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Niche Site Case Study: Starting to Make Money


My niche sites have been put on the back burner as I work on my new authority sites, but it has been good to see them both start making some money in the last month. I was slightly worried about the Penguin Google update, but so far so good.

This is my fourth update in my case study about building three Amazon affiliate sites. You can also read my last update about having one of my niche sites de-indexed.


At the end of last month in the wake of so many PBN’s being uncovered by Google, I put effort into tidying them all up some more, making them all look that bit more legitimate and adding more content.

I have run out of PBN sites for me to link build on, but I am not keen to get anymore. I have as many as I can manage for the time being, so I am looking at link exchanging with others. I am still having problems with the done for you PBN service I talked about last month. Two sites have not indexed, and a third has a server error message when I navigate to the domain. This is incredibly disappointing. I have not only spent more money on these sites than when I build it myself but also more time, as I have spent a lot of time trying to get them indexed and trying to get some support.

Site 1

I have added some more product reviews, restructured this site and looked at my keyword optimisation this month in line with what I’m being taught in my NoHat Digital course.

At the moment I am ranking for:

  • 203 queries with 2,429 impressions (about half as many impressions as last month)
  • Main keyword average position is 36 (41 last month).
  • Secondary keywords: 9.6 (2), 9.6(20), 28(38)

I am not surprised to see the main secondary keyword move from an average ranking of 2 to 9.6. I found it confusing that it said 2 last month without any clicks and I was never able to see it in that position myself. 9.6 seems far more likely. I am also wondering if webmaster tools was showing an error with the number of impressions last month, as when I put in last month’s dates, it now shows a lot lower, meaning that I have improved my search impressions this month.

I am also ranking at position 4 for one of my products which is producing some of my sales.

Page Views: 656 (up from 463)
Earnings: $38 (up from $0)

Site 3

I have not done much work on this, just building a couple of links and adding one new article. I want to get started on outsourcing a series of review articles. I also did some work across the site ensuring that I wasn’t over optimising my use of keywords and changing my home page as I have been taught in my current course.

At the moment I am ranking for:

  • 173 queries with 1,349 impressions (these are just for web searches – about double what it was last month)
  • Main keyword average position is 39 (up from 58).
  • All my main secondary keywords are now ranking between 60 – 120.
  • Some of the longtail keywords I have targeted in articles are ranking at 19 (21), 26 (34), 32 (44), 41 (57), 78 (140) and 46.

Page Views: 470 (down from 655 – I have put no effort into sharing the site this month)
Earnings: $15 (up from $12.50)

Next steps?

I am very happy with how things are progressing, especially since I have started earning money. Earlier this month, I was basically selling one item per day which was exciting. That has stopped now though. It is disappointing to have it stop, but I am not concerned. I have read a lot of articles about how search rankings fluctuate a lot over the first 4-6 months of a new site, so I am just thankful for anything I am earning. These sites are only 3 and 2.5 months old.

I want to go through and do all my keyword research again and rewrite the articles using the techniques I am currently being taught. I think if I did this, then I would have a good chance to increase earnings pretty much immediately. I don’t really have the time to do this at present though as I work on my new sites. I also want to keep adding content steadily – at least an article a fortnight, but this can be difficult too. I really need to sort out my writer problem.

My NoHat Digital course is going well. When I signed up, I thought I would build 3 niche sites, but now I am concentrating on building 2 authority sites instead. I am learning a crazy amount about SEO and I am looking forwarding to the marketing units next month. If only I had more time to implement everything I am learning.

Read my next update! Find more posts on my case studies and niche sites here.

About the Author

Sharon is passionate about working online and helping others to follow in her footsteps. She started blogging in 2005, but became serious about it when she left Australia with her young family at the end of 2014 determined to grow an online business. She succeeded by becoming a SEO and affiliate marketing expert and now supports her family of 5 to live their dream lifestyle. She has a degree in web development, a graduate diploma of education (secondary teaching) and consumes everything SEO. She loves putting her teaching diploma to good use by teaching other bloggers how to have the same success that she has had.

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