Amalgam

How Many Websites Do I Need for IM?

You need lots of sites and a few niches. Is that true?

There is simply so much contradictory information about how many websites/blogs/online properties etc you need to really make it in Internet Marketing. The reality is that you really do only need 1. In fact all you need is one successful page to make a full time living. Peeps like James are testament to this, well, until he lost his top earner that is.

And this is what we are going to be talking about today. But not before you sign up to the new Zen Duck Newsletter. I actually want to talk a little about list building but want to wait until I have been using it a while longer, so stay tuned for that one at some future date. But, and not for this site, so far so good and I can see real promise in building lists (smacks side of head) using one of the list building services out there.

The reality is that here we concentrate on SEO tips and thus getting traffic from the big search engine. That’s Google in case you don’t know who I am talking about! In niche domination II on the old blog I went in to some detail on the importance of satellite sites for tough terms and I want to expand a little on this. But first let’s take a look at just what the realities are in the, let’s face it, murky world of getting organic search traffic.

Here is what Leo on his Internet Marketing site has to say on the matter. His emphasis, not mine:

If you are new, you should almost always work within one market using one website….

Focusing in on one market with one website will allow you to leverage the resources you have in the most equitable way possible….

While I agree on the first point the second I do not, but more on that later. It is always good for everyone to have a few different points of view before they decide on a long term strategy. But  bear in mind Leo is focusing in on the noob, and getting comfortable with one site before trying to build others is certainly good advice for those just beginning this rather rocky road we call IM. Wanda and Paula are successful and often talk about success after focusing in one one site almost exclusively.

Let’s see what can effect our sites and rankings. Once we have already obtained them that is:

Competition

The game of SEO, in all its many facets boils down to competition at the end of the day, it is nothing more.

No competition means you are number 1 for everything that you want to rank for. And that is basically the bottom line. We backlink to rank using link building strategies, we add more content to rank and we carry on doing this to keep our rankings. We build satellite sites to support our main sites and we do whatever we feel we can to rank as highly as possible in the search engines.

Every day there are new peeps taking a mostly unsuccessful stab at making a living from the Internet, and apart from a few of us they fail miserably. But they are still a thorn in our side and you can bet that there is someone in your niche who is better than you and if you don’t watch out they will take your spot(s).

Vagaries

The beauty, and frustration, of obtaining organic search engine rankings is that no-one (no-one) actually knows exactly what the criteria is for getting, and more importantly, keeping, top positions for your terms. We can look at on-site factors, get our SEO as good as we think it can be, although no-one knows what that is either, and get better backlink profiles than the next guy.

And we can still fail miserably and not rank well.

Sometimes it is simply in the lap of the Gods and we have to simply try what we can to rank higher.

Algo Changes

Changes to algorithms that actually sort out the placement of sites in the Google search engine change continually. Nobody knows what will be next so anything that we do to get high rankings is an educated guess at best.

With new updates occurring as we speak you can bet that there will be plenty of surprises in store for many. Have you considered your bounce rate, how many pages peeps read once they get to your site, do they hit the back button and search again after visiting your site or are they happy with what they find? All factors that are going to mean a lot this year, you can bet on it. And that is just the beginning, SEO is evolving fast, and we need to try to keep up. It has gone beyond what it used to be and is developing all the time.

This is why we hear so much talk about quality and making your content the best it can possibly be, when the reality is that this is NOT a factor as far as rankings are concerned, as written quality content is entirely subjective, there is much more at play now. Until:

Manual Inspections

If you throw up a crappy site and it gets inspected by a Google employee with the ability to downgrade your position then there is not a lot you can do about it, in the short term.

THIS is the main reason why quality should be a consideration. Something I go in to on the how to build a successful website article. But the word is so open to debate that it is impossible to explain what quality is. A 150 word article with a link to a place that sells the cheapest white socks is the best quality article there is if someone typed in a query wanting an answer to that question. But if they types in something about the history of the white sock then it is bad quality for that person.

The quality of a site, for me, relies solely on whether or not the page a searcher lands on actually answers their search query. Then the above and increasingly important algo factors take care of themselves. You get a low bounce rate, the searcher stops his/her search as their query has been answered, and hopefully you make some money too.

Just another way that one persons opinion can totally effect your whole IM future.

Site Age

Age is becoming much more of a factor as far as rankings are concerned. I am in no doubt about this. I am now leaning towards the opinion that it is much more important than a backlink profile or any other factor. The older your content the better it will do on a successful site and the easier it is to rank if you go down the backlinking approach. Throw a handful of Build My Rank posts at a post on an old site and watch it fly past your competition,.

This is why Lando’s Automatic Authority has done so well. The bottom line is that age of the domain itself is important enough to warrant spending some cash, and if you can get aged content too then you are far ahead of the competition. Which leads to trust.

Trust

A trusted site in the (bot) eyes of Google is going to be able to rank for any number of terms without ANY real on page SEO and without the words even being present. I see it in my niches every day. Of course, there are shortcuts to out ranking these trusted sites which we shall discuss later.

But if you can get a trusted site then you are going to earn a lot of money. Age is key, as is number, and more importantly quantity, of external links pointing to your site.
But, and I have been saying this for a long time, links totally under your control are so important too. Which we shall now look at.

How To Beat All Of This

If we want to try to negate all of the above we are in for a rocky ride. But there are  few simple things to do to try to ensure we are on the right side of most of it.

Internal linking

SEO is still a key factor for ranking, it is how we get to the top. But as we have seen it takes on many aspects. SEO is simply doing ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING WE CAN to get good rankings. So we need a checklist.

Internal linking has become even more crucial to the success of a Website. You should link to your old content and your old content should link to your new content. You should direct your visitor to deep pages on your site if they are of interest.

There are a lot more factors to on site structure that will effect your rankings and it warrants a post in its own right, which will be up next. But internal linking is a crucial factor in going  some way to keeping your position.

Beating The Age Factor

You can’t, it can’t be gamed. Unless you buy an old site that it. But what you do is get your SEO in order the best you can so that you can at least optimize what you have. The rest is just going to be a waiting game. But there is one way to beat sites that have age, but not for the main terms. We shall come to that later.

Quality Content

As we just saw, if you have a crappy looking site with thin content and it gets a manual inspection then it could be goodbye work from home Dude and HELLO 9 to 5 HELLHOLE!

Especially true for those running adsense on their sites (not my favorite business model at all).

If your content does not deliver what the searcher comes to your site looking for then it is crap content. That’s the bottom line on it really. If the search engines are going to be placing more emphasis on a cohesive site that is based around one niche only, award merit for sites that are the final destination for a search query and maybe even downgrade just backlink weight as the main factor then you need to be sure that you are on the right side of this. Some of my sites were not and they are now history, 3 year old sites that earned good money each and every day. We live and learn folks.

Choose your terms carefully for your post titles and your copy.

I pull my hair out when I see in the serps “Cheap White Socks For Sale” and am confronted with a Web page that simply says that yes, you can buy white socks for sale and white socks are very nice and they are cheap and ……….

Stick adsense on it and it is just a matter of time before you can say goodbye to those blue link earnings.

Make sure your copy delivers what it promises.

So, let’s actually get down to what our approach should be when it comes to the question of how many sites and niches we need to actually get and keep good rankings if our approach is traffic via search engines.

But first, look, I am NOT saying this is the best way to get traffic, I am not saying it is the only way to get traffic, I am saying it is the way I get traffic. Niche depending you can get all the traffic you need from being a player in your niche and being a leading light on the top forum and a myriad of other ways.

It may surprise you to know that this is simply not what I am about, I am not that social at all outside of this blog, my niches do not suit an approach other than search traffic, or I simply am not inclined to do what needs to be done to chase non-search traffic. I am good at what I do and am happy at that. So, let’s get to the nitty gritty.

How Many Sites Should You Have

I think that, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, Leo has hit it on the head for total noobs to this game. Build one site and build a damn good one. It is a good starting point. And I would even be tempted to have a full on blog in a general and very social category. A blog in the traditional sense, just as this site is. It is actually how I began, and although I followed a lot of bad advice in trying to chase social traffic to earn the reality is that a few years later, and totally neglected, sites that were full on blogs where I would go comment on others blogs and get blogrolls etc now earn a little every day. A good stomping ground for beginners, but not the way to make money in the best way for nearly everyone.

They don’t earn a lot, at least by the standards I now set myself, but enough to buy some basic groceries if it comes to that.

Having a social blog is probably the best way to familiarize yourself with this game without the pressure of SEO, keywords and the like. Some basic stuff such as simply writing post titles that you think people will search for is enough really. As you learn then you can progress to other sites and this is where I feel many will not agree.

Never Rely On One Site

Make sites in a variety of styles. Uber clean, uber spammy. Middle ground.

For many of you you will now be strictly under the much touted and NEW CREDO of build quality sites. This is a total perversion of the realities as many present it. As we just discussed 150 words answering a question someone poses in a search engine is not spammy or crap if that is what they are looking for.

Hell, a post title and a sentence and a link is not spammy if someone searched for “What is the Hubpage that Dave wrote about the Zen Duck to test if it is still worth using”.

If I then wrote that as a post title here on this blog and then the copy was just:

Here you go Dude:

Zen Duck

Then that is about the best quality content you can offer. (Let’s see what that link does because so far Hubpages are stinking it up at the moment!)

You see, quality is all subjective.

The problem is, that unless you are very lucky, short content like that is not what gets you ranked. What gets you ranked is a certain amount of copy under your post titles. And the reality is that to some degree the more you offer the better. But quality is just a part of it.

On-page factors as discussed earlier are important too. I try to give real life examples on this blog and the old one about on page factors. Internal linking is one of them. But linking externally from your copy is important too. If it is helpful to your readers then you should link externally to sources and keep them dofollow.

It sounds odd but you do actually leach some of their authority by doing this. You are saying that you are one of them, you have written about a topic and you linked to others that have written about a topic. It is how the search engines want backlinks to actually be used, no gaming, just honest linking to more information about relevant topics. A PR5 domain name I bought for a great price thanks to Lando’s Automatic Authority just got a PR6 after the latest update, it has 6 pages of content and links out to authority sites in its niche, nuff said. Imagine the power of the links it sends to my sites. An inner page that had minimal linking done to it and is relatively new is a PR4 straight out the gate, it links to authority sites, mine included. Nuff said.

Other On Site Factors

There are a million on site tips to optimize but this is not the time or place, next article for that side of things. But take note of how this post is laid out for obvious examples.

How To Minimize Your Potential Losses

This brings me back to the meat of this article really. I simply do not agree that you should rely on one Website.

If You want your traffic from search engines.

And that is the important focal point. If you do not rely on search then there is absolutely no reason to have more than one Website:

Once you find a profitable niche.

And that is the caveat. Beginners, and Ducklings such as myself need to explore niches to find profitable ones. And for many that means relying on SEO factors to get traffic and that means breaking the squeaky clean rules many love to quote, only high quality links etc etc.

There is simply no doubt in my mind that you would be crazy to rely solely on one site IF you rely on search. We have seen just a few of the factors that can send you crying to your Mommy if some tweak or random act of unkindness occurs and your Website tanks in the serps. And trust me on this, it will at some point, so get ready. Who knows what algo change is around the corner.

I have talked about this in the past but it really is very important. ONCE you find a successful niche then you should do all in your power to protect it. The Niche domination post I linked to earlier goes in to detail about building satellite sites and I strongly recommend that you do this.

I strongly recommend that you build up a series of sites that focus in on aspects of your broad main site and you work on them the same as you do on your main site for a while. The sooner you do this the better. Get reseller hosting linked to on the tools page and do this asap. Or even better just get a few cheap hosting accounts if budgets are tight. The reality is that if you cannot afford $20 or so dollars a month for 4 hosting accounts then you need to seriously re-think about if this is a business you are in or you just want some pocket money.

  1. This is for a number of reasons. You build up smaller niche sites to provide yourself with quality backlinks that you control.
  2. You get to earn more money as you can mine the keywords form your main site and make copy around those terms so you can improve the listings you have in the serps by making an uber focused site.
  3. You cut the risk if you lose your main site.

The reality is that we none of us know what can happen in the serps. Listings chop and change on a regular basis and we may become the recipient of a very hard slap. So, build up your satellite sites as backup for your terms on your main site and then if the worst comes to the worst a few months work should see a number of those sites taking over the positions that you lost.

And this is one way to beat the age factor we discussed earlier.

Your smaller niche sites that you have now built that attack your best terms on your man site will be much easier to rank if the whole site is dedicated to a good number of buying terms for the products.

By ranking a number of longtails you can earn more than you would from ranking number 1 for a popular term.

You do not always have to chase the top and hardest terms to make a lot of money. The earnings from longtails are not to be ignored.

Don’t get obsessed over 1 or 2 terms, think broad and longtail and you will take over from the sites with more age and more backlinks very easily.

But I want to take it a step further than this.

As well as satellite sites for backlink support and earning in their own right you should also build at least one if not two main sites taking the best from your main earning site and creating new content around what works.

This is going to be a main site in its own right and it is going to, over time, be a contender and competition to your main site.

It does not mean you have to do it all immediately, I would build the satellites first. But once they have their content on them then you should consider leaving them be for some time and build out a main niche site in exactly the same niche as the one you already earn in.

The Content

I mentioned briefly the different options we have for the content on our sites and I want to elaborate. What did I say? Ah yes:

Uber clean, uber spammy. Middle ground.

Look, there has been a lot of talk lately about people cleaning up their act and no longer polluting the Web with low quality articles that they post all over the place for low quality backlinks in return. Yolanda wrote a good post on just that topic. This is a tricky situation.

I am all for quality content on my sites, it is just that I disagree with a lot of people that seem to ASSUME they know what it is. This is not directed at Yolanda, I think she makes some fine points in her article and is doing the right thing for her.

But I disagree with all these “so called” Gurus that are now jumping on the bandwagon assuming that they KNOW what quality content is.

Uber Clean

For me this is a site that answers questions searchers have posed in whatever form. It may be a link you provide, affiliate or non affiliate. It may be that you have written an in depth review for an item you own. Or it may be a personal blog post like this where you try to cover a topic a little bit comprehensively. And I can tell you that I love writing copy like this, yet I never do it!

Why?

It don’t pay the bills!

FOR ME PERSONALLY

Middle Ground

The majority of my content is what I PERSONALLY feel is middle ground. It would not win awards for an exemplary use grammatical usage but it delivers what it promises to do.

I am the well paid sandwich board man that sends visitors to the store of my choice without getting the tired legs. Some say that it thus means my content is just in the way. Well, tough. If the top results are not the best price place for white socks then why can’t I build a site to tell people where to get them? And hey, of the best place is numero uno then why can’t I compete with them to be number 1 or 1? They still get their money, right?

I write copy for products concentrating on both the primary term for the product and in many cases as many buying keywords as I can possibly think of. And often this is limited to well under 50 terms.

But I have stats as my sites grow so these terms actually grow daily and never end. And for me that is the basis of my whole business model. Certainly not for everyone but if nothing else I am honest about how I go about my business.

Hanging in forums and the like is simply not my style outside of this blog and a few minutes to chat on Facebook. But if I need traffic then as a last resort I will pay for it.

Sure, I write 2000 word reviews of products with no affiliate links and then write more copy with affiliate links going in to more detail about an individual topic.

But you know what?

My best earning sites contain nothing but 200-300 word articles for the most part with buying terms for products in the post titles. And I have plenty on stand-by to take the place of most of these sites should they get a wrap on the knuckles.

But why should they?

They deliver exactly what people are looking for.

Look. If I write an article about “Best Price White Socks” then I bloody well tell the visitor where they can buy them at the best price. This is the honest truth about it and I feel comfortable doing it. If you don’t then that it up to you.

Uber Spammy

For me this is spun content that makes little sense on sites that are misleading. Or, even with good content, sites that run adsense and fail to deliver on what they promise. The difference between me using an affiliate link to send someone to a product and you using a site running adsense to do the same is that you have absolutely no idea where you are sending people so you are not delivering on your promise. And yes, I have done this, it is the best way to earn well with adsense.

If you fill up a site with buying keyword post titles and run adsense and get a manual inspection then good luck to you. Switch out to an affiliate program asap, there is more money in it anyway, you may just have to tweak your copy a little.

The Realities Though

Ah, the realities. Now, this is where we really get to the heart of it all.

There really is no that much to say about it all really.

The bottom line is that the search engines put a massive amount of weight on age, inbound links, internal linking and content. Not “quality” content, whatever your personal view on that is, but content. In the form of text on page, video, pdfs, on page factors such as H2′s (very important, I know I keep saying but so many still don’t put this in to practice), italics, point forms etc etc really are significant.

All things being equal a page that competes with a page without that setup will rank higher.

But the realities go further than this.

Post titles carry the most significance after domain name for ranking.

And that is the bottom line. It is why what many believe what I do could be classed as somewhat spammy.

I don’t see it that way.

I write buying keyword post titles to rank for those terms.

Why?

Because I then need fewer backlinks to rank than if I did not use those terms. I would also need more authority in terms of age and quality backlinks from relevant sites.

But I am not stupid. And this is why I say to build more than one site in your main niche.

Attack the buying keywords like there was no tomorrow. Fill up your site with plenty of them as post titles. Put others in H2′s and then go about backlinking every page on your site for those terms. But make sure that your content is “quality” in so far as the searcher is concerned. You don’t want them to feel let down and go search again, it shows that your site is not right and should not be ranking where it is.

But then go out and build another site where you take a different approach.

What Approach

OK. A quick rundown of what I mean.

Site 1

Lots of buying keyword post titles that many see as slightly spammy. Why? They answer the searchers query.

Site 2

Minimal buying terms in the post titles of a lot of the content. Just use direct product names. Then now and them mix in posts with buying terms but to a much lesser degree.

Site 3

No longtail buying terms for your post titles. Straight-forward product titles with the main focus on your reader in mind. So a product with a review or a comparison, whatever. But titles and copy that are the absolute best that you can muster.

By building 3 sites with 3 slightly different approaches you are going a long way to easing any misfortune that may occur when any of the factors we talked about a the beginning of this post kick in.

Actually, do that. Come back in a year and tell me what site is doing best. I could tell you now but that would spoil all the fun.

But if you take only one thing away from this article it is that I want you to succeed and I want you to make the most of your efforts. And for that reason alone

I do not recommend you rely on one site that you earn from.

Sure, you earn the most from one site, I am not disputing that. But have others in reserve for if anything happens. This is simply looking out for yourself. Look, it could be as simple as this.

Someone hacks your site and deletes all your content and the hosting company cannot recover it.

At the same time your computer goes kaput and your backup files cannot be gathered.

Sure, you could restore a site from a cache online, but it may never recover or take an age to recover. Or a myriad of other things can conspire against you.

Build a few sites, on a few hosting accounts and cover yourself a little. I hope that explains my reasons and that it makes sense to you, well, duh, of course  it does.

How Many Sites Should I Have To Stay Ranking Then

I just bloody said! Jeez. At least 3 just in case plus others that are sub-niches of your main niche site. Jeez.

How Many Niches Should You Focus On

Just 1.

That was easy wasn’t it?

Seriously, if you find a niche that does well and earns then there is no reason to move on to another.

Personally I run in a number of niches, all that combines to earn our living for us. This is for my sanity more than anything else. I do a lot of backlinking support site work, and on site work to some degree. Just staying in the same niche can be hard as it is boring.

But until you are earning a very good full time wage I would simply say to suck it up and get on with it. You are luckier than almost anyone else who needs money to live in that you can work form home as and when once you find a good niche and begin to work hard and thus give up the day job. So build up in one niche until you are a contender then give yourself a reward by discovering a few other niches that you can focus on to build up your future assets.

I know this new site has been slightly different to what readers of the old site have become used to. Some of the posts here will be about life just as much as Internet Marketing and SEO Tips. I want a looser scope to what I do here and that is what will happen. We are all people and we all have things going on outside of tippety tapping away at keyboards trying to rank for white socks so I do hope that you will stick around for that side of things as and when I feel like blathering away.

Anyway, that all felt Old Skool and a bit Gangsta so I hope you got something out of it.

Laters.

Stay tuned for the anatomy of a successful site coming up next.

116 Responses to “Amalgam”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Aaron says:

    First comment!!

  2. AMK says:

    My goodness – that was a marathon read and you’ve already commented. I bet you didn’t read it all Aaron :-)

    Thanks for this Dave.

    Since discovering you about 10 days ago, hubby and I are new “Zen Duck” disciples. We’ve employed a fulltime youngster from the Phillipines and submitted 62 posts to BMR – you’ve set a very high standard with your +-7800 BMR posts in one year – VERY inspiring. Thanks!

    • Dave says:

      AMK,

      Thanks. Nice to have new folks on board and thanks for commenting. Outsourcing work is definitely the way to go, it really does take the weight off and get the ball rolling a lot quicker.

      Just make sure to mix up links to your sites from other places too, mix up the categories you use in BMR, plus backlink position and they can work wonders.

      See Aaron, that is what a comment is ;)

      • AMK says:

        Dave, you also recommend “Backlink Phillipines” to create forum profile links. I knew about them before starting to read your stuff and have used them twice but the links don’t show up when using Yahoo Site Explorer. I know it all takes time and that YSE does not show ALL backlinks BUT it does not show any of the profile links built over the past 2 months either via Sick Submitter, Backlinks Phillipines or manually by yours truly – bloody boring hard work! Compared to the BMR submissions of which the first links are showing 6 days after being submitted.

        Question is: Does forum profile backlinks still work? I tend to think not…but I’m impressed with BMR so far – VERY impressed!

        • Dave says:

          AMK,

          I would not worry about what shows up in any tool, they are off by a mile. I will be honest and say I have not used Backlinks Philippines for about two months as I have had other things going on. I was going to do a run this week so how about you remind me next week and I will let you know if the results were good or not?

          But, apart from anything else it is a good way to mix up your backlink profile. And I will say that my best results using them have only ever come from linking to sites that have some age and a good backlink profile already. Just starting a new site and sending forum profile links is not going to work, or any other kind of link really for that matter unless you are very lucky.

          I will send some to an aged site later today so remind me next week and we can look at the results. Leave a comment on this thread so we don’t get confused ;) I mean me!

          • Craig says:

            Cheap mass backlinks definitely seem good for mixing up the backlink profile. One of my best-earning pages dropped from top-ten to about 50 recently. I’d built around 130 links to that page, and had only really used two anchor texts. I paid someone on Fiverr to do an Article Post Robot submission with ‘Click Here’ as anchor text to that page and two days later it was back in its previous spot. It could be a coincidence of course, it’s difficult to be sure of anything without doing a large trial, or it could have done exactly what it was supposed to do.

            AMK: Majestic SEO shows far more backlinks than Yahoo! Market Samurai uses data from Majestic SEO now, and you can get the data for free from the website itself. Ultimately not that worth worrying about, though. If your SERPs are getting better then what you’re doing is working, no matter what the tools show.

            • Dave says:

              Craig,

              Yeah, good to mix it up. We now always get our Gals to backlink with a mix of good and “bad” links to keep it varied. Just using the full URL is good too, gotta keep it real.

  3. Tracey says:

    So you think you need at least three websites huh. Hmm interesting.

    I was thinking more like 11 myself. Why? Dunno. I just like the number 11. It’s magical or something. Plus everytime I look at the clock it’s 11:11 – what’s up with that?

    I guess that means that my 100+ sites are completely a waste of time (although I am scaling down – even that many are making my head hurt).

    Actually most of the them ARE a waste of time and built when I was a spammy IM’er. I’m completely legitimate now *wink*.

    Oh, and definately agree that internal linking is VERY IMPORTANT. I wrote that in caps so that it looks like I’m yelling, but I’m really not. But I did raise my eyebrow and nod knowingly. I’m very wise like that. I’ve gotten some sites to page one with NO external links just internal linking. Cool huh. You still need to mix up your anchors for internal linking though same as always.

    Think that’s it. I’m out.

    Tracey xx

    P.S. Looking forward to the anatomy lesson on your next post. I love biology. Yeah I’m weird like that.

    • Dave says:

      Tracey,

      I think 3 sites for your main niche to at least hedge your bets, plus smaller off-shoots for satellites and to at least take over some spots if the worst happened. And built on different platforms if possible, which Wifey just mentioned, one WordPress, a static, maybe even, gasp blogger? Nah!

      You are very wise indeed, and that is a good point about mixing up your internal links, all part of the game we play eh?

      It shall be a stripped down, bare bones biology lesson. See what I did there? Huh, did ya? Did ya?

      Ratings ;)

  4. Daveh says:

    Nice write up. I have had a double site set up for my main products for years – since 2004 in one niche and since 2001 in another. We are currently setting up another set of sites in one of the niches where each site attacks a segment of the market in my main niche. We’re using a new corporation, a different phone number, etc etc so there can be no link. Also using a completely different link strategy, etc.

    You are right – relying on only 1 site is lunacy.

    • Dave says:

      Daveh,

      My Man. Good stuff. Sounds like you are doing amazing, proper Old Skool by the sound of it. I didn’t even know what an Internet was in 2001 ;)

      • Craig says:

        I got my first home internet connection in 2001. 56k dial-up with no flat-rate access available, it was all pay-per-minute back then (in the UK). Plus you had to pay twice. One payment to AOL, and one payment to the phone company. My first month’s internet cost me £400. Adjusted for inflation that’s over £500 in today’s money. Crazy shit.

        • Terry says:

          Craig, you were robbed! Back earlier than that was a company that gave free Internet after 6pm, then expanded it to 24/7. It might have been Tiscali, maybe 1998? Not sure, it was a bloody long time ago. I remember it got overloaded so fast they were upgrading almost weekly to cope with the demand!

          I had my first basic, html website up in 1996 selling my own hypnosis tapes. I think I was paying by the minute then, but I never had to pay AOL – in fact I got mine free through my cable company as part of the TV deal.

          That little business did ok actually. I didn’t have the first clue about search engines (there was no google then) and must have attracted the traffic by total fluke! I wish I’d paid more attention back then and kept at it. Could’ve been the World Domination Guru of them all by now if I had LMAO!

          • Craig says:

            It’s a while ago and my memory’s a little hazy, but I do recall trying a couple of other discs (ahh, the days when ISPs came on CDs and WHSmiths was full of them) and not being able to get them to work. Probably something to do with me having a PC handed down from Nottingham City Council. A 486 DX4 with a weird parallel port external CD drive which could only run Windows 95 (I once tried to install Linux on it…Jesus Christ was that a frustrating experience!).

            My AOL disc had a free trial. 100 hours (with an 0845 number, so I still had to pay the phone bill). I used it up in a week. The AOL woman was quite surprised when I phoned up. A combination of chatting to random peeps around the world and MUDding was my downfall.

            It was only a couple of months before AOL offered flat-rate access with an 0800 phone nunber, though. My monthly internet bill dropped from a few hundred to fifteen quid.

            Ahh, if only I’d seen the potential of the internet back in those days! I did have a website up, but it was for a religion I started rather than any money-making scheme.

            • Dave says:

              Craig,

              A religion! You could have had a mass following by now ;) Me and the Wife were talking last night and it was in 2000 when we got our first PC. It was 2 grand and was from Time, what a fiasco. Never bloody worked properly and we had to get the Citizens Advice involved as they would not give us our money back. It had a massive HD of 700 MB! Woo hoo.

              All on slow dial up and using ICQ to chat, they still around?

              Man, what a different world it was. We had to type out essays for college on an electeronic typewriter, well, Wifey did!

          • Terry says:

            Oh memories! My first working home PC was an IBM 286 I took home from work in 1993 (they had upgraded to 486s and were going to dump the old boxes). It was a real mean machine too – internal 10mb hard drive and a whopping 2mb ram! I ran Windows 3.1 – still IMHO the best operating system MS ever made (LOL) that I loaded up from a bunch of floppies (CD drive? What was that?)

            The amazing thing is I could do pretty much everything with it then and just as fast that I can do with my super duper mega laptop now. How times change but don’t really!

          • Craig says:

            I remember 3.11, Windows For Workgroups, as being pretty well regarded. I also remember lusting after my friend’s XT before that, though. He had a 20MB hard drive (one of his games took up about 15MB, so he had to uninstall it whenever he wanted to play something else) and a 5.25″ floppy. We spent many hours playing Moria on that thing.

            You’re right about change. A lot of things don’t improve, or change in any meaningful way, they just pretend to be new in order to get people to spend money on them all over again. Of course as marketers we can’t really criticise that practice (I laughed out loud at the irony of Chris Rempel’s post about the razor blades – this is the world we created!).

          • Wifey says:

            @ Dave – Typewriter!!!!!!! That was a state of the art 300 quid word processor with a teeny weeny screen that went clackety clack when you hit “print”.

  5. Craig says:

    Nice post, sir! I’ve bought a couple of aged domains recently – after being inspired by Lando’s course – so I’ll have about half a dozen sites on the go. Some WP, some static, some micro, some medium, one large (I hesitate to say ‘authority’ ’cause it’s not what I would call an authority, although it did gain some PR2 pages in the recent PR update).

    I like Leo’s recommended approach of building a real branded business. If you succeed at that then you definitely only need one website. But that’s a thought for the future. For now I’m still playing in the slightly spammy middle ground you’ve done so well out of yourself.

    • Dave says:

      Craig,

      A branded site is definitely a real advantage. To not rely on search is a wonderful thing. If I had them there 1000 true followers for this site then I would spend all my time here ;)

      But for search we need to play it safe and back-up our stuff ready for any losses in ranking that may occur.

      • Craig says:

        Are you all the Daves who’ve been putting Zen Ducks on the internet for at least three years? There’s a guy called Dave on Deviantart with a Zen Duck picture, a guy called Dave with a Zen Duck video…what’s your masterplan?!

  6. Terry says:

    Great post Dave, you certainly have all your ducks on a row (ouch!) :-)

    Have to agree with all of it really. Its the same as the way I work and I know from first hand experience that having lots of sites in a tough niche puts the main site up high in the serps. It also puts a couple of semi-main sites up there. I have 2 nicely aged sites ready to take over if anything happens to my main site in a few niches now.

    And a thing on content quality – we just had this discussion in the Bike Shed – I mentioned that Google can’t really quantify content quality if its written by someone who doesn’t have English as a first language, because it could be construed as racial discrimination! Everyone is entitled to write articles in the best way they can. If the grammar is not up to scratch, or there are some spelling mistakes, that can’t be taken into account as a ranking factor.

    Never mind that grammar quality assessment may be being done by a cubicle jockey G-employee in India… and they learn proper Queen’s English there, not that quirky American stuff ;-) Just imagine Matt Cutts’ website getting a devaluation by an Indian because his grammar was considered “not what the Queen would write… hahahahaha!

    • Dave says:

      Terry,

      Ha. The annoying thing is that “American” English has now permeated my brain. I saw something on the tv the other day on a sign and was about to blurt out to the Wife:

      “They can’t even spell colour properly”

      Then I realized. Oh the shame of it all.

      Content quality has to be about the user experience and if they get what they are after, regardless of the actual grammar. This is why it makes sense that things like time on site and if the searcher backs off the page and searches again seems like a good way to indicate if what you deliver is up to the mark or not. We shall see eh? Interesting times as always.

  7. Darrell says:

    I need a sleep now after reading this post. No…seriously, its like the first hot day outside, so not used to the heat in Canada. Plus, I gotta keep it short today, my 25th wedding anniversary and all today..nice dinner later on with our family and some friends at a really good Italian restaurant…

    My wife and daughter will be home soon..time to clean up abit as well.

    Later Dude..

    • Dave says:

      Darrel,

      You old ;) Congrats Dude, a lasting relationship is a thing of real beauty and who could ask for more in this life.

      Hope you had a good time and that you cleaned up the house properly for your Ladies.

      • Darrell says:

        Hey Thanks Dave…I’m not old ..only 48 :) …got married young is all…

        Of course..worked around the house all afternoon…Had a great Italian dinner tonight with friends and my lovely wife and daugther…Its the real Italian food too…

        Later

  8. Sam says:

    Hello Dave, out of the following link building methods, can you please tell me which ones you still currently use and which ones I shouldn’t bother with:

    Directory submissions
    Submitting articles to article directories
    Social Bookmarking
    Blog comments
    RSS Feeds
    Using Squidoo, Hubpages, Blogger, etc.
    As always, thanks for your help Dave

    • Dave says:

      Sam,

      Use them all if they don’t take up too much time, link diversity is a great thing. But for actual good rankings from your links in the shorter term or for income then I would go with Squidoo, blogger still works for ranking in its own right if you let them sit a while. I don’t do article marketing at all any more, the links are next to worthless. Same with commenting and bookmarking.

      Best thing is to set up some support sites or use blogger, Squidoo etc and ensure that you backlink them too. Any link that is backlinked is going to be worth a lot more.

  9. Rachel says:

    Hi Dave

    As usual, both an enjoyable read and some really great tips. I have been feeling a little bit bad the last few days after making that tongue-in-cheek remark about spam on your subdomains for seo post. Now I’m wondering what else to tease you about so you spit out more juicy content!! Just sharpening up a pointy stick now…..:-)

    Cheers and thanks again

    By the way its driving me crazy – what’s that red & white gravatar/logo of yours actually mean?

    • Rachel says:

      And the other thing that’s driving me crazy is why you want to rank this post for the keyword “amalgam”?????

      • Dave says:

        Rachel,

        I don’t. I don’t attempt to rank this site for anything. It is just a different way to do things as I am not about search here. Although all the other SEO factors on this site are pretty much in place, I know post title is important (very) but I also want to see what just using a H2 at the beginning of the articles will do as well, along with a few other things.

        A long term plan covering a few years to see what happens, this site is the exception to my own rule. As with all things, if you want to find out the real answer you have to test it for yourself.

    • Dave says:

      Rachel,

      You keep that stick to yourself young Miss!

      Don’t feel bad, I won’t hold it against you, and the gravatar is a Japanese Hanko of my name in Kanji!

  10. jamesthejust says:

    Alright, I’m getting rid of my 45 other sites because you said 3 will do. Thanks for saving me time!

    [But who do I believe? Tracey said 11...]

    I’m terribly confused. Maybe I’ll add them up and do 14 sites.

    And thanks for reminding me I need to update what happened to my lost site after I lost it. ‘Twas lost, but now…

    Oh, nevermind. I’ll post about it.

    I also enjoyed Yolanda’s closing post – and I think you and I are on the same score with that in terms of business model…

    But dude, I’ve yet to take you up on the 300 word thing. Will need to get jiggy widdit and see. I have a horrid time stopping at 1000 words…but 300 is nigh impossible.

    Viz: this comment…

    • Dave says:

      James,

      Three for your top niche, plus satellites, plus sites to link to the backups and web 2.0 to link to the backups of the backups and links to the web 2.0 and………

      Bugger, is that really what we spend our time doing?

      Content length is just down to how many words things need James, different tactics are needed for different niches. And this one responds best to whoppers. I think that is because both I and the readers need a break and it is hard to be concise with so much to talk about.

  11. Mike says:

    Use a table of contents, that’s all the keyword stuffing you need.

  12. ChrisCD says:

    I haven’t written an article for a directory in a while, but have considered doing a few again. My idea is to write unique content, interlink them, and send one of the links to the main site or a sub-site. You don’t think that will work. Most article directories do have age going for them and I see that as being better than starting a new domain.

    Of course you may also suggest I find a few aged domains and then place the articles there. But, I had been put off on the domain game when I found so many faking PR and links.

    What say you? Do you think the article directory above would work?

    cd :O)

    • Dave says:

      ChrisCD,

      It may send a little juice if you do it that way, no doubt. But personally I would prefer to use a few of the great other properties that are out there. I will be talking about a few in the newsletter in a few days. There are a ton of domains that rank well so obviously have authority so the links will be worth more. But, if you find an article directory that seems to be doing well then it certainly won’t hurt to get a few links.

      And don’t forget, blogger, wordpress.com etc. Make a site with a few pages and link to your main site and then send some quick links to them, still good links from those old guys.

  13. Bruno says:

    Hey Dave,

    nice post mate. I was wondering and writing a buiness plan for my websites and it does resemble a lot of what you have talked about here (satellite websites and the stuff, all from your old blog).

    One mistake that I have done at the beginning was going for the micro niche website approach. Now I have around 60 odd websites =(. My plan for these is that I’m taking one at a time, adding a few more posts and backlinks and then sell it. Even if they make like $1 a day, I could sell them for $300 and then reinvest that :) If I could sell only 10 of those 60 websites making $1 a day, then I’d have $3.000 to reinvest … Not bad at all …

    As for age of a domain, I believe it is domain and content age right? The strange thing is that I’ve bought a domain last year and didn’t add a single page to it until recently (summer niche). The thing is that this site got quite some good traffic with no backlinks at all. Quite strange … but I believe is a niche where there is not much competition … especially for being a non-evergreen kw

    Some questions now:

    1) I use a reseller account with Hostgator. Is it ok to interlink websites that are all shared in this reseller account? I actually got the reseller account on a recommendation that I’ve read somewhere, but I’ve no idea if they are on a different C-, N- or XYZ-class ip …

    2) Is there much difference using H2 or H3 for ranking purposes? One template of mine uses H1 for the home title, H2 for the post title and then H3 for headings. UPDATE: checking this article here http://www.seomoz.org/article/search-ranking-factors#metrics-6, it seems it does make a difference. What do you think? Worth updating to have H1 as post titles and H2 tags in post?

    And how many H2 can you fit in a 300-words article?

    3) Do you still use W3 total cache? Any quick guide installation? There’s a quite lot of stuff in this plug-in

    To finish off, if Google was really able to discern “quality content”, then you should damn well receive more search traffic in your old blog

    • Dave says:

      Bruno,

      That would be a nice little nest egg to invest, so go for it if you feel the money is worth the effort, or even just use the sites to link to a super main site, but I see the attraction of cleaning house a little.

      My take on all hosting accounts is this, only interlink a handful of them. 5 or so links, from 5 or so sites, even on the same IP is not going to penalize you, if it was the 60 on one account, even reseller then I would be wary about interlinking for ranking purposes, I would just do a few of them.

      I use a h2 for post title and then h2 for most of my headings in the copy too, with an odd h3 thrown in. H2 will carry more weight. I go for 2 maybe in a 300 word post.

      I have w3 on a couple of site but took it off others and have not really noticed the difference to be honest, and I just went with the defaults.

      You know, the rather funny, and slightly annoying, thing is that the week after I left it to set up this site the google traffic started pouring in, it now gets a ton of search traffic, I guess it finally got old enough to be seen as a good resource, even when it is about a topic that is sure to get a site sandboxed for some time.

      So, just a year or so to go here and I may get search for something apart from Zen Duck ;)

    • Terry says:

      Bruno,

      I also have a Hostgator reseller and all the sites on the are on the same C class IP. Dave’s right, restrict links from sites to around 5 or so pointing up to a main site. If you want to spread a network around more, you are going to need more hosting from different companies to get the spread of IPs.

      There are some so-called SEO hosts around, but I wouldn’t bother with them. They are expensive and do not provide the kind of real IP spread that would look like the sites are all owned by different people, which is what a network should try to emulate.

      There are one or two free bannerless hosts around that you can put a small site on here and there to spread IPs. The uptime is not as good as a paid host and you should never put a WP blog on them (static only for your own peace of mind), but they are useful for widening the spread.

      Here are two that are ok:

      x10hosting.com
      hostcell.net

      But don’t go telling everybody…

      • Bruno says:

        Terry,

        thanks for the info and thanks for those websites. I’ll definitelly keep them to myself ;)

        Dave, thanks for all the answers.

        Regarding hosting them, which other companies do you guys recommend using if I’m to create a handful of satellite websites with different ips? And is it ok if I get shared hosting accounts or does it make a big difference having a the reseller account?

        Because them I could have 4 shared accounts instead of one 1 reseller and so on …

        thanks again!

        • Bruno says:

          ahhh .. where’s the edit button when we need one? so many misspellings …

          anyway, on satellite websites – or any other site for that matter – do you guys bother using Google Webmasters Tools? Even if the satellite websites are on different google accounts?

          • Dave says:

            Personally all I use is Statcounter, simple with enough info for me. I have had to use Webmaster tools a couple of times for re-inclusion requests but apart from that I keep them out of my business as far as I can.

        • Dave says:

          Bruno, I have 3or 4 accounts with Bluehost, the best by far as far as I am concerned. We have also got hosting with Webhosting pad, also good, Hostnine reseller and Hostgator. Nothing is as good as Bluehost though. No waiting around for a WP install to populate, you install it and you are good to go asap, can’t say that for any of the others plus they are often slower to work on.

          Um, I should add some aff links for all that to my tools page ;)

          • Bruno says:

            yes, please add it and let me know when you do it so … I’ll make sure I get them from your aff link … it’s a way to repay for all the help you have giving out here to everyone ;)

            hum … when I started, I’ve added all my websites in the google webmasters … but they were not linked to each other at all, so no problem there … for satellite I shall only use Statcounter

            ok, back to work, lots to write

            see ya

            • Dave says:

              Bruno,

              I put one up for Bluehost, they are the best as far as I am concerned, and webhostingpad, a close second. A way to go about it if you are building satellites for a few niches and won’t be going crazy is to have your main site for the niche on Bluehost then use a reseller account with someone else and put your satellites on with them on different IP’s. Or buy a few other hosting accounts with different peeps, which may even work out cheaper. Main thing is to just ensure that you don’t interlink more than 4 or 5 sites from any one account, just to keep the paranoia monsters at bay ;)

          • Bruno says:

            Dave,

            sorry I got a bit confused in your last reply.

            Terry mentioned before that hostgator’s reseller account will have all websites on the same c-class ip. Is Bluehost different?

            And even if it is different, isn’t it better instead of buying one reseller account, buying 4 ‘regular’ accounts so instead of having 20 websites in one single account, I could have 5 websites in each and then I could interlink between those 4 accounts?

            I believe that 5 websites in one account (non-reseller) will be treated different from other account right? Even if it is a non-reseller account and even if it is the same hosting company. Otherwise ALL Bluehost’s accounts would be treated the same and they would all get deindexed BWHuauauaua … hua …

            Maybe I’m saying something stupid and I don’t have a clue :D

            • Dave says:

              No, you are right Bruno. It just depends on the number of niches you are in as to whether reseller is the best deal. If you just want satellites around a niche or two then it would be cheaper to just get hosting with a couple of accounts and stick 5 or so sites on each one.

              Like, I have a few Bluehost accounts and each one is on its own IP, but if it was the same niche I would have my satellites on a different host though, just to keep the nameservers varied, just for paranoias sake ;)

          • Bruno says:

            I see … thanks again for the info ;)

  14. Jonas says:

    Hi guys,

    Okay, I have taken your advice and given up on Hubpages. I have started a site (sorry Dave, but I can’t afford Lando’s program right now, OR a aged domain so I just bought a new domain name) and I have started working on it.

    I hope you don’t mind me asking for advice as I build this website, but I am a bit confused. My site is about a certain genre of games that has very little competition and a decent search volume. On my main site, I am listing a review of each game in that genre, and incorporating one of the top search terms into each title…so..suppose my genre was military games….I am creating titles for each game that is on Amazon and fits the genre like this “Most Realistic War Games: Delta Force 2. So, I will have around 30 posts on my site with those keywords and game titles….So, here are my two questions. When I get to less searched keywords and I have run out of games. Do I just create informational posts on those without talking about a specific game and put amazon links to genre games in the sidebar and second, what about that list of 50 buying keywords that you provided? I feel silly making post after post like “Best Prices on Delta Force 2″ “Lowest price on Delta Force 2″ and “Delta Force 2 for sale” even if it on a subdomain titled ‘blog’.

    Any advice? I hope that wasn’t too confusing and I’m sorry for asking such nooby questions…but I really need to start from scratch and make sure I do this right.

    • Dave says:

      Jonas,

      Firstly I would make sure you switch it around: Delta Force 2: Most realistic………etc

      There is no need to constantly add content, if you slowly add in the content, or put it all on now, it won’t matter long term. You can stop if you want once you have the content that you want up. For the buying terms just put them in your copy. You can use H2′s to say “best price Delta Force 2″ etc and try to just get others in there as you naturally write. Just a handful.

      You will find that even without the terms on your content if you backlink for them all you will have a nice healthy site with a varied backlink profile and you will begin to rank for them. Then you will find other terms in your stats too and you can backlink for them. Then just add new content if you actually think of something to write.

      Do that and you should find you do great for the new site. Nothign wrong with starting a new domain, just takes a while for it to get going.

    • Dave says:

      Jonas,

      Forgot to say,

      don’t worry about the questions, you can ask away, from me or the regulars, it is what a blog is all about ;)

  15. Tara says:

    Great post Dave – full of tonnes of great advice. 3 sites….yeah, I kind of agree, hedging your bets and all that.

    But working on one main one and not a trillion, until you get that to be a good earner is the one thing I should have realised ages ago. Ummm, wait, I did realise that, I just didn’t “do it”.

    I’m going to have to re-read this post again later….too much info to absorb in one sitting!

    Tara

    • Dave says:

      Hey Tara,

      Good to hear from you. Hope you are doing well. Definitely focus in on a site that is earning and make it a priority. The reality is that if you really work it then you will earn well. Get real backlinks that have weight and count for something and you are going to do the best you possibly can to cement your positions in the serps.

  16. Sue says:

    Haven’t seen a list yet that didn’t just try to sell me stuff eventually. Launches, latest stuff repackged from older stuff, programs pals are selling, whatever it is, I’m not jumping on the bandwagon.

    Whether or not any value. I won’t use them myself, b/c I don’t sign up either. I will pay a membership fee or subscribe to RSS before I sign up for a “free” email marketing list. Just my $.02.

    • Dave says:

      Sue,

      We are all more than entitled to our opinions, I sure have had my share of crap from “Gurus”. Of course, mine will be different, but I would never try to convince anyone of that, the proof is in the virtual pudding ;)

  17. Kurtis says:

    I all. I live in California and they cut the amazon affiliate program. I am using skimlinks. Anyone know how to use skim links on hubpages and squidoo?

    • Dave says:

      Kurtis,

      Man, I feel for you, it sucks. But sorry I haven’t used skimlinks. Hopefully someone has and they can offer some advice. Other option is find a very good friend who will let you have an ID from their Associated account for Hubs and Lenses.

    • Terry says:

      Could be a shitty but viable business idea for anyone living in a state that Amazon still does affiliate business with. Offer to create an Amazon aff account and lease it to Californian ex-affiliates with a cut of the profits for their “trouble”

      History repeats itself with greedy left-wing politicians creating a black market through their stupidity and ignorance.

      Splork posted with his usual acid wit on this yesterday at lostballinhighweeds.com

      • Mark says:

        Terry, I live in California and these politicos are so fucked up here. I wish that they were leftists. I am not sure what they are.

        Once Amazon gives the affiliates the boot, they are off the hook for sales tax. So what is the gain? Dunno!

        Thank goodness my wife is from the Philippines. She is looking at establishing residence there. We may even live there since this place is getting fricken crazy with a lunatic for president. We had a saying in high school that was better than WTF. It was JF! Just Fuck!

        • Terry says:

          Its such a shame, I drove around a few places in Calif back in 91 and liked the place a lot. Well, maybe not downlown LA, but there were plenty of really nice places!

          Being an ex-pat myself, living in another country is a real adventure, especially when for me it meant getting out of freezing cold, rainy England to warm, sunny Spain! I’m sure Dave will concur. I have a friend who moved all the way to Thailand and he loves it there.

          There are some ex-pat Americans living in the Philippines that I know online and they seem to like it there. I firmly believe that you can live anywhere you want (if they let you) and no one should be tied to their own country if the chance to live someplace else is there.

          • Dave says:

            I have decide to move to Jersey after the declarations about Tax Wifey told me about so far this year. WTF is that all about.

          • Terry says:

            :-)

            There’s always the option of starting a company in Gibraltar and paying their flat 10% business rate on all profits. I’m seriously looking at it myself. Here you pay tax on personal earnings, but if the company is making all the profits and paying you as the CEO a token wage, then …ahem… well you get the idea!

            • Dave says:

              Terry,

              Gonna have to look in to something that is for sure. It spins my head when I see how much we pay, that is a low figure for Gibraltar, very interesting, hmmmmmmm.

  18. Youssef says:

    Zen Duck master did it a gain…search for Zen Duck and see the insetting results.

  19. Jonas says:

    Dave,

    Another question, sorry. I have been going through site explorer and trying to get links from the same place that my competition has links from for my niche games site. However, many of these sites have an automated system set up to swap links. My game site for their game site. Doesn’t that cancel out both links? Is it even worth it?

    • Dave says:

      Jonas,

      Absolutely DO NOT get involved in an automated link exchange system, you are asking for trouble. Reciprocal links are fine done manually, it is often natural for it to happen, but links will be more effective one way only.

  20. Mark says:

    Anyone interested in a funny PR increase accident?

    I have 3 sites in the wedding niche that I hardly did anything with. They have good content but less than 10 visitors a day traffic. I took Dave’s advice about BMR and started writing short 150 post bursts. Traffic started pouring in to about 50-60 visitors a day which is good for my nice. But as a side note, the PR went from no PR to PR2 for 2 sites with a .com and .net and the the .US went to PR1. Getting the higher PR is all accidental. I was not even thinking that I could accomplish that with 3 months of back linking.

    • Dave says:

      Mark,

      Good stuff, sounds like the plan actually works eh! Just make sure you mix up the links, although you are using postrunner so you have nice lot of varied links. Try other properties too, places where every page is not sending outbound links.

  21. Terry says:

    Don’t know if anyone noticed, but BMR took a heavy hit in the PR update. Most of the high PR sites were demoted by 2 or more points and there are now a ton of PR0′s.

    Guess G finally figured out the network and applied the brakes.

    • Dave says:

      Terry,

      Will have to take a look at that. They will probably take some out of the system and work on them, I know they do that if the PR drops.

    • Terry says:

      John might have a fight on his hands – almost a quarter of the sites shown in my pie chart are now showing PR0 and its growing as the system catches up to reality. That would be a big number to swap out. Its not happening right now because a lot of my recent submissions over the last few days have ended up on PR0s.

      Of the PR6 sites, two are now PR4 and another is PR0! Most of the PR5s are gone too. A PR6 that has held it for a while doesn’t just get smacked down to PR0 for no good reason, which is why I’m pretty sure a big chunk of the BMR sites are now known to G.

      • Dave says:

        Terry,

        I think sooner or later these things happen, maybe not time to move on just yet but certainly time for everyone to really expand their backlink profiles as much as possible. I am just glad I have switched to building more of my own satellites and linking to them.

        • Mian says:

          The PR reduction seems to hit many sites including legit ones. I may be just an PR algorithm change who knows.

        • Max says:

          Has anyone seen any drops in sites that have been using BMR heavily? The PR on the sites may been hit but the links might still be able to do some heavy lifting.

          • Terry says:

            As far as ranking goes, I haven’t noticed any drops, apart from heavily linked squidoos, but I think that’s more because squids lost a little ground.

            But most of the sites I have ranking nicely are mainly linked to by my own satellites. Its the satellites that get the bulk of BMR links, to boost their own link authority. They act as a buffer and I think its a damn fine buffer!

            In fact, I’ve even made up a little ground in the weight loss niche, probably because some of the competition is exclusively using paid links that are being devalued.

      • Lando says:

        @Terry – just checked my BMR pie chart…ouch! My PR0-2 links now make up move 3/4 of my total links built.

        • Max says:

          There is a discussion about this in the Backlinks forum with the BMR guy chiming in (http://backlinksforum.com/backlinking-tools-software-backlink-boosting/8147-bmr-hit-bad.html). He doesn’t seem too concerned – just cycle the PR 0 domains out and new ones go in with PR.

          I think your strategy is the best way to go, Terry. I lost a $5k per month site in June which didn’t have any buffer sites. Think I hit a penalty with all the 1000s of crappy links pointing at it (mainly Postrunner and BMR.

          Its a profitable niche so I’m starting again with a foundation of buffer sites and hopefully this will mean the main site will stick this time.

          • Dave says:

            Max,

            Yep, lost 2 myself and I think for the same reasons. This is why I have been banging on about satellite sites. You can afford to be a little more gung ho with them and also get yourself some permanent links.

          • mian says:

            is Lando Dave’s alter ego? just saying… ;)

  22. Darrell says:

    Ouch is all I will say…I have quite a few article with page rank 0 now..However, I did send John a private message to see what he will do, but now that I just read over at Backlinksforum, what he is going to do and feel much better about the situation.

    Here is my opinion…

    John has always been above board and transparent. If he states, that until page rank returns, those sites won’t receive any more articles and that they will be working on getting those pr numbers up, I definitely believe him.

    He has always run a professional network and I think its important to give him some time. Like he mentioned, during the last update, most of their sites that lost pr, regained it back…

  23. Neil Coke says:

    Hey Dave I have been lurking for some time and the amount of information that you have unleashed unto us is so amazing.

    So my question to you relates to the amount of buffer sites that you should have. I have a site and I want some of my inner pages to rank higher. I was thinking of doing maybe 10 or so buffer pages pointing to my money pages that I want to rank. I was also thinking of do some profile link blasts to the buffer sites. The terms I am trying to rank for has some decent competition, but nothing over the top. Do you think the 10 buffer sites is overkill? How many buffer sites is ideal to work with?

    I wanna be like you when I grow up, so hopefully this is a good start

    • Dave says:

      Neil,

      Yay, a lurker comes out to play ;) 10 is a decent number but as always, it will depend on the niche, the tougher it is the more you will need. But that is certainly a good place to start. Also set up some Web 2.0 properties and backlink them too. Basically anything where you can also earn money while giving yourself some links is going to be a good move on your part. It all adds up.

  24. Bea says:

    I’m a lurker, too, but I want to ask: how do you suggest backlinking to the Web 2.0 properties? Through article marketing? Or do you have other suggestions?

    Thanks.

    • Dave says:

      Hey Bea,

      Forum profiles, BMR, Postrunner, or Backlink Solutions if you are a member. And some article marketing won’t hurt but it really does seem like their day is over for ranking stuff well.

  25. Pam says:

    Hi Dave,

    Been a reader for your a blog for a while and I wanted to pick your brains with a couple of questions if that is OK?

    I’ve been trying and failing miserably in IM for a bit but I just concentrated on putting content on my site rather than building back links to my money site. I was so green and no idea that is what I should be doing and concentrating 90% of my time in doing. It’s almost like this holy grail in affiliate marketing that no one wants to talk about, thanks for letting us know. :-)

    What I wanted to ask you is do you think that services like postrunner at TKA are still effective now even after the panda update and to get on with building links with these types of companies or not to bother and try building satellites now and forget about the likes of postrunner?

    Don’t have large amount of cash to do the hosting etc so wanted to ask if setting up wordpress like sites would be ok to point to the money site?

    I was in the online gambling industry for a long time and was green to it that even though I looked after affiliate campaigns for other people had no idea that I could do that same thing myself. There are many nay sayers who I worked with who said yeah don’t bother doing it in any niche as it is too competitive now but I know that there is money to be made and I want some.

    Thanks again
    Pam

    • Dave says:

      Sure Pam,

      No problems.

      The reality is that all these networks are never ideal, they all constantly link out to other sites. But they do still work and work well, but you need to put a lot of time in to using them for links. My best advice would be to set up some satellite sites, wordpress, blogger, squidoo etc etc and use them to link to your main site and then use a network to link to them but also a little to the main site too.

      But if you can get links other ways all the better, guest posting being one of the best ways. But get the links any way you can, even if it means being creative. Giveaways, controversy etc if the niche is right. If not then just use a network and you will certainly get somewhere pretty quickly.

      Hope that helps Pam.

      • Bruno says:

        I was wondering about just that. Terry also mentioned creating this “buffer” of websites to protect your main ones.

        I belive Pat Flynn and Archibald do something slightly similar by backlinking their backlinks (Archibald for example says he does not ever point UAW links for instance to his main site, only to his 2nd tier sites).

        • Craig says:

          I’ve read Pat Flynn’s blog a little (he has a nice post about his backlinking strategy, you’re right that he uses buffer sites), but who is this Archibald guy?

          • Bruno says:

            Craig, Archibald is the guy that Pat mentions at the beginning of the post you have linked.

            It’s basically the guy who ‘taught’ him that backlinking method (which basically is trying to get a bunch of satellite websites and web 2.0 pointing link to your main site and using automated tools (UAW/AMR/whatever) to boost your satellites)

          • Craig says:

            D’oh! I didn’t even see that (blocks of italic text at the start of an article are easy to skim past). Thanks for pointing it out!

  26. kindit says:

    nice blog and comment here so much interactive. do you have time to sleep dave?

    Am looking at some products in a specific category on amazon, they have been in the bestsellers for more than a year and have above 10 reviews (some over 100 positive reviews) with great prices but when i search for this product name on google keyword they have no or little search and the competition is so little. please what is your take on this type of products, do they tend to do well when ranked. thanks for your selfless attitude it has really helped me.

    • Dave says:

      Kindit,

      I just work from about 8-5 but am gradually going part time so it’s all good here.

      It is always a tough call if tools say not many people search for items. But I say go for it, what is the worst that can happen? You rank and don’t sell as many as you wanted to? It all adds up to a reasonable pot of gold once you have a number of such things on the go.

      And thanks for the kind words Kindit, much appreciated.

  27. agraiders says:

    Regarding the sites 2 and 3 you recommend for the niche.. Would those be considered satellite sites in your terminology? Do they link to Site 1? Or are they all independent of one another?

    • agraiders says:

      Also, do you wait to see if a niche is profitable before getting niche site 2 and 3 or satellite sites? Or, do you do them from the beginning?

      • Dave says:

        agraiders,

        I wait to see if it is profitable before i go mad, but if you build up satellites and the niche is not perfect you can always still use them for links to something even remotely related so all is not lost.

    • Dave says:

      agraiders,

      You could link 2 of them together but I would keep one totally separate to anything else that links to the other sites, a total clean slate just in case the worst happens.

      • agraiders says:

        When you use sites like wordpress.com or blogger as satellite sites are you just making one page blogs or do you try to fill them out a little with a few posts?

        Also, I see where you can use affiliate links on blogger easily enough, but my understanding is WordPress.com would be too strict to use as a possible money generator because they don’t like affiliate links.. BUt, could still be a good place for links.

        • Dave says:

          agraiders,

          It depends if you want to earn from them. A one page site is fine to just blast links through and the like, but for earning it is best to treat it as a real site in its own right. But for WP.com then yeah, no aff links allowed, just use it to funnel traffic and for backlinks. But don’t invest too much time on these platforms as you could lose the sites any time. I lost 2 on blogger and was gutted, I put in a ton of work, luckily I had bought a domain as backup and now earn a lot from it each day so it all came good in the end ;)

          • Bruno says:

            Dave,

            with your satellite websites and wordpress/blogs, do you link to different websites that you have on different hosting accounts or would you create like 10 satellite that ONLY link to one particular money site, than another 10 satellites that ONLY link to another website and so on, so you can keep things separated?

            On the other hand if you do link out to other websites in other hosting accounts, then with a good link network, you could boost multiple money websites. Spider at backlinkreviews.org talks a bit about this …

            • Dave says:

              Bruno,

              I link all my sites in a niche together and they are on different hosting accounts. Apart from one main backup site that I will use to take over if anything goes wrong with the others or the main one goes down for some reason.

              But I recommend keeping the niches separate from each other. But if you have a great authority site then there is nothing wrong with using it to boost newer sites. Swings and roundabouts really Dude.

        • JanisG says:

          Here is an interesting blueprint about using free web properties to create satellite website structure.

          http://www.blackhatworld.com/blackhat-seo/black-hat-seo/296636-my-search-engine-optimization-blueprint-senuke-amr-bmd-xrumer-scrapebox.html

          There are quite a few tools involved, but you can modify the blueprint to use tools available for you instead or outsource tasks to Fiverr.

          • Dave says:

            Janis,

            Yikes, too much for me but the principles are more than sound. Basically backlink your backlinks. It is why I like to have satellite sites really.

          • Bruno says:

            interesting blueprint indeed … has some good ideas on it

            and do you have a number of times that you would link from one particular satellite website/blogger/wordpress to any site?

            Spider mentions 2 links tops from one satellite to your money site. That is per website, and not per page

            In fact, I don`t know if linking every single post to the same money site time after time would be a good idea … it would definitely look suspicious unless it`s a blog roll on the sidebar or something

            • Dave says:

              Bruno,

              I would concur. 2 links max from a single site, preferably on the home page of the site for maximum benefit though. I often even just send 1 link from a whole satellite site though.

  28. agraiders says:

    what would cause you to use a blogger?

    • Dave says:

      agradiers,

      If you meant lose then it was because I used it to link out a few times to other sites, maybe one time too many and I tripped something and it was history. And to answer your other question then you are correct, the satellites are exactly that, something smaller and more focused hovering around the main site.

  29. agraiders says:

    On the satellite sites that you buy a domain with are they typically a subniche of your main niche? Using the socks example, you may have a satellite site dedicated to cotton socks with sprinkled links to the main socks site. Is that right?

  30. Bruno says:

    Dave,

    since I believe you do not use plugins like Reviewazon to keep prices up to date, how do you write posts with buying keywords like “price comparisons”?

    I’m trying to avoid posts like that since I’m not very fond of someone getting to my website for that term only to find out a copy that reads “you should definitely make price comparisons on xXXX before buying it. Click here to compare prices”

    Or maybe that is just what you do :D

    • Dave says:

      Bruno,

      I don’t really write price comparison posts. I just say I have a supplier that has it for the best price. And it is too, which is good ;)