You know the drill, right? You hit up Google Adwords and use their key-word tool to hunt down long-tail keywords which people from a select, target market would be searching for online. You look for these key-word phrases that are getting a decent amount of search traffic each month, (but, not too much) and, when you’ve found a set of such related keywords, you buy a relevant domain name, set-up a quick and dirty website on that domain, and begin writing content for that website based on the key-words you’ve chosen — with an eye to getting your content to the top of Google’s first page of results whenever someone types your chosen key-words into Google’s search page.
If you do it right — if you’re smart with key-word choices, your SEO skills are solid and you employ them well in the creation of your content, then before too long that quick and dirty website you’ve set up is pulling in a couple of dollars a day from your monetization efforts. I.e. — pay-per-click, pay-per-view, and/or affiliate advertisements. If you’re somewhat lucky, your new “niche site” might be earning you, perhaps, $100.00 per month in profit before too long at all. So, you simply rinse and repeat — the sites run on a set-it-and-forget-it model, anyway. So, you set up another site in a different niche… and another… and another. And, eventually, you might have 100 sites all earning you between $50.00 to $100.00 per month in profit. And, of course, $60k to $120k per year is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Some people, of course, have consistently earned well over ten times that much using that very system.
Now, if this is the first time you’re hearing of this method you might think it sounds pretty great. And, well, it is pretty great… or, at least… it was. It used to work, pretty much just how it’s explained above. Unfortunately, it doesn’t anymore. It stopped working once Google changed their search algorithm with their “panda” update. And, believe me, it was pretty ugly when it happened. I knew people who, at the time, were deriving their entire income via this method. I personally knew one person who averaged around $9,000.00 per month utilizing just this method — that accounted for the entirety of his income. He didn’t do anything else. He just set-up these niche websites. Then, Google’s panda update hit. The month prior to the update he had made just shy of $8,900.00 — which was about average for him at that time. Two months after the update, he made a total of $219.00 and change for the month. He was hit HARD.
Google changed how they rank web sites so that all of those niche websites that were occupying the first page of Google’s search results were now pushed way down deep into the later pages. And, of course, hardly anyone ever sees those pages. So, nobody clicks. Google launched a search algorithm that punishes these thin niche websites in the search rankings.
What’s apparently needed now is an “authority” site. Just throwing up a site with half a dozen pages of content related to a key-word topic simply doesn’t cut it anymore — at all. Now, you need a rich-content site. You need quality content that people want to read and that people will share on social networking sites. You need content that’s constantly fresh and consistently updated. Your content needs to be deep. And, it needs to be linked to far and wide. Google now recognizes these things and rewards such sites with higher search rankings. But, of course, building such a site takes time. With the old method it used to be that, if your SEO skills were up to snuff, you could throw together one of these niche websites and be earning a respectable profit from it within about 60 days. That’s no longer the case. Now, if you have the tools to build an authoritative site that Google is going to like and rank highly, you can expect a much, much longer turn around time before you start seeing any sort of respectable returns.
It’s also the case that you’re likely going to have to diversify your monetization methods. A lot of people, with the old method, used to derive 100% of their revenue from Google Adsense. That likely wont cut it anymore. You’re going to need to incorporate PPC & PPV monetization methods, yes. But, the smart marketer will bolster that with affiliate marketing, building e-mail and subscriber lists to market to, and other avenues of revenue generation as well.
Yes, it seems as though the niche website marketing method of old really is dead. The game has changed. And, if you don’t change along with it, your business is going to wither and die. It’s as simple as that. Niche website publishing is now a whole new ballgame.