How are things with the niche sites?

I don’t post here that often but what seems to be the overriding theme normally is that I’ve not really done that much and I’m still earning money through my sites. Both of these remain mostly true although there are always peaks and dips in both with earnings and my productivity.

Anyone involved with SEO and Internet Marketing (IM) will have felt the pressure from Google over the past year with their constant algorithm changes, penalties, and what is seen as constant changing on the goalposts. What was correct last year is now frowned upon and this has seen many drop out from IM as they’ve seen their profits disappear. As I’ve always said this is a hobby of mine, I don’t depend on the money, and I have a full-time job, but the extra money comes in handy so I’m sticking to it and I’m still doing okay.

What have Google done?

Okay, so basically the majority of traffic to niche sites comes from Google and it used to be fairly easy to get your site ranking if you knew the game to play. Pick an exact match domain (EMD), put up some content, get a few links, and hey presto you had a top 10 site for your keyword. Google have removed the bonus that EMDs had in the rankings, penalised sites with poor backlinks, and penalised sites for the quality of their content, and with that it’s seen a lot of sites bomb.

Rightly or wrongly this has had a big effect on the SERPs (Search Engine Ranking Positions) and whilst it has removed a lot of poor quality sites it has also taken some good ones along with it which is hard for those who have done everything right. Of course Google don’t owe us anything, and the way they are changing it may be that Google isn’t quite the place it started off as as they look towards their own profits.

How have I been effected?

With previous updates I’ve managed to get by as generally my content is of a high standards and unique, and I’ve never really build a huge amount of backlinks, so Panda and Penguin (Google Updates) have knocked me a bit but I’ve always managed to get up and get sites ranking again. Profits have fluctuated (see My Year in Niche Websites post) but I’ve always got back to where I’ve been earning and increased on it.

This has been true since I stopped publishing my income reports and Google’s EMD update knocked my back down and this month I have made just over £400 as opposed to just under £800 last month but I think I can get my sites earning more again soon.

Goodbye Amazon Associates

What the EMD update did was knock my big affiliate site off the SERPS and that went from earning £180-£200 a month to earning peanuts and that’s a bit sad and means I am solely relying on AdSense for my niche site income. If I’m honest with myself the site was quite thin but it was nice whilst it lasted and I don’t think I can get it ranking again. I’m actually steering clear of product websites and it looks like the big boys have snuffled the top places and Google are taking the rest with their own results.

Authority Site?

I know it’s the way to go, but my ‘real’ job has taken a lot more of my time and it’s meant I’ve done nothing to the site which I’ve promised for the last 6 months. It’s still there, with one article, and that isn’t enough to launch it so it’ll stay on the back burner. It is something I want to do so it’s not dead yet but it may be a while until it sees the light.

Any Questions?

I know a few people pop by here so have you got any questions about niche sites? Want to let me know how you’re doing? Pop me a comment below.