This is part 4 of my “Niche Site Duel” series (View Part 3). Since I am not dueling with someone else, you can think of this as my own personal niche site case study. I’m basically attempting to follow Pat Flynn’s niche site formula to see if I can reach #1 on Google for my chosen keywords. While the majority of my niche sites are made up of 3-5 pages of content, this site is turning into an authority niche site, as I probably have close to 75 pages of content. In this part, I’m going to update the status of the site and talk about how I’ve gone about finding and creating content.
I’ll start off by stating that I have achieved my original first goal! I’ve reached #1 in Google for the original keywords that I chose: “become private investigator” (I actually own the top 4 spots).
Edit: I took this screenshot on 12/2/2011, which is when I initially started writing this post. I still do seem to own the top 4 spots, though it looks like some of my links have jumped around a bit.
I’m also currently #8 for “become a private investigator” (exact match search). Edit: I’m now up to #7.
If you remove the quotes and do a broad phrase search, I am still #1 for become private investigator and #6 for become a private investigator (not sure why I am #7 for the exact phrase and #6 for the broad search, but I’ll take it.)
However, if you read part 3 of my niche series, I realized that my original keywords were not as good as I thought and actually receive a very low exact phrase search volume per month. Incidentally, the broad phrase search does much better, so reaching #1 for that is still a pretty good achievement.
Revised Keyword Goals
The new search phrase that I am now going to target is “private investigator training”. I am currently #6 for that phrase at the time of this writing (for both the exact phrase and broad phrase search).
Plugging this search phrase into Market Samurai gives us these numbers:
This phrase gets double the number of searches that the phrase “become a private investigator” gets. Since the Adwords CPC is half the amount, the doubled search traffic compensates for it and thus the monthly search engine value is about the same.
Finding and Writing Content
For a general reference on how to find good content for your niche website, start by checking out my article How to You Can Find Quality Content for Your Niche Website.
For this specific niche website, I used various sources and methods to find and write my content. Similar to Pat Flynn’s security guard website, private investigators also have different training and licensing requirements per state, so this immediately gave me 50 article topics to write about. Ehow.com was a great research resource for this task, as I was able to find information on the requirements for all 50 states. I then rewrote the articles in my own words or in some cases I used the Best Spinner to help spin the articles so that they were unique.
Using Amazon Books to Get Ideas
One great method for finding topics for your articles is to search popular books on Amazon. In my case, I found the book “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Private Investigating” for this example. Note that not all books will have this feature, but you should look for the text “Look Inside!” above the book’s thumbnail image.
This gives you a look inside at a select few pages of the book, including the table of contents. Actually, in this case, it looks like you can read the entire book! But assuming you could only view the table of contents, this can be a great resource for finding ideas for new articles. Some chapters from this book that would make great articles for the website include: “Techniques of Interview and Interrogation”, “Moving Surveillance”, “Conducting Your Own Crime Scene Investigation”, and “Clues to Infidelity”.
In most cases, you are probably not an expert on your particular niche site, so writing unique and informative content off of the top of your head is probably not an option. Therefore Google is a great tool for finding articles related to the chapter topics that you may have found in your Amazon books. Once you’ve found the articles, it’s then up to you to rewrite the content that you find or use a tool such as the Best Spinner to make the content unique. Two important things to keep in mind when finding and rewriting other people’s content:
- Make sure you actually rewrite it! Copying the content word for word will be seen by Google as duplicate content and can potentially penalize your site.
- If you do decide to spin the content, make sure that the spun content is still readable and makes sense! It is important that the actual content on your site is quality content and spinning software can spit out some real crap if you don’t pay attention to detail and make sure it reads correctly.
Paying for Content
Some time ago, I wrote about using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to have content written. While this is a great way to find cheap articles, it is not usually the best quality of writing, so I would not suggest using it for your niche website (especially for a larger authority niche site). This type of cheap content is better used for article and blog marketing while building backlinks for your niche site, which I’ll discuss more in depth in the next part of this series.
The best place that I have found to pay for top quality content is without a doubt Elance. Many of the top writers on Elance make their living by writing as a full-time job. You will definitely pay a premium for the articles that you find on Elance, but you will be assured to get well written, proofread, keyword rich content that will get the attention of your readers. Additionally, Elance is a great source to have a short report or eBook written, which can then be given away for free as an incentive to have users join your email list. (I’m currently tossing around the idea of having a short report written for BecomePrivateInvestigator.com so that I can begin compiling an email list.)
And finally, a site that I’ve just recently begun to use is iwriter.com. This is a newer site but I’ve found the quality of writing to be above average and the costs are reasonable.
But be warned…
Writers are rated on a scale of 1 to 5. When you post a job, you have the option of submitting to all writers, submitting to writers rated 4 or above, or submitting only to the top article writers (rated 4.8 or above). The price per keyword increases depending on which group of writers you decide to submit to. You can pay as little as $3 per 500 words, up to $8 per 500 words if you choose the top writers. You also have the option to raise the price and tip writers, which will most likely get you the most attention for your article and probably the best quality writing. Also be prepared to reject some really poorly written/spun articles when you choose the minimum $3 articles. But once you have found a few good writers, you can post your jobs to those specific writers, and things move along pretty smoothly after that. The interface is very simple to use and you can fund your account quickly and easily with PayPal.
To date, I’ve posted roughly 75 pages of content for my private investigator training website using all of the methods I’ve mentioned above. The majority of content was written by me, but I did pay for some of it toward the end in order to speed up the process.
Although it took a bit longer than expected, I did reach #1 in Google for my original keywords, so I am happy that was able to accomplish that goal. I am well on my way to reach #1 for my next set of keywords, and many of my long tail keywords are also beginning to rank very well.
In the next part of this series, I plan to talk about the various methods that I’ve used to market my site and create backlinks to achieve the search engine rankings that I currently hold. Hopefully, my findings will be helpful to you and will also carry over and help me with my next set of niche sites moving forward.
If I don’t write again in the next 2 weeks, have a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays – whatever the case may be. I’ll be heading to Montreal from Dec 28th to Jan 4th, so you might not hear from me until after the New Year.