Here’s a nice little guest post contributed by SEOcracy. I love guest posts that involve some form of creative money making idea.
I hope you have all been paying attention over the past week, because today I am going to build on last weeks database revelations and tell you all how to use database content to make serious money (and build serious traffic) through Google Custom Search.
Now, I have been making decent bank with Google Custom Search for a while now, and having recently amp’d up my efforts in a big way, I feel confident enough to make the claim that you should all be able to make at LEAST Fifty Dollars a day using the techniques I am about to outline.
Google Custom Search came on the scene back in late 2006 and it really didn’t make the splash that I expected it would in the SEO scene. Google Custom Search, in good Web2.0-Mash-Up style, gave me a brand new way to inter-link and cross promote my diverse network of niche sites, and I thought that was pretty cool. In fact, most people thought that was pretty cool, and that was about all we really heard about the launch of GCS.
But let’s stop and examine three things that make GCS especially cool for us SEO’s and Affiliate Marketers, shall we?
1) GCS engines can be highly targeted, returning extremely relevant results. This means that we can create a GCS that will satisfy the search needs of our site’s users based on their specific interests; and a satisfied user is a loyal user.
2) GCS engines allow us to return results only from the websites we choose. This means that we can set up a GCS to promote only those sites within our network. So if we have a mini-network on home development, our GCS can be set to only return those relevant results from sub-sites within our network. For our mini-network on home development our GCS might return results from sub-sites that provide mortgage offers, information on concrete polishing, or how to select granite countertops. This allows us to cross promote the sites within our network instead of having visitors turn to our competitor for more in-depth information.
3) GCS is made to be monetized. You can display your Adsense ads in your search results and thus can profit from the increased impressions when people use your GCS.
From an SEO point of view, GCS is solid gold because it lets you bypass the usual google.com search completely and in so doing, you bypass your competition! Of course, as I’m sure many of you who have played with Google Custom Search have already realized: your search engine is only as good as the number of users you can funnel into it. Meaning, if you have a GCS that only does 10 searches a day then you are really not going to see any tangible benefit to having it setup on your website.
The hardest part about making a profitable custom search is getting traffic to it. Often people add GCS to their website as an afterthought. Maybe they just feel like it is a cheap & easy way to provide search functionality and increased accessibility to their users. That is all well and good, but we aren’t just trying to make our site more accessible, we are trying to make some extra money, and this implementation of a Google search is rarely profitable because only a small percentage of your websites visitors will ever use it.
As of this post, I am running a HUGE amount of different GCS engines. I have a GCS engine for every single niche I am involved in. Every time I start a new niche, one of the first things I do after going online is to create a GCS for it. I constantly maintain and update my GCS’ settings and configuration, adding and removing websites from each niche network. This is a lot of work, but depending on the subject matter for each niche, the profit returned from the GCS alone can rival the profit I make on the niches individual websites themselves.
But still, we face the same problem. My many GCS engines are useless and won’t make a cent unless I am providing them with a sufficient volume of visitors performing searches. I can’t depend on people to use my search engines just by visiting the website and then typing a query into a box. There are too many distractions on a website, too many places to click and things to see. Because of that, you will find that only a very small percentage of your websites visitors ever actually use your GCS.
Rather, what we need is a way to take every one of our users interested in a given niche and funnel their attention directly towards using nothing else other than our niche’s GCS to find the answers they need. This is where things start to get interesting.
The secret here is thinking outside of the box. Sure lots of websites offer inline search functionality, but how about offering a search-based service outside of a proper website? How about getting people to search for answers in your niche without ever even visiting your website, and without ever even knowing your website exists in the first place?
What I am referring to here are desktop widget platforms like Google Desktop or (my favorite) Windows Vista Sidebar. Even web-top widget platforms like Netvibes, Facebook and more. For the sake of this post, I am going to focus solely on Windows Vista Sidebar.
Out of curiosity, I installed Vista on a partition just to take a peek at it, and one of the first things I started messing around with was the sidebar widgets. They have made it incredibly simple for people to create and publish their own widgets to the Windows Live Gallery website for other people to download and use. Also, Windows Vista Sidebar widgets can be very lucrative since not many people are creating them yet! Now is a great time for you all to get a slice of this action before the whole world eventually ports to the Vista OS.
A Vista sidebar widget is comprised of simple HTML and an XML file that acts in many ways like a PAD file does in as much as it identifies your widget and its provenance. If you know how to copy-and-paste and some basic HTML, then you can easily create a desktop widget.
So here is what I do:
Finding the proper niche is key to doing large search volume. Be SPECIFIC. For example, one of my most high traffic search engines was one that enabled people to interpret their dreams.
Realizing that people love to know what their dreams mean, I did some brief research and compiled a database of dreams and their meanings. Then I created a website around that database and did all the usual SEO stuff on it, got it indexed and laid in some Adsense ads just for good measure.
Next, I went to my Google account and set up a custom search engine. The setup interface allows you to target your search engine to a pre-defined list of websites or to have to search the entire web. For my purpose, I made the custom search engine return results from ONLY my website that I had made around the dreams database I compiled. That way, not only do I stand to profit from the ads displayed in the SERPs but since all the SERP results are for pages on my site, I am funneling traffic into my site which in turn shows more of my ads.
After going through all the setup steps, Google spat out the code for me to copy-and-paste into the HTML for my Sidebar Search Widget.
I am not going to go into detail on how-to create your widgets as it is extremely easy to do and you will be able to figure it out with just a little research on your part.
So I designed my little search widget with nice clean interface and a snappy title and then I published it to the Windows Live Gallery website. Within one week, over 1000 people had downloaded my widget to their desktop sidebar. Getting that kind of desktop real estate on peoples computer screens is something that most internet marketers would KILL for. My search box is on their screen every day and it continually sends their requests to my website.
The important part is repeating this process on many different subjects. The more subjects you cover, the more search volume you will pull. The beautiful thing here is the sky is really the limit. If you want to pull in that $50/day I’ve been talking about, then you better be prepared to create a GCS for every niche you are in. And you better be prepared to present each of your GCS’ in a different widget for each platform. Ie: Create one widget for Netvibes, one for Vista, one for Google Desktop, etc, etc. Once you get the hang of it, you will find that you can create a simple template for each platform and then just plug in the different GCS code into each one. After a while, you’ll be creating new search widgets at an amazing pace.
Now, remember how I said that this post was going to build on the previous posts about Google Hacking? I wasn’t kidding.
Take a sec to peek through the Free Downloads section of the website and think about how you can build websites around the databases provided there. How about creating a database of Bible verses, and then creating a Bible Study search widget that funnels all searches into that website? How about creating a website of food and drink recipes and making it searchable via a desktop widget?
The databases provided give you an excellent leg-up in creating websites with large amounts of information that are perfectly appropriate for Google Custom Search widgets.
Here are some other ideas to get you started:
* Video Game Cheats Search Widget
* Myspace Layouts Search Widget
* Baby Names Search Widget
* Restuarants Search Widget
* Celebrity Gossip Search Widget
* Product Recalls Search Widget
* Lyrics Search Widget
In parting, here some more food for thought for all your Affiliate Marketers:
Instead of just relying on Adwords for profit, how about a desktop search widget that returns Amazon Books with your Affiliate Link? This is where the real money is.
Before you comment below, I want to make a few things clear: I know that “Make XXX dollars a day” posts tend to be incendiary and/or contentious topics for people. The success of this technique, like every money making technique, depends on how much creativity you employ, and how much volume you push. Further, the number “50″ is completely arbitrary; it makes for a nice round number and a good title for a post. Truth is, if you are smart and play it right, there’s no reason you can’t pull in a lot more than $50.00/day (a lot more). Conversely, if you are half assed about it, like with anything, you probably won’t do nearly as well. So if you are about to bitch and whine about not being able to pull $50/day (which is pretty easy to do) then take a step back and ask yourself if you really are doing everything right and pushing enough volume.
Thanks for the great post Rob. He has some great articles and free stuff at his blog SEOcracy.com so be sure to check it out.
Let’s discuss the SEO Empire Part 1 post.
The post covered a ton of information very quickly and talked about a lot of different types of example sites for each level. But the million dollar question remains; Why the structure? Why not just stick with the proven practice of, if you throw enough mud at the wall eventually something will stick? Why not just build site after site until something makes you money? After all, that is how most Internet marketers have made it. Well the answer comes from history.
I made a post about this time last year called Float Like A Porn Site Sting Like A Sales Page which basically talked about learning from history and the type of sites that are ahead of us in the game. I’ve always been on the fringe of the webmaster community and I’m a firm believer in that fringe websites such as Adult, Warez, Music, Poker, Pharms are years ahead of the mainstream as far as attracting traffic and conversions. So what works for them now will eventually make its way into mainstream marketing. Back in ‘97-’00 there was a trend amongst Adult, Warez, and MP3 sites to use Top Sites Lists as a method of sustaining traffic growth. At the time in order to make any headway into the niches you had to have at least 3k unique visitors/day. That was about the standard for any site within those groups to be considered semi successful. Now that differs quite a bit today but back then that made them fairly competitive. The owners of the top sites eventually figured out that the best way of propelling their growth was to create a ring of promotion. Remember those things called popups? Haha. So what they would figure out and do is, instead of creating one top sites list and heavily promoting it until it became big. They would create three. Each one would target a different but similar topic. They would manually edit the stats so the other two top sites would show up top on their list, thus getting the most traffic from incoming votes from the other sites on the lists. Then they would manually go through each top sites list they have and sign it up with dozens of other top sites list that make the closest match to their topic. After a few manual click-throughs and votes every day their ring of sites would start pulling in bottom level traffic, that bottom level traffic would more than likely go to another one of their top sites list via the list until they eventually voted out. Since most top sites list have a higher OUT traffic ratio than IN due to other traffic sources their traffic would exponentially climb amongst the small top sites network. Eventually once each top sites list started becoming super successful and getting lots of other legitimate webmasters signing up, they would slowly phase out the top sites list they manually signed up for and end up with nothing but genuine traffic. Traffic that had a tendency to get passed around their mini network mind you. Once the traffic on the promotional ring started reaching its critical mass the webmasters started looking at ways to better monotenize it. When DoubleClick (MS CPC), BabylonX (adult affiliate), and Casino Gold(gambling) banners at the top wouldn’t suffice to upkeep on the 10-20k visitors/day worth of was-then expensive bandwidth they started looking into what would be considered the modern affiliate sites. Which of course spore a boom in TGP, Webrings, and even affiliate landing pages. This, from my own experience, was the defining proof that network building works. Mostly because the webmasters that built networks back then in at least a similar fashion are still around today where as many, sad to say, poop flingers never made it past the early 2000 Internet bubble. The idea of a network works, we just have to apply it to our mainstream system of making money.
So what exactly are the direct benefits of the foundation and basement levels of our SEO Empire? Well, theres two primary benefits. The first is the cost efficiency vs. return on the investments. Like most starting Internet Marketers its good to start out smart. While there’s the need for immediate income for personal reasons theres also the need to make the investments count for as much as possible. Growth is very important in your first year in the industry. With foundation and basement sites you get the most growth and immediate income possible while ensuring less risky investments. In other words, its immediate and sustainable money. The money, over time, also isn’t dependant on how much immediate work you put into it. The work you put in this month, will give reoccurring income next month and a year down the road. So you’re never treading water as far as growth is concerned. Forward momentum is very important no matter what level of business you’re at. So at the very least, do it because it will make you money.
The indirect benefits aren’t as apparent without experience but are by far the most important. Every foundation and basement site you build is increasing the leverage you have for the next site. As you build the total leverage you have for your money sites increases exponentially. So breaking the cardinal rule of “Every site must pay it’s own rent” doesn’t do justice to the fact that these sites are worth a fortune down the road. Theres no bullshit when I say that and I’ll explain how it works. It begins with fundamental concepts of Entry Points (future post) and Link Building Leverage.
Link Building Leverage
I talked a little about Link Building Leverage in my SERP Domination post but SEO Empire takes it one step further. It actually gives you an immediate competitive standing within the niche. Theres four basic stages that make up a good link campaign. Each of which if not done results in no or dismal rankings.
Indexing - Covers all aspects of getting into the search engines, getting deep indexed, and minimizing supplementals.
Link Volume - The sheer quantity of links. In proportion to your competition your site must match or exceed the rest of the sites.
Link Quality - encompasses the relevancy and authority of the inbound links.
Link Saturation - The ratio of the volume of inbound links your site has, versus the quantity actually indexed and counting in the indeces. This was thoroughly covered in my Real Life SEO Example post and the Log Link Matching technique.
Link Building As it pertains to difficulty
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With the Y axis representing difficulty and the X representing rankings the graph can be stretched to fit any ratio of keyword competitiveness in regards to link building. Notice that Link Volume and Link Quality have essentially the same worth and in fact there is a blurred area between the two that allows one site with more link volume and slightly less link quality to outrank or underrank a site of inverse values. They are, essentially equal they just come in different stages of the rankings. The same could nearly be said for indexing and link saturation. When achieving a number 1 ranking you cannot discount indexing being of more value thank link saturation. Many sites don’t ever consider link saturation and thus many sites don’t achieve top rankings or have a hard time maintaining them. In other words, I kick their hippie rainbow chasing little asses.
So What About Difficulty/Availability?
Much like traffic curves mentioned in the SEO Empire post link building curves the same way. Indexing starts off very easy. It’s just getting your site listed with the site: command and an accurate title and description. It then starts to work into deep indexing where as the saturation levels rise the difficulty in getting more pages in increases. It then leads into removal of supplementals and peaks up in technical difficulty. This is where most webmasters start their adventures. From this point on you are an SEO Pro. YOU WILL SPEND AS LITTLE TIME ON THE INDEXING PHASE AS POSSIBLE! Amateurs spend 3 weeks to three months working on this. You need to spend as little as 10 minutes and let the rest happen. I’ve given you the tools to do it so there should be no excuses.
Link Volume is the next phase. This phase starts off easy. There’s millions of sites and just as many link opportunities. At first its very fast moving and its easy to find a good quantity of links. After awhile though you run into what I affectionately call the Link Wall where link volume meets the beginning of Link Quality and easy to grab links start to become a little more scarce, thus the difficulty begins to climb a bit.
Link Wall: Quote From SERP Domination
“You got to love the supposedly nonexistent brick wall of relevant links. Dipshits on newbie forums love telling people, “don’t worry about the rankings, just build some relevant links and they’ll come.” So you do just that, after all they have over 4,000 posts on that forum, it can’t all be complete garbage advice. At first it’s totally working, you’re gaining a good 50-200 very relevant links a day. You submit to directories and score a bunch of links from your competitors. After a couple weeks you even manage to score some big authority links within your niche. Suddenly it all starts to slow down. The sites that are willing to link already have, and the rest are holding firm. You’ve just hit the Relevant Link Wall. Don’t bother going back for further advice. They don’t have any, and if they did they are too busy trying to rank for Kitty Litter Paw Prints to help.”
That essentially, in more colorful wording, describes the Link Wall.
So when you’re entering the Link Quality phase at first its difficult. You’re new so very few well established and ranked sites want to link to you. You have to scrounge around and dig for relevant links. Eventually though, your site becomes established and more and more webmasters in the niche start to recognize it and link to it. Very much the same thing happens to blogging. Eventually you break through and you’re on a downhill coast to rankings.
Suddenly though you reach around the top 10 area and things start to get competitive. You can’t move up without shoving someone else down. They all have the same essential links as you and quite a few older ones that you don’t. You can make up in link volume but you need one last push to drive you to the top and maintain it. Thats where the last phase Link Saturation enters the field. If you can become more efficient in your link building you stand a much better chance of defeating them.
This process is essentially what common Internet Marketers have to go through every single time they release a new project. They are in a constant battle to get indexed, acquire link volume, scramble over the link wall and get some link quality then make those links count just to rank. This is why new sites take nearly a year to show their true potential, its a long hard battle with each and every one to get the resources necessary to compete. When you’ve been in the business as long or longer than I have you’ll be the first to testify that this…shit…gets…old. Throwing mud at a wall hoping something will stick is fine, but when it takes that much time consuming effort on every throw it’s easy to see why people drop out of the game so fast. Welcome to McDonalds may I take your order?
There is an easier way and that’s what I’m trying to get at with the first part of the SEO Empire post. Not only is it easier, better, but every step is also 100% profitable while you’re doing it. It may not be a gigantic shortcut like every aspiring Internet Marketer dreams of but it is in all essentials the primary plan of most SEO Pro’s for a very good reason. The resources are recyclable. Let’s talk about resources and how they play into the ranking phases. Here are a few I’ve given you….
The Applications Of Resources
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So in my SEO Empire post you can see what I was talking about when I said all my previous posts lead into that strategy. Throughout this blog I’ve given several methods of automatically skating through each and every stage of SEO that determine top rankings. So when you create a new site you no longer have to start from the beginning. In a sense you can nearly skip the entire process that takes most webmasters months to years to accomplish. Instead, when you enter a new niche, you start at the top of the Link Wall and only have to do the absolute minimal work to achieve the rankings. So with my basement and foundation levels of my SEO Empire where do I start each site in respect to my competition? Where does my personal involvement end?
Link Building Process After SEO Empire
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Thats quite the workload difference ain’t it? I’d say so. Calling it an easier shorter way is the understatement of the fucking century. I can build a site, launch it, spend a couple hours getting some relevant links from the competition or parallel competition (I’ll explain in a future post) and within the same day as the launch my brand new site instantly has everything it requires to achieve a top ranking. I’ve literally done six months to a years worth of work in a single day. It may take a couple months for the actual rankings to happen but it’s all automated, I don’t have to worry about it or check up on it. I’m off to my next project. Meanwhile my competition is working everyday struggling to keep up with me. To them I end up looking like some kind of sleep deprived SEO juggernaut, when the reality is I spent so little time on the site I didn’t even have a chance to memorize the domain. Let’s jump to some questions….
Why Build Up? Why Not Down?
I normally don’t check my Technorati very often but the other day I caught a very interesting one. Someone plans on writing an article similar to my SEO Empire Part 1 except teach people how to build a money site, then build the foundation and basement below it. It’s essentially the same concept except you can jump straight to money sites. Here’s the problem with that. Look at the chart above. That allows me to accomplish the requirements for any new site in a single day. If you build money sites then build downward it would take several days to a week or two worth of work to get what you were needing with every site launch. It kind of defeats the purpose and isn’t practical in the long run. The second point being is the speed at which you’ll be adding new money sites. No point in building a foundation or basement site for the sole reason of promoting a single money site, so every one you build you have to look back through your other money sites and add them in as well to your new foundation and basement site. Management of foundation and basement sites are easy, management of money sites becomes increasingly difficult the larger your empire grows. I’m still looking forward to reading the post though.
How Do You Manage Your Foundation and Basement Sites?
I was fortunate enough to preplan my empire through lots of premeditation and previous experience. So I developed a centralized system that allows for easy management. Every page I create with my database sites, hosted blackhat, spammed blackhat etc. etc. I put in a database call to a single table that holds all the pages of every site I make and a list of links with each one. When I create a new database site I loop through all the pages and give them a number (primary key ids), i make a small note of their keywords. Such as in my example I said a certain page would have the keywords Remax Real Estate In Portland Oregon. The keywords that would be inserted into the link inventory database would be Remax,real,estate,portland,oregon. The same goes with my cycle sites, the .htaccess goes to a script that gives the error message -Keywords- Sorry this site has been shut down due to terms of service violation -sincerely DoucheHosting Inc. -ads- (hehe still gotta make the money). Then the script pulls from the cyclesite database that also has its keywords. If it gets assigned a site it then does a 301 perm redirect to that site instead of displaying the error page. So whenever I create a new money site, all I have to do is enter my dashboard, put in its keywords, url, anchor text, and specify how many links I want. It’ll come up with list of all the pages/cycle sites that have a relative match to the keywords along with a count of how many total links. I select as many or all that I want, then if I want any more I can go through and select irrelevant ones for as much as I need, or specify alternate keywords that’ll work as well, such as land, homes, garden, pets or some shit along those lines. Building thousands of links becomes a 5 minute job.
How Long Did It Take You To Build Your SEO Empire?
It took me about a year to get it up to the level I’m happy with. It wasn’t a big deal, because during that entire year and process I was making money. The foundation and basements have been very successful for me and continually brought me in bigger and bigger checks every month (rule #2). So it was not some rough time I had to bear through. I’m also always building on my SEO Empire. I treat it, much like it is, a 9-5 job. If you already have a 9-5 make the SEO Empire your 7pm:9pm job. Hell 1am-5am job. It doesn’t matter. The reality is, you can build a respectable and workable foundation and basement within only one month. Then as you get more time and more money just keep building it outward (rule #3). It’s an ongoing process. If you’re new to it, try building one of each type of site mentioned. You can have that done by the end of the week. Once you got the initial ones built, by recycling much of the code you can have 9 more of each type built by end of next week. It’s all very easy and quick once you sit down and actually do it. I’m not writing this shit out of vanity ya know I want you to actually accomplish it.
How Long Should I Spend On My Foundation Sites?
The best advice I can give you. Make your first one absolutely beautiful. Be proud of it, get a few opinions from your IM friends (rule #4). As you build more you’ll quit caring and you’ll get sloppier and sloppier. You’ll see the same results but that template pack you started using will start wearing thin and you’ll start going for the easier to change templates. You’ll still always have that prideful one to show your affiliate managers and the volume to match. Most importantly I say this because the more time and thought you invest in your first site the less problems you’ll run into on your second.
Help! I Don’t Have Access To SQUIRT! And You Just Mentioned It In That Little Chart Thingy.
I did a post on How To Build Your Own SQUIRT. I didn’t post that immediately after the launch to brag or deter people from signing up. I want people to build it, if you read Blue Hat regularly it shouldn’t be some big secret on how it works. I laid it out for you in plain English, there it is. A lot of people have the skills but not the financial resources, its not their fault and we were all there at one point. If that’s you, read the post and go for it buddy. If you run into something you’re unsure of email me and I’ll see if I can help you through it (rule #4). Just don’t let a little set back deter you from your goals.
Adsense Is A Possible Footprint. Everything Is Ruined Before I Even Made My First Site! My Empire Is Crumbling!
*stares blankly at Kenneth*………*hands him a Problem Solving For Dummies book and a red pill*
You’ll be alright buddy