The SEO world changes quickly, and some of this content may be out of date.
For more recent content, check out the following case study where I break down step-by-step how I build an authority niche site that ended up generating $119,088 in just 9 months. Or check out the more recent posts on SeoFlipper.com.
First of all, thanks for all the questions. I really appreciate the time each and every one of you took to send in a question or feedback, even if I didn’t get a chance to respond right away. I guess offering to take on any and all questions during the busy holidays wasn’t the best idea…
Anyways, onto the first questions from Matt:
“I saw some of your sites for sale on flippa and thought I would check out your blog. You stress that keyword research is one of the most important factors. A couple of questions if you do not mind? 1) How important is an EMD and what differences have you noticed in ranking a non-emd vs. emd? 2) What is the minimum exact monthly searches you will target and also what is the ideal? Same with the CPC, what is the minimum and what is ideal?“
1) For niche sites, an EMD makes a huge difference, though its more important to just have your targeted keywords in your domain even if its not an EMD. Unless you’re trying to build a brand or a huge authority site, you should be look for an EMD, or at least looking to include your primary keyphrase + modifier.
2) Instead of giving you just a firm number, its more important that you understand what we’re looking for when searching for keywords.
Ultimately, the goal is to make money (duh), so exact match searches is just one factor in predicting how much our niche site will make. Adsense Earnings = Traffic X click through ratio (CTR) X cost per click (CPC).
Traffic is essentially determined by our ranking + the exact match searches. So the lower the competition and higher ranking we can achieve, the lower our exact match searches need to be.
Likewise, how much we earn for each visitor affects this as well. The more we can earn off of each visitor i.e. the higher our CTR and CPC, the lower our exact match searches can be.
I’ll give a concrete example. I had an EMD keyword that had 27k exact match searches monthly. It was an informational type site though, so the CTR was a lot lower than it would be for a commercial product term. The niche had advertisers but it wasn’t that commercial so it didn’t have a super high CPC either. It averaged about $100 a month in earnings.
I had another EMD that had 1.5k exact match searches monthly, but it was for a commercial product term. The cost per click was 2-3 times that of the first site and the click through ratio was 2-3 times higher as well. The keyword also earned about $100 per month, despite having only a fraction of the exact match searches.
Hopefully that gives you a better idea of what to look for when hunting for EMDs or keywords to target in general. To answer more specifically, I generally won’t register a domain for anything less than 1,000 exact match local monthly searches, $.75 CPC (if the CPC is lower than $.75, my minimum searches will go up), lots of advertisers in the niche, and low-moderate top 3 SERP competition.
“In your auctions you were using pro-sense blue theme? Is this the theme you recommend and have had the best success with? What is your average CTR across all sites with this theme? What other themes have you tried?”
There’s really no point in knowing what an average CTR is across a wide range of sites with the same theme. Niche selection and the presence of targeted ads for your chosen keywords affects CTR a lot more than theme, as long as you have the basic placements right. I could tell you it varies between 2% all the way to 25% depending on the keywords and niche.
That said, I wouldn’t only use prosense. Blue sense works great as well, as does inserting your own ad blocks into standard, basic themes. In my experience the “money” adsense block is the one right under the title of the post before the content. 2nd is usually a 160×600 ad placed along the side. Any theme that has this is going to get you a pretty nice CTR. A link unit across the top and another ad unit at the bottom of the content usually rounds out my ad placements. Just make sure everything is somewhat blended color wise, and be careful about your layout with Google’s new “too many ads above the fold” algorithm.
“Also you said you use Market Samurai. Do you use the SEOC feature when finding domains? If so, what number do you find too hard to rank for? I have been targeting around 500,000 or under but would like to hear your experience.”
I’ve actually switched away from Market Samurai for the last few months and I’ve been using SERPIQ instead. Market Samurai is still a good tool, but I just found they were having too many errors and it ran too slow. SerpIQ is great for competition research, but it does lack the ability to instantly analyze and filter out a large number of keywords. I’ve been playing around with a couple other programs for this, but I don’t want to recommend them just yet.