Search Traffic Increase Screenshot 2018
Click to enlarge.

There’s a big lesson here which I ignored for years.  In fact, I’ve always spurned this strategy until I noticed these results from one of my niche sites.  Actually 2 lessons here, which I set out below.

As you can see in the above screenshot, I’ve managed to grow organic search traffic by 154% in 3.5 months from 604 to 1,538 daily visitors.

Yes, traffic volume fluctuates, but the trend is consistently trajecting upward.

How did I achieve this SEO growth

Here’s what I did in 5 simple steps.

STEP 1: Bought an aged site.

STEP 2: Found some great long tail, easy-to-rank keywords.

STEP 3: Outsourced content creation.

STEP 4: Analyzed results to discover best-performing content.

STEP 5: Published more content… rinse and repeat.

Let’s go into more detail.

STEP 1:  BOUGHT AN AGED SITE

I bought this site 3 years ago (approximately).  My original plan was to improve ad monetization for a quick boost in RPM and then grow it in the same niche.  It turned out it was in a terrible niche for monetization.  No matter what I did with ads, RPM didn’t budge (and it was low to begin with).  I realized there was no point spinning my wheels in that lousy niche.

Accordingly, I did nothing with it until 4 months ago because I wasn’t sure what I should do with it.

Side note:  Interestingly, letting the site sit with no new content for a couple years didn’t seem to hurt it at all.

I had always wanted to change the niche, but had read and was told changing niches on established sites doesn’t work.

Finally, I realized I had nothing to lose so I threw up some content unrelated to the existing content to see what would happen.  Lo and behold, those articles ranked pretty fast.  They targeted long tail keywords, so it wasn’t huge traffic, but at least I knew I could publish more and grow the site.  That’s what I did and am doing.

Lesson: Buying an aged site at the right price is the way to go for faster organic search results.

I paid 50 times monthly revenue for the site which is a huge premium.  It earned little so it didn’t cost too much.  Now that it’s growing plus the fact I increased the ad revenue per 1,000 visitors with the new niche, it’s looking like it was an okay investment.  I hope in a year or two it proves to be an excellent investment.

The point with buying an aged site is you can very much speed up the organic search traffic process… and you don’t have to spend a fortune to get an aged site.

I certainly don’t recommend changing the niche of an established site like I did (I had no choice).  So, when shopping for an aged site, if at all possible, go after an aged site related to your intended niche.

STEP 2: FOUND LONG TAIL KEYWORDS

I don’t like link building.  I’d rather publish more content that can rank on its own than build links.  Better yet, my favorite approach (when it works out) is to publish content that attracts links.  This is never a sure thing, but it happens when you get creative with content and come up with good long tail topics well covered.

My greatest skill in growing a niche site business is keyword and topic research.  Once I have a topic, creating the content is pretty simple.  I outsource it as well as do some of it myself (depending on the site).

STEP 3:  PUBLISHED CONTENT

If you’re in the blogging business and/or niche site business, you have to create content.  There’s no way around it.  If you hate creating content, this is not a business for you.

I outsource most content, yet I’m involved in reviewing and editing content daily.  I am a stickler about quality. I also spend time going over existing content assessing how it can be improved.

My point is I’m neck deep in content creation daily.

How you go about creating it doesn’t matter.  If you have limited funds, write it yourself.  If you have piles of money, outsource it.

STEP 4: ANALYZED RESULTS

The last step is to wait and see what works.  When I veered from the existing niche with the site I bought, I didn’t know whether different niche content would rank in the search engines.  That’s why I started slowly instead of throwing lots of money at it right away.

I’m not suggesting you stop working to see what works.  I happen to have several niche sites so I always have plenty to do.  If you have one site and it’s an aged site you invested in, keep on publishing content as much as you can as fast as you can.  Over time you’ll get a sense of what’s working and what’s not working.  At that point you adjust your content strategy.

STEP 5: PUBLISHED MORE CONTENT… RINSE & REPEAT

Once I figured out what types of content were performing best, I scaled up my orders for more content and started publishing one long article per day.  I continue at that pace today.

If 1 article per day is good, why don’t I publish 10 articles per day?

I wish I could publish 10 per day.  The problem is lack of resources.  I publish several niche sites on which I publish new content daily.  Since it takes months for content to pay for itself (on average), I’m limited in how much I can publish daily.  As a site earns more, I can dedicate more resources to it.  Currently, this site doesn’t break even because content costs more per month than it earns. However, it’s very close to breaking even which is a great place to get to.

How much time do I spend on the purchased site?

I spend about 3 hours per month on this site.  Most of the time is spent doing keyword research for article orders.  The rest of it is handled by a VA and writers.  It’s truly a passively growing niche site.  I wish I could say all sites require such little time.  2 other sites I’m growing are more demanding of my time because there are more moving parts.

AGED SITE VS. SITE FROM SCRATCH

I’m also currently growing a site I started from scratch.  It’s coming along decently with over 750 daily visitors.

The difference is the site from scratch took 20 months to get to 750 daily visitors.  I don’t spend as much time as I could on this site, but it did take a while to get meaningful traffic.

Compare that to growing an aged site by 900 daily visitors in 4 months.

Big difference.

I’m not suggesting every aged site will be a huge success.  I’m just saying generally investing in an aged site (don’t spend too much money… it just needs some age and a bit of traffic) speeds up the process.

Could I have grown it faster?

Yes.  If it was my only site, I’d have more time for it.  Same thing with my newer site I started from scratch.  I have limited time and resources for both.

However, based on the above, I’m confident that all else being equal, investing a few thousand dollars in an existing, aged, non-spammy (do your due diligence) site can help you hit a positive ROI faster than starting from scratch.  Not always, mind you… but it’s definitely something to keep in mind.

The big problem with buying an aged site is…

The big problem with buying an existing aged site is lack of options.  I monitor sites for sale at Flippa and a variety of website brokers regularly.  The problem is the lack of options.  If you’re looking for a particular site but nothing is available, you may have no choice but to start from scratch.

EITHER WAY, THIS BUSINESS IS GREAT

If you like creating content, this business is a ton of fun.  I enjoy discovering, planning and creating content in a variety of niches, so each day is fun.

Whether you start a site from scratch or have an existing site, focus on great content and really put some time into creative keyword research.  When you cover a topic nobody else does, you rank almost instantly.  It may not be hordes of traffic, but when you add up many trickles, it turns into a torrent.

2 Lessons Learned

  1. Starting with an established site that has decent authority can speed up SEO significantly.
  2. While it’s good to get SEO opinions from experienced SEO, there’s nothing like testing.  I was told by a few people that changing niches from an established site was a bad idea.  I did it anyway and now I wish I had done so 2 years ago.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Did you leave the old content on the site, or did you remove it? How did you handle navigation and site structure with content in unrelated niches?

    Thanks for sharing your results here, it’s really interesting.

  2. I’ve changed a site’s niche before too. I left some of the old content but edited it to lean it more towards the new niche. It worked with no problems, for that reason I agree it’s worth doing. You just have to accept there’s a bit of risk. But the risk of a new site not working out is the same anyway as far as I’m concerned.

  3. You mentioned your other sites are more demanding of your time because there are more moving parts. Could you reveal some more about what exactly are those moving parts that’s taking time?

    • Mostly image selection and management. While visual niches sound easy, they can be very time-consuming in getting permission to use images and finding the right ones.

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