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Niche Site Duel 012: An Experiment and Income Update

Niche Site Duel 012: An Experiment and Income Update

By Pat Flynn on

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last niche site duel update, so I wanted to fill you in on what’s been going on with my niche site.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the niche site duel, Tyrone Shum and I started niche sites from scratch back in August of 2010 and are revealing everything during the entire progress, from keyword research to domain name to monetization, to see who outperforms the other. Since starting, both Tyrone and I are both ranking in the number 1 spot in Google for our primary keywords. Woot!

In my last two updates, I had mentioned that I obtained a #1 ranking in Google for my primary keyword “security guard training”, and I showed you the backlinking strategy that I used to get there.

An Experiment

After writing those posts, Pauline J. emailed me with an interesting question:

“Hey Pat. Congrats on the #1 ranking in your niche site duel. Now that you’re there, what would happen if you stopped adding more content and creating backlinks. Would your rankings drop off? I heard that if you consistently provide backlinks to your site for a period of time and then suddenly stop, you’ll lose your ranking. I’m not saying you should do this, I’m just wondering if you knew the answer. Thanks!”

This is a very valid question. Can or should we just stop what we’re doing once we get to the number one spot in Google, which is the ultimate goal behind search engine optimization and creating backlinks?

Call me stupid, but I put this to the test.

Since reaching the number one spot in Google 20 days ago, I have not added any more content to the site, nor have I created any new backlinks myself. I really wanted to see what would happen. Can I really just “set it and forget it” and have this site become a true passive income stream?

No matter the outcome (which I’ll get to in a second), it’s probably not the smartest thing in the world to do immediately after reaching the number one position. Obviously, someone else was in the number one position before I knocked them out, so the same thing could very well happen to me. Also, remember that reaching the number one position is a goal, but not THE goal, because that position means nothing unless you are converting traffic to subscribers, readers, or an income – what have you, which may involve creating new content or generating backlinks for the purpose of driving direct traffic.

So what happened to my number one ranking after 20 days?


I checked every day since starting this experiment, and I never dropped one tick.

Based on this, I don’t think Google will penalize you for a sudden halt in content generation and backlinks to your site. When you think about it, the number of newly generated backlinks going to any site is hardly consistent anyways.

The most important factor in Google rankings is how you compare to all of the other sites. You only have to do better than your competition to rank higher, and it would only take another site that does better than mine to bump me out of the number one position.

Again, this was probably not the smartest thing in the world for me to do, but as you know, I’m happy to use my resources for your benefit.

At least I know I have some leeway when it comes to my strategy. I don’t have to spend an hour each day like I did before I got to the number one position to maintain it, but I will be getting back into gear and adding content once again, especially because it will have a direct effect on my advertising and monetization strategy.

Income Update

I’m currently running Adsense on the site and am seeing some decent results:

November Earnings - Niche SiteIn total, I’ve made $151.18 in the month of November. Adding on the income I made from October, this niche site has generated a grand total of $213.83.

As you can see, I have custom channels setup in Adsense to track where most of my income is coming from: ads in the sidebar, and ads within the posts. I could get more ninja with it and create custom links for each of the different urls on the site, but I decided to just divide it this way.

Not bad, but it’s time to ramp it up.

Since getting to the number one spot in Google, I’ve added a section at the top of my site for companies interested in advertising:

Want to Advertise?This menu item leads to a page that has a contact form for advertising inquiries on my site. This page has been accessed 12 times, and I’ve received 2 inquiries from 2 different companies looking to purchase advertising on my site. Hopefully, once this all gets worked out, I’ll have a couple of advertising contracts in place and a few quick hundred dollars of recurring passive income in my pocket, possibly more.

Of course, I’ll keep you updated.


Traffic has obviously been very good since reaching the number one spot in Google. The numbers are matching up almost perfectly with what Market Samurai predicted during the keyword research phase. (If you’d like to see exactly how I did keyword research, check out my free keyword research webinar replay).

Traffic Numbers - November

Traffic Numbers for the Month of November, so far.

My primary keyword, “security guard training”, is bringing in the majority of traffic as expected. But, what’s cool is that just naturally I’m also ranking for some highly searched terms that I never targeted or created backlinks for: “security guard gear” and “security officer training“.

I’m currently ranked 7th and 5th for those terms in Google, respectively, so now I should definitely ramp up the SEO for those specific terms and get to the #1 position to collect even more traffic.

So that’s the latest going-ons with my niche site. If you’re interested in what everyone else is doing (I think we have over 20 people participating in this challenge now), check out the Niche Site Duel hub and follow along.

Thanks for your support, and have a great week! Look out for a new podcast session in the next post.


Other Posts in The Niche Site Duel Series

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