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Throw Money At It 4: Results After Two Months

In late July, I started the “Throw Money At It” project, in which I attempt to build profitable niche sites while spending only money, not time, to make it happen. My three test sites have now been up and running for two full months and it’s time to look at the progress they’ve made so far.

Did the sites make a profit? Is the project a success or have I just found a way to waste money?
Read on to get the full details.

Bad News

I want to tell you about the bad news first, as there are two big factors that lead to some disappointment during this project:

  1. Decreased Profit
    One of the sites involved in this project had already seen steadily increasing profits from one product promotion and for two months before the project started, it made more than $400 per month. I was assuming (and hoping) that this level of income would keep going or further increase, but for unknown reasons (rankings and traffic stayed the same), the earnings from that product promotion dropped to around $150-$200/month.
  2. Low Conversions
    The second disappointment is that my conversions are very low, for some of the products I’m promoting. There are two products involved, for which I’ve already sent a decent amount of traffic, but where I have to send 300 or more visitors through my link before I see a single conversion. I’m targeting “product name” and “product name review” keywords, where conversions are usually pretty decent and I was hoping for 1% and higher conversion rates.

Traffic and Rankings

In terms of traffic and rankings, I’m quite pleased with the results I’ve gotten so far. Here’s how traffic has developed for the three sites involved:

Site #1

traffic_site_1

Site #2

traffic_site_2

For both of these sites, it looks like traffic started at zero and then shot up quite dramatically. Don’t let that distract you. The reason for that is simply that I only moved these sites over to the current analytics (Clicky) on August 3rd, so no traffic shows up for the first two days of August. Both sites were already seeing a bit of traffic before the experiment (although not much).

Site #3 (AdSense)

traffic_site_3

Site #3 was built from scratch and started with absolutely no traffic. It was also built on a brand new domain and as you can see, Google gave it no love for a good month. After that, rankings and traffic suddenly shot upwards and now the site is seeing more than 100 unique visitors most weekdays.

Rankings are secondary to traffic*, so here’s just a quick summary: for site #1, 6 out of 12 target keywords are ranking on the first page of Google. For site #2, 13 out of 14 target keywords are ranking on page one and for site #3, 3 out of 7 target keywords are ranking on the first page. Clearly, this SEO niche-site thing is still working. As I’ve stated previously, I believe the right kind of on-page content has a lot to do with getting good rankings, for post-Panda SEO.

How were these rankings achieved? I simply tested many different link building services offered on forums and on the web. I look for a good diversity of non-spammy links, good communication and good reporting from the service provider. And, of course, I keep track of rankings to figure out which services work and which ones aren’t worth the money. It’s a simple process of trial and error.

*Rankings are a very important thing to keep track of, to measure the effectiveness of SEO methods used. In terms of SEO-performance, they are the most important metric. In terms of site-performance, they are secondary.

Show Me the Money!

What this whole project really comes down to is one simple question: can I make more money with these sites than I spend on them? Can I successfully “throw money” at niche site projects and end up with more money than I started out with? To find out, here’s the breakdown of how much I’ve spent and how much the sites have generated in commissions/earnings, during the first two months.

Site #1 Site #2 Site #3 Total
Total Spent $893 $955 $567 $2,415
Total Income $633 $224 $308 $1,145
Asset Worth $4,896 $1,272 $2,940 $9,108
All values rounded to the Dollar

The third row, “Asset Worth” is a guesstimate of how much each site would be worth if I sold it, based on September’s earnings multiplied by twelve. Another way of looking at it, is that it’s an estimate of how much the site will make in one year, if earnings go neither down nor up.

As you can see, I have not yet made an absolute profit, because the income generated by the sites is still only about half of what i invested. However, the income has been increasing since the beginning and almost $800 for the month of September. Assuming this level of income will remain or increase without further investments (and I made all of those investments within the first three weeks of starting the project), we’re looking at a very encouraging result: spend $2,500 to get an $800/month income stream after two months.

Perhaps even more importantly, I’ve created some very valuable assets. I started out with one site worth around $2,000 (although I thought it was worth more, at the time) and two sites worth $0, invested $2,500 and now have three sites worth a total of about $9,000. This is very encouraging, to say the least, and you can bet that I’m already looking for more keywords and products and replicating what I did with these three sites.

Conclusion

I’m very happy that I started this project. Not only was it a great learning experience for me (and hopefully it was useful for you too), but it also added a nice little revenue stream to my portfolio. Of course, I hope to increase the income all of the sites are producing significantly and there is still room for improvement, since I don’t have the top spot for all of my target keywords yet.

One big take-away is that despite Panda and various other alleged Google crackdowns, the niche marketing model is clearly still viable. As long as you focus on good, well-optimized on-site content, the rules have not really changed: create relevant content and build backlinks and you’ll see results.

Finally, I want to highlight the two reasons why I spent $2,5K at the beginning of the project and then pretty much let things take their course: one reason is that SEO simply takes time. Get a bunch of quality links today and you can expect them to affect your rankings sometime in the next couple of weeks. It’s absolutely no cause for worry, if nothing at all happens for quite some time (see traffic stats for site #3).

The second reason is that this amount of money is what’s often charged for “Guru” info-products. In fact, some time ago, when an SEO themed product was being sold for $2,5K, I stated that this money would probably be better invested in actual site-building and SEO work. Well, I’ve put my money where my mouth is and look at the results.

What would you rather have: a product “revealing the secrets” to SEO or three complete websites generating about $800/month, for the same price?

All Posts in the “Throw Money At It” Project:

  1. Part 1: The Project
  2. Part 2: Outsourcing Content
  3. Part 3: Real-World On-Page SEO
  4. Part 4: Results After Two Months – currently viewing
Shane
 

I'm Shane Melaugh and I'm the guy writing most of the posts on this blog. My goal is to provide you with useful, straight-forward insights on how to grow your business by creating compelling offers, driving traffic and increasing conversions.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 79 comments
Stephen - October 11, 2011

Shane….Can I hire you?!!! I’m only looking for an extra $1,000 a month…Great Job! BTW do you have a Template of that Expense Spreadsheet?
Regards,
Stephen

Reply
    Shane - October 11, 2011

    Thanks, Stephen! I’m not for hire, though…

    I don’t have a template for the spreadsheet. I probably still have one around somewhere, but I’ve been using the projects module in SECockpit, to keep track of income/expenses, ever since that came out.

    It’s really nothing fancy, for a spreadsheet, though. Make an income column and an expense column for each one of your sites and tally it all up at the end of each month.

    Reply
JD - October 11, 2011

I’ve seen conversions drop considerably in the past two-three months. Rankings the same, traffic same or better. This is across several different product categories too. September is traditionally one of my best months but it sucked this year.

I also have seen a drop in clicks and earnings on the few adsense sites I have. So even that area (at least for me and mine) have been much less profitable in the past two months.

Whether I compare to last spring or last year, the profits are down across the board. Can’t say for sure but I have to think the economy is one factor, not sure what else is a factor.

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    Shane - October 11, 2011

    Good point. The economy can definitely be a big factor in how much money people are willing to spend. It could also be a seasonal thing.
    I’ll definitely try tweaking my page with that promo, at some point. Maybe I can increase earnings again by better pre-selling the product.

    Reply
Jobs Spain - October 11, 2011

Shane this is one of the best series of posts I have ever read, I’m using your Battlelink Battleplan to build links.

It is laborious and boring at times to be honest but this post inspires me to carry on knowing my niche sites will eventually take hold. Patience seems the key word here and many give up too early.

Reply
    Shane - October 11, 2011

    Thanks.
    I know it’s tough to do it all manually. But remember that that’s exactly what I was doing not too long ago. As soon as you start seeing some income, you can scale up.

    Reply
Alexander Umanets - October 11, 2011

What would I rather have: a product “revealing the secrets” to SEO or three complete websites generating about $800/month, for the same price?

Shane, first of all thanks for the info. It is as good as you always do it.
Secondly, for me your question is out of question:
I prefer 3 sites making me money!

Only one side note: you still need to know how to build these sites and traffic to them. This is the main reason why people buy “gurus” products, right? And you is in a position of knowing HOW to do it.

Reply
    Shane - October 11, 2011

    Yeah, some information is required, of course. That’s why I’m also selling an info product on the topic (not for thousands of $$$, though…).
    However, with some trial and error, you can already get really far.

    Reply
      Abraham - October 21, 2011

      If you’re releasing a product on affiliate marketing, seeing the results I just saw with those 3 websites, I’m sold. Period.

      Reply
Michael - October 11, 2011

Well done Shane.
Are you going to keep spending on these sites or just let them coast for now?

Reply
    Stephen - October 11, 2011

    @Michael…Good point..I guess set and forget is only as long as your product has appeal and the life of backlink juice.
    So Shane do you go back to the same “Well” for more/newer BL’s, more articles?…And on what type of schedule would you refresh your site or does that remain to be seen?
    BTW were any of theses sites based on Exact Match Domains? I guess I should go back and re-read the series.

    Reply
      Shane - October 11, 2011

      Certain types of links I always go back to. For example: blog network submissions and BuildMyRank links. With outsourcing, you have the luxury of picking different service providers to mix things up, as well.

      No exact match domains involved. Each site has many pages with one target keyword each, so an exact match domain really wouldn’t do much to help me.

      Reply
    Shane - October 11, 2011

    I’ll definitely reinvest the income generated, at the very least. There are still many pages that could get way more traffic, because they’re somewhere on the front page but not in the top spot. So, I’ll get more backlinks built to those and keep scaling these sites as far as I can take them.

    Reply
Alex - October 11, 2011

Super to see real results like these Shane – thank you.

Will you be revealing the types of backlinking you used?

Reply
    Shane - October 11, 2011

    I’m not making a secret out of it, actually. I’m not going to list exactly which services I used, because there are so many of them and many keep changing on a regular basis. That’s why my recommendation is to just test different services.

    My favourite types of links are: blog network links, links from private networks, BuildMyRank posts, some Web 2.0 and social bookmarking links.

    Reply
Rick - October 11, 2011

Thanks for that info. I’m glad to see you confirm that niche marketing is still viable.

Reply
aldo - October 11, 2011

Shane maybe the sales later changed or when people read your stuff are already to buy but when they see the landing page their willing to buy decrease a lot , maybe if you create or send them to a well done sales letter with videos (which convert much better) your earnings could increase a lot.

I hope things keep doing much better!

Reply
    Shane - October 11, 2011

    That’s certainly a possibility. I’ve been too lazy to create a sales-page or my own, for the product, but you’re right that that could be a way to increase the earnings again.

    Reply
      aldo - October 11, 2011

      with this idea you could Level the outsource Project to the max level, since you will have to find a nice sales copy writer and video copy writer and then linking to the billing page and much better outsourcing the Product Creation.

      I know my idea is crazy but this will Level up your experiment.

      Reply
Andy - October 11, 2011

Hi Shane
Great study! I think you need to create the product now – “How to generate $800 per month with a net spend of $2500”.

Reply
    Shane - October 11, 2011

    Thanks, Andy!
    Doesn’t sound so exciting, though, does it? I’m competing against “how to make $XX,XXX for free!” after all. Plus, I’ve given it all away already. :D

    Reply
      Andy - October 11, 2011

      I think people are getting wise to those get rich quick cons. I think a realistic income from a modest investment is the way of the future for IM products. You know I bought a hypey product that was launched today and the test site in that product is not even ranking in the top 100 of Google for its exact match domain keyword (and its 6 words in length).

      Reply
      Shane - October 11, 2011

      I think people are getting wise to those get rich quick cons.

      I hope so. :)

      I bought a hypey product that was launched today and the test site in that product is not even ranking in the top 100 of Google for its exact match domain keyword (and its 6 words in length).

      Wow, that’s amazing. That’s so bad, it’s almost an achievement. It should be given an anti-SEO award.

      Reply
    Ferhat Karababa - superblogger.de Germany - October 12, 2011

    Hey Folks,

    YUP, HERE’s ANOTHER BUYER FOR IT ;-)
    I would really love to get detailed informations. The product is real proven and can help people to build an serious internet-business. With the experiences we can scale up and live greater internet-marketing lifestyle.

    Reply
lawrence tam - October 11, 2011

what are your thoughts on link velocity and sustaining those links.

sure you have some drip fed links but do you feel with just quality you don’t have to worry about getting additional links down the line and maintaining your backlink velocity?

Reply
    Shane - October 11, 2011

    Hi Lawrence,

    Thanks for your comment! I do believe that link velocity matters. It does in many cases, at least. For low-competition keywords, it’s sometimes just clear that you have the best-optimized page for a given keyword and in such cases, I’ve found the top ranking to just stick. However, these keywords are rare.
    In many cases, there’s some active competition for the top spot anyway, so you need to keep building links to stay ahead.

    In general, it’s a question of rank tracking. Keep checking the rankings and as long as you have the top spot, you don’t need to do anything. When your site slips, build more links. That’s my approach.

    Reply
Aghper Jan - October 11, 2011

Hi Shahe,

when you said “private networks” what do you mean?
thanks

Reply
    Shane - October 11, 2011

    If you look at SEO/link building services, you’ll find some that will place links in articles on websites that they own and control. These are usually pretty expensive, but worth it. So, instead of posting something to a bunch of Web 2.0 sites, these service providers have their own networks of sites with PageRank that they use to sell links from.
    I prefer in-content links from these sites, rather than sidebar links or homepage links.

    Reply
Michel Rossier - October 11, 2011

Excellent, impressing results! Almost 50% return of investment after 2 months is very encouraging. I hope that goes on like that for you.

Reply
    Shane - October 11, 2011

    Yeah, not bad, right? In terms of an investment strategy, that’s a stellar result. And I hope the earnings will keep going up, of course. :)

    Reply
Alessandro - October 11, 2011

Asset is what count, too. Good point. Wait at least 6 months s and then sell each site for a bulk cash inflow.

Reply
CHLTX - October 11, 2011

@Alessandro — if I had an asset that only cost me $2500 and was consistently making $800/month or more with no further involvement from me, there is no way I would sell it at only 1 year’s earnings. Unless I thought it wasn’t going to last…

The NPV of an $800/month stream at the currently-available interest is over $40,000 — assuming a 5-year ‘maturity’. That’s what I would have to pay an insurance company for a 5-year annuity that got me $800/month.

Reply
    Shane - October 11, 2011

    I like the sound of that! I have limited experience with buying/selling websites, but I imagine that maturity would also play into it. The numbers in this article are really just guesstimates, because there isn’t enough historical data to really give an idea of the recurring income.

    Reply
      CHLTX - October 12, 2011

      The word “maturity” used for insurance annuities means the length of time before the income stream *ends*, not the amount of time it has been in existence. In other words, an $800/mo annuity with a 5-year maturity would mean that the $800/mo income would last exactly 5 years, then stop. I would expect that a group of websites that earn $800/mo after only a couple of months would outperform that in the long run, especially if you did some judicious maintenance.

      I expect that the only folks selling websites are 1) those who don’t realize how much they are really worth, and 2) don’t think those websites really have much potential. If I thought #1 was the case, I might be interested in buying.

      As for #2, I once had the opportunity to buy a brick & mortar business, but passed because I thought that the business model would crash and burn in two years. Actually, I was optimistic — the guy who did buy it was bankrupt in one year.

      Also, buying a website is something I’m not going to do (at any price) until I learn quite a bit more about that sort of business than I do now. Right now, it looks like do-it-yourself is a much better plan.

      Reply
      Shane - October 12, 2011

      Oh, I see! I thought it referred to how long the income had already been generated. I’m not actually looking to sell any of the websites, though. They all have a lot more income potential and I want to keep expanding and promoting them.

      Reply
kevin - October 11, 2011

This is encouraging Shane approximately how much per site did you spend on content? You used Content Authority right?

Reply
    Shane - October 11, 2011

    I did use the Content Authority, as well as two writers that I’d found on forums.

    I spent $420 on content, more or less evenly distributed between the sites.

    Reply
      Andrew Murray - October 21, 2011

      Hi Shane.

      You were using the expert level in Content Authority? 800-1200 words?
      Did you tweak the articles to have a stronger call to action to click thru to the affiliate landing page?

      Reply
Greg - October 11, 2011

Hi Shane

Excellent post, your results are very interesting. Each time I visit your blog there’s always value to be found.

Greg (vitavee mod)

Reply
Darrell - October 11, 2011

Hi, Shane you have got me all excited and now I want to “Throw Money At It” These are some tasty results!

Question: When you said you used link building services, are these like blog networks,etc. and did you outsource the content for these networks, or are these companies that do all the link building task for you?

If the later is true, what services are you using because I did a search and all the companies I found are very expensive:(

Please share

Thank you Shane I always feel confident on taking action on anything you recommend.

Reply
    Shane - October 11, 2011

    Hi Darrell,

    I used services that do everything for you. An exception is BuildMyRank, where I have an account and I hire writers to create and post articles with my links in them.

    It definitely helps if you are not on too tight a budget. I’ve found that many of the super-cheap link-building services aren’t effective. They really can’t be, because if you only pay a small fee, the most you can expect is that someone runs an auto-tool for some spam-links for you. Check out Wickedfire (warning: not always safe for work!) and the Backlinks Forum for some good service providers. I spent up to $300 for one package of a link building service. At such a price, you can expect a decent return for your investment. Definitely more than if you’d buy 10x $30 link building packages.

    Reply
Miron - October 11, 2011

Fantastic post, and your conversion in AdSense is pretty good. I also used all kind or SEO services, today i only use ALN and rank over 100 of my 180 keywords in top 10 (not a month using ALN yet). But in top 10 doesnt give you enough traffic, just the keywords ranking in top 2.

Reply
Ron - October 11, 2011

Hi Shane,
Great update! thanks for publishing this.
How about adding an opt-in box to the sites and capturing emails? this will further increase the asset value of the site, and will enable you to make more sales via an autoresponder sequence.

Ron

Reply
art - October 12, 2011

Is this income strictly selling affiliate products, your own products or adsense?Thanks for sharing..Art

Reply
    Shane - October 12, 2011

    In this project, it’s all commissions from digital products and AdSense, for one of the sites.

    Reply
Derek - October 12, 2011

Can you point or forward me the websites you created for reference?
Derek

Reply
Brett - October 12, 2011

Hi Shane,

Quick thanks for all the great content you provide. I’ll receive my first Adsense check next month and I can honestly say that it’s in part due to what I’ve learned from you about SEO & link building.

Question: Without giving away your niches, do you mind sharing a little more about your affiliate promotions, e.g. are they digital products or physical products. And did you find them via a major network or did you go hunting for affiliate offers in some other way?

Thanks.

Brett

Reply
    Shane - October 12, 2011

    For this project, they were all digital products and most of them are on Clickbank or Commission Junction (cj). There are also a couple of products on private affiliate programs involved, though. I basically just looked for the most popular products in each niche and then went looking for an affiliate program for those.
    However, you can create sites promoting physical products in exactly the same way.

    Reply
Derek - October 12, 2011

Shane, you talked about video possible affecting page ranks. Did you find video helped page rankings?

Reply
    Shane - October 12, 2011

    I suspect that videos help with higher rankings. What I know for sure is that when you get listed with a video thumbnail, you get more clicks.

    Reply
Nisheth - October 12, 2011

Hi Shane,

Thanks for publishing your results. The one concern I have is whether you will continue to have an $800 income stream without any further investment. I’m a little skeptical about that based on my own experiments. What I notice is that unless it’s a very large site with thousands of backlinks, after a while it starts dropping in rankings. It will be good to see what happens to your sites after 6 months.

Thanks!

Reply
    Shane - October 12, 2011

    Yeah, that remains to be seen. I will keep investing in the sites, also. It wouldn’t really make sense to walk away from the project at this point, since it’s all going very well and there’s definitely potential for more growth.

    Reply
Phillip - October 12, 2011

So far, your experiment reminds me of the old joke:
“Q) How do you leave Las Vegas with a small fortune? A) Arrive with a large fortune.”

One question… do you really feel BuildMyRank links are that valuable? It seems so inefficient; you only get one link for each piece of content submitted.

Thanks.

Reply
    Shane - October 12, 2011

    They work for me.
    All you need is a rank tracker and a few test pages. Build BMR links only and see what happens. :)

    Reply
Colin - October 12, 2011

Shane you give so much value. This just the assurance I need to build niche sites. How much time do you think you gave to each site say per week?

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    Shane - October 12, 2011

    Really not a lot, at all. I spent more time writing these posts than working on the actual niche sites, since I really outsourced everything. The only work I did was finding and contacting content writers and link building services, copy-pasting the content on to the site and adding a few images. I don’t think I spent more than maybe 8 hours in total, on this project.

    Reply
Darrell - October 12, 2011

Hi Shane, I noticed that you spent only $567 on site 3, is that the adsense site? Could you give details of how the money was distributed between content and links for that site and why you spent the least amount of money on that site?

Many Thanks

Reply
Tung Tran - October 12, 2011

Can you reveal your link building method? Do you find keyword yourself or with the help of your VAs?

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    CHLTX - October 12, 2011

    Shane has put together a very comprehensive course on the subject of backlinking, called Backlink Battleplan. I reviewed it on one of my blogs at http://chl-tx.com/2010/10/the-backlink-battleplan/ — that is for the revision he did over a year ago, and he has significantly updated it. I go back and review that course fairly often, and I am slowly increasing my use of the techniques in the course. It takes a bit to get started, but he shows how to automate most of the drudgery. He also periodically updates the course (and gives the updates free to current customers) to reflect changes in the availability of various services.

    As for whether he did the keyword search himself, I’ll bet he did. If a VA was as good as keyword research as Shane, s/he would not be working as a VA. Think about it.

    Reply
    Shane - October 12, 2011

    I did the keyword research myself. I didn’t follow a link building method, I just paid link building service providers.

    Reply
Alex - October 12, 2011

Hey Shane,
great exercise to go through. Out of curiosity, what the heck did you spend $900 for 2 of the sites? Was that just all articles? How many articles did you get for that $900? Do you mind if I ask where you got the content written?

I can’t remember if you mentioned. Are you promoting physical products or Clickbank products?

I’d like to give the same exercise a try and see if I can generate similar results.
Thanks!
Alex

Reply
Aghper Jan - October 13, 2011

Hi Shane,
were you using exact mach domain or general?
like bestonlinedeals.com but you were targeting acne?

thank you

Reply
    Shane - October 13, 2011

    The domain names all have something to do with the niche of the products I’m promoting, just not matching any exact keywords.

    Reply
John.N - October 14, 2011

Shane – Just want to chime in with everyone else and say this is very inspirational, and thanks for a great series. I think I need to go back and re-read it all!

So are you saying you spent a maximum of around $300 for one of the linkbuilding packages, but some were less? Did that usually cover a months worth of linkbuilding?

Could you also tell us what you look for when deciding on which link-provider to go for, or is it really in the testing and there’s no way to tell in advance?

I think you also said you would try to avoid people that ony do automated-link-building as well, right… with tools like SENuke for example?

Many thanks… !

Reply
Akbar Sheikh - October 16, 2011

Hi Shane,
Nice Project, which i had been following since your started. It is also an inspiration to me to start my first adsense website. My first every project. Honestly, it’s been more than a year that i started to gain knowledge about internet marketing but never had the courage to take the plunge. Now i have and your case study has been of immense help. The very first niche adsense site which i am building is surely competitive but i know that the no 1 site currently was just built 4 months ago. So i can repeat the same with consistent effort. I started building my site on 6th October and have had 5 pages added to it and around 4 highly optimized posts. All the content is hand written by me coz i cant afford outsourcing at this moment LOL…. As of now there is no traffic or i should say even the pages are not indexed yet but will keep going as you have mentioned and consistent effort should pay off….

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CHLTX - October 21, 2011

If I can figure out how to invest less than $3000 and get an income stream of $500 or more, it’s a no-brainer. In fact, this project definitely peaked my wife’s interest (she’s a CPA), and we are going to look into it.

However, first, we need to be sure that we know a bit more about what we are doing. We are experimenting with some websites we already bought (MFA sites) to see if we can make them earn something.

An off-topic question: I have a site that was making about $5 a day on AdSense up until about October 1st. It got about 150 visits/day (less about 10 from known spambots), and I was getting $1-$3 per click. Suddenly, around the 1st of October, I started getting $0.04-$0.20 per click, with the same traffic (but a larger percentage of known spambots) and about the same percentage of click-through. Any insight about what happened, and how I might fit that? The AdSense is not the main thrust of the site, and it remains profitable for its main purpose, which is to sell my local classes (nothing to do with Internet Marketing).

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Itachi - October 23, 2011

Thanks for your share shane I’ve been reading it with great interest. I’m waiting for your next update I wanna see how far you can push it, also I was curious at the number of searches that those keywords you targeted gets.

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John @ Black Picture Frames - October 31, 2011

Shane – This is a great case study!

Are you going to release a product of how to do this? Without the backlink services you used, we’re left in the dark :-)

Keep up the good work.
John

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Andy - December 31, 2011

Without going in to two much detail, what niches are these websites in? If you want to keep it private, that is fine obviously.

Great blog and great case study.

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    Shane - January 5, 2012

    One of them is in a relationship niche, the others are in very obscure, small niches that I would probably have never heard about if I hadn’t come across them, doing keyword research.

    Reply
Edward - January 5, 2012

Nice experiment Shane.
I just knew about this blog from my friend. And i think there are many information that i need here.

I think i want to try this experiment too. Thanks for your share.

Reply
Jovi - January 26, 2012

Hi Shane,

Somewhere you’ve mentioned that you only outsouce linkbuilding-related work. My question is the following: aren’t you afraid that guys who you hire for this will use your keywords and rank their own sites?

You’ve spent time to find profitable keywords, time to find a product that will be sold for this keyword and bring you profit. You’ve spent money on unique content, site design, markup, etc. You’ve invested in linkbuilding, as you don’t have time to do this yourself. And you expose this everyhting to a person who has enough resource to do the same job for his own site, and for whom linkbuilding is likely to be full-time job. Needless to say, he may understand that affiliate commissions are higher than money he receives for linkbuilding, and here comes the problem. If you hire more linkbuilders, it becomes even bigger, as more people understand this niche brings cash. It’s not that bad if they will try to earn on that keywords themselves, but what if they expose this to more people? Aaaaahhhh. I’m becoming more and more paranoic :)

SEO is is not my main source of income, but it is quite reasonable, though. And one part of me understands that in order to earn more with it, I should outsource, since I don’t have time to do this myself. Another part of me doesn’t want to mess all of that hardwork I spent on the sites by exposing a very valuable part of business (keywords + monetization tool) to someone I hire.

I think I should change the whole mindset regarding this.

Sorry for long and boring coment, but I would appreciate your feedback. Thanks.

Reply
    Shane - January 28, 2012

    Shot answer: no.
    From the perspective of the person you are paying for the link-building, there are two options: they can make money by deceiving their customers, building up websites, getting them ranked and then monetizing them (once they do have them ranked). By doing this, they are guaranteed to lose their SEO business, they delay the time until they can get paid and they face a big risk, because the payoff is unknown.
    Or, they can fulfill your order, make money right away and keep building the reputation of their service, to make more money in the future. Immediate payoff and no risk.

    Which would you choose?

    I only use “real” SEO services, is a caveat I might mention. Someone who offers to run their link-spamming tool for me, for 2 minutes, on fiverr is not a real SEO service. Someone who’s built up a network, a system, staff etc. that’s a real SEO service.

    Reply
Carl - April 7, 2012

how are the sites coming along ? im curious :D

Reply
    Shane - April 7, 2012

    Two of them eventually lost rankings to a Panda update (several months after the case study). One of the sites is still going strong.

    Overall, the sites more than paid for themselves. They were very profitable for a couple of months, then two took a hit. It’s unfortunate, but it was still worth it. :)

    Reply

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