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How 9,900 Exact Match Searches Equate to $1,500 Per Month

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How 9,900 Exact Match Searches Equate to $1,500 Per Month

By Pat Flynn on

As most of you know, last year I publicly built a niche site from scratch that is now ranking #1 in Google for the target keyword “security guard training” and is consistently making about $1500.00 a month.

You can read all about how I found this niche and built the site on The Niche Site Duel Hub.

Since revealing my niche site and my results, the number one related question I get via email goes something like:

“Pat – I don’t believe you. There’s no way a niche site targeting a keyword with only 9,900 exact monthly searches can make as much money as yours does. Something isn’t right here…”

At least 20 people have emailed me with this basic message in the last 3 months. Many of them are actually a lot more “angry” than what I wrote for you above (a couple of people called me a liar), but the core of the message is the same: how does a site with 9900 exact searches make $1500 a month off of Adsense ads?

I don’t blame people for being curious though. Based on the math, I can definitely see why my results are a bit perplexing.

The screenshots from Market Samurai and the Google Adwords Keyword Tool below both confirm that the keyword does get 9900 exact searches for the keyword per month:

Exact Searches - SGT

From this, we can assume that a website ranking at the #1 position will get somewhere between 38% and 42% of the clicks (shown in the SEOT column in Market Samurai) from people who search for this term, which is a general rule of thumb for searches and click distribution. You can read more about where this number comes from here.

So, with an assumed 4,158 visitors a month, in order to get to $1500 a month on Adsense I’d have to have:

  • A 100% Click-Through Rate (CTR) on my ads at $0.36 Cost-Per-Click (CPC);
  • A 50% CTR at $0.72 CPC
  • A 25% CTR at $1.44 CPC
  • A 10% CTR at $3.61 CPC
  • A 5% CTR at $7.22 CPC
  • A 1% CTR at $36.07 CPC

The issue is that the approximate CPC as shown in Market Samurai and the Google Adwords Keyword Tool is only  $3.25, which is relatively high, but that’s the cost that an advertiser pays per click. As a publisher, I would only receive a percentage of that, so it’s even less.

I’d have to have a CTR of about 25% or higher to generate this kind of income, but for Adsense that’s pretty much unheard of. The highest click-through rate I’ve ever seen on any of my niche sites has been a little above 5%.

So what’s missing?

I’ve mentioned this in previous niche site reports before, but apparently not clear enough.

The target keyword security guard training accounts for only 28% of the total search engine traffic, and 19% of the sites overall traffic.

SGTHQ Keywords
Another interesting thing to realize is that the site is currently pulling in natural search engine traffic from over 4,700 different keywords (and this is all within one month of data).

SGTHQ Keywords

Most of the 4,727 keywords are for key phrases that are 4 or more words (long-tail keywords) and only get 1 or 2 hits a month, but there are A LOT of them:

Long Tail Keywords - SGTHQ

And the pattern has always been the same:

Write more. Get found more.

This is true for every niche site I’ve worked with and my blogs too.

So the fact is yes, I targeted a keyword with only 9,900 exact matches per month, but by publishing 110 posts on various related topics (and optimizing my Adsense ads, as shown here) I’ve been able to rank for a ton of long-tail keywords I didn’t even specifically target to generate the traffic necessary to get up to $1500 per month…and it’s still climbing.

I’m on track to break the record once again in October.

Are 5 to 10 Post Mini-Niche Sites Dead?

Not at all – I have a few 5 to 10 post sites that are doing well and I know several people who are building several each day, but that a different business model than what I’ve done here.

The process of niche selection and building a website are virtually the same, however it’s the quantity of content on the site that give a “beefier” niche site like this the ability to get found more and generate more traffic (and income) that way.

And this leads me to some interesting questions…

If you had the ability to just snap your fingers and create 100 well-written posts right now about anything, would you rather have them published on one beefy niche site, or spread them out to 10?

Is it possible to do keyword research in a way to find out potentially how many long-tail keywords one could get traffic from for a specific target keyword? This would give us the ability to target keywords that might have less as far as actual search numbers for one term, but still cash-in on the industry. I don’t think anyone expected me to earn $1500+ per month with my security guard training site..

If all of us with existing mini-sites (sites that are usually worked on and then left alone once they are ranked) wrote 1 new article a week, how much more traffic and income could we make by the end of the year?

What would happen if I bought a small niche site and just started adding new content to it?

Hmm, a lot of things to ponder.

Feel free to address any one (or all) of these questions above, or just let me know what you think.

And lastly, you have 3 days left to vote for the SPI Podcast! Please click here to go to and vote for the SPI Podcast in the Business and People’s Choice section. You can vote 1 time per day (in both sections), and I promise this is the last time I will ask you :)

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