Most people build content sites optimized for search engines and engage in link building. Nothing wrong with that if you are just trying to experiment and rank some simple niche site with less than 30 pages, but if you want to create something massive then you need to optimize for the user and paid traffic sources instead. I think that’s where it’s all heading now.
I wrote about this stuff before actually. Traffic does in fact affect your search engine rankings in a pretty big way. Believe it or not, traffic also influences your Google Page Rank (just something I observed). You could have thousands of links pointing to your page and rank #1 but if I have a page that all of a sudden gets a ton of visitors constantly and targets the same keyword I could outrank you without any backlinks. I have seen this happen too many times before to call it a fluke.
There is good reason for that happening. Google wants to look good and if there is a site that gets a lot of traffic then it makes sense for them to bump it up in rankings even if the publisher doesn’t engage in any SEO whatsoever. Of course it doesn’t work with just any type of traffic. You can’t for example buy 10,000 fake visitors and hope for #1 spot on Google overnight.
Your visitors need to engage with your content, share it, and keep coming back. It’s not easy to do as you already know, but if your content is top notch your users vote for you by simply browsing your site, commenting etc. Google notices all that.
So I have decided to start a new project this month. I am going to build a big massive content site in a hyper competitive market. Most of the content will be outsourced because I am not an expert in that specific area, but I won’t be using some $10/article freelancer.
I have partnered up with a friend of mine who knows more than I do about the market we are going to get into. He will manage the content and I will drive paid traffic to our site. I think it’s going to be a very interesting project and I am quite excited to get it started.
The site needs to be optimized for paid traffic which means it needs to break even or better yet make a profit after sending paid traffic to it. To be honest I don’t care if it loses some money because our main goal is going to be to put the site on the map by getting users to share the content through social media. We won’t be engaging in any link building at all. In fact, we don’t even care about keyword research and titles will be written to attract users to the site instead of trying to get higher rankings.
For some of you it’s totally a new approach, but I think it’s the right one if you want to build something that not only matters but also lasts.
Right now the site is in the first stage of development but already has almost 30 posts or so. We are trying to publish 1-3 posts per day and I am planning on launching a paid traffic campaign for it some time next month.
After we will fill it up with about 50-80 posts I am going to optimize it for paid traffic. How I am planning on doing that?
Well, first of all I am going to make sure that there are plenty of advertising spots to sell. At first we are going to populate the site with Adsense or other contextual ads. I haven’t decided which one I am going to choose yet. Might even go with MSN for publishers for this project.
You are probably thinking how a site with just ads on it can perform well with paid traffic? It’s possible if the market you are getting into is super competitive and your cost per click is relatively low.
From my initial calculations and some testing I have discovered that paying less than $0.20/click will make it profitable. But since we are going to put out quality content and people will share it through social media, there is going to be a bonus side-effect that I haven’t even calculated in yet.
Here are the main monetization methods we will integrate right from the start:
– Strategic placement of contextual ads
– List building through a newsletter
– Premium advertising spots (I already have a few advertisers interested in buying the space and the site is not even ready lol)
– Social media integration (I have to completely outsource that because I suck at social media)
– Direct deals with merchants who are willing to pay for performance
Don’t get me wrong though, I won’t completely abandon SEO with this project. The site is structured to perform well in the serps but it’s not going to rely on Google or any other search engine for survival.
If it ranks high for some of the keywords we are going to write about it’s going to be a huge bonus.
I believe that once the site starts getting organic search traffic it will become a massive money maker very quickly because it’s optimized for paid traffic.
Here is an example of a well optimized page for paid traffic.
Of course it’s not mine, but I took some ideas from them while planning our content site. Notice how their content is broken up into more additional pages at the bottom. This is actually a very smart trick because it increases page views which gives the user another chance to click on a sponsored ad while reading the article.
It’s actually nothing new and you have probably seen large publishers do this years ago. There is a reason why they continue on doing this though. Whether I am going to integrate that is still a question because when content is broken up like that it usually doesn’t perform well in the search engine results.
Their content area is pretty small but it’s well structured. I think it’s possible to populate your site with a lot of ads without making it look too cheesy or like an obvious arbitrage campaign, although the example above is a little extreme 🙂
With my project I am going to sacrifice some of the ad spots to push list building more aggressively. I think by doing that I will make more money in the long run.
Anyway, every project I do needs an exit strategy. I think that after a year or 2 the site will be matured enough and ready for a big sale. If everything goes according to plan and we keep adding 3 posts per day it will quickly become a massive site. I also plan on accepting guest posts sometime down the road when it’s safe to announce that I own the site, so it will grow much faster after that.
I don’t know about you but I love engaging in long term projects like that. I think content sites that are optimized for paid traffic sources can outrank anything and crush any competitor that stands on their way. You wonder why Google loves brands? Well, that’s because they get traffic without Google!
Adapt or perish!