rare occasions I could find almost no information on some topic, and I found a site with an article of 500 words. What I would do would be to explain the exact same but expand myself a bit more, using the keywords and also explaining some kind of anecdote at the end of the article, as long as it was related, or my personal experience for example. The main thing here was to be able to locate a product or service to promote.
I know this is not the prettiest explanation. If I could be original I was original and creative, but when I found high rewarding opportunities I didn’t have any hesitation of being a bit of a copycat if I needed to, as long as I could explain it in my own words.
As we say in Catalan “the dumbest makes watches”. Meaning that if there’s an opportunity I won’t miss it even if its as silly as explaining something different.
Also important to consider is the links that the articles will have. Once is written, I’m going to re-read it very fast to see if I can make a few links, or create a few more words relating it to something to create a link.
Inner links. Those are the links that will lead to my own site. For example if I’m speaking about ice making machines I can say, “after buying my popcorn machine I decided I wanted to make ice cream also”. And then a link to the popcorn machine article I made inside the same site.
A thing to consider though, is that even though some users might be interested in buying a popcorn machine, most of the viewers at that article will be only interested in the ice cream machine, so this link will be placed ideally at the end. Why? Because this shows Google relevance in my own site, but at the same time we avoid a few users to click on the popcorn article. Something I don’t want since I want them to keep reading the article and eventually click on the products I’m promoting.
External links. In every article I will include at least 1 or 2 external links. This means links that are actually pointing to websites that are not owned by me. It is important of course to link to sites that are not my competition, only related on the topic I’m talking about. For example I can link an article about a newspaper saying how “Ice creams are not that bad for health depending on how we make them at home”. And then link the word home with a category section of my own site about home products I’m talking about.
It will be important to also include at least one or two images, and maybe a video if it’s really relevant. Multimedia gives more context and information, and it helps the article to make it more complete. Google loves a bit of multimedia, although too much might overcharge the site and make it more troublesome for loading fast and therefore rank higher.
Usually I just put the image of the product. I open it with Photoshop and then I save it for website, which is more compressed but at the same time it doesn’t lose quality. I keep the image outside the Word document because of course I have to upload it to WordPress eventually along with the article.
To publish the article with the images I go to the admin panel on WordPress and just Click to Articles > New Post. There I paste the article and the bold, italic and linked text will be perfectly pasted. I will just make sure that there are not extra paragraphs, I delete the list of keywords and then proceed to upload the image.
To do so I will place the mouse where I want the image, then click on Add Media and upload the image, searching for it on my laptop.
I just press publish and the article is live.
If the site is new it might take a few days for Google to find it and crawl it. That’s why I always “help him” submitting the URL (web direction) of the article on their website. I just go to Google and type “add url Google”. Clicking on the first result will show a form which is basically introducing the URL and then submitting it. Or it’s faster to go directly.
When the site is more mature Google always has it on consideration, so is not necessary to submit articles to this form all the time. I do it maybe for the first five publications on a site.
It’s also important that when I speak about a product, to actually link it with the affiliate marketing tools so I get the commission for when a user buys it. Will expand on that on the section of making money with the blog.
What makes the blogs to actually rank
Ok, so the site is perfectly simple and clear, the content is understandable for the users and at the same time long for Google. It targets certain niches (or a single one) and is ready to be seen. The next step is to rank the site high on Google so others can find it in a organic way. That’s the tedious part, but before doing so, there are a couple of things to be considered.
Track the site traffic
The first thing I do to make sure that I see the site improve in terms of visits is to actually track them. To do so the most popular and free service is Google Analytics. Once registered there, it provides a code. That code is placed inside my WordPress. On the Admin left bar, I head to Appearance > Editor. On the right column of the template I go to Theme Header (header.php) and paste the Google Analytics code right before the end of the </head> tag. It can also be placed on footer.php but it doesn’t really matter that much (remembering the 20/80 rule).
One thing very typical of mine that I do constantly, is that I keep Google Analytics only the first few months of the site. It makes sense to track if the site is actually gaining any traffic, but once this is consistent, why keep it?
Visits fluctuations from one day to another may differ a lot without making any sense. Traffic can only be controlled till a certain extend. Once I know that traffic is being consistent or even increased gradually I just delete the Google Analytics code and stop tracking the site. After a few months I have a general idea of which articles are being seeing the most and all the other date is huge yes, but is in most case useless.
I used to spend hours checking how my users interact with the site, but at the end of the day is about clear content and making things clear. Using common sense. Pareto’s Principle 20/80 all the time has to be applied.
Google Analytics is free because I’m actually providing Google with lots of free information for them, which can be used in their benefit. That’s not bad but if that data has to be stored somewhere, it means that it also takes time for it to charge. In other words, if I take Analytics off, I also gain a bit more speed for the site, since it doesn’t have to charge. Oh, and I don’t need to use annoying Cookies Ads pop-ups.
Instead of relying on the analytics I user services to track on which position of the rankings my articles are. Since this service use a lot of technology the good ones are to be paid, but fortunately owning just a few website I only need to stick with the most basic plans.
From all the services that shows which are the ranks of my site in Google, this one is the best of all I’ve tried. As easy as registering and then introduce the domain-name.com and which keywords I’m targeting. In this hypothetical example it would be “buy ice cream maker”. It will show a number in different columns which indicates what’s the position of that specific article in the ranks. So the number 10 means that if I look for that keyword on Google my site will be in position 10th according to their robots.
In that sense is important to keep in mind that there are fluctuations every day on the rankings, since Google algorithm changes every day a bit. The only thing I worry about is monthly changes, not as much as daily ones.
This is only an additional service, which means is not necessary to actually rank the site, but it makes things easier to see if I’m making progress. Again, from all the “rank trackers” I’d go for the one I’ve already mentioned.
Links for rankings
In order for a site to rank high there are these two big pillars. Content and links. After explaining how content has to be created, links play another big roll.
I talked about how external and internal links inside the published articles go well for Google robots to rank the sites. But there’s a main factor that make a site go up besides the others, and that is how many and which sites link to my site and articles.
This makes sense because when something is worth mentioning on internet, the media writes about it, videos are made and people share it on the social networks. That works exactly the same way. The main focus here is to reproduce this behaviors.
How do I create healthy links that point to my site then? There are tons of tools which create tons of crappy links in a massive way. What I want for my site is a healthy amount of links that come from trusted sites by Google.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the election of the niche site will play a huge roll on how fast an article ranks. So if I chose a high competitive niche, it will take tons of high quality links (time, and money) to reach the first page. But low competition niches are way easier and fast to rank since Google is expecting some quality content on the matter.
Is not as easy as saying “dude, link me”. There are things to consider.
That is the text that will link to the site. For example using the word “here”. And when the user clicks to “here” it will lead him or her to the article.
The anchor text is very important. A few years ago users used to use the keyword all the time. That’s pure Spam and it’s a red flag for Google. The links have to look as natural as possible. Here’s a list of example of the words that can be used to link my article (anchors) about ice cream makers.
- com (5% of all the total links pointing to my site)
- http://mydomainname.com (5%)
- My Domain Name (5%)
- Ice cream makers (1%)
- Here (1%)
- Click here (1%)
- This blog has good information about it (1%)
- Source (1%)
- http://mydomainname.com/article (1%)
- The article that Pau wrote about ice cream makers (1%)
In other words, the majority of the text has to be random text but on context. Sometimes between the randomness I include the keyword, or words like “article”, “site”, “blog” and so on, because it is how a natural link that hasn’t been precooked would look like.
At the same time notice how a lot of links come from branding anchor text. This is basically the name of the site in a different written ways. That’s pretty powerful because when you make reference to a site and link it, most of the time bloggers use the name of the brand or site, that’s why makes a lot of sense and it has to be slightly more targeted than other anchor texts.
It’s all about getting into the mind of Google to create a good link profile.
Surrounded by text and context
It’s important that this links are surrounded by written content and they are in context. If a piece of article is about Egypt and the pyramids it would be weird that suddenly there’s a link out of context linking to “ice cream makers”. I’ve seen it. It’s way to forceful to say “Oh yeah being in Egypt is hot and makes you want an ice cream, that’s why I bought one of these makers”. NO.
The links can come from comments, articles, portfolios, social profiles and so on, but the majority have to come from media articles.
Below I’m going to mention sites to link my own site that can be created for free. BUT they aren’t nearly as good and natural as the ones that come from the media (newspaper and trusted sites with years on the net), which are the only ones that is needed to pay.
What I did with my first websites was making only free links because I didn’t have any money and at that time they worked better than now. But as I began to make a bit, I invested almost everything (around 80%) into paying articles to media companies and online newspapers to link my sites. I grew like crazy in a matter of weeks. I explain how I did it in the section below.
If I was beginning and I had a little money to invest (starting to 20€, 50€ or 100€) I would begin for sure paying media articles. The quality and result are amazing, and I have to say that I would have been able to reach five digits a month without investing first in this.
Media articles (paid)
How do I actually contact online newspapers so they make articles about me, my sites or my topics? For a while I tried very hard to find their emails or telephone numbers. Usually the important newspaper they don’t put it very visible, so I had to send tons of emails. It was later on that I discover a couple of awesome platforms that do the dirty work for me without additional costs.
The amazing thing is that they are super cheap because I can share the article and a couple of more links with other users who have sites related to mine but they are not competition. Let’s explain it with an example.
User 1 has a site/article about ice cream makers.
User 2 has a site/article about pop corn machines.
They are both in the same category which would be kitchen tools or similar. Well, with these platforms I was talking about I can create a group of “kitchen tools” and divide the cost of the link between 2, 3 or 4.
When the group is completed is closed, and the writers from the platform make a good article and send it to the newspaper that the group agreed on publishing.
That means that a professional writer will write about the popcorn machines, ice cream makers and a bunch of other kitchen stuff and the newspaper will link both sites. That also means a very natural and healthy article in a very important newspaper. So instead of 200€ it will cost me half of the price. Or a quarter if the group is for 4 (maximum allowed). This is just mind blowing in the world of SEO and has only been out for not that long.
What are the platforms?
I can assure 100% that there’s no better way of getting links and references to important newspaper and sites than both of this platforms.
They are both Spanish companies, but they implemented English and other languages newspapers. So it’s worth giving it a shot because its pure gold.
The first 6 months I invested around 8.000€ in links in those, and the result returned to me x10. These platforms are the reason I made 100.000€ in less than 10 months.
I recommend registering in both since the users are different and the groups open and close regularly. This let me have a more portfolio of groups and sites.
In the past I had to check certain statistics of the pages I wanted to publish articles and my link on it. I had to use tools like Ahrefs, Semrush or MajesticSEO to see if the newspaper or blog was healthy enough to publish something. What this means is that a site can have a lot of external links pointing at it that are actually Spam. Like links coming from Chinese sites that make no sense.
Creating a group (or buying single articles with my link) will assure going up on ranking. Sometimes it takes a few days, but usually weeks or months. Do not despair since it tends to stay there even if the site or article takes a bit to go up.
Blog comments (free)
In the past people use to use the comment sections of certain blogs, but has been considered Spam. Still I believe that a couple of comments with a link in a blog with a topic related to my site is not bad at all. It’s natural since a user (or myself) would share it a couple of times, but not hundreds of course. And under different comment messages and context.
I make sure that I read the article and that I mention the authors name. When I publish the link it will be the full naked URL. For example:
Hello X, the article is great, I specially agree on Y because Z although I’m not sure about W because Q. On my blog I wrote about this you might want to be interested blabla http://mydomainname.com/article-name
Make me know if blabla
I make it look like something natural, not super well structured, otherwise would look like Spam. That’s why I make reference to the author and things that have been said in the article or even on the comment section of the article.
Most of the time the comments will stay under moderation, so I keep a Notepad with the link that I check once a week to see if the comment actually has been published. When I use Google for looking for blogs with the same kind of content I use the filters to stumble upon the most recent ones. That way I make sure that there’s actually somebody behind moderating everything and the comment will be eventually posted.
There’s are some kind of comment technology called IntenseDebate that are usually less moderated for the admins. To find blogs with this system I head to Google and type “Comments by IntenseDebate” with the commas also. The commas used on the Google search bar will make an exact match for what I searched for. That means that only blogs with IntenseDebate will pop up.
Webs 2.0 (free)
Some other free place where I can create a free link are the webs 2.0. A few sections ago I mentioned how domain.wordpress.com is not the same as domain.com. The first case would be a Web 2.0. Those free services where they allow users to register a website under a subdomain name.
Signing up for this service allows me to create a “parasite site” which only purpose is to link to my only site. Of course that means that I have to create original content. The content on the web 2.0 cannot be copied from anywhere else. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be long. Around 500 words is enough so Google indexes it and counts the link.
Besides that I’d create three or four articles about the same topic creating internal links and other external links to some sites that are not competition. Making them look natural is the whole key.
With webs 2.0 happened as with the comments. People overly used them because there’s software that create them automatically. I’d create till 5 web 2.0 with different subdomains to point at my site. More than that I’d consider it Spam. A few of the most popular sites to create those “parasite websites” can be:
Another reason for using Webs 2.0 would be for pointing articles to the media site I have bought. In other words, to create a Tier 2. A second layer to point at it.
As an example let’s say I have bought an article with one of the two platforms I mentioned before. Once the article is published in one of the newspaper, I can create a Web 2.0 with 5 articles about the topic to point at that article.
The truth is that once I start to pay press links, I barely worry about Tier 2. A few years ago it was more effective, and although nowadays is not as much, it can have slight benefits. But I’d focus on creating more content for the site and contacting bloggers who are expert on the topic and can make some reviews or writing with links pointing at my blog.
In a few sites I’m able to post certain articles without needing to create an entire website. There are usually really fast to send and most of them are not moderated.
Again, I focus on media/press paid content for the high quality links, but a couple or three links coming from this sites are not bad in case of lacking resources. A few examples could be:
The publication of the content for linking my niche website is the same as with the Webs 2.0, I create an article of a minimum of 500 words.
Before I mentioned how Google has an address to submit an URL online. I also use it to send a request for my “free links content” being indexed on his Searcher.
Directories have the same Spam level as Comments in blogs. There are not very contextual and therefor not very good, but I try to have a site indexed at least in one or two of the directories I know are less Spam. To find those is not that easy since they are disappearing pretty fast, but I make a fast Google search to find the most relevant in the language I’m targeting.
I consider profiles in certain sites better than directories and comments. Most of the time a huge text can be placed and the link in context, which makes it a good candidate for making maximum three or four links. Some of the sites I always head to in order to create these type of links are:
Most of the time can be sneaky to find. In general I find where the users are registered, and then they ask for a description about myself, I paste a text.
Most of those text have to be pasted with a bit of code (HTML) in order to place the link properly. But there’s no need of knowing that language. Even though I do, in order to go fast I paste my 500 description into a word-HTML convertor. I copy the text form the right side and paste it on the description. When I update the profile on the newly registered side I can see the link. And of course I ping it to Google with their tool so they are aware that they should index the profile.
I like to think as multimedia the ones that are not in the categories from above. Galleries, portfolios, weird apps, etc. A few examples from the ones I like are:
- clueapp.com and bounceapp.com – where I can make a screen shot of my websites, place a link to it and create tags around the picture with lots of text.
- visual.ly – where I can upload an infographic and place a link to the side.
- giphy.com – where I can create an animated gif and put a link there as well.
- reverbnation.com – where I can upload a song pretending I’m a band and being able to link on the side too.
- bandcamp.com – with the same idea as the one before. Uploading a song and a huge text with a link.
- myfolio.com – where I can upload a picture as a part of a portfolio and in that picture make a very big descriptive text with the link sin content.
Private Blog Network or PBN (paid)
It will take me a whole book to explain. Fortunately there are very well explained articles on the net, but this concept is tricky.
I believe that investing money in press/media links there’s no need on creating a Private Blog Network to link at myself. The truth is that in the past I started to build mine because they were very effective. Still is a tool that Google penalizes if they find out you are using it.
It’s basically create a few blogs
Again, media and press links that I mentioned is a way healthier way to promote a site, but for the sake of information of what I did in the past I explain a bit how I created my PBN.
- Look for expired domains here. The main goal would be finding domains that had been very important in the past (authority) and that for whatever reason the owners decided not to continue paying with the domain anymore.
- Bid for the domain and buy it. Repeating the process with at least 5 or 10 domains for starting a PBN.
- Buy this special hosting. For each site and domain a new address and IP are provided, in order to simulate they are from a different owner.
There are several golden rules in any Private Blog Network:
- Never link the blogs between them. If Blog1 and Blog2 belong to a PBN, I never link Blog1 to Blog2. They are made for being independent and simulate they are so apart from each other.
- It’s all about making each site as different as possible in every sense of the word. Content, themes and so on.
- Creation of their own social media and having a bit of activity there to simulate there’s actually caring for the blog.
Owning a PBN pointing to money sites is something I never recommend anymore. Specially having platforms like the ones I mentioned before for buying high quality links.
A bit of patience
The “organic” ranking on the searchers is not that easy. It’s easy to remember that I’m here for the long run, not some quick cash. That’s why after all the investments I can make for a site it can take half a year to start seeing the first few bucks.
Something I noticed and I mentioned above, is that sometimes Google has “hunger” to rank my site. A couple of time I stumbled across a few keywords that had zero competition. The lack of information made Google rank my niche site really high for those specific keywords. That’s why investing in tools like this is not bad at all.
Other times however, getting involved and competing with a keyword makes Google being lazy about the ranking. The links don’t count as fast and I need many more, but it’s important to wait at least 10 months to see the hard ranking websites do money. If after that I see almost no profit, I just don’t continue. In those cases I would make sure I put the already made content to a good use, although I have been lucky enough (or smart enough) to never encounter that situation.
Sometimes some sites are indexed and ranked faster than others. It’s all about leaving a bit of time and space for the links to work. That’s why is also more natural to let it breath and not create a bunch of links at once. Using common sense I can see that it wouldn’t be natural in the eyes of Google and therefore a red flag.
As with trading stock, it’s important not to get obsessed with the rankings. I will track my rankings on the searches with that service I mentioned around once a week. And create a steady chart of links.
For my own control and management I save them all in a Excel spreadsheet I made. Indicating what kind of link it is, what is the % of anchor text and what articles exactly they point.