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Niche Site Duel 007: Ranking and Traffic (and Earnings!) Update

Niche Site Duel 007: Ranking and Traffic (and Earnings!) Update

By Pat Flynn on

The niche site duel is in full swing, and if you hadn’t noticed already there are 16 other people beyond myself and Tyrone who have joined the challenge too – all revealing their niches and strategies just like we are. What’s really cool is that there are a ton of different strategies being used (I’m picking up on a lot of tips and tricks too), so by the end of this we should all have a good idea of what works and what doesn’t.

To stay updated on everyone’s progress, be sure to bookmark the Niche Site Duel Hub.

So how is my security guard training niche site performing so far?

Search Engine Rankings

Here is a Google rankings update:

  • August 25th: Site went live. Not ranked.
  • August 29th: #184
  • September 6th: #162
  • September 8th: #135
  • September 9th: #119
  • September 13th: #117
  • September 14th: #53
  • September 21st: #38
  • September 29th: #27

Ranking on September 29It’s definitely nice to see such a steady climb because it confirms that my backlinking strategies are working. I’m going to keep on chuggin’ and hopefully see myself on the first page of Google sometime soon.


Unfortunately, it’s tough to gauge the traffic because I know a lot of you have visited my site one way or another just to check it out. It’s okay though, and that is expected because of the nature of this challenge, but I can still tell I’m getting some good, targeted traffic that is relevant to my niche.

Here is a snapshot of my top visits coming from organic search engine traffic:

Top Organic SearchesBased on the search terms, it would be safe to say that most of these hits are probably coming from people following the challenge. Maybe a few of the hits for my primary keyphrase are from “true” traffic, but it’s tough to say.

Now check this out. Here is how I know my site is drawing in true, targeted traffic:

True Organic SearchesThese are all long tail search terms that I actually did not optimize for. They are just parts or snippets of blog posts that I’ve written that enable people to find me through on Google.

Sure, each phrase draws in a single visit, but there are actually over 175 terms just like these that people used to find my site. They definitely add up.

This just shows how important quality, relevant content is for your niche site. The more quality content you publish, the more chances people have to find you, period.

Have you checked the search terms that people are using to arrive at your site? Take a closer look, and you might be surprised to see a few terms that you had no intention of ever targeting, yet they are still bringing traffic to your site.

More Traffic

In addition to search engine traffic, I am also seeing a number of people click over to my site from the articles I’ve written on article directories. By far, the top article directory for direct traffic is EzineArticles, drawing in 66 visits so far:

Traffic from EzineArticles.comSo, not only is fantastic for creating powerful backlinks back to your niche site, but you can get direct traffic from it too. In addition, check out the metrics that I circled. The pages per visit, the average time on the site and bounce rate are really really good here. Again, the average time someone spends on a site before leaving is 7 seconds.

Good stuff.

A Super Tip from Pat:

For driving traffic from article directories, the most important factor in your articles is the author or bio box. Usually placed at the very end of your article, this is typically the only place that the directories (at least the main ones) will allow you to put in a link back to your site.

Most people start their author boxes like this:

“Pat Flynn is an entrepreneur and blogger who…”

When people see something like this, it’s a sign that the article is over. Boom, they’re gone.

The trick here is to not make it seem like the article is over. Just think about the author box as a closing paragraph, where you can direct people to learn more. I like to start mine like this:

“And finally, if you want to (anchor text), you should visit…”

‘In addition, you can get quality information about (anchor text) by clicking…”

As you can tell, this leads into a call to action too (you should visit.. & by clicking..), which is also really important.


Apparently, based on my conversations with some of the duel participants and their updates on the hub, I’m the first person to earn some money from my niche site! Yay!

On September 13th, I had earned $2.21 from a click on an Adsense ad that I embedded on one particular blog post. I was pleasantly surprised and then immediately put up more ads on each of my other blog posts to see what would happen.

Here is a snapshot of my total earnings so far:

Adsense Earnings

$10.04 – not bad, especially considering I’m not on the first page yet. I can only imagine what will happen then.

I like adsense, I really do. It was how I made my first dollar online (besides Ebay) when I first started I’ll go into more detail about my monetization strategy in a future update, but it will basically mimic exactly what I did on GEA:

  1. Start off with Adsense, testing and optimizing for best placement.
  2. Move to (or add) private advertisements, either 125×125 pixel advertisements, or banners or link ads on State specific pages within my site.
  3. Something like a course or and eBook. I’ll let the evolution of my site tell me exactly what that’s going to be later.

With Adsense ads, you can do one of two things:

  1. Create an advertisement that sticks out like a sore thumb; or
  2. Create an advertisement that blends in to the rest of your page.

I’ve always had more success with #2, and I’m using that same strategy on my niche site. Now that adsense allows you to change the font and colors of your ads, you can get pretty ninja with your placement. So far, I just have one ad in the center of each blog post, but I plan to test and optimize other types as well very soon.

To manage my ads, I’m using a wordpress plugin called Advertising Manager. This plugin makes ad placement on your site a lot easier, although I must admit that it takes a second to understand exactly how it works. It can integrate with most of the common advertising platforms beyond Google Adsense, which is cool.

The Workload

Although I consider my niche site to be performing very well so far, I must say that it is taking a lot of work to try and do most everything myself. I’m not afraid to admit that sometimes I just don’t want to do some of this stuff, but luckily I have you to hold me accountable.

There are certain things I wish I had more time to do too, like other backlink strategies and building more web 2.0 properties, but I have a ton of other passive income projects on the table that I’m concentrating on as well.

I’ve never had a full-time virtual assistant before, and I don’t plan on using one for this particular niche site, but after seeing how much work Tyrone and his team of VAs are doing in such a short period of time, and how much Mark Mason was able to do with just 2 hours of time (yes, his niche site only took 2 hours of his time, primarily doing research), it makes me wonder how much further ahead I could be, or how many other similar sites I could have up at the same time if I had a VA.

Some internet marketers swear by them, so I wanted to ask Tyrone a whole mess of questions about VAs and how to work with them, where to find them, etc. He suggested that we actually do this on a webinar so that we could have everyone who is interested in possibly working with a VA someday learn and ask questions too, and I thought this was a fantastic idea.

So, Tyrone has setup a little webinar for those of you who are interested. Totally FREE and it will be me and Tyrone chatting about VAs. It will be held on Tuesday, October 5th, 2010 at 8:00pm EST.

There are only 100 seats available, so please click here to register for the FREE webinar.

Final Thoughts

I’m looking forward to the next couple of months to see where my niche site and (and everyone elses) end up. I really hope to get on the first page of Google because once that happens, I’m going to kick things into gear with monetization strategies that I hope I get to show you in action.

I’m crossing my fingers.

Love to hear your thoughts. Cheers!

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