If you are a webmaster who feels a lack of motivation, I wrote this article specially for you. It didn’t matter when you started your way, but if you are sad now, it means that something wrong with your blog or web project. Perhaps you have been hit by Panda, Penguin, Phantom, Fred, or another Google algorithm update. I don’t know your story in fact. But I know that you want to create a project which might become one of the most visited websites on the Internet. Generally speaking, the cause of your problems isn’t a lack of experience. It seems that you were unlucky to stumble upon the injustice from the side of Google. So, what you need to launch a successful web project? What must be your first step? Is it real at all?
I owned a project which garnered about 200K unique visitors a day before was hit by the unknown Google algorithm update. My drop in the visitors has happened on the eve of the presidential election, and since there was no official confirmation of an update, I think it was a political decision to some degree. It seems that I was punished by the so-called “Fake News” algorithm update. This punishment doesn’t relate to Google ranking, generally speaking.
A lot of quality websites suffered from this penalty. But my goal is not to reveal my defeat. On the contrary, I want to explain to you how I managed to gain over 190K visitors a day being a single webmaster. I have an article about how to earn over $15K a month with a personal blog where you could get acquainted with some screenshots of my stats. I suggest you read this article since it contains a lot of useful information. However, the primary goal of this article is to showcase you what you need to do to survive among the eminent competitors.
Below, I’d like to reveal you a list of rules:
- You need to find a unique idea for your project which has never been covered by any other webmaster
- There must be an invention in the core of your website which would differentiate you from others
- You will have to find a micro niche capable of generating a lot of organic traffic
- Your technical setup must be excellent, without any bug
- You need to use only reliable sources
- In my case, the speed of publication did matter. As a result, you must publish your content ahead of your rivals
- It’s necessary to update your project as a news website
- Your goal is to gather a lot of natural backlinks from various reliable sites
- One of your primary purposes is to force your visitors to come back to your website occasionally
- You need to know where to move forward after you achieve your goal
Discover a unique idea
It looks like an unreal task to generate about 200,000 unique visitors a day for a single webmaster. But I claim this goal is accessible. Such amount of traffic is comparable with the audience of a typical media resource. Therefore, don’t think that I am kidding you. However, it’s true. To achieve such a success, you need to find a unique idea.
Any idea might bring you success if there is no serious competition in the niche where you work. It looks almost unbelievable, but there are a lot of niches free of competitors on the Internet. However, I’m a little cunning. My competitors were as huge as WSJ, NYT, and even Forbes. However, my uniqueness was in what I call the “thin niche.”
Any massive project or media outlet has a lot of categories of information. For instance, Huffington Post writes about Politics, Culture & Arts, Celebrities, TV & Film, Style & Beauty, Food & Drink, Travel, Money, etc. As a result, the only way to compete with such competitor as Huffington Post is to write about, for example, Style & Beauty better than the authors working in this media outlet. That’s why some personal DIY blogs about fashion have a chance to compete with such giants in their thin niches.
Summing up, to become famous, you must focus your efforts on a thin low-competitive niche, and become the # 1 in it.
Invent something special
Everything was invented before your birth, isn’t it? I claim that it is not. You still have a chance to create something original for your visitors. My uniqueness was an ability to inform them about some specific events. As a result, I was able to gather about 800,000 subscribers.
In your case, you must turn on your imagination to invent the thing never seen before on the Internet, if we are talking about a web project. A lot of startups appeared during the past five years. Your primary goal is to stand in one row with them.
Focus your efforts on a micro niche
As I have mentioned above, I was managed to discover a micro niche. But I can’t even imagine that someday I might receive an opportunity to compete with media monsters. That’s how the Google algorithm works.
In a nutshell, your SEO strategy looks as follows:
- Since your website is unique, Google allows you to climb on the 1st place by a low-competitive search query
- If you managed to remain in the TOP 1 search results, Google would give you a chance to compete with more severe rivals by a mid-competitive keyword
- Eventually, when popular websites started linking to your project, Google would provide you an opportunity to be in the TOP 10 SERP by a highly-competitive keyword
- When your site is visible by lots of high-competitive search queries, you start receiving huge organic traffic
Remember the three steps described above? This is how the white hat SEO works.
On paper, everything looks simple. But how to implement such approach in practice? Let’s follow the advanced steps.
Your technical setup
To exist among the business sharks, you must be perfect. In fact, to host a WordPress blog, which generates about 200K unique visitors a day, you need to use a $40-80/month hosting plan at DO. There is nothing extraordinary in such load. But, in that case, why all the rest pay thousands of dollars to host such an audience?
The secret is in caching of your resources. However, your website entire optimization does matter. I wrote an article on the subject. However, I didn’t reveal here my exact setup. One day, I’ll write a blog post on the subject. But for now, you need to remember the following rules.
- Change your web server to NGINX
- Use Symphony as your PHP framework or WordPress as your platform
- Tune up PHP FastCGI caching or use VARNISH or another PHP accelerator
- Install Yoast SEO plugin, to forget about the most common mistakes in SEO
- Write your own theme for WordPress (Joomla, Drupal)
What are the sources of your content?
My primary advantage was that I used only reliable references to inform my visitors and subscribers about the subject they were interested in. To win the game, you must use the primary source. In other words, you will have to take the data from the place where they originated.
Let me give you some examples. If you state on your website that SONY released a new game for their Play Station platform, you need to quote such announcement from the company official Twitter page or share a link to a press release containing this news. To do this, you need to find a subsidiary of the Sony Corporation, which is responsible for games and entertainment. Next, you should seek for their official Twitter page. After, you will have to discover the official confirmation of the announcement. Lastly, you could publish the quote. Do you understand what am I talking about? If you manage to showcase Google that you’re using reliable sources while writing your articles, the search engine would appreciate such an approach.
You are the one who learns the news first
To be in the 1st place in the Google SERP, you should be the first among your rivals who learn the news. Of course, Google prioritizes large media outlets. However, the Google News Bot realizes that there are some local media resources or branch media which know more about the subject. It’s your chance to showcase your awareness to the search engine. However, to cope with such a task, you will have to follow another rule.
Update your website frequently
To appear in the Google News listing a registered website should post at least two news articles a day. I bet you can’t get into Google News as a single webmaster. But you might invite the Google News Bot to your project. To accomplish this idea, you should post about 5-7 articles a day. I know that it looks totally unreal. However, my experience allows me to claim that it’s possible to publish even ten articles (500-700 words) a day for a single person. But you must bear in mind that it would take about 16 hours of continuous work. Well, I don’t want to convince you to write and post too many articles. But you need to publish at least 3-5 articles a day to increase your visibility in the Google SERP. This task is real. Trust me.
How to get natural backlinks from the websites from ALEXA TOP 10,000
It’s time to talk about backlinks. I know that you read a lot on the subject. But my technique is entirely different, unlike other SEO advisors. Go back to an option # 3. Above I described how GoogleBot evaluates your website. If you understand how it works, you might realize that the only way to get your first backlink is to appear in the Google TOP 10 results by a low-competitive keyword. Such SEO visibility would eventually give you a chance to be visible for a journalist who writes for a popular media outlet. If this guy finds your article reliable enough, he might suggest it to his editor.
Just imagine that this fellow works in Forbes or NYT. Isn’t it perfect? For these journalists doesn’t matter who you are. If Google decided to put you in the 1st place, they would trust in such a decision by the search engine. Almost for everyone, Google is a de-facto standard. Why don’t use such an opportunity?
You must encourage your visitors to visit your project regularly
Google appreciates when the search engine detects that your visitor is coming back again and again to visit your website. To gain such a trust of your audience, you will have to add outstanding content every day, or regularly. Also, ask your visitor to subscribe to your news and updates. In such case, you could ensure yourself that your visitors will be coming back after receiving an email notification about new posts on your blog. Each time a visitor returns to your website, it must discover something new and exciting to read (or watch). As a result, you must take care of your content to withhold your target audience.
What is your next step?
My mistake was that I didn’t know what to do next? When my organic traffic increased up to 200,000 unique visitors a day, I was going to reach a new height. I was about to garner 1 million visitors a day. Another option was to sell my project to some media conglomerate. Unfortunately, my self-confidence played a bad joke to me. Since I’m not a US resident, I wasn’t able to incorporate in the United States. Therefore, I decided to continue the struggle with powerful competitors to become the # 1. A sad fact, but it seems that their ties were substantial. I don’t think that someone planned to eliminate my project. But my website has become prominent. The leaders in the niche paid their attention to my project.
Over time, I faced numerous attacks, including XML-RPC, mirroring, black hat SEO techniques against me. Finally, a mysterious Google algorithm update (which has been rolled out in December 2016) hit my website. As a result, my organic traffic from Google started to decrease. But I was in the Google TOP 10 for two years. I think it’s a substantial experience. I was able to climb onto such a peak. You could do the same.
In this blog post, I’ve tried to showcase you that everything is real if you believe in your dream. But you must be ready for many obstacles along the way. To garner such immense traffic that I was able to do, you will have to avoid a lot of mistakes and follow the rules described above. Of course, I can’t include all my experience within this article. That’s why I’ve launched the blog you’re reading now. If you want to learn more about my way and discover additional SEO techniques and recommendations, I suggest you read all the articles on my SEO blog. Good luck. I hope your experience will be more productive.
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