What’s the biggest site you’ve ever built? 50 pages? 100? Throughout most of my career I never built anything too massive, until a recent project which tested my skills causing me to venture into some new territory. After learning some new shit and having a bit of success I wanted to share the nitty gritty with all of you.
- 1 Content
- 2 Site Building
- 3 Keywords
- 4 Monetize
- 5 Into the sunset
- 6 Signing Off
Before we get started let’s rewind a bit and talk about expired domains. If you’ve followed my blog then you know I’m a fan of them for more than just PBN building. I’ve been lucky enough to have some nice snags that could actually be rebuilt into a legitimate money making site. So we need to properly set the scene first before I dive into the details of building, since this will NOT work if you went and registered a new domain and replicated it. Well actually, you would just need to build a shitload of high power links to the root domain to be able to juice it up and match what I’m working with. The site currently has 3k referring domains so I’m definitely wielding some power.
Ok. Now that’s out of the way. I don’t want anyone getting the wrong impression and thinking we jumped into a time machine to 2002. You’re going to need either a domain that is juiced or be able to get a ton of baller links.
With this type of play,content is more important than ever. Straight to archive.org. I went and recovered everything good I possibly could. That only got me so far, since a large portion of the site would be more image based posts. I needed a crapload of images and wasn’t about to pay for them. Think about a free desktop background site.
Google images it was then. At first I used Scrapebox to download the first 10 images automatically but this created quite a mess. Then I wound up just paying a VA to essentially grab only the best looking images that would work for our purposes. This part is a bit black hat so shield your eyes if you have to. Watermarking the images automatically was difficult since the watermark needed to be in different places depending on the image. More billable hours for my VA. She was happy….
So now that I had my images I had to make them unique so I could rank them. To make an image “unique” all you really have to do is resize it slightly then strip the exif data. So I created a simple photoshop automation to handle this for me. Feel free to download it here. Just drag your folder of images to the droplet and it runs through them all resizing them first, then saving them for web format which removes the exif data.
Custom Post Type
For the actual posts it’s helpful to use a custom post type. This will give you more control over the meta descriptions and post template for that type. If you’re not savvy enough to do this, here is a good plugin that will add post types for you. Keep in mind how you decide to structure URL is crucial.
I used a setup like this:
That’s what I went with to get both the singular and plural variation in the URL. I actually settled on this URL structure years ago. Today I’d probably just do:
Meh, we could spin our wheels on this all day, settle on what works best and be prepared to stick with it FOREVER.
Now this is a huge bonus of having a CPT. You can easily set a meta description for those specific posts only. Take a look at the SEO assholes and see how I setup the titles.
Super simple in this example, I just added “- SEO and Marketing Bio” after the page title. This was after noticing a lot of those pages were ranking well, so I figured I’d add that in at least. Enough about the assholes; back to my beast that I’m working on.
So not only can you template your title tag, you can also do the same thing with your meta description. At first I was a bit nervous about having 1000 pages with near identical meta descriptions and titles. But then I looked at a couple of big sites crushing it like Pinterest and Etsy. Etsy has a ton of search pages with auto generated titles, meta descriptions, and H1. Well I’m not Etsy but I figured I’d be fine with only 1k pages. And yes, it is well over a year later since implementing this and it has definitely helped.
Around 9/2015 I started putting my foot on the gas adding a lot of new pages. Hit 1k pages 2/2016 rolling strong.
I used something like this for my title and meta description:
Title: Download your Free %%title%%s at Domain
Description: Get your amazingly awesome %%title%% here in multiple sizes. We have desktop backgrounds for mac and PC. Click ME I have your answers!
Yes that description is a joke, please don’t use anything ridiculous like that.
Hand Spun Category Descriptions
I’m also using a taxonomy to help organize things and give me some more SEO potential.
Let’s say for example I have a bunch of sports related wallpapers. It could get even more specific to baseball and football, or even NFL. To accommodate for this we have “types” taxonomy. Each one of these type pages will have a 3-4 sentence unique description on page.
Note: Meta can just be %%title%% and %%excerpt%% for these.
Elbow grease is the only way of getting this done. I used hand spun content. Yup all you haters out there, there’s even “white hat” purposes for spinning content. The content is saying the same exact thing each time, basically “Here are the best wallpapers about x. Enjoy!”
To outsource that or write it uniquely 50+ times is insane to me, plus I knew I’d be adding more categories over time so this would come in handy. I just pulled my spin file to confirm. I managed to write 15x different unique descriptions. Then I word spun the shit out of it. Spun the whole thing together and that’s my master spin for my cats. Lastly I just use GSA search engine ranker, make a simple project and paste the spun description in the content body like 10x. Click test and generate yourself 10 descriptions, copy paste, rinse and repeat.
Related Posts plugin
Internal linking is huge for this, what I settled on is this related post premium plugin. The thing is pretty beastly. You can customize it and adjust the weights, then auto link everything. You can also manually change the links which is nice, but the auto feature works really well. I have it set to display 6 posts for the CPT with the weights set high for the type taxonomy. Each wallpaper page will have a block of 6 related posts and they will be mainly from the same category. So the New York Jets wallpaper page will have links to other NFL wallpapers, etc.
Bulk Upload via CSV uploader
Adding all these pages one by one was out of the question. After trying pretty much every CSV uploader plugin there is I found one that gets the job done. This is the plugin, it’s not perfect but the best solution I’ve found. Be sure to select your CPT after you upload the file.
Here is the format I’m using for my CSV:
post_title / wallpaper_type / featured_image / post_date
Super simple. The only other thing to watch out for is you need to manually select the “Type” field in this case.
To help people navigate through the site better I wanted something a step up from the default WP search. I need CPT control for one, since I don’t want the wallpapers being returned when people use the search on other sections of the site. For this I used another premium plugin called SearchWP. This gave me the ability to create separate search engines on the site. Another bonus is Searchwp captures some data for you, most importantly failed searches. This came in handy for later researching new keywords and ideas to add. Our users are giving us tons of new ideas every day we just need to pay attention.
Obviously if we’re adding 1,000 pages we’ll need at least 1,000 keywords to target. Between our competitor’s keywords and the keyword planner everything we need is right at our finger tips.
I’ve covered my process for researching competitor keywords before so no need to rehash it here. This is the exact same process I used to research my keywords for this site. The biggest challenge was categorizing them all after you have one big list. Unfortunately I can’t think of any shortcut for this besides using a filter in excel but that will only get you so far. Fresh pot of coffee and just grind it out. Using the next idea though you won’t have to worry about categorization, since we’re starting with a category for our ideas.
Popular Shit and Category Based Research
It’s funny how long it took me to think of this. Why not start with the actual category and find ideas that way?
The NFL for example, why not just find a list of every NFL team there is?
Then add all of them or use excel to add the ” wallpaper” to the keyword and then check the volume in the keyword planner.
List of animals, list of celebrities, this opened up a ton of new ideas for me.
The last thing I did was just using an authority site for one of my categories, pulling there keywords with SEMrush and adding ” wallpaper” to those. Let’s take “Video Games” for example.
Take gamespot.com for example and export the keywords.
Now you’re going to have all kinds of ideas like “doom wallpaper”, “sonic the hedgehog wallpaper” etc that you can just dump straight into the video games category with the bulk uploader. Of course there might be some funky stuff that mixes in from such a big site but nothing is perfect.
Oh you thought we were doing all of this for fun? Hell no… The first goal is $100 a day, then $200, etc. Depends on the niche really. This example I’m working through is an absolutely terrible niche and it’s a struggle to make big money. There is money there but I’ve had to work for every bit of it.
Adsense Monetization (adcents)
Never been my first stop for making money but for this site I had no other choice. And talk about a rough road, optimizing adsense takes some effort. At first I just tossed up a 468 wide underneath my big featured image then an 300 x 600 in the sidebar. Talk about disappointing, at first I was lucky to break $5 a day. I didn’t let it get me discouraged though. I knew I could improve the CTR for one and my plan to add 1k+ pages would crush (the site only had around 150 poorly optimized pages at the time).
To summarize, here is everything I did:
-Customize the adsense color scheme to match my site
-Ran an experiment to see what was the ideal color combination
-Connected to Analytics for more data on what pages are making money and from where
-Compared the Adsense page views report to the overall pages to find areas with no ads. For example, I completely forgot to integrate the ads into my search pages for years. All this took was a few minutes working on the search.php template.
-I turned off all the third party ad networks. Just seemed to be slowing shit down way to much for the potential return. As you can see from the graph, revenue actually increased slightly. It’s tough to say conclusively though since I changed themes and made other improvements over this time.
Now the site makes $20-$30 a day and seems to be rising steadily. I’ll be happy if it gets to $50. Well shit of course I wanted 10x that for all the work but this site is still a big win. Also let’s not forget about the affiliate side.
Of course I wouldn’t forget about the bread and butter of my operation: affiliate marketing. Along the way I’ve been building some other content specifically targeted for some affiliate related traffic. This is driving the bulk of the site’s revenue but hey I couldn’t resist the opportunity for setting this section up based on the domain. It was a slam dunk as they say. It would also help grow the site since it’s pretty useful and gets natural links.
Into the sunset
Well I’m getting tired now just thinking about all the work that went into this site. It’s still an ongoing grind. As I finish this up, I’m itching to get back to my next task, which is mainly link building, a month or so of onsite building followed by months of obsession on links.
– If you use your own rank tracker that’s great. What I did was watch which pages ranked the highest naturally then I went and added 1-2 sentences of bullshit to each one. I probably should create another spin for this, but I just added content manually. You can also use SEMrush and see what pops, just use a filter like this:
This would give us everything ranking top 30 greater than 50 search volume. It also takes time for everything to fully settle in. I’m really happy to see mid page 2 to bottom of page 1 at the initial spot since I know it will move up more over the next couple months and eventually settle in the top 3.
Well now it’s on to rebuilding the next expired domain or maybe acquiring an existing site. Who knows, the future is looking very very bright!!