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Finally, a part of life where being thin isn’t better anymore!

I’ve been spending some time reading about the interesting world of niche and “authority” sites lately. I never would have delved so deep if Google had never laid the smackdown. Everybody kept talking about the latest carnage, so I just had to pay attention. The idea is to create a site that focuses on a target keyword to start earning some advertisement revenue while doing little to maintain after launch. There are probably millions of sites out there with just a couple of posts waiting to be found.

I actually love the idea of kicking back and doing nothing to make money. But darn it, it took me 13 years of saving, investing, and waking up at the crack of dawn to be able to do nothing! Our niche site friends were able to make some nice coin in just months, if not days. Genius! I respect anybody who puts in the effort to arbitrage inefficiencies in a market. They are much better than those who sit at home complaining why they aren’t rich while doing nothing about it!

I can barely keep up writing for two or three blogs a week so I was scratching my head when I met folks who have 20, 30, 75, and even 200 blogs! To start, isn’t that a crap load of annual domain registration fees to pay? What about the process of updating sites one by one? Brutal! As it turns out, almost all the content is outsourced, and there isn’t much new content once the initial posts are published. The hope of having an exact domain site, or even a partial domain site to attract Google’s attention with little content flew out the window.

LEARNING FROM THE CARNAGE

It’s horrible to lose income after spending so much time working on a site(s). Many webmasters have reported a 60-70% drop in income overnight. Google is a sharp, double-edged sword that allows us to flourish or flounder when their algorithms dictate. I really do wish the best for everyone who have been adversely affected by the latest Penguin, Panda, EMD updates. The amount of power Google has is truly concerning.

Let’s put together a list of things we need to do and understand in order to minimize our risks of disappearing.

* Write thick, meaty, juicy, content. Thin content is out, thick content is in. Say it with me! If you have a problem with being overly verbose and repeating yourself over and over again, you’ve ironically found yourself in a good situation! Now all you’ve got to do is write more succinctly. In this ADD world, not many people can read a 1,500 word post in one sitting. However, if you are desperately looking for help via search, you can’t get enough! Think about the last health scare you had. When you searched online, how awesome was it to read something that went on and on about solutions to your potential problem? How frustrating was it to consistently see thin posts with no substance? Search traffic is huge. Cater to it as you get into the immediate stages of blogging. Don’t forget to include your voice.

* There are no sustainable shortcuts. It’s very tempting to assume that all you have to do is register a domain name that has some keywords you’re targeting, publish a couple posts, repeat over 100 times and voila, big bucks! The problem is, Google knows everything, and my friends at Google tell me this everytime we battle on the poker table! If you are Google, your job is to provide the best content on the web for a particular search phrase. There’s only so many  results that can show up on page one. If bad results show up frequently enough, users are going to switch to Yahoo or Bing (hope these guys do better!), and Google will start losing advertising business. Take the shortcut mindset and throw it out your window. You might end up wasting way more time trying to take the easy route than if you took the hard route as many webmasters recently discovered.

* Realize the reality of your writing. Everybody thinks their writing is great. The reality is, we’re probably much worse writers than we are, myself included. Read any page of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald to realize how limited our skills are compared to the greats. The best way to find out whether you are resonating with your readers is by discovering which are your 10 most commented posts, and which are your 10 most visited posts by search. These posts are the intersection of potentially good writing and good recognition. See what you did right with these posts and continue iterating along these lines.

* Introduce multi-media content. WordPress makes it easy to add videos, graphics, and podcasts. Given Google owns YouTube and Google+, it wouldn’t hurt to add such items. Experiment with what works. Work on your strengths. If you have a horrible voice, forget podcasting. If you can’t shine for the camera, forget video. Focusing on your core competency is important for any successful venture.

* Build a brand. When was the last time you wrote a value proposition for your site? It’s important to build a brand to stand out from the crowd. Financial Samurai is a personal finance site geared towards a higher income group looking to reach financial independence sooner rather than later. Yakezie is a personal finance network that is focused on community service. What does your brand say? Google deemphasizing exact match domains for sites that have deep contact on the particular search subject.

* Push on through to the other side. I firmly believe most people who fail give up too soon. They aren’t able to push through the initial slow growth phase. I used the Alexa toolbar as a way to keep me motivated to breakthrough 200,000 my first six months whenever nobody gave me the time of day. It was just me and my girl Alexa encouraging me to not stop. Now I’ve got a portfolio of a thousand posts that will continue to bring in traffic and revenue for years to come without having to do anything. Use whatever it takes to help you on your path. Google and the likes will continue to adjust their algorithms to bring traffic to the best content on the web.

HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT?

I’m willing to bet anybody that if they publish over 3,500 words a week of focused, original content for 152 consecutive weeks their sites will get at least 2,000 pageviews a day while earning $1,000 or more a month online. Search engines will love your useful posts that can solve people’s problems for years to come. Your authority builds to the point where trust flourishes. You might get to the point where you no longer are scared of losing everything from Google, because you provide so much value.

There’s a new Yakezie Challenge through New Year which encourages Challengers to write over 5,000 words a week. The idea is to fight our laziness during the holidays, put in the effort while others are playing, prove those who call us “lucky” wrong, and reap the rewards in the future when our posts get picked up by search. We aren’t writing for the sake of just writing. The content shall be purposeful, helpful, and focused around our expertise. If you’re interested in getting thick with content, you can find the 5,000 Word Yakezie Challenge right here. I’ll be highlighting the Challengers accomplishments in the New Year!

Readers, what are your thoughts on niche/authority sites which are not authority sites? Is the entire genre dead forever as Google figures out ways to weed out thin content? What are your strategies to make sure you stay relevant? Why doesn’t everybody focus on building a deep site instead?

Regards,

Sam

Photo: Google is like this fluffy dog named Bam Bam. Treat it well, and he will repay you 10 fold. SD.