in Internet Marketing by Jeffrey_Smith

After experimenting with a few brand new keyword specific niche sites as personal SEO project for the past 90 days, the question came up, does a site really need backlinks as much as before? and if so, how many does it need to cross the tipping point?.
niche-sites
After posting niche-specific quality content (gleaned from intensive keyword research) each day for 7 days a week and building less than 100 links to the site:

  • The site now ranks for over 400 unique keywords both competitive and long-tail keywords in the top 10 and top 20 results of Google, Yahoo and MSN
  • Has attracted over 1800 visits from 1100 unique visitors its first month (and is increasing traffic, impressions and user engagement daily).

The site has had no advertising or promotion (aside from the few links it has), is relatively brand new and ranks next to well established brand names just from a few posts that mention them in the title.

In addition, the site gets indexed within minutes of posting fresh content and has all of the trappings of a well established authority site (which would have taken years) to acquire the same level of trust, yet the site is not even 90 days old.

To say that this was alarming and quite amazing was an understatement. At this rate, by the time this website is 8 months old, it should rank for the one word trophy phrase for the entire industry (which equates to a feasible amount of traffic / monetization potential).

So, my argument is, can site architecture and earmarked content accomplish more than just link building or just link building without content? in this case, absolutely! The only thing different in this study was two things.

The first is, it was almost like the shotgun approach to SEO vs. the laser beam approach I was used to employing in regard to SEO in the past. It’s tricky when dealing with sites that have already been branded or limited by their content or lack of it (history can help your efforts or hurt them, depending on positioning).

The second thing was to start fresh with a new site, select the pinnacle phrases in advance then built semantic bridges to support the disparity in the gap using titles, internal links and tags augmented by RSS and site architecture.

This is one clear case that starting fresh and not making the mistakes of an aged site can magnify the themes on page / off page coherence. In essence, by creating the peaks and valleys and controlling the conversation, we could dictate how search engines would interpret the content and then add its own variations of keyword stemming to the mix. This also needed less coaxing (if you will) to convince search engines about the true ranking objective and traction the site was targeting.

So, instead of the old approach of walking into an established site, trying to make it rank for additional phrases and have the process hampered by its history. We were able to forgo this process and jump right past 990 other sites (for competitive terms) just by using a clearly delineated site architecture, internal links and using a modified technique of theming and siloing to get the benefit of each post working for a benchmark semantic goal (the competitive root keyword).

As a result, my eyes were opened to an entirely new way to do SEO (ambient traffic that rises). That’s the beauty of this industry, just when you thought you had seen it all, you forgot to test antiquated assumptions to see if they are still valid today.

When discussing this with a friend, his input was, “It’s amazing how much time is spent designing the page for robots, when it is customers who make the decision to buy“. Much in the same way, you can assume you know more then the signals of search and second guess where traffic flows, or you can or you can just test the waters across multiple keywords simultaneously with a niche site to build traffic and website authority when you find a real signal. This method can equate to unbridled rankings with less effort and be replicated with other synonyms with ease.

Does the mini-site / niche site model still work? Absolutely, but now with the ability to gain authority faster than ever (if you provide quality content) this model can challenging and upstage older sites who have become complacent in their ranking and relevance / demeanor.

For the sake of clarity the term niche site in this instance refers to a site based on a very clear topical base of keywords. It may have 200-300 pages, but very targeted pages at that. If qualified traffic is the objective, there are many ways to attract visitors (some more expensive and more time consuming than others). However, do not discount the fact that search engines know more about your niche than you do in most instances, or at least what else they are looking for.

If you observe the trends, listen to the signals of search and pay attention to the medium, then you can leverage it and pick keywords that convert day in an day out by using them as your main topics for discussion.

Search engines can gauge what your site is about and send more traffic from keywords you never even considered (just from briefly mentioning them), if you get out of your own way and let them do what they do best (deliver traffic). The traditional SEO is now something you use to steer the reigns once you find which keywords have the most search volume.

The takeaway is, instead of trying to make a square peg fit in a round hole and trying to make a site rank for a specific keywords, you can create a new site, use targeted content to rank for everything in between the semantic signals, then use SEO to lean in to the keywords and phrases with the highest engagement and search volume to monetize traffic. 

Read More Related Posts
Authority or Rankings Which Matters Most?
Is it rankings that produce website authority or website authority that produces rankings for SEO? Ultimately, which one is more important? Just like the conundrum about which came first the ...
READ MORE
A good friend of mine John Barth from Adazon Labels asked me to take a look at his website to try and diagnose why his pages where not achieving a ...
READ MORE
There is nothing worse than targeting the wrong keywords using SEO, only to determine that the phrase you rank #1 for was a waste of time. Of the various species of ...
READ MORE
SEO’s Get Schooled on LSI
Just like you do not have to understand the intricacies of an automobile in order to drive one, similarly you do not have to understand how a search engine works ...
READ MORE
Scale or ...
The only difference between and market-dominant authority site (replete with SEO), a keyword-sniping niche site, a vast shopping cart filled with thousands products or a blog is scope, scale, resource ...
READ MORE
I Have Call to Action... Now What?
This blog is continued from my last blog, “I Have Traffic…Now What?” In that blog, we discussed that SEO was only half the battle of Internet marketing. Now that you ...
READ MORE
Help Search Engines and Readers Find Your Content
Here is a quick SEO technique to help search engines and readers cut to the chase when categorizing your content. Just like when you get in an elevator and expect ...
READ MORE
Help Search Engines and Visitors Get on the Same Page
Search engine optimization also known by the acronym SEO is comprised of multiple facets. SEO is not a linear process, but rather a holistic evolution involving intricate layers, steps and ...
READ MORE
Tiered SEO Navigation and Link Structure
In our previous post called Search Engine Optimization: Creating Tiered Structures, we touched briefly on the importance of site structure and creating cascading or faceted / tiered navigation for search ...
READ MORE
Mapping Internal Links for Maximum Link Equity
Search Engine Optimization is about creating optimal on page structure.  In order to create an effective site architecture , there is a tiered methodology that allows you to designate specific ...
READ MORE
Authority or Rankings, Which is More Important for
SEO Consulting: Live SEO Site Review
Simple SEO Tips for Keyword Research
SEO’s Get Schooled on LSI
SEO Reality Check! Scope, Scale, Resource and Intent
I HAVE CALL-TO-ACTION…. NOW WHAT?
How to Optimize Meta Titles and Descriptions
SEO Guidelines
Tiered SEO Navigation and Link Structure
Search Engine Optimization: Creating Tiered Structures

About Jeffrey_Smith

In 2006, Jeffrey Smith founded SEO Design Solutions (An SEO Provider who now develops SEO Software for WordPress).

Jeffrey has actively been involved in internet marketing since 1995 and brings a wealth of collective experiences and marketing strategies to increase rankings, revenue and reach.

4 thoughts on “Niche Sites and SEO, Do They Still Work?
  1. Jason says:

    Interesting. Was this SEO experiment done using a WordPress blog site? Do you think it’ll work with a static site?

  2. Jason:

    It was done with a WordPress blog, and frankly the method would take much longer with a static site. The premise is internal linking and fresh links funneling deep links back to the pages with continuity. WordPress is a natural for this with optimized permalinks.

  3. Dave says:

    I’m still not sure how I came across your site, but the more I explore your site the more I am blown away by the insights your share. As someone fairly new and about to build his first niche site, this post grabbed me by the balls…(pardon the language)

    If you have any more words of wisdom or updates regarding this particular project I would love to hear them.

    P.S. By any chance do you have any reading or course material recommendations for someone looking to build sites for themselves to earn an additional monthly income?

Comments are closed.