Niche Site Duel 004: My Content Strategy

StrategySo we’re about 1 month into our niche site duel (since I was challenged), and things are starting to move.

I’ve posted the latest updates from the other participants on the niche site duel hub, so I definitely recommend checking that out because there have been a lot of recent updates and a lot of excellent content to take in.

Because I’m targeting a relatively more competitive niche than my other niche sites (and my niche duel competitors), it will take me a little longer to reach the first page. Plus, I’m doing most of the work myself, and I don’t have a team of VAs working for me like the other guys. That said, I’m quite happy with the results so far, and am confident that I will eventually get there. Here’s the latest on my rankings:

  • August 25th: Site went live. Not ranked.
  • August 29th: #184
  • September 6th: #162
  • September 8th: #135
  • September 9th: #119

The crazy thing is that I’m already on the first page of Yahoo (#8). I did some research, and this is probably because Yahoo has a totally different algorithm and weighs backlinks a little differently than Google does. I already have quite a few backlinks (I’ll explain this later), so this could account for the position in Yahoo. Google is where it’s at though, so there’s no reason to stop here.

The rapid climb in Google is a good sign that Google is indeed crawling through my website regularly and finding a bit of value in it. As I add more content and create more backlinks, I will climb even higher.

On a side note, when you start a new site and are finally picked up by Google, your ranking could do what people refer to as “The Google Dance”. The Google Dance is where you bounce around the rankings like crazy, until you’re finally put into a stable position. One day, you might be ranked, and the next day, you’re off the radar. Then, you come back, only to disappear once again.

If this happens to you, don’t worry. This is Google trying to figure out where to place your site, and as long as you keep creating unique content and continue to work on backlinking, you’ll usually come back even higher than you were before. I have yet to experience the Google Dance myself, but I know a lot of people who have, so just be aware that this could happen to you.

My Content Strategy

As I mentioned before, the strategy I’m using for this particular niche site (which is about security guard training) is a bit different from the previous niche sites that I’ve done. The reason is because I want this site to grow into an authority site and essentially become another GreenExamAcademy for me, which as you know was my the first site I created that taught people how to pass an exam in the architecture industry. It worked once, so why can’t I do it again?

Although the industries are obviously different, the goals for the sites are fairly similar – give people the easiest route to advancing or starting their career. And even though it’s taking me a bit longer to get on the first page of Google and earn money from this site (compared to my existing niche sites), I am finding this to be a lot more enjoyable. The content is more interesting to me, and I feel good about possibly helping people out.

My content strategy has two parts:

  1. Create content that people would find useful and helpful; and
  2. Create content that helps me rank higher in the search engines.

Create Content that People Would Find Useful and Helpful

Someone asked me a really good question the other day:

“Pat. You obviously know nothing about the niche that you selected. How do you expect to succeed and provide helpful and relevant content for people?”

An excellent and very fair question.

When I created, I also didn’t anything about that particular exam either, and because of this, the content I wrote on that site was perfect for someone who didn’t know a thing about it, because I didn’t either. As I found out new pieces of information, I was able to easily translate it in a way that any beginner could understand.

This is something I know I’m good at, which I hope you can tell by the content I publish on this blog.

In Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath, they talk about something called The Curse of Knowledge. This is the “curse” people have that makes it hard for them to teach something they know to a person who knows nothing about it. It can be tough to gauge and hard to assume how much your pupil already knows.

Since I don’t know anything about the subject, as I do the research, it will be easy to translate it into something that people can easily consume – at least this is the idea.

So, what I’m doing is putting myself in the shoes of someone who may eventually end up on my site, and providing them the content that I believe they want to see.

The only problem with this strategy is that if this is all you do, you’re going to be missing valuable pieces of information on your site. You are just one person and you can only assume so much about what you think a visitor might want to see. This is why it’s important to go one step further…

Create Content That Helps Me Rank Higher in the Search Engines

By doing keyword research beyond our primary keyword, we can:

  1. Find out what else people are searching for; and
  2. Write content about those topics and rank higher in the search engines.

The truth is, if you stick to just creating content around your primary keyphrase, you’re not going to go very far. Google loves relevant content, specifically targeted at keywords related to your niche that are both derivative and semantic.

I touched on those terms in my Keyword Research Webinar (free replay), but basically you need to write content that targets phrases that relate to your primary keyphrase that include your primary keyphrase (derivative keywords), and phrases that relate to your primary keyphrase that do not include your primary keyphrase (semantic keywords).

For example, if you have a site that is crafted for the primary keyphrase freshwater fishing reel, a derivative keyphrase that you could also target as a secondary keyword could be: best freshwater fishing reel, or freshwater fishing reel tips.

A semantic keyphrase that you could also target as a secondary keyword could be Abu Garcia spinning reels, or lightweight baitcasting reels.

Google will love a site that contains a good mixture of content around your primary keyword, and both derivative and semantic keywords – mostly because it looks more natural.

How to Find What Else People are Searching For

There are several ways to find both derivative and semantic keywords for your niche site.

Obviously, the thing that I like to do is use a tool like Market Samurai (free trial), which pretty much does the work for you. But, as always, I want to show you how you can do it for free.

An easy way to locate derivative keywords is to use a keyword research tool such as the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, or the  SEOBook Keyword Tool. Enter your keyphrase, and it will spit out a number of terms that people are searching for which include the keyphrase that you typed in.

Derivative Keywords

You could also simply type in your primary phrase into Google, and see what words come in after it. This used to work really well on the Google homepage (when Google would try to guess what you’re searching for), however since they recently rolled out Google Instant and the results for your search come up before you even finish typing, it makes it a little harder.

To find semantic keywords, you could try this “sneaky” little trick that I’m guessing you didn’t know. If you did, then Kudos!

All you have to do is insert this symbol: “~” (the tilde symbol, usually located to the left side of the “1” on your standard keyboard), before your keyword. This symbol tells Google to search for synonyms of your target keyword, and they show up bolded in the results.

Most of you are probably targeting keyphrases with more than one word, so the proper way to search for something like that would be to enter something similar to this screenshot:

How to find Semantic Keywords or Synonyms in Google

Brackets on the outside to make sure Google knows to find synonyms of that exact phrase, and a tilde (~) behind each word so that Google knows that each word is taken into account…something like that. Anyways, it works. When I did this search in Google, I found the words security officers, bodyguard training, safety, certification, protection training, and firearms training all bolded in the results.

Tip #1: If you used the advanced search option, you can list up to 100 search results at a time and get an entire list of semantic keywords and synonyms all at once.

Tip #2: After you make a list, I’d put those terms into a keyword research tool just to make sure those aren’t dead phrases that should not be targeted. They usually are okay, but just to double check.

About My Niche in Particular

While doing research on my niche, I found out that every single State in the U.S. has a different requirement or prerequisite before one can become a security guard in that State. I only found two websites that list each of the requirements State by State, which are both hard to navigate and full of errors. None of these sites were ranked in the top 50 in Google, so I really have an opportunity to put something useful out there for people.

What I’m in the middle of doing now is creating a separate blog post for the requirements of every single State. I think this is what I have to do if I want my site to actually be useful, or else someone from a random state might get the wrong information.

Although this is a lot of work, I think this is good because it will add relevant content to my site (with derivative keywords that people are indeed searching for, such as security guard training in California), and it creates new pages which could rank high in the search engines as well.

I could even take it a step further and include YouTube interviews from security guard training facilities in each State that go over each State’s specific requirements, in exchange for a mention of the training facility on the video and on the blog. I could post these onto YouTube, embed them onto my blog, get traffic from YouTube and possibly get ranked in Google for those videos (for those derivative keywords) at the same time. Plus, this would introduce me to some training facilities that I could possibly collaborate with in the future for affiliate offers, advertisements and product sales.

I like this plan, because it gives me clear direction and I can literally create a checklist of items to do and check off as I go. Yes, this is a lot of work, but like I always say, it’s about putting in the hard work now, so you can reap the benefits later.

As I’m creating this content, I’m always working on creating backlinks to my site which I had originally planned to talk about in this post, but I didn’t realize I had so much to say about content. So, on Monday I’ll post about my backlinking strategy for you. Maybe by then, I’ll have climbed even higher.

I guess we’ll see.

So what do you think? Am I taking the right approach, or just wasting my time? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and constructive criticism is genuinely welcome. As I mentioned before, Tyrone and I aren’t niche site experts, but we’re making this challenge public so everyone can learn from what we do – both from our successes and from our failures.

I hope you enjoyed this, and thanks for your interest in this Niche Site Challenge.

Have a fantastic weekend! Cheers!

Other Posts in The Niche Site Duel Series

  • Andrew @ Blogging Guide

    Just reading about the content you’ll put on your site makes it really interesting and I think people who will visit your site will really benefit from the content you are planning to put in there. You have a great plan, stick to it and lots of kudos to this one-man effort niche site.

    • Pat

      Thanks Andrew, that’s the plan. Creating useful content has always worked for me. Cheers!

    • Richard

      I agree Andrew, these guys are on the money both in being able describe the who, what where, why in a cool engaging way but also show you in some detail – boy there’s some work in this blog – the mechanics of how to go about it. Kudos to you Pat and you Aussie mate. I have already implemented some of your ideas on my authoritative site and looking forward to finding some niche areas to expand. Best thing since SBI. Cheers man.

  • Dan

    I didn’t know about this: “~” . Sweet! I’m gonna go do that now….

    • Pat

      funny, when I put ~Dan in Google, I get Totally Awesome!


      • Dan

        Ha! Turns out you are ranking for “sexy gravitar pic.” Fansite?

    • Trent

      I didn’t know about it either. Thanks Pat :)

      You might want to try this also: When doing a search with the adwords keyword tool for related keywords, try putting in an upper and lower search volume filter as it helps to find the lower volume related keywords that you might want to consider building content around.

  • Michael

    Hey Pat

    This is a super duper long post and I will need more time to digest it. On my first read it seems you’re unsure or slightly nervous about the niche you chose or at least that’s how it came across for me. As always I gained a lot from putting together a niche site from reading this post and your foray into ‘keyword research,’ primary and derivative key phrases, is unparalleled.

    Thanks for sharing.


    • Pat

      Hey Michael – yeah, super long. My apologies. I had a lot to say.

      As far as confidence, I didn’t think it could get more clearer than: “…and am confident that I will eventually get there”. Hehe.

      In due time. Thanks for your support. Cheers!

      • Leon Aldrich

        I wonder at times if Pat doesn’t come across as unsure at times, because after all, he is carrying the collective burden of all of us on his shoulders.

        • Mark Mason

          It’s simply because Pat is not an arrogant jerk. There is no question that he knows he’s going to succeed. He’s just cool like that.

  • Adam

    you could try getting articles from a person who has already undergone security guard training.that would be excellent,wouldn’t it?

  • Lye Kuek Hin

    Hi Pat,

    It really sounds exciting. I think you are taking the right approach. The fact that there’s not much information on the security training in different states in US. It’s definitely an approach well explore on and useful to job seekers who live in different states.

    I will looking forward to your backlink strategies as i am sure i will learn something new from you. Thanks for sharing the content strategies and i find it really useful.

  • Renate

    Again I have to say: I love this challenge. I’m learning a lot, and this could really come to use.

    But, Pat – something unrelated: When did you decide to register as a company? Before you started selling anything or were you making money off of ads before that?

  • Gavin

    Hey Pat, I think the approach sounds good, and people would love to see those interviews for different states. They would add instant credibility, and, videos like that help people to visualise themselves pursuing the security guard career. Big plus I’d say.

    I’ve got a question about you Niche Site Strategy. Once it’s “up and running”: doing well in terms of content, traffic and hopefully money, how much does the effort you put into the site tail off? How much effort do you currently put into the GreenExamAcademy site?

    Reason for question: I’m kinda inspired to try a niche site in addition to my primary site, but I’m not sure I want the niche area to become a new hobby for me… I’m not saying that I want a quick-fix to a great niche site without doing work. I don’t mind doing a lot of work… but can it be done as a “project” that you can then move away from?

    Cheers, Gavin

  • Onibalusi Bamidele

    This is really great and your niche site is progressing in the ranks,

    Concerning the google ranks, if you keep building backlinks, in no time you will be ranking on page one for your keyword.

    Thanks a lot for the great post,

    • Moon Hussain

      I know building backlinks can consume a lot of time & is one of my bigger problems… looking forward to seeing how Pat takes to off-page seo challenge.

  • Shane

    Great work Pat. Really enjoyed reading all the information so far. Let me know if you need to outsource any of the seo, my team and I would be happy to help you out.

  • Adrijus

    Good work! Esp. in an unknown for you niche.. Looking forward to see the results and who wins!

  • Ricardo


    I think you are doing excellent work! I haven’t started writing a blog yet for my website but when I do in the future, I will make sure I use Market Samurai and all of your useful strategies from this Niche Site Duel Contest!


  • Travis

    I am really enjoying following your duel. I’m learning a lot and I finally got around to watching your webinar. I think I’m going to buy Market Samurai and follow this duel to try a niche site of my own.

    I wanted to point out something about your plan that rang an alarm bell for me. If you are going to post about the different requirements for each state, that could be a lot of upkeep. How often does a state change its rules? Once a year? Once a month? If every state changes its rules frequently, it could be too much work for one person to keep up with the changes. I’m sure you would ideally want to create something that requires little upkeep, so that’s something to keep in mind.

    Best of luck to you in this duel, and thanks a lot for teaching us along the way!

  • Kim P

    As always, this is great Pat! The tilde trick is new to me! I’m really excited for your backlinking strategy. There is no doubt backlinks are the crux to getting through Google’s first page golden gates, and you’ll be there in no time.

  • Clay

    Hey Pat- Another great post. I started a couple niche sites about the same time you started this challenge. Both are bumping along slowly. But, I’m getting some great ideas from these posts. Now, I just need to find time to create more content.

    Keep ’em coming. Clay

  • TrafficColeman


    I think this approach is the steps I would have taken my own self, and it seems like you might have stepped on a gold mine.

    I say that because you talked about there are different requirements from each state, and now you will basically have to come up with an new post for each state.

    That will be awesome since the site you did find had errors.

    I like what you doing Pat..

    “TrafficColeman “Signing Off”

  • Shajjad

    Last 2 days i am waiting for getting update from your blog, But dont get so i come and get new post on Niche site dule….oh no thats means i dont Subscribe for getting updates….

    Ok. your post is really liked and your writting is awesome Like a story. I think i am right your writing comes from your real life so its more than a story…
    Can not waiting for backlinking strategy

  • Danielle

    Pat, everytime I read something from your blog I get excited. Whether it is your YouTube video tutorials or your niche sites. I’ve gotten very excited reading your niche blog challenge and I’m doing some work of my own. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your back linking strategies because while I know I can make great sites with great content, my backlinking is weak and I know that is why I have only had one blog that has been successful in the past.

    Anyway, just wanted to say thanks and I’m loving the podcasts,too!

    • American Gothic Costume

      I agree with Danielle. I just recently found your site and find myself devouring your information- especially as it relates to niche sites. I can not wait until Monday for your take on backlinks. Thanks for being so willing to share; it is appreciated!

  • Ian Paul Marshall

    Sort of similar question to the above for you Pat. Awesome sauce on the competition by the way. Great stuff!

    The question is this:

    After the site is humming along how often do you post new content? Once a month? Or do you just let it sit?

    Thank you so much!

  • Danielle

    Just thought of another thing to ask you that kind of goes along with Ian’s question about adding content. Do you ever use the oldest2newest plugin to make older posts go to the front page to look like there is new content? Would you suggest it? Why or why not?

  • Mark | Wealthy Affiliate Revolution


    Excellent write-up. I think if anything your post illustrates that there are no shortcuts. Success comes with careful planning and diligent execution. You always do both and that’s why you succeed. Bravo! Keep up the great work and thanks for providing this valuable resource.


  • jb walla

    Clearly you’re going to kill it on this one Pat. Once you started talking about partnering with training facilities… well, I see the $$$ rolling in. I expect your income statement will look very different in 9 – 12 months. Thanks for sharing this great info.

  • Eric | My 4-Hour Workweek


    I really think it’s great that you’re taking the “authority site” approach to this challenge. There’s no doubt that your income potential for a site like this far exceeds that of a mini-niche affiliate site (one that provides little value aside from a brief connection to the actual product).

    I think it’s going to be awhile before you see real success from a dollars perspective (and you know this), but when it finally picks up, you’re going to look back and say that you would have never traded the hard work for an easy mini-niche affiliate site.

    Eagerly awaiting to see where it goes!

    – Eric

  • James Tayo

    I’m sure you have though about it but a concern I have is the amount and value of affiliate products you wish to promote later.
    Most of the products for this niche will be classroom (in-person) training I guess.

    Have you already noted some of these down? I don’t want you to go down the path only to find out the products are not suitable for a passive income site.

    I think your strategy to make it an authority site is great though.

    • Office Revolt

      I would say that advice is golden… most of us will run into this issue if not properly planned out.

    • Franck

      +1. agree with the comment

      I guess Pat is more replicating de Green Academy Exam model, which makes me think that he will write an e-book to seel it to students and will try to reach CPA a CPL agreements with offline learning centers

      This sounds more like a real online business venture than a tradicional niche site (See Tyrone’s approach, he started with affiliates’ products at ClickBank)

      The initial amount of work is higher, but so will be the ROI once put into automatic pilot mode

      Just my own guess, I have no inside infos from Pat

    • David

      In my opinion the fact that most ‘products’ for affiliate sales are training programs could turn out very much to Pat’s advantage. As soon as he has a high authority with his site he can team up with some high-level training programs, promote them and get money from each person that joins such a training program through his site. Passive Income in its smartest way :)

  • Bo

    Thanks Pat for awesome post. Another way to find LSI Keywords is to use Google’s wonder wheels which appears on the left side column.

  • Lee Cole

    Hi Pat! I really like how you don’t pretend that ranking a site for a keyword phrase is easy, or necessarily fast. As your example illustrates, it often takes weeks, even a few months, according to the competitiveness of the phrase. Thanks for the openness! I think this will help newbies understand that this is a fairly slow process.

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  • Stephen @ The InventionAddict blog

    I was visiting Yahoo Answers and there were a few recent security guard questions.;_ylt=Apy_VopKBdzW9NuptIjlgsUjzKIX;_ylv=3?page=1&p=security+guard&orderby=date

    I wonder if a link on Yahoo Answers would count as a back link in Google. You have to be at level 2 to get your links show-up as hyperlinks.

    It may be worth a shot or at least good for research to find out what people are asking.

  • Paul

    Have you tried using the autocomplete function in the google search bar? I read somewhere that this uses real time search data, which maybe more effective finding popular user questions than simply using adwords search data, which is the database that market samurai uses to data mine.

  • linus

    I think your strategy is Great… and yes it’s a lot of work ! But definetely it’s gonna be THE autorative site in that niche (talking about the requirements of every single State, no rush, I would give priority to those states where you find more need, through google trends maybe?).

    Keep it up, I like your approach, and in this duel I’m your fan 😉

  • Juan | Acne No More


    You missed the word know in your post:
    When I created, I also didn’t *know* anything


  • Cheap Yearly Web Hosting

    Awesome update – I really like how you laid out the Google advancement timeline. I plan on using it as a standard for my own niche site movement.

    Have a great weekend.

    – Tim

  • Stephen Renton

    fascinating challenge Pat, looking forward to seeing how the monetisation part of this pans out, and how you will fare against Tyrone’s VA army when it comes to the more time consuming tasks, as I assume you have pleanty of other work to do on your own niches …? Good luck buddy ..

  • Jeff rose


    Dude, seriously. Where is your donate button? You never seize to amaze me with the amount of quality information you provide in your posts. And it’s free!!!! Can’t wait to see you kill it with this site and any other projects you focus on. I wish we could fast forward and see your monthly income report. I’m sure we would all be impressed.

  • David

    Hi Pat

    3 quick comments:

    1) Probably somebody else has made you aware of that already: it seems as if there’s an issue with your security guard site. I wanted to check out today quickly how it is going and if people are starting to leave comments there. While the homepage itself opens, basically all the links end up in a 404 page from your host.

    2) You write above: “Since I don’t know anything about the subject, as I do the research, it will be easy to translate it into something that people can easily consume – at least this is the idea.”. In my opinion you are successful with this approach because you seem to have a talent in ‘teaching’ aspects to people in an understandable way, even if you might not be an expert in that subject, which is important. There are, e.g., great sales people who -when they are promoted to lead a sales team and when it comes to teaching their colleagues to ‘secrets’ of sales- they just can’t create results because they don’t have what it takes to teach.

    3) It seems as if you have climbed up to the next level in your blogging career, i.e. looking at your blog it seems as if you’re not able anymore to answer to each and every blog comment 😀 Congrats by the way for breaking the 20k last month, according to your last income report!!

    Regards from Greece,

    • Pat

      Hey David – fixed the issue on the site, you can check it out now. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. :)

      Secondly, it’s hard to keep up, but I’m trying to still respond to comments as much as possible. The baby boy is taking up a lot of time now that he’s sleeping less, and crawling and playing more, but I will do my best to still be here as much as I was before for everyone.

      Thanks again, and wishing you all the best. Cheers!

  • The LastHonest Guy

    Hey Pat,

    This maybe a novice question, but how do you find out what your Google ranking is? I found a website where it asks for your API number and when I try to look for mine it turns out they don’t exist anymore. Any suggestions?

    Great blog btw…

    • Shajjad

      Hey Pat
      You show your new site ranking…But dont clear about ranking..
      Is it Google ranking?
      If ya then how you can see this ranking?


      • The LastHonest Guy

        I just found out how to search for your website ranking and it was right here on this website. Thanks Pat.

        • Shajjad

          Thanks for link.
          Just instal Rank cheacker from SEOBOOK. Its really a great tools and i am surprised after using this tools…
          Thanks Pat for Introducing these types of SEO tools.


  • Dustin Stevens-Baier

    I wasn’t aware of the ~ either that is pretty cool feature. Learn something new every day. Keep up the good work.

  • Erik

    Hey Pat, thanks for the ~ trick, will have to give it a try for my new niche.

    I launched my new niche on around August 23rd, but didn’t get ranked in Google until August 31st when I came in at 247 for a niche with 293,000 competitors and a market samurai SEOC of about 58,000 so it’s reasonably competitive. I did experience a bit of Google Dancing with the site appearing one day and disappearing the next, and this happened a couple of times. On the 4th of September I had increased up to 132 in Google and I just did a check in market Samurai right now and the site has reached 88th position in Google. Not bad… looking forward to reading your backlink strategy on Monday. I greatly support your content strategy as there already too many affiliate pushers online!

  • Joseph Archibald

    Hi Pat, gotta say thanks for popping over to my blog and making a comment – otherwise I may never have been able to follow along with your challenge. Its gonna be a fascinating journey and I’ll be sure to keep tuned.

    There is a lot more involved here than merely SEO and making money from SEO and internet marketing, so that’s a very nicely refreshing change for me, and one that I sorely have been in need of.

    With thanks!

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  • Stephanie

    Hi Pat,
    I just want to share that in my own niche site on CPA exam preparation, the CPA exam requirement is also different in different states and what I have done also is to have the requirement listed for each state. These pages are among the most highly visited and most helpful according to my readers.

    Keep up with the excellent work!

  • Carlos

    I’m a newbie in Internet Marketing and Niche websites. I don’t know if your approach is “right” in the sense of making money, but I think it absolutely makes sense if you are looking for a long term sustainable income.
    The way you are creating your website should be quite inmune to changes in SE algorithms, since you are creating good quality content.
    Good luck!

  • Murlu

    Paaaat – you’re really rocking it – love reading these updates.

    I don’t think you’re too over your head in terms of the niche; it may be difficult to keep creating content for it if you’re not entirely interested in it for the long run but who knows, maybe you’ll really get into it after it starts to take off.

    Best of luck!

  • Shane

    Hey Pat,

    I decided to start the niche site duel the other day and would really appreciate if you could add my website to the list.


    • Pat

      Done! Thanks Shane!

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  • Steve

    Pat…Pat !! long I don’t think so…If you want to run with the big boys you have to play in the same game..! I appreciate the attention to detail I’m also currently planning my first Niche site and you and your competitors approaches are helpful and useful. Keep on going…!

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  • Mike

    I am finding these post very useful – mainly because I am picking up little bits here and there of things I overlooked in setting up my blog. The good news is that they’re all “fixable.” Thanks, Mike

  • Sunil from The Extra Money Blog

    Excellent point Mike – the web is very forgiving, unlike a multi million dollar entrepreneurial venture backed by venture capital. one can always go back and make changes – and a single post / web page can never be tweaked enough. the key is balancing between the human reader and engine spider

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  • David herron

    The technique you describe is essentially spamming the search engines. A couple years ago there was much griping and complaining about splogs, a.k.a. Spam blogs, which were essentially doing as you suggest. Just how is it useful to humans to pollute the Internet with machine generated content? Just how does this create meaningful relationships with your audience? Spewing garbage into the internet only results in an increase of garbage, and you are adding no value by this convoluted spamming method. What’s worse is you are enticing cliff ravenscraft into this work as well. I have for years enjoyed the message he tells us about creating meaningful relationships with our audience, and it’s the meaningful relationship which is the key to his success. His success did not come from gaming search engine algorithms. Please stop polluting our Internet.

    • Pat

      David – was this comment meant for me, because apparently you missed the part about where I create content that is helpful for people. What I’m doing is NOT polluting the internet at all, and if you’ve read through my blog you’d understand that it’s all about creating useful content – content is King, as they say. If providing content about security guard training to help people who want to start their security guard career because what exists on the internet already is crap and honestly some of it is just plain wrong information – if I want to fix that, how is that polluting the internet?

      Plus, Cliff is a fantastic individual who has built an audience through podcasting. Podcasting is all about content, and he produces some of the best. The search engines (namely Google) is a whole different ballgame, and it takes working by their rules to get our unique and helpful content noticed.

      Please, David – tell me how my content strategy is polluting the internet. What is exactly is the convoluted spamming method you speak of? I can give you concrete examples of similar sites with information that is just plain wrong, who are ranking high in the search engines, who I want to replace with good, useful information that people can use.

      Looking forward to your response.

      I would appreciate it if you read the whole post before leaving

      • David Herron

        Yes, it was meant for you.. and yes I did read the whole post. Ah… I see I put the comment on the wrong post. In “Niche Site Duel 006: My Backlink Strategy” you discuss “re-spinning” articles you post on the niche site, and using those spun articles on other sites. It’s this autogenerated algorithmic content that I’m talking about. I apologize for not locating the correct blog post to attach this too. But the point is algorithmically generating stuff is spammy. I don’t care how much you pretty it up and rationalize things by saying it’s a time saver and you’re taking the time to read through each respun article to make sure it makes sense. What you’re describing is spewing autogenerated content into multiple blogs.

        • Pat

          Ahh ok – that makes a little more sense, but I still have to disagree. To reiterate what Mark Mason said on the backlinking post about spinning, etc., let me paste his comment here:

          I hate this spinning discussion. Let’s say Pat has the cure for cancer and he posts it on his blog. Curing cancer is good. So Pat spins articles about curing cancer and posts them everywhere so he can help the most people while plating by the rules that GOOGLE has set.

          So what about security guards? Pat’s site rocks. It will help people that are thinking about becoming a security guard. Security guards are a help to society. It’s all good.

          So what if Pat “advertises” his site by placing similar content all over the web? It’s not like the web is “full” and Pat is harming someone by taking up too much space.

          It seems acceptable for Toyota to place the same add on every TV network and run it over and over. It’s OK for AP to syndicate their content everywhere. Why not Pat.

          Not to mention the fact that Pat is only doing this because Google’s algorithms are too poor to tell good content from bad content. I would argue that if Pat Does not do something to rank his site, he is being unfair to all those readers out therebat NEED him but cannot find him.

          Failing to properly promote your site when there are people to help profitably is A lot bigger sin than syndicating 47 very similar but different copies of a good article.

          If you want to take a stand against someone, get mad at Google. They have an inferior product that relies on backlinks — yet they make Billions of dollars each year from it. That’s the problem, not Pat.


  • Andy

    Good thread here on the use of niche sites. I think this would be a great post by itself, if you have not already addressed this.

    I have often thought about this, and I think Mark made some great points. I agree that Google’s system of ranking is in need of improvement (although it isbetter than the earlier methods). Given that there are millions of websites to rank each day though, I am not sure how they would do it differently.

    So, We have to deal with what we have, which is a ranking system based on unique backlinks. If ranking were only about the best page/ most relevant page, then Pat’s strategy would likely be somewhat different. In order to create content that is unique efficiently, you must ‘re-spin’ articles, and publish them in different places. I see no problem with repurposing content so that it is unique. I do have a problem with sites that are indeed spammy. We are all too aware of sites that make no sense, and are impossible to navigate because of the ads on the site. I am glad to learn of a method that actually ranks your site high, and is providing good relevant content for users. As Pat said, by doing so – you are often replacing a spam site with a clean site.

    Pat, I also wanted to comment on your work ethic. I think that this could be missed. Oftentimes, we want a quick fix for doing well in IM. But you have a work ethic that is killing any competition by a long shot. I hope that I can learn to have your kind of work ethic in my business.

    And, I love your concept of interviewing training companies, putting those on youtube, and then placing that information on your site. Not only does this illustrate your work ethic, but it is a great strategy. And it is great information for your users.

    Great Post,


  • Jon Layman

    Forgive my newbness, but how do you calculate your “google rank” shown at the beginning of the article? Do you need a program for this?

    • Eleonora

      Interested in knowing that myself.
      Also would like to see the exact steps you too to improve ranking.

      • Beth

        I too feel very remedial asking about this, but how do you see your google rank for specific terms?

  • Juan Pablo

    Hi Pat, I liked your post. I’m interested in knowing what tool/resource you use to keep track of your ranking for a keyword. Thanks.

  • Michael


    This great was a great read. As I mentioned in my email to you the other day, I had checked out your security guard site and listened to your podcast(s) about the topic, and to see it all in black and white here was helpful.

    Taking the time to read through your posts in addition to the ever-so-convenient podcasts is really helping it all sink in. Looks like you have already reached #1 in google for your main keyword – well done mate! Hopefully I can get there too with enough work. Long-term thinking is key; just need to keep reminding myself.

    Talk soon,

  • Derek


    Thank you so much for the google dance info. I have seriously been wondering what has been going on, my site has been bouncing everywhere for a keyword I’m ranking and my site is relatively new. I posted questions just about everywhere and couldn’t figure it out. Thanks so much for your insight!

  • Jim Carlin

    Pat. Just a quickie. I am reading your blog and following your points on the security guard training HQ website to see the process ‘in action’. There is a comment on the post about Alabama training saying the info you have provided needs updating. This shows that even a passive strategy requires some remedial work to maintain currency. Is there a danger that Google can use such comments to downgrade your ranking – or is that beyond their capability at the moment?

  • Louis

    Hi Pat

    i would like to know if the frequency of posting is important or not
    also do you setup the homepage with a static page or post?
    if you create a 20 page niche website (do you use static page or post)


  • Jean-Luc

    awesome Pat. I wish I could have participated to this contest. There are also French blogs ^^
    Do you plan to launch a new one?

  • Jeremiah

    I just can’t get enough of your site Pat. Keep up the good work.

  • Galyna

    The reason why your website was on a first page of Yahoo is because Yahoo gives initial boost to new websites. I myself experienced the same. When Google did not have my website ranked at all, Yahoo had it on the first page for two main keywords. It slowly went down later.

  • Galyna

    Oh, and it’s interesting, it’s been over a year since you wrote this post. And I am commenting it year later :)
    Truly “passive” traffic! 😉

  • Paul

    I love reading the niche site duel must of read everything atleast 10 times 😉
    Got a quick question i have started my own niche challenge for the travel industry and as soon as i got indexed i was placed 42# and all of the top 10 do not have the keyword in the title, url, description, h1, none are targeting the exact keyword they have maybe 2 word out of the 4 words im targeting i mean my kw for example is
    “what a great blog” they are only targeting “great blog” so would this be easy to rank for in your opinion?


  • Blogger Erik

    Wow! Searching for the synonyms of the targeted keywords using what you have taught (with the ~ sign) is a cool trick. I wish I have known about this before I started building some of my sites..

  • Ian Robinson

    Thanks so much for posting this battle Pat! I’m going to follow your strategy as much as I can to create my own niche site. With a small amount of passive income I could spend months in India, rather than having to return to a western country to work every few months. Most of all, you focus in helping people! I really respect that! Thanks again.

  • Steven Leconte

    I didn’t know about the ~ either. That’s some new information that I will try out as I do my keyword research. I like how you focused on all these other long tail keyword that most people probably ignore.

    That’s a smart idea!

    • devine power

      Well I have heard about that earlier ~ but I never tried it but I think now I have to try it out just for having more keywords!
      Hey Pat your community is so awesome that we can learn so much from the posts and comment itself.

  • mike

    When you showed the cool video for the 4 minute setup of a blog using the WordPress plug-in, is that blog part of your website (with a link on the site’s navigation menu). or is the blog the website itself? I have a site nearly done, but want to add a blog so don’t know whether to use the plugin from my bluehost account – would that overwrite the site? Can you clarify that?
    THANKS for the great service to both the aspiring and experienced folks out here.

  • Seo Wordpress

    Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your blog? My blog site is in the exact same area of interest as yours and my visitors would definitely benefit from some of the information you present here. Please let me know if this alright with you. Cheers!

  • Lenia

    Hi Pat,
    I just read this one too. Yes you are doing a great job. I learnt many tips from this post too. Thank you. I am happy to discover your blog.

  • James


    I’ve read through all of your posts now and just had to come back to this one. That little “~” trick is sweet. I thought I’d run a test myself using your posts as a framework as see how I go. I can find myself referring back to your posts again and again (testament to how useful they really are). What’s next…

  • Brockstar

    So…you wrote all the content for this site yourself? One thing I hate about making new sites is all of the writing. It’s expensive to outsource GOOD writing, especially for a real authority niche site like SGTHQ.

    Do you ever outsource content?

    • James

      Brockstar> I used to hate writing… and thought of outsourcing, not really getting how all these so called guru’s manage to get such content so cheap as when you look around, just as you say. Good writers cost. From my own experience now… I’m turning into a much better writer and may even outsource myself for others. I’ve also looked a spinners, but you have to practically rewrite the article anyway. I’ve tested a free software Spin Chimp (haven’t linked it as I’m not promoting it). I find it better than what else I’ve found as I couldn’t afford to go for the software Pat is using.

  • Mike

    Where did you acquire that flash based USA map on your Security Training website? I’d like to use it on one of my projects.


    • Pat

      Hey Mike – check out – a free tool I created because a lot of people were asking the same exact question :)

      • Mike

        Wow. Thanks! You have your bases covered.

  • Carl Michael

    You listed your rankings through August and September, but how did you find these?

    It could take many hours to trawl through all the google pages to find your site initially, and apparently automated software is inaccurate and against google’s terms and conditions.

    • Josh

      I’d also like to know some of the tools Pat uses to check how he ranks for keywords. There are a few free ones available but not sure how good they are.

  • Sergio Felix

    Hey Pat,

    I’m choosing the tip on derivative and semantic keywords as the winners on this article and also the tilde trick to finding synonyms. I did not know that!


    PS. The map solution was over the top man.

  • Rick

    I am with Pat. How did you find these rankings? I am still trying to understand how to do this. My site is

  • Jigar Kapadia

    Hi Pat,

    I am your new follower. Getting Inspired from you, I have created my First Niche Site. http://www.MumbaiLocalTrainTimeTable.Net
    I am going to create my own blog soon and will write my experience there.

    Would you please spend a minute or two to this site and share your view to your pupil :)


  • Josh

    Hi Pat,

    When adding content to a new niche site, should I create “pages” to post 1 article to each, or should I set it as a “category” so I can continually add content. Or should I set up pages and then do a subdomain “blog” and post to it once or twice a month to keep it fresh?

    Thanks, Josh

  • barbara garrett

    Hi Pat, I’m brand new to the entire concept of niche sites. Like, I just started reading about the subject a few days ago! I have read your entire Niche Site Duel series, and think it’s awesome (I like the way you write and greatly admire the amount of time and attention you have put into writing each article). I have even taken my first actionable step by outlining some fears/passions/problems that I can research. My question is about content: How do you write about something you aren’t passionate about? I assume that when you did the research on security guard training and found that it might be a profitable niche site, it was something you had never thought about before that. How did you get the motivation to write about it? I can’t see myself writing content about something I am not 100% engaged in or passionate about. So while I would like to say that I would love to have 10 income-producing websites, writing about those 10 things on a daily basis without feeling the passion for them is something I can’t wrap my head around. Have I just not gotten to the part of your website where you talk about where content comes from or am I missing something entirely?

    Best regards, and best of luck to you,

  • Mike

    Hey Pat, I have just became a dedicated follower of your site. I’d just like to ask a quick question which is how much content (articles) do you need before you start link building. Whats a good amount of pages to have and how many did you personally create within the 60 days?

  • Zachary Quintana

    Hey pat,

    I’m curious. Do you still spin articles and submit? Also, are you still link wheeling?

  • Johanna

    Hi Pat, I have a question. :) When you have for example 10 keywords for your niche. Would you set up a website for each keyword and then link it to one page or do you use the keywords simply at blogposts?

  • rashid

    Hi, Pat

    My name is Rashid, Thank you for this informative post, but I have a simple question !

    I’m about to publish my website, and I have already written 15 articles that are related to my niche, So the question is: should I post 10 articles and start building backlinks till my website is indexed and then add some more articles ? OR should I post all of them at once ?


  • Andrew

    Awesome information Pat! I am very happy i found your smart passive income and niche site duel! Man! you Rock! I’m wondering of how i could contact you and respond to my questions though. This information you are giving was made in 2013 or later. What about a update on BL,PR, and new ways to gain rank for a niche website in 2014?

  • William

    Hi Pat, I’m still totally in the dark about how you create content for a subject that you don’t actually have experience with. How does this happen?

  • RUBY

    Hi, Pat, Thank you so much for all the note and source you share, I learn sooo much from your site, just can’t say thank you enough! Have a good day!

  • Shiva Reddy

    Wow! that was one quick and very helpful tools that i might use and i use one or two actually.
    Pat very impressed by all your methods and strategies.
    One quick question for all others, I am willing to start a niche website project i am looking forward for a team that can work on it and make sure it reaches to new high level.You might think why would i join,it’s because you know how strong is the competition.So we have to work together for making something out of it.My personal mail i.d is [email protected].
    Please dont spam it.And i will be selecting five of those who requests me and we will work right away.And remember you should be having some work experience about niche websites.

  • Ethan Pariseau

    Hey Pat! I didn’t now about the brackets and tilde trick on Google. I’ve tried it a few times and it doesn’t seem to work the same way now as when this post was written but at the bottom of the first page of the search results there is a list of linked phrases using the terms at the beginning and frequently searched terms tacked onto the end like this: if you search [~cold ~sores] then you get a list of results as usual but at the very bottom of the results you get a linked list of terms like this: cold sore symptoms, sold sore treatments, cold sore causes, etc. Love you’re style of writing, Pat!

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