When linking here, for some reason people keep describing this blog’s content as grey and black hat. I’m flattered but I actually couldn’t disagree more. If anything I’m trying to make some serious noise to the white hats and encouraging them to learn some new tricks, but most seem to be covering their ears with enthusiasm. La la la la I can’t hear you! On that note there’s an interesting long-term debate going on disputing whats better, black hat or white hat? Did I say interesting? I meant boring and completely bullshit. Saying you like black hat better doesn’t make you a black hat. Likewise, showing your disgust for black hats without learning it doesn’t even make you a white hat. In my opinion until you take the time to learn and develop both skills to the fullest extent there’s only one classification for you….Amateur.
So with that I’m going to attempt to make the ultimate white hat post by telling the ever famous parable of The White Hatter and The Black Hatter. You may have already heard it. If you’re not familiar, a parable is a short story, often fictional, told to illustrate a lesson or morale. If that still doesn’t ring any bells then you should read the Bible more you heathen. There are several in there. I’m kidding of course. I respect your religion now matter what it is. and Yes, there will be real techniques you can use hidden within the story.
The Black Hatter And The White Hatter - When Two Pros Meet
Once there was a white hatter. He had a great website that ranked #1 in a competitive niche. He had many fans of his site and it got lots of search engine traffic from his primary keyword. Suddenly one week while checking up on his site he noticed another high quality site in his niche moving up quickly in the ranks. It was also a very nice site with lots of value. The White Hatter didn’t think much of it because of his own solid rankings but knew he better watch this site more closely due to it’s upward momentum. Suddenly one day after a small SERP update the site he was watching moved into the #2 slot right under him. This started to make him nervous because he knew the differences in income between the number one and number two slots. He has gotten very comfortable in the number one position and had no intentions of giving it up.
Once there was a black hatter. He created a few Made For Adsense sites across a couple hundred niches. They were fairly uniform. Some performed well, some performed poorly. By chance of fate one of these sites was in the White Hat’s niche. Since this was a competitive niche his site quickly caught the attention of the lower positioned sites that were still struggling amongst themselves for the #2 slot. The black hatter’s site was doing fairly well in this niche and making a couple bucks a day. It wasn’t ranking for any major terms within the niche, but since the niche was such a good one it was still bringing him some solid residual and he was very happy. The rest of the site owners within the niche, angered by his intrusion, quickly took action against his black hat site. After a few legal threats and a bunch of complaints to everyone possible they were finally successful and got the black hatter’s site taken down and banned. Once entered and realizing the potential of the niche the Black Hatter reluctantly took the site down and built a clean site for competition within the niche. There’s no point in letting such a great niche go he thought. So he built a very clean and high quality site and aimed it directly at the most competitive keyword. He built up the site nicely and quickly. While the other lower sites within the niche fought amongst themselves and spent their time combating the endless supply of spam entering their niche he focused on building the link count required for the number one position. It wasn’t very long before he managed to grab the number 2 slot. Things were going well except that number one site in his way was clearly going to be a force to be reckoned with. He was going to have to pull off something slick.
By this time the site had the full attention of the White Hatter. He started watching the inbound links and site content of the Black Hatter’s site intently. It seemed fairly even. In fact this site even managed to get many of the same link spots he had as well as a few new ones. The site had lost its momentum but still a worthy adversary for the top spot. The White Hatter watched in dismay as his site and the other bounced back and forth between the top two positions. He continued building links and working on his site. Suddenly without notice, the other site took the top position and it stuck. The opponent kept it and wasn’t budging. The White Hatter had to figure out why and quickly. Both sites had a solid number of links at about 45k-50k and almost all were at least relevant. He started investigating all the inbound links and finally one day found something very odd. This other site had about 10,000 new inbound links from random Blogspot accounts.
The Black Hatter knew he wasn’t going to take down this monstrous number one site by playing clean. He had to do something drastic. So he whipped up some scripts and grabbed a list of the top 1,000 or so keywords for the niche and created some Blogspot accounts accordingly. He populated them from a popular RSS Aggregator and made sure each page had a link to his main money site. With the added link popularity he easily took the number one position and wasn’t budging. He didn’t want these Splogs to get quickly banned and knew later on he would need their link age so he did the responsible black hat thing and gave each post credit to the original and left all the ads out. He also knew not to continuously create too many and draw attention. He had to keep his numbers just high enough to gain and maintain his position and stop it there and just consistently update each blog once it’s established. After all the big money was in his big clean money site and he knew it.
The White Hatter definitely received a big blow to his business and had no intentions of taking it lying down. He created a crawler and using the footprints within the Blogspot templates started compiling a list of all the accounts made. He located a large portion of the 10,000 accounts and started investigating where all their content was coming from. They were clearly feed scrapes. So he took all the post titles and scanned common RSS Aggregators. He found it! They were coming from Google Blog Search. The White Hatter was smart. He knew if he started panicking and throwing a fit and trying to get Blogspot and the search engines to delete and ban all these accounts it would do him no good. The other site could easily generate them faster than he could ever get them deleted. It was clearly a futile effort and he knew it. Time for a workable plan. So he had to hit the Blogspot accounts where it hurts. He used his crawler to scrape all the titles of almost all the scraped posts created. The White Hatter then concocted a script to ping Google Blog search with all the same post titles as was in his list. He injected links to his site within the article content as well as put himself as the source. Unfortunately, the scraper was smart enough to remove all the html from the feeds but he still got to keep the original link within each and every post. He knew that if each of these post titles managed to get grabbed by the Black Hatters scraping script than they would surely get snagged again once all the blogs got updated and he fed them into the aggregator. It worked. All the new posts on all the spammy Blogspot accounts now had a link to his site. This evened the playing field. Whenever the Black Hatter’s site got a link, his site got a link. However this wasn’t acceptable, the black hat site still had all the previous post links and was barely beating him. Something had to get done about that. All these links had to be devalued. So the White Hatter opened up his Askimet filter logs and started scanning for domains that were banned in the engines. Once he managed to find a couple hundred so he started slowly feeding them to the Blogspot accounts through the Google Blog Search feed. He kept the same post titles knowing they would get scraped yet again and he made a balanced mixture of putting his site as the source of the post as well as the banned domains that way they would both get links.
By this time the Black Hatter, with his position secure, had already moved on to his next niche. Suddenly one day he noticed a large drop in revenue. His site had lost the number one position and was back in the battle for the first two spots. “What the hell is going on?!” he thought. He looked at his Blogspot scripts to find the source of the problem. He quickly noticed that not only was his accounts giving his main competitor links but they weren’t worth a shit because he was also linking to a bunch of banned pharmaceutical sites, putting every Splog he created into bad neighborhoods. His efforts were worthless and he knew why and more importantly how. It was time to face a tough decision. He could either endlessly combat this guy, who obviously knew his stuff, to keep his current revenue or he could move on and continue to focus on new niches and creating new revenue for himself. He couldn’t help but laugh about it. So he emailed the White Hat and expressed his respect for the competitive exchange. There was no point in furthering it and they both decided to call it quits and just exchange links on the main page to help lock in their positions and let the algorithms decide from there who was better. After considering it a draw they both went their separate ways.
The Moral Of The Story
Interpret it however you want but recognize the fact that the White Hat defended himself. He didn’t just roll over or waste his time throwing a fit trying to get the inevitably endless supply of black hat sites banned or deleted. He knew his opponents tricks and thus was well equipped to combat them. He stood his moral stance and did what he had to, in order to protect his business. No matter where you stand on the issue you can respect that.
If you hear anyone whining and crying about black hats or white hats please politely explain to them that there are no black or white hats. Only amateurs, experts, and people who are willing to learn how to protect and grow their businesses then send them this story.
Mark, a knowledgeable reader and benevolent commenter here has made a separation and started his own blog called Digerati Marketing. It’s pretty new and only has a couple posts so far, but I got to say the material thus far is absolutely fantastic. I think it’s a great representation of the Blue Hat spirit. So I have absolutely no problem plugging it, because I really do think you should add it to your readers in case he keeps up the excellent work. He was kind enough to donate one of his posts here. It’s called Making Money With A Video Blog. I think it’s a great post and if you’ve been paying close attention you’ll know that I also already do this idea and he is absolutely right on all counts. So enjoy.
An Introduction to Video Websites
There’s a lot of them about, a lot. Apart from the old-timers like Ebaumsworld, Google’s acquisition of YouTube has really seen them starting to eat up this market. The great thing is, that doesn’t matter, videos are a disposal media - people look at them once, show their mates and then it’s old news. You’re only as good as your last video! What we’re going to look at doing here is setting up a video website with minimal cost & time and maximizing our profit.
Now, I’m not claiming this will make you a millionaire, but you can earn around £500 ($1000 to our American friends) per month without too much trouble. So it’s well worth it for the day or two it will take to set up!
Step #1: Monetization Strategy
Okay, for this site we are going to make our bucks from a couple of different sources. Our main income will be made from Google Adsense. If you haven’t got yourself a Google Adsense Publisher account, click the big button below and sign up. Adsense will display contextual adverts which you can neatly blend in with the design of your website, to make them non-intrusive, yet a natural click away. For this website we are aiming at generating a 25% click-through rate while staying well inside the Adsense Terms Of Service.
An important note: I’m going to give you some tips on optimizing your Adsense placement and layout later, if you want to take the optimization further, you may be pushing the limit on what Google does and doesn’t allow. The Adsense team can be merciless at times if they think you are breaking their TOS, which can be quite “grey�? at times. So, stick to the guidelines and you’ll be fine, cross the line at your own risk!
So, if you haven’t already,
Step #2: Setting up the website with Wordpress
Yay for Wordpress and its many uses! Wordpress gives you an off the shelf platform for out video blog (vlog). It allows comments, pings, trackbacks, easy archiving, it’s SEO friendly and has loads of plugins. For this kind of mission, it’s definitely the number one choice.
There are two ways you can go about getting Wordpress up and running:
1) You can go to wordpress.com and sign up for a wordpress account, they will provide you with a hosted blog such as myvideoblog.wordpress.com
2) You can go wordpress.org and download Wordpress and install it on your server. This is really the preferred option as it will give you the power to use some neat features in the future, which will smooth out the money making process! If you haven’t got web hosting, I use Site5 (aff link) and they’ve always been good to me and are fairly priced.
Once you’ve uploaded Wordpress to your server, follow the installation guide (it’s pretty simple) to get your Wordpress installation and database up and running.
Step #3: Choosing a domain name
Probably the hardest part of building any website is finding a domain name! Don’t worry too much about getting keywords in there, organic SEO isn’t how we’ll be doing the bulk of our promotion, try and focus on getting something short, snappy and memorable. (That means no hyphens!). If you can get something with a keyword or two (funny, video, comedy, humor - reach for your thesaurus) all the better, but as I say - don’t sacrifice the name for it. Once that’s sorted, point it at your server so it will have resolved by the time you’re ready to launch.
Step #4: Plugins Galore
There are some great plugins for Wordpress that will save you a hell of a lot of time and coding. I’ve experimented with quite a few and whittled the list down to some essentials.
Viper’s Video Quicktags - This plugin will save you having to rip out all the embed code from videos on major sites like YouTube, all you need to do is paste in the video ID and this plugin will do all the rest of the code & alignment for you. It’s essential to make adding videos as quick as possible.
WP-Email - This plugin adds an “E-mail This To A Friend�? option at the bottom of every post (which will be your videos). I’ve been using these for a while and although you don’t get loads of people use them, personally recommendation is the best kind of marketing your website could hope for.
WP-PostRatings - This will add the “rate this video�? 0-5 stars function at the bottom of each post. It’s a nice addon to get people to try and interact with your site if the can’t be bothered to post comments. Interaction is good - it’s the first step in relation building with your visitors and ultimately trying to get them to come back.
Sociable - Adds a mini-bar of just about every popular social bookmarking site worth mentioning at the bottom of each post. Digg, Reddit, Bloglines, they’re all there. Optimization Tip: From experimenting, I found it is best not just to select all the social sites going, choose a maximum of 5 major ones, then rotate to see what is most successful. Having a line of 20 social bookmarking icons looks a bit confusing and seems to ultimately put people off using them.
StumbleUpon It! - StumbleUpon is a really great way to promote sites with entertainment and disposable content. This plugin gives you a “stumble it�? button at the bottom of each post, which will play a part in our future marketing strategy.
Did You Pass Math? - Did you? This is just a basic anti-spam measure that puts one of those sums before you’re allowed to comment. Spam is a major problem, so I’d recommend this one, just to save you some time.
Akismet - This should be present in your default Wordpress installation, you require a Wordpress API key - but this little gem has stopped more spam than anything else I’ve ever tried.
Step #5: Get Feedburned
Okay, with further promotion in mind it’s time to sign up to Feedburner. RSS is going to be one of the main ways we keep in touch with our readers, letting them know we’ve put more videos on our site and Feedburner offers a load of other ways to let people subscribe to your content.
Step #6: Theme Design
There are loads of great Wordpress themes at themes.wordpress.net. Have a good look through them until you find something you like. I would generally recommend going for something fairly simplistic and neat with an either 2 or 3 column design. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you could always design your own!
Once you’ve got your theme and uploaded it, I’d suggest tweaking some of the graphics to make it your own. Get your branding up there, design a logo and base your site around the domain name. This is why we wanted something easy to remember and relevant earlier, it’s no good calling your site “Video Hustler�? then having www.my-funny-internet-videos.cc and hoping people will remember it.
Some Wordpress essentials
There are a couple of other tweaks you can do in Wordpress to make your job easier.
1) Add a few categories, I used “Funny Videos�?, “Extreme Videos�? and “Sexy Videos�? just so I could tag my content as I add it.
2) Use custom permalinks! This will make your URLs easier to remember and will help various bots crawl your site. To do this go to the “Options�? menu, then “Permalinks�? and at the bottom check the “custom�? radio button and put /%postname%/ in the field.
3) Change page titles.
What we want to do is to swap the position of “Post Title�? with “Blog Name�?. This is because:
* Search engines uses your Page Title as the linking text in its search engine results page (SERP).
* The search keywords are bolded for page titles in search engines
* It makes it easier for search engine users to know right away if what they are looking for is correct
Now, this will involve some editing to your template files, which is normally called “header.php�?. Find this:
and replace with:
And you’re done!I’m not going to tell you how to design your layout pixel by pixel, because one of the keys with maximising your profit is experimentation. Here are some guidelines:Adsense Placement & Optimisation
This is how you’re going to make your money, so it’s pretty important! On your main index page you want to have an Adsense content unit at the very top, below your site header, but above the first video. This for me, is by far the highest click though, achieving around 30-40%, with the right keywords later on we can marry these adverts up with your content beautifully.
In your Adsense control console, under Adsense for content, go into your “Ad Units�?. These will get you paid after 1 click, whereas link units require a click to bring you to a results page, then a click on the results to get paid. So select link unit and leave “text only�? (default) selected. There is 468×60 pixel size which fits perfectly above your standard Google or YouTube Video.
You second biggest earner will be the ad unit which will create a gap between the first video and the rest of the videos on the site. Your first video will obviously be visible above the scroll, but being an average 10-30 second long funny clip, people will never be able to resist at least looking at the other videos on your front page. You must exploit this human curiosity! The 336×280px “large rectangle�? unit fits the bill perfectly. Again it will fit in nicely below your video and will give a nice chunk of adverts. This ad unit must only be displayed below the first video as there are limits on the amount of ad units you are allowed on 1 page. You will however, want this ad unit again on the “single post�? page. So, if somebody links directly to one of your videos, you still have max Adsense coverage.
I would recommend showing the first 5 videos on the first page. Having less, will reduce the chances of people looking at anything but the first video on your site and will effectively reduce the page size - minimizing advert space. Having a lots of videos will distract people from using other parts of your site navigation (well, by this I mean will keep people too amused to click on your ads!). It’s a fine line between wetting their appetite but then keeping them hungry for more.
It’s also worth having a vertical unit (skyscraper) near your navigation. You want both of these units clearly visible without scrolling down, so you’ve got the top of the page and the central part covered in lovely adverts, which is where people’s mousey clicks tend to go!
It is important to blend your Adsense into your site and there are two schools of thought on this. The default “blue�? hyperlinks on websites will get the most clicks, always. This color has been drilled into our head since the dawn of the www and your brain just says “click�?, so if any of your other links on your site use this color, you will need to use this color for your Adsense titles. I however, think this color is ugly, so I refrained from using it anywhere on my site at all. If you follow this approach as well, then you simply want to make your Adsense units the same color as your standard hyperlinks. If you’re using Firefox there is a great Colour Picker addon, which gives you the hex code for any color, live on a web page. Since you’re allowed a link unit on the page as well, I tend to put one of these in the footer, just because it looks okay and it does earn a few pennies every now and again.
Beating Adsense Smart Pricing
“Smart Pricing�? is Google’s way of trying to keep its advertisers happy by lowering the cost of junk traffic. Unfortunately, they do this at your expense. Having poor advertisers on your site, will lead to you users clicking the adverts, then leaving the horrible site they land on almost instantly. When people do this, Google will think you’re sending out junky traffic, when actually it’s the advertiser’s site that is at fault. This will lead to the money you get per click, going down.
Fortunately, Google offer a “competitive ad filter�?, which allows you to block certain advertisers from showing ads on your site. Login to your Google Adsense account and go to “Adsense Setup�? and you’ll see a “Competitive Ad Filter�? tab. Click this and you’ll be given a box of URLs to block.
Copy & paste this list into your competitive ad filter and this should help you keep a strong amount per click.
Google Coop is a custom search engine (CSE) which basically allows you to click a few buttons and make a custom search engine. The great thing is, you can tie this in with your current Adsense account and it will pay out when somebody clicks on a sponsored result from your custom search engine. So, rather than leave in the standard Wordpress search, you might as well make some money from it!
Find the bit of code in your theme that shows the default Wordpress search box and comment it out. Create a Google Coop account and you will be presented with if you would like your search engine to search the entire web, with preference to selected sites, or simply search specific sites. Choose the option to select specific sites and just add your own URL. Don’t forget to enter your Adsense Publisher ID!. Google will then generate a chunk of code for you, which you can paste in place of your current Wordpress search. Viola! Monetized search! My search box generates around an extra 30% of my site revenue.
Get Feedburner on there
Login to your Feedburner account and get it to give you the code for an e-mail subscribe box. I’ve found I get more e-mail subscribers than RSS readers. I believe this is because RSS is really only embraced by the more “web savvy�? user and they will be fully capable of finding videos on Digg, YouTube, Google and are more likely to be aware of the bigger sites. So for your regular Joe Blogs (heh), e-mail a nice, easy to understand way to get them to sign up to updates. If you can squeeze your Feedburner RSS subscribe button in above the scroll, all the better - but I have found people that want an RSS feed will find it.
Feedburner also offer “chicklets�? which is a little button that shows the world how many subscribed readers you have. Generally, I’d advise not to install this until you have 100 or so readers, there’s no point showing people how unpopular your site is to begin with! Leave it for bragging rights later. It is quite possible to achieve 500-1000 readers within 6-12 months.
Here’s one I made earlier: In Green:
Our main above the scroll Adsense In Yellow:
CPM advertising (we’ll talk about this later, but save some banner space!) In Red:
Our monetized Google Coop box In Brown:
The Feedburner subscribe bits. That’s most of the design info covered.Step #7: Sourcing and adding video content to your website
Okay, so how do we go about getting videos onto your site? Well there’s a quick and profitable way and a longer but more profitable away.
The quick and profitable way
I don’t recommend this method to begin with, even though it’s quicker, this is only something you should be doing after your site is established, or if you are very short on time.
Go to digg.com/videos and see what other people find funny. Follow the link through to the video site, grab the video ID and pop it in a post.
When you are post a video, make sure every 2-3 videos you have the words “funny�? and/or “video�? in the post title. Wordpress uses header tags for these titles and it will help make your Adsense adverts more relevant. Below the video, type a couple of lines explaining the video (without giving too much away!). Be as funny/sarcastic as you like, but keep it short and interesting - and write your own descriptions!
The longer but more profitable way
Okay, this takes a bit more work, but will really, really help you promote your site. One neat thing about Google Video is that they allow you to download the videos. So, go have a search around Google Video and download 20-30 videos that you think are funny. Download them in “PSP�? format which will give you a .mp4 format file.
If you have some decent video editing software that can handle mp4 files you can skip this step:
If you’re stuck using Windows Movie Editor you’ll have to convert the file before you can edit it. Now, if you can find a free program, let me know. I’ve been using Riverpast Video Cleaner, which will convert the mp4 files to avi without any real quality loss. It’s $30 but it will be your only expense in this operation. Riverpast will be able to convert all your videos in batch, so go make yourself a cuppa.
Once you’ve got your video in .avi format, create yourself a bitmap image with your site logo and site URL on it. Use your video editing software to show your logo for 5 seconds at the beginning and end of your video, so it’s all branded to you now!
Get your branded videos out there!
Once you’ve got branded videos, you’re really onto a winner. I pull in around 500-800 visitors per day from YouTube alone. Google have a batch video uploader, so your first port of all is to re-upload your newly edited videos onto Google Video.
Once they are uploaded you can add the video information. Generally in the title I again try and get the words “funny video�?, “extreme video�? or similar in. These help pick up a bunch of generic searches. I’ve found the description doesn’t make a huge difference to whether the video is viewed, as long as the title is good. If you’re uploading to Google, using the batch uploader there is a separate field to link to your website, which becomes an active link, so you may as well type a description. Keep it short and snappy to try and get as many views as possible. For tags, I use a set of standard: funny, video, humor, humor, comedy, laugh, lol, cool, extreme, stupid, insane, accident - then add a couple of video specific keywords on the end.
Repeat this process with YouTube. The only difference with YouTube is that there is no separate field for your own site URL. If you just pop your URL into the description, this will automatically become a clickable link. YouTube is a bit more of a pain because you can only upload 1 video at a time, but you can always do other stuff at the same time! The sheer amount of traffic that YouTube gets makes it worthwhile doing this.
Once you have a “base�? of around 30 videos, you don’t need to keep finding new ones. You just create a new YouTube account under a hotmail address every week or so, since you’re a new user and uploading new content, your videos will more often or not appear on the front page briefly which will get you spurts of traffic.
Using your imagination, there are loads of places that accept video uploads that you can use. MySpace anyone? MySpace Video is taking off big-time at the moment, so if you have access to some large MySpace accounts, this can be a great way to get traffic. One other technique is taking a screenshot of your video at 00:00 then posting this picture on a MySpace profile or bulletin, so it looks like an embedded video, but will take people through to your site with the video on. Hey, that’s pretty scrappy - but it works. Make sure you use the border=�?0? attribute on such images so you don’t get a blue border around them!
Step #8: Kick Starting Promotion
Following this recipe so far, you’ll probably make $5-$10 per day. If you want to get up to the $40 per day mark to make your $1,000 a month, you’ll need to give your site a kick up the backside. Here’s how:
Go to www.stumbleupon.com and register yourself with an account and install their browser toolbar.
Once you’re all ready to rock with StumbleUpon, make your way over to www.stumblexchange.com. Stumblexchange is a system where you sign up, stumble a whole list of other people’s sites, then in return they stumble you back. StumbleUpon is fairly simple - the more stumbles your site gets, the more traffic they send you. StumbleUpon has a ton of users and this step will get you 200 more uniques a day for months to come. So login, register your account details and stumble everyone’s site. (If your so inclined, you could script this). Well done, you just added another $200 a month onto your earnings! There’s also a diggxchange and deliciousxchange in this network, however I haven’t experimented with them to comment on this.
Get some links
Everybody loves links, especially Google. There’s a massive list at RSSTop55 of directories and blog aggregators. I would start with these:
Now you’ve got some readers and some regular traffic, you can sign up for a CPA advertiser. Burst Media is quite easy to get into and has a large inventory. Having CPA ads will earn you money for page views, without clicks and makes for an excellent secondary income.
Above all, experiment, experiment, experiment! Let me know how you get on!
Let’s take a moment and chat. No secrets or techniques this time, I just want to take a post and discuss my own personal strategies for consistently dominating almost every niche I enter. Instead of creating an objective and methodologies I’m just going to casually write and talk some details, because of course my strategies require quite a bit of work and aren’t for everyone. I’m not one of those lazy ass Internet marketers that only works a few hours a week. In fact I work my fuckin ass off and no less than 60-70 hours/week. So feel free to jump in on this discussion with your own thoughts just as long as you take what I say equally as lightly as I write it. I already understand my approach isn’t for everyone. Please don’t remind me.
Anytime I approach a middle to heavy weight niche I try to look at the current SERPS sensibly and take the idealism they present with a grain of salt. The intent is that they rank your sites upon a mixture of their quality and relevancy. When the reality is they rank the sites upon their authoritativeness and subject coverage. Tamato, tomato right? Well….no. That’s like saying a “person with good qualities” is a “good quality person.” Regardless of how many people it fools, it’s still false. It’s these subtle differences that gives those of us without a registered 1998 domain a chance. With that right and the lack of proof that even an algorithm can count to infinity everything becomes part of a nice little scale. I don’t have to be big, I just have to be larger than the rest.
With that new perspective I stand a smaller chance of running uphill in the mud with my work. Sometimes people rush into a niche too eagerly. I’ve done it so many times. I just create a site based on some keywords and keep building and building on it while getting nowhere. The other sites just seem to have too large of a head start and have already had time to build up momentum faster than I can catch up. It seems like an endless cycle which often times has a much easier and quicker path; I am just too bull headed and committed to see it. So now that we got the right mental approach let’s review what we’re up against.
For this fictitious example we’re faced with a top 15 consisting of four or five very large old community sites on the subject. Also, a few informational sites with lots of pages and inbound links(a range of 7k-45k). There also seems to be a couple shithead subpages. By shithead subpages I’m of course affectionately referring to major authoritative sites that have a page on the matter, such as Wikipedia, About.com, and Amazon. Within these results the average domain age is 6 years. The domain age range is 5-10 years. Alright, so I got quite the project ahead of me. Let’s analyze what I’ll need. The presence of subpages in the results tells me that “subject coverage” factors aren’t highly required because in this case Google luckily believes that a single page written by a punk editor is more relevant than an entire site dedicated to the subject due to domain authority. However, I’ll keep the subject coverage factors in my back pocket because they’ll help me deliver the final kill once we catch up. Catching up? Hmm. there’s an interesting dilemma. I got some serious age and authoritative competition to deal with. Even if I create an absolutely huge site and get tons of inbound links quickly I could still get stuck treading water with the sharks for the next 3-4 years. In the interest of getting paid I have to figure out a better way of generating huge amounts of authority.
There’s more than one way to get a job done. Sometimes you got to ask yourself a rhetorical question. Whats the fastest way to move a bunch of dirt, one giant bulldozer or a half dozen or so small bulldozers? A logical person would realize the flaw in the question. The answer doesn’t depend on the bulldozers. It depends on the dirt. In this instance I obviously can’t use one giant site with lots of power, I’d just be fighting muscle with muscle and get nowhere. I need to beat them in sheer numbers. Like a bunch of midgets on a bear. So I got this awesome ideal website in my head that I would love to build for this niche. It would cover just about every aspect of the niche and absolutely rock. Unfortunately after looking at the competition I realize and accept the fact that it’s a bad business model. So I have to break it up and remodel.
Let the destruction begin. First thing I do is break apart the entire site into primary sections. For instance if the site has a forum, that becomes a new site. If the site has a blog, boom another separate site. If I got an articles and informational section or even a shop, same thing. I tear the entire site apart into separate and focused sites and bundle them together as part of a mid-sized network of sites. So for this example I ended up with between 15-20 separate mid to large sites that are all interlinked and cross promoting as part of a tight network within the niche. I build up each site with a different template and fluff it with some extra pages and content. If some of the sites are really lacking I’ll take one section and break up all the content and divide it amongst the sites. I think we’re just about ready to create some authority.
Lets review the dynamics of what we now got. Each site has X amount of authority. So if we have 20 sites we have Xx20 total authority. If we give Site #1 an inbound link it gains a little authority. So Site #1 is X+1 authority. Since Site #1 now has some authority it can call out other sites and as part of it’s recommendation can help them gain authority themselves. So since we gave Site #1 some authority, by proxy, sites 2-19 also gained slight amounts of authority themselves. This creates a nice little leech and donate relationship amongst the network. When one site raises in the SERPS it’ll naturally try to help pull the others up with it. Hey! Bring my buddies to! Each site is working in synergy to raise the other sites within the network’s authority faster and more efficiently. If you are under the initial impression that authority points are strictly an average amongst all the sites on the net than that would mean the total sum of all the pages would equal a relative 0. Therefore there would be sites with negative authority of equal part to sites with positive authority. Naturally that is untrue, sites can and do help build each other’s authority rating. If you’re with me so far you can see where this is headed, and that is straight through the Relevant Link Wall.
You got to love the supposedly nonexistent brick wall of relevant links. Dipshits on newbie forums love telling people, “don’t worry about the rankings, just build some relevant links and they’ll come.” So you do just that, after all they have over 4,000 posts on that forum, it can’t all be complete garbage advice. At first it’s totally working, your gaining a good 50-200 very relevant links a day. You submit to directories and score a bunch of links from your competitors. After a couple weeks you even manage to score some big authority links within your niche. Suddenly it all starts to slow down. The sites that are willing to link already have, and the rest are holding firm. You’ve just hit the Relevant Link Wall. Don’t bother going back for further advice. They don’t have any, and if they did they are too busy trying to rank for Kitty Litter Paw Prints to help. On the plus side with the power of my network I just pushed my proverbial wall back quite a ways. Where it was previously at around 1,700-3,000 links its now around 40k in total. Giving me some huge authority. So now my network is scattered around the 20-50 position range in the SERPS. With the pansy sites out of the way I just need a bit more of an authoritative push to go play with the big boys. So I’ll need to create a second much larger network to make the final shove.
Volume is my key strategy here. I don’t care about building up these other sites or even getting links to them. I just want them indexed and get their links to count. So I create a nice little blog network using free blog hosts on authority domains. I may even do some clean parasite hosting and push for some authoritative small links. Any relevant links I can find to make that last push up the hill and into the top 30 positions. Unfortunately this will be a struggle and take some time I don’t feel like wasting. I got to work double time and get some link power from some preexisting non-relevant sites within my arsenal.
For this I’ll use the rule of three and link to my network from a few other sites of mine that already rank high in the targeted engines. This will help the links on the individual sites within my network have more outbound link weight, so they can give more authority to other sites within the network. By policy I never allow these other sites to join the network, so they only link to one of the sites within the network and never get a link back. Otherwise the other sites within the network would gain less overall authority. It’s better to push all it’s weight to one single site and let that site boost the other sites within the network. So now our network is sitting between the 7-30 positions. They may be a bit scattered and thats okay as long as we break into that top 10 with at least a site or two. If at this point I’m coming close but still can’t quite break through I may have to resort to sabotage. Nothing says successful sabotage like slowly removing the outbound links on that ranking Wikipedia page and labeling them as Spammy links in the edit history. I know it’s a bitch move and the link may just go back up but nothing is greater than when the webmaster notices the traffic loss and checks to see why their Wikilink was gone and is like, “Fuck you Wiki, you think my site is spammy? Fine, there goes your backlink ya bitch.” <-- hehe may be in more words or less. hey, sometimes you gotta do what got to do, and if that means doing sneaky underhanded stuff like convincing about.com authors the page is wrong category should relocate article a suitable one, than so it. Just don't take it too far and pretend to be the owners of those sites and harass directory editors because you feel like your site should be listed above the competitions', then call them morons when they try to explain alphabetization. Just get that booty into the top 10.
So now, like a girlfriend's hair dryer, I'm in and under the radar. Time to prove that my sites are the most relevant by expanding the content on the 2-5 sites that made it into the top 15. Now is the perfect time to shake up the industry by releasing a new feature on your site that the others don't have. The other webmasters and the 3-4 community forums that are already in have taken notice of my sites by now so I need to give them something to talk about. I'll focus on these primarily top sites and leave the others to push authority of those sites up. Perhaps by organizing my NOFOLLOW tags more efficiently? This is also usually when I'll steal little portions of content from the few sites that fell through the cracks in the rankings and put them up on my top 5-10 sites. Suddenly my number one site will need a featured blog and the blog site will quit updating so often. I may even spend a little time focusing on some Market Bait. Once I got 4-7 of my sites within my network into the top 10 I’m in like Flint, grab my cash, and move on to the next niche.
All I got to do from here is watch for other Pros attempting to do the same thing to me. They are usually pretty easy to spot when they email you from several different email accounts begging for links in a similar way. If these strategic thoughts are starting to sound familiar, but you’re not sure from where; I can explain. Have you ever had one of those sites that have always ranked well for their keywords? Then suddenly over the course of a week or so your site just deranks like crazy. All these new sites pop in to the top 10 and your left like WTF? First you glance around and wonder if something is wrong with your site. Nothing out of the usual, in fact it’s quite odd for such a consistently ranking site to drop like that. So you assume it must be some engine update. You do some research, but no one reporting anything too strange other than the few usual paranoid one hit wonder eccentrics screaming Damn Big Daddy! So you chalk it up to a possible algorithm change. Sure that must be it.