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Ranking in the Top 3 – Official Niche Site Challenge Update #2

Ranking In The Top 3In my last update, my site had yet to see any significant ranking and Tung Tran from CloudLiving.com was kicking the snot out of me in our friendly challenge. I’m happy to say that my site is starting to pick up and I’ve been able to judo chop my way to the top.

My site is now ranked in the top 3 of Google for the main keyword term that we were going for. As a result, I’ve seen quite a bit of traffic. The best part about this is that the site is finally starting to earn money. We’ll get into that later. First lets talk about what’s I have done to the site so far.

Since December, I’ve added a couple of articles and I began to build backlinks to the site. I focused on getting links that had high PR, high PA, and high DA. Initially I tried out links from Hayden Miyamoto’s service (RankHero). Although the links he sells are decently powerful, the price is a bit on the high side. Furthermore, some links that I built using his service only lasted on the homepage for a little over a week. This makes me question the power of the link juice that was passed to my site.

I also tried out high PR links from an SEO that I met on the Source-wave.com. These links were also on the expensive side and although I received a boost from them, it was hard to tell if it was worth it.

I’ve now started to build links from my own private blog network (PBN). Yep, that’s right, I’m now working with a PBN of my own. Having my own network allows me to take full control of my links. In the long run this is also much cheaper!

So enough of that, here’s a current look at the site statistics:

1/20/2014 Ranking Report

dstrolRankMain1

The main keyword has steadily moved to the top of the rankings. This steady growth is ideal for a site that aims to hold long term rankings. The site has even bounced to the #1 ranking for a short period. With a little more work I should be able to push this site permanently to this #1 position.

serpbookDstrol1

As you can see, the site is beginning to rank for several other great keywords. Many of these keywords also have substantial search volume which can end up driving tremendous amounts of traffic. One keyword of particular mention has a Monthly Search Volume (MS) of 33100. If I am able to push this keyword to the top 3, this site will likely get an additional 10k visitors per month which will have the potential to propel earnings to well over $1k per month.

Each of these rankings have been achieved through a progressive and steady manner which is ideal for a site that is intended to build rank and hold it. It is unlikely for this site to witness a sudden drop in rankings.

1/20/2014 Analytics Report

dstrolAnalytics1

Visits:

The site has a progressive growth in traffic that directly correlates with the natural rankings that are being achieved. As the site began hitting first page rankings for multiple keywords, the traffic began to explode. With a few more tweaks to on and off-page SEO, as well as the addition of more content, I’ll be able to push this site even higher up in the rankings and I should see even higher traffic numbers.

Visit Duration:

The average duration of each visit is 2:21 which is a pretty decent amount of time per visitor. This tells me that my site is interesting enough for people to actually read and navigate around the site before leaving. The higher this number is, the better it will be for the sites rankings in Google. Sites that have visit durations of only a few seconds typically mean that your site stinks and people don’t want to read it.

Bounce Rate:

The bounce is currently at 51%. This means that there are still a significant amount of people that are leaving after viewing only a single page on my site. While this could mean that people are clicking directly on my affiliate links, I still would like the percentage of people who bounce off to be below 50%. This will help ensure that Google sees my site as a good resource for the terms people are searching.

In order to lower this number I will have to make my landing pages more interesting in a way that entices people to click deeper into the site. At the same time, I still want people to eventually click on my affiliate links.

1-20-2014 Traffic Flow

dstrolAnalyticsFlow1

The traffic from the site mainly comes from people who enter from the home page. This is no surprise since it is the page that I have been concentrating my SEO on up until now. From there, most people that stay on the site travel over to the “comparison chart”. The next popular page after that is the “top rated strollers” page.

Up until 1/16/2014, I only placed amazon affiliate links on the comparison chart page. This was done in an attempt to have no affiliate links on the home page. After a little trial and error, I have determined that this was a mistake (more on this in the Earnings Report below). I have now inserted 2 affiliate links on the home page, one at the top and one at the bottom of the page. Since I’m only using 2 affiliate links, I feel that I will be able to maintain strong rankings and not look like a spammy affiliate site to Google.

dstrolAffiliateLinkExample

I have also included additional links to the comparison chart page as well as the top rated strollers page. By making these simple changes, I have significantly improved the click-though rate over to my amazon affiliate links.

1/11 – 1/20 Daily CTR Trends:

dstrolAmmyTrends1

The above image shows clicks on my amazon affiliate link from my stroller site.

January 1 through 13 – With about 60-70 visitors per day to my double strollers site site, I was getting about 10 amazon clicks
January 14 through 15 – Saw a significant boost in rankings and traffic to the site and amazon clicks doubled.
January 16 through 19 – I realized that I was only getting a lousy 15% CTR to amazon so I decided to add a couple of amazon links to the first page as well as some of the inner pages. This immediately tripled my traffic to amazon and I am now enjoying a CTR of over 45%.

Although I’m bringing in some good traffic over to amazon, I’m a little concerned about my conversion ratio from traffic to sales. I may be able to improve the conversion by working on getting better copy-writing for the site. This will involve me doing better research and ensuring that I get the best products in front of my visitors.

1/20/2014 Orders Report:

dstrolOrders1

From my orders report we can see that 4 items that were ordered have been double strollers. The other 5 items have been stroller accessories or miscellaneous items (all of them still related to the baby niche).

1/20/2014 Week Earnings Report

dstrolEarnings1

My earnings to date for this site is $64.82. There is also another pending sale of a $455 stroller which should net me an additional $27.30, thus pushing my earnings to date up to $92.12. Furthermore, it’s important to note that pretty much all of these earnings happened in the past 7 days.

Conclusion

I’ll be continuing to make tweaks here and there to the content in order to improve ranking and conversions. I’ll also be looking to build up my private blog network so that I can get more strong links over to my site. For now I believe that I have taken the lead in this Challenge and I am fairly pleased with the results…

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55 comments… add one

  • Hi, Josh Congratulations for your recent success, Hope your earning will be more from next month when your ranking will stable.

    • Josh

      Thanks man, I think February will definitely be a much better month than this one as far as rankings and earnings go.

  • Hey josh, congrats for the sucess :). I am still building up my niche site, you and many others are inspiration

    • Josh

      Thanks Atin. Good luck on your site as well!

  • Desmond Morris

    amazing.. I see you as #1 by the way!

    • Josh

      Yea, rankings are bouncing around #1 to #3 right now. I’ll be working to stabilize it at the #1 position.

  • Nice detailed guide Josh! Keep it up! i just checked and you were #2 for that keyword. Let us know of the process.

  • Fantastic job thus far! I’m curious to learn more about the PBN that you are building. Are you targeting related domains? Or just ones with good metrics. I am also jumping back and forth between affiliate links on the homepage and how many. I like what you have done and will be implementing the same approach

    • Josh

      I’m actually not limiting myself to related domains. If I can get a related domain, then great. If not, then I try to work in a technique called “link injection”.

      Having few affiliate links on the homepage is something new that i’m trying out and so far with just the 2 links, i’m getting amazing CTR.

      I may move the first affiliate link. I believe that’s causing my bounce rate to be higher. What I really want is for the user to stick around for a bit and engage with the content for a little longer before they click away to the affiliate links.

  • George

    Congrats Josh! way to go, I am a bit stuck I have articles on my site and I have a table like yours, comparing different items. What would you advise I should do, to get links to this site! thanks in advance!

    • Josh

      Hey George. The only way to build good and safe links right now is to get links from sites with high PR/high PA. Hayden’s RankHero service is actually a decent service but it’s got a high monthly price tag. If you use that, make sure you’ve done your keyword research well so that you don’t get overwhelmed with the costs.

      In my opinion, the best option would be to create your own blog network. In the long run, it will lower your costs and it will give you full SEO control. If you don’t want to do that and if you’re interested in trying out my network, send me an email through my contact form and I may be able to work something out with you. Cheers!

  • George

    Hi Josh, that is awesome, thanks for offering your PR Network, yeah Im interested in trying it out, I am a web designer based in Mexico if there is anything we can work out that would be great, I am a neew-B at internet marketing but I want to get really good, so if there is anything I can do as in the lines of design work Im more than willing to share. Im still polishing my site but I can share you the link soon

    thanks

  • Hi Josh. Well done on the site. I can see your have some tough competition in the US SERPS from Tung and a couple of others (both built around the same time as your two).

    I have a question, I see your niche domain name is from 2010, is this a domain your purchased that was “aged” or were you hanging onto it? I wonder if this has any influence on rankings?

    Thanks!

    • Josh

      You know what? For the first few weeks after getting the site I had no idea the domain was owned before. I thought I chose a random domain name and I forgot to check this ahead of time. I’m lucky that the site did not still have spam attached to it. I think the influence of the site age is insignificant.

  • Awesome! I know it’s been a while since commenting but wanted to let you know I’m enjoying following along with this case study :)

    • Josh

      Thanks for stopping in Nick. I think things are just starting to get interesting.

  • Doug

    Hey Josh, great insight into how this project is tracking, really appreciate all the detail you’re providing.

    In relation to the bounce rate, I was wondering if you’ve broken down the bounce rate of your mobile traffic? I did a quick check (http://www.studiopress.com/responsive/) and your site is responsive, but maybe the content isn’t as appealing for a mobile user?

    Just a thought as I’ve noticed the mobile users have even less patience.

    • Josh

      You’re right on Doug. I have gotten a significant amount of mobile and tablet traffic and the bounce rate is higher for them:
      Desktop – 48.84%
      Mobile – 52.74%
      Tablet – 53.07%

  • It’s great to see your progress.

    But how do you track the Traffic Flow? What tool are you using for this?

    Thank you

    • Josh

      It’s a feature in Google Analytics: traffic flow

  • Hey Josh,

    Awesome stuff!!! It’s always a kick to see hard work pay off and those dollars roll in once your start starts to get some decent rankings.

    I’ve myself just hit the 2nd page on my 2nd niche site so I can totally relate to your state at the moment. Both of us know that with a couple of more links, we’ll soon hit the sweet spot ;)

    • Josh

      Yea, it started off slow, but i’m happy to see it made it to the top.

  • JC

    Nice to see your progress! I look forward to seeing a tutorial on building a PBN (hopefully) :-D

    • Josh

      I’ll keep that in mind and put that on my list of things to do.

  • Hey Josh – 2 things I really like about your site. I love how you stick the comparison chart graphic link to the sidebar. I’ve been using the tactic of sticking something like that on the sidebar on most of my sites. Definitely going to steal your idea for the Amazon site I’m working on right now.

    Also – I like the Amazon review bar chart graphic you have in your comparison chart. How did you do that? Are they just screenshots? Or are they somehow connected to Amazon and do they change automatically as more reviews are added?

    • Josh

      Hey Matt, the review bar is a simple screenshot. I felt it added a little extra touch to the chart.

  • Hieu Nguyen

    Hey Josh, congrats for your success! How much does the site cost up til now?

    • Josh

      Around $300. I’ll actually cover financials in more depth in a later post.

  • Mickey

    Hi Josh,

    Congrats for touching the top spot!! I think that SERP results are coming from 2 different data centers as you are either on 1st or on 2nd spot.

    I looked at the monthly searches you have provided and these numbers turned out to be global searches. Are you using some Amazon link localization plugin to convert visitors of UK and Canada?

    If not, are you planning to tap these countries and how, if the answer is yes?

    • Josh

      Hey Mickey. The numbers on Serpbook are slightly different from KeywordPlanner, but I guarantee you that the numbers are local exact search volume. I don’t plan on marketing to other countries at the moment.

  • Doug

    Hi Josh, a thought I had in relation to Matt’s comment, I remembered reading about this somewhere, you may already be aware of this but just thought I’ll point it out.

    looking at the Associates Program Participation Requirements section 28 (https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/gp/associates/help/operating/participation/):

    28. You will not display or otherwise use any of our customer reviews or star ratings, in part or in whole, on your site unless you have obtained a link to that customer review or star rating through the Product Advertising API and you comply with the requirements set forth in the License Agreement.

    I believe you need to link to the exact review, not just Amazon.com or the product listing. If you look in the review section, you’ll see the word “Permalink.” That link is what you need to link to.

    Example:
    http://www.amazon.com/review/R3N8ECU…tag=&linkCode=

    You can tag it with your affiliate link by exchanging &tag=& with &tag-YOURAFFIDHERE-20&.

    Example:
    http://www.amazon.com/review/R3N8ECUIU6ZY1O/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B005QUQ99K&nodeID=& tag-YOURAFFIDHERE-20&linkCode=

    • Josh

      I’ll have to look into that. I think that it’s referring more to the actual reviews themselves but it’s always good to make sure. If it is the case, then I’ll change it. Thanks for looking out!

  • Neeraj

    Hi Josh,

    You did not approve my comment? Did I ask something wrong?

    • Josh

      Hey Neeraj, sorry about that, I’m must have trashed it accidentally since I get a lot of spam. I need to work on clearing out spam comments better. Anyway, what was your question?

  • Haha it looks like that I’m going to lose huh?

    I have to admit that I’ve been working on other projects and got distracted a little bit.

    As I don’t want to lose, I’ll focus more on improving my site and take your #1 spot.

    Watch out my friend!

    Tung

    • Josh

      I’ll have to turn up my game to to make sure I keep where I’m at then! :)

  • Ndy

    Hello Josh!
    Congratulation on judo Chopping your way to top 3 on Google first Page.
    I have a few question i do like clarification;
    1) how many PBN are you currently deploying to achieve the top 3 ranking?
    2) How many post/links pointing to your site does each PBN has?
    Thanks.

    • Josh

      Hey Ndy, I’ll be covering a lot of that in a later post.

  • Josh

    Great post (and name lol). I think you are going to have a great earner here!

    Just curious, why not put the comparison chart on the home page?

    • Josh

      I wanted to test out minimizing affiliate links on the front page. It seems that with this, my CTR is still pretty high.

  • Excellent progress Josh. I like the idea that you are building your own PBN, it will save you lots of money in the long run. I have started building mine also. I have most of the domains purchased already and I will be adding the initial content soon.

    I added one of niche sites to just 3 domains and the ranking has gone from page 29 to page 5:) I also added a few niche-related blog comments that helped it to start to rank.

    • Josh

      Awesome! Keep up the great work and keep dripping powerful links to that site until it reaches the top.

  • Hey Josh, You are #1 spot for your main keyword for last 2 weeks, why you don’t post an update of the niche site challenge, Looking forward to see it soon

  • MMD

    Nice work (both you and Tung)! I can’t believe you guys are already starting to bring in income from your sites. That low bounce rate is very impressive. I don’t think any of my websites have had anything that low before.

    • Josh

      I’m working on trying to keep the bounce rate as low as possible while still ultimately leading people to amazon. It’s taking a bit of tweaking, but I’ve been able to lower it a bit more and I’m happy with results.

  • Thanks for the update and congrats for the success! looking forward to your next income update which I’m sure the income will increase :)

  • Joe

    Hi Josh.

    Well done on ranking the site.

    How many sites are in the PBN so far and how many are linking to your stroller site?

    Do you think you have over optimised your anchor text links? They all seem to be pretty keyword rich.

    What are you using to check the rank of your site in the serps?

    Good luck for next month!

    • Josh

      I’m working to have at least 10 sites built to my PBN by the end of the month. I’ll talk more about that in a later post. I do feel my anchors are slightly over optimized, but there aren’t enough links yet to trigger penalty and I’ve already begun to pillow (build links for the sole purpose of anchor text variation). I’m using Serpbook to track rankings.

  • I love case studies and I would love to enjoy the next one, anyone! congratulations on your earnings.

  • Hi, Josh first of all congratulations on your top rankings.
    I have been watching the increase in rankings from past 2 months. Both yours and Tung’s. Seems like you have a competitor also who is now ranking on top and was pretty amazed to see a 3rd site compete which makes things even more better for people who have been following all these 3 sites from the beginning.

    Now I have got some good ideas of all these sites strategies and should appreciate all you 3 guys for taking the effort to show us how to rank.

  • Hi Josh, thanks for this great case study, waiting for more chapters from you!
    Btw, could you let me know which application you are using to check ranking of your keywords?

    • Josh

      I’m using Serpbook to track keywords. I like their platform and it doesn’t cost me much.

  • Congrats on your progress thusfar!

    • By the way,how did you manage to get that much social +1’s/likes for that website?

  • Great going man. You are doing quite good with this site. On the #2 spot for “double stroller reviews”. Nice man, best of luck :D

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