AFP 22: Tracking And Monitoring Niche Websites

Justin Cooke

May 22, 2012

The more websites you build, the more difficult it becomes to track your rankings, monitor which websites are up or down, etc.  As your empire continues to grow, you’ll find a larger portion of your time becomes dedicated to tracking what you have…which isn’t great for continuing to build and grow your business forward.

How To Track & Monitor an Army of Niche Sites

In this episode, we get into the tools and processes we use to track and monitor our websites, their rankings, and ultimately their success or failure.  We’re asked often about particular instances with websites we have and we often reply that we try not to look at particular sites, but rather groups of sites or our sites as a whole.  This episode explains the method to our madness and how we keep from pulling our hair out with all of the data!

Note: We’re offering another FREE Niche Site Giveaway!  All you have to do is check us out on iTunes and leave us a review.  One lucky winner will be randomly selected to receive a free, earning niche site from us!  (Limited to US, UK, Canadian, and Australian iTunes reviews)

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Podcast Transcripts (Click Show to View)

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Justin:
Welcome to Episode 22 of the AdSense Flippers Podcast. I’m your host Justin Cooke and I’m here with the man with the plan Joe Magnotti. What’s going on, buddy?

Joe:
Hey everybody.

Justin:
You’re the big boxer, man. You got a big boxing event coming up this weekend.

Joe:
I am primed and ready.

Justin:
Dude, it’s going to be crazy. We’re going to have a ton of people there. We got the VIP seats. We got the ring girls. It’s going to be going off.

Joe:
Yeah. We will have some video follow-up as well.

Justin:
Yeah, dude. That would be awesome. Well, this week’s episode is all about how to track and monitor your websites. We’re going to be going into how to keep track of your websites, see where they’re ranking, whether they’re up and running. But first, before we get into that, let’s get into some news and updates. First bit of news, we’ve got a new giveaway going on.

Joe:
Hit me up, Justin. What is it all about?

Justin:
Here’s the deal. For any iTunes reviews through June 30th, from today through June 30th, we will be giving away one niche site randomly to one of the reviewers.

Joe:
Nice.

Justin:
Pretty good deal, right? So yeah, anyone who gives us a review on iTunes and this is for the UK, US, Australia and Canada. Sorry to everyone else but in any of those countries, if you give us a review, you will be put in a drawing for a niche site from us.

Second thing is we’ve got NicheSiteGold.com up and running, buddy. I got the first email out. Well, there were some keywords like seed keywords, how we found that, how we’re ranking them on the first page, how well we think we can get the sites ranked. I think it was really good. We set it out to both Niche Site Gold, email list, and the AdSense Flippers email list. So I think that went pretty well.

Joe:
Yeah. I saw that and actually some people snapped up the available domains pretty quickly.

Justin:
Yeah, they’re buying them up pretty quick so that’s pretty cool. We should have another one. Now there should be a weekly newsletter so we will be putting that out every week and you can expect that in your email box.

Joe:
Now there has been a little bit of a problem there. We have to avoid multiple buyers.

Justin:
Yeah. Here’s the thing. So originally, the plan was to be able to sell those URLs or those domains to people. The problem is I don’t want to sit on an email list and have one person buy it and then six people buy it right afterwards, right? Then we have to refund all these people. It’s kind of a pain in the butt. I think PayPal does a …

Joe:
Inventory control.

Justin:
Yeah, inventory issue where we can kind of put that in and once it’s bought, it’s gone kind of thing.

Joe:
Yeah. I seem to look it up. I need to call them and figure out how it works.

Justin:
All right. So we will get that set up in the next couple of weeks. I didn’t want to wait though. I wanted to get that email out to people and start to see what we’re doing for keyword research and we can help some people off figure out how to evaluate the first page.

Joe:
Cool. Well the other thing is we got back from Startup Weekend Cebu. It’s a great experience. Wait Know More was the winner. It’s waiting in line technology.

Justin:
Yeah. It’s Wait Know More. WaitKnowMore.co.

Joe:
We will put a link to the site in the show notes.

Justin:
Yeah. Pretty cool. So here’s the deal. People get sick of waiting in line. You’re at the DMV or you’re wherever. You’re sick of it. So how about this? Instead you can leave. You just check in with your phone. Leave. You get a text message or a message on the app really quick when you’re sitting at Starbucks. It tells you you’re 10 minutes from being at the front of the line. You hop right back in line. You’re good to go.

Joe:
Yeah, the best part about it is that they share the advertising revenue with the place that has the technology. So there is some benefit. There is some reason for them to adopt the technology.

Justin:
Yeah. What I like, I like to see them go to the manufacturer, all those machines that are already in place and see if they can get something like – into the systems that are already out there. I think that would be a great idea.

Anyway, TechTalks.ph did a great job of putting this together. Tina was a fantastic host, so was Mark, and they really kind of opened up our eyes when it comes to like the tech scene in Cebu City. It’s pretty cool.

Joe:
Yeah. Thanks, Tina. Thanks, Mark. You guys really helped us get things together, get all the interviews done, everything we needed. So really appreciate all your help and if you ever want to come down to Davao, set something up in Davao, just let us know.

So the next thing on the list here, we’re looking for a conversion expert for AdSense Flippers.

Justin:
Yeah. Here’s the thing, man. Our site sucks. Dude it’s ugly, man, right? There are people that go to the site. They’re like, “Oh my god, I heard so much about you and your site looks horrible.”

Joe:
It does need a redesign, I admit that, and this is the first step in the redesign.

Justin:
Yeah. This is the first step in the redesign. We really want someone to kind of go in there and like give us an idea on how we can better convert, right? How we can put new visitors, give them better options through our content, show them kind of where our good posts are and kind of help them navigate the site a bit better. I think it will be helpful. We need to do that first though before we do the redesign, right?

Joe:
Yeah, exactly. I mean I think that’s pretty important so that we can put together a good marketing brief so that designers know what to focus on.

Justin:
We use 99designs for this one, buddy?

Joe:
I think so and I think we should announce it to our listeners, to our readers and say, hey, if you guys have a good design idea for AdSense Flippers, please submit it on this private contest but on this contest platform because we get so many good ideas using 99designs that I think we should continue to do it.

Justin:
Cool. OK, last update I got. The Penguin updates.

Joe:
Oh my god. More Penguin stuff, huh?

Justin:
Yeah. So we’ve seen the niche sites bouncing around a bit up in the rankings, down in the rankings. We’ve seen a lot of movement. Now the reason we’re able to see this movement is because we use a service called Whoosh Traffic. We got in contact with Erica. She’s really kind of helping us through the process, kind of like tailoring a product I think that will be useful to AdSense Flippers listeners and to us, right? So we’ve been able to kind of monitor this. We begin the daily emails. I don’t check it everyday but we’ve been seeing a lot of movement, right?

Joe:
Yeah. Daily emails are quite nice because it shows you how the sites moved, how the keywords related, those sites moved and we will get into that a little bit later in the show but yeah, lots of movement both up and down and it’s something we need to talk about.

Justin:
I’m glad May we decided to kind of hold off on selling sites. We kind of want to stabilize, see what happens with the search engines. I think that was a pretty good move, don’t you think?

Joe:
Yeah. I think so especially with all these changes. We don’t want any of our buyers to get a bad taste in their mouth because they had a bad experience or something like that.

Justin:
Cool, man. Well let’s get right into the heart of this week’s episode.

****The AdSense Flippers Podcast****

Justin:
So this week’s episode is all about how to track and monitor your websites. Now I think this is important to remember. This is secondary, right? Making sure you have a profitable process goes first.

Joe:
Yeah. I mean you wrote that email in our automatic email stream about oh, I have to stop looking kind of thing.

Justin:
Yeah, yeah

Joe:
Remember that? Yeah, I think that’s so applicable here to what we’re talking about. This shouldn’t be something you’re checking all the time, right? You just want it to have to be something that is set up, that you make sure it’s set up correctly to begin with. You’re not kicking yourself down the line and spending a lot of time on it but you also don’t want to be dragging your free time down, rechecking and checking your rankings and your analytics and this and that for little, tiny changes that don’t really matter.

Justin:
Yeah, absolutely. I mean the thing you do want to do though I think is set everything up from the beginning. So track everything you can. You don’t need to necessarily think about it but make sure you set up a process that tracks it. I will give you an example. We’re working on a keyword tool that can kind of read the first page and give you an idea on whether or not you can rank for that keyword or not. We now have over 12,000 keywords we evaluated, right? So we can use all of that data and go back and use it as a model for whether or not our system works. Does it find our winners? Can it replace us when we’re picking the keywords? So because we have that data, we can do that. We wouldn’t be able to do it otherwise.

Joe:
Yeah. And I always like cloud-based systems better to record that data if possible. So if you have a way of putting it so in case your computer gets destroyed or you lose your phone or whatever, it’s not on one particular device. You can always access that data at a later time.

Justin:
You hear bloggers talking about this all the time, that you should always be using email lists. Email lists are critical for bloggers, right? Well, it’s the same thing for data, for niche sites. Data is critical. So make sure that you’re tracking it. Who knows what you will do with it but you will have an opportunity to use it later. So get that from the start.

Joe:
Yeah, and you can use that data to provide recording information and automated alerts, that kind of thing, and roll-ups that you can look at once a week, once a month, twice a year, that kind of thing.

Justin:
Yeah. We often look at our sites on like a monthly basis, right? So how are the February sites doing? How are the November sites doing?

Joe:
Yeah, and if you have that historical data, you can write a report down the line that you wouldn’t even think that report would be useful. So that’s why it’s really good to have that in one big database.

Justin:
So we’ve broken this up into three  parts. We’ve got part one. We’re going to talk a little bit about analytics. Part two, we’re going to talk about ranking and part three, we’re going to talk about monitoring your sites. So first, let’s talk about analytics.

So the first part is all about analytics. Now first off, I should say Google Analytics is a fantastic tool. We use it on every one of our sites. We use it all on our authority sites. We use it on everything and it’s important to note that you need Analytics over just having AdSense, right? AdSense will give you page views but it won’t give you all the rest of the data that’s useful later.

Joe:
Yeah. I hear this all the time from readers and a lot of beginners. Hey, I get page views from AdSense. Why do I need Google Analytics?

Well, Google Analytics gives you a lot more stats than just page views; the ability to track where the keywords are coming from, all kinds of information that AdSense does not provide.

Justin:
So let’s talk about the changes to Google Analytics. Really interesting. You’ve seen the real-time statistics. I love that. So you can see in real-time where people are coming from, how they’re getting to your site. You can now search for sites. I know that’s a big one for you.

Joe:
Oh, that’s a huge one because when you have so many sites like we do, it was getting more and more difficult to find our sites by manually having to go through each grouping and look for it. It was just a nightmare.

Justin:
I read a post on Smart Passive Income just a little while back talking about how to track your conversions. Like let’s say for opt-ins or for sales. Pretty useful for authority sites. We’ve been using it for AdSense Flippers. It’s really helpful to me but what I came across out of that post was he linked to somewhere else where they talked about the perfect dashboard, basically setting up your Google Analytics dashboard to where it’s amazing. It tracks everything for you and just basically runs on its own, right?

So the cool thing about Google Analytics now is that you can download the dashboard and automatically update it or automatically upload it to Google Analytics so it will set your dashboard to presets that have been created by someone else, an analytics expert.

Joe:
Yeah. Those are very useful and I think that’s a great way to get started using Google Analytics and just remember that if you’re overwhelmed by all the options and things in Google Analytics, don’t be scared. Get it running on your site. Get the code up there and then once you collect all the data, you can set these advanced features up later.

So something else that you should be aware of is there are some alternatives to Google Analytics and there are some really good add-ons, right?

Justin:
Yeah. People really freak out about Analytics. They go, “Oh my god, I’m giving Google way too much information.” That may or may not be true. We don’t particularly think that is. We’re fine with it but some people get a little nervous, right? Get a little nervous to the Google monster thing over their head.

Joe:
Well, I mean if your mantra is do no evil, then how can they support a free product and say that they’re going to use it against people? So that has always been my argument against people who have this conspiracy theory against Google Analytics. But there are some good alternatives like GetClicky, right?

Justin:
Yeah, GetClicky is great. You can download it and put it on your site, no problem. It gives you a lot of the same data that Google Analytics does. They’re kind of in competition right now but you just check it out, GetClicky.

Joe:
And then a great one especially if you have a little more of an authority site and you want to measure what users are doing on your site, you want to actually see it, it’s called ClickTale and what ClickTale does is it makes a video of every visitor that comes to your site. You can actually see where the mouse moves, what they click on, what they hover over, where they go. It’s very interesting for a seeing user experience on your site.

Justin:
Here’s an add-on I like, if you haven’t used it yet – Optimizely. So if you’re a non-tech guy like me, a non-designer, right? Basically what Optimizely lets you do is it lets you take particular boxes on your site and just move them around, right? I mean basically take this box, stretch it out, put it over here. See how it would look if it was there and then test, A/B test against each other, and see which one converts or does better for you, works better for you. It’s a fantastic tool.

Joe:
Getting back to Google Analytics and AdSense, you can get your AdSense data in Google Analytics and that will provide some better detail and tie the two systems together.

Justin:
Yeah, Analytics and AdSense can actually be combined. It’s on a limited number of sites. We don’t have it on all of our sites. We did in the beginning. It was pretty useful because you will see the AdSense earnings actually in your Analytics account. It’s pretty cool.

Now if you plan on selling some of your niche sites, it’s really important that you allow verified analytics to be posted. So if you’re going to be posting a post, an auction up on Flippa, you want to make sure to include verified analytics. The reason for this is anyone could put up a screenshot, a Photoshopped, doctored screenshot. But if you actually push it through the Flippa system, they have a way to verify that your analytics are legit and come from Google which is fantastic.

Joe:
Right. You know, and I would say if your intention is to sell sites, this is the number one reason you use Google Analytics because your auction looks that much more authentic and real if you have verified analytics.

Justin:
This second part is all about rankings and how to make sure or verify the rankings of your niche sites are there, are legit, are good, right?

Joe:
Right. We should say that targeted traffic is a lot more important than rankings. You can stress about rankings all day but sometimes you will have a site that doesn’t rank at all and it may rank in Google Images or it may rank very highly in Yahoo! or Bing and that’s where it gets its traffic from and if that traffic is targeted and the site is making revenue, then I wouldn’t worry so much about it.

Justin:
Yeah. A lot of times our sites will get this really odd long tail that we weren’t planning on and that one just hit so it’s ranked not for a keyword that we’re looking for but just randomly ranked for a long tail. That’s fine. You’re still getting traffic. It’s still targeted. It’s still showing relevant ads for that page, which is critical, and these are people that are searching for that particular subject, which is key.

Here’s a mistake I see a lot of new people on Flippa making, I see some of our readers or listeners asking us about, and this is when you are assuming that personalized or regionalized searches are the same way for everyone. So you will see someone on Flippa that says, “Oh, I’m ranked number three,” right? And then when you check the actual ranking nationally for that site, it’s ranked 13 or something, right? People make this mistake all the time.

Joe:
Yeah. And we’ve used Google in the past for this. There are a lot of ways, if you have an incognito window, if you use a US server if you’re coming from overseas. There are a number of ways to do that but just be aware that if you’re logged into your Google account or you have cookies enabled, you’re probably not seeing the search results that everyone else is seeing.

Justin:
Yeah, this is critical because if it’s ranked for you, you’re like, “Oh great. I’m number two.” But that’s because you plus one it or something, right?

Joe:
Right.

Justin:
Not good. I’ve noticed some people that own niche sites. They’ve been heading this direction where they try to get traffic not via rankings but via social media.

Joe:
Yeah. We got like an email from somebody the other day that had a site that was making huge amounts of traffic that was coming from social media and I was saying to you like, “What keyword could he possibly have that has that much social media interest?”

Justin:
Well, this concerns me and this is one of our readers or listeners and he has gotten a ton of traffic and a ton of earnings through social media.

Joe:
He’s really pushing social media as a traffic tool and not pushed his rankings in the search engine.

Justin:
Yeah, it’s amazing to me that he’s getting the amount of revenue and the amount of traffic he’s getting. It concerns me a bit too because social media traffic is not nearly as targeted so it’s not going to be as relevant to the page. So the people that might click on ads – I mean if you get a million people to your page in a day, even if they’re not looking at all for what you offer, some of them are just going to donk it up and click on some of your ads, right? It’s just going to happen.

Joe:
Right.

Justin:
I’m not sure those are very good customers for the potential advertisers that are on your page

Joe:
Right. Because in the end, if they don’t buy, then the advertiser is going to know that because it’s not going to convert and they’re going to go and complain to Google. Google is going to trace back where those clicks are coming from. Find it’s from your kind of half-spammy social media site and ban your AdSense account or warn you.

Justin:
Yeah. Ultimately, you want to get people that are looking for products or services, in touch with the products or services offered. And that’s how you can do that is through ranking, right? Ranking for the keywords that are relevant to your site and to the page.

Joe:
Right. Now there are a number of tools to track your ranking, right? Ton of options here. The one we mentioned in the beginning of the show was Whoosh Traffic and Whoosh Traffic if something that was newly introduced to us by Erica. She’s CEO of the company and I really like it. It’s a simple interface. It’s all cloud-based. You add your keyword pairs. They will call it keyword pairs which is a site and a keyword.

It’s affordable especially when people don’t have a lot of sites and when you do get up to a higher level, it’s going to be a little  more expensive but we’re working with them right now and they’re going to be adding a bunch of features. So I do like their approach. It has a lot of potential.

Justin:
I like the fact that it’s really simple. So if you have let’s say a 200-keyword plan. You can have 100 sites tracking two keywords each. You’re going to have 50 sites tracking four keywords each. So it’s basically just limited by the keywords that you’re searching for. So if you want to have 200 niche sites just looking at one keyword, that’s something you can do as well. It’s pretty cool.

Another one that I think you should definitely check out is SEOmoz. SEOmoz, you can use it for Open Site Explorer, but one of the things I love best is the campaigns that you can run inside of SEOmoz. Now this is probably more for authority sites than niche sites because it’s a bit more complicated but if you do have authority sites, I highly recommend checking out SEOmoz’s tool. It gives a free trial so you can try it for free for 30 days.

Joe:
Yeah, and then the last one to mention is good old Market Samurai. It does have the ability to track keywords. You wouldn’t have to do it from your own computer but you could put that on the server somewhere in the US and you would have good historical data kept somewhere. We used to do it that way. Remember when we first started out, Justin. That’s the way we tracked all the rankings for our sites.

Justin:
Yeah. The cool thing is that Market Samurai is obviously a one-time fee. I don’t know how much longer that’s going to last though, man. I mean a lot of these are going to monthly subscriptions. If you’re constantly running searches for your rankings, I think that’s probably – we’re going to see a shift here pretty soon with Market Samurai.

Joe:
Yeah. Well the other problem with the ranking in Market Samurai is you’re not going to be able to search your sites once a day from the same computer. So if you’re hitting Google that hard, you’re really probably going to get banned on your IP. So you got to be careful with that.

Justin:
The last thing we want to talk about briefly was the difference between fluctuations in your rankings, being penalized and being de-indexed.

Joe:
This is so important because we get so many emails about this, Justin. People say, “Oh, I’m de-indexed,” when they’re actually penalized. “Oh, the sites dropped out of the rankings,” when it’s just a normal fluctuation, all kinds of things.

Justin:
So really quickly, here’s the first thing you can do to check if you’re de-indexed. Search for site, S-I-T-E, colon and then your site. So if it’s BlueSkiBoots.org, type Site:BlueSkiBoots.org. If you see no pages, that means your site has been de-indexed. That’s a major problem. It’s gone from Google. It has been taken out of Google’s cache.

Joe:
Yeah, and that means you will lose any traffic that you were getting from Google and this will affect Google Images, Google Search, everything.

Justin:
Here’s a great way to tell if you’ve been tanked. We’re using the same example. Type “blue” space “ski” space “boots” space BlueSkiBoots.org, right? That’s pretty relevant for BlueSkiBoots.org and like it should be the number one result. If it’s not or you see some secondary pages appearing above the home page, that’s a sign that you’re tanked or there’s some kind of problem with the site. It has taken a hit in some way.

Joe:
Yeah. I would definitely look at your site map in Webmaster Tools. Make sure it’s submitted correctly and make sure there are no crawl errors or anything like that. See if you have any notices about bad links, that kind of thing.

Justin:
Webmaster Tools.

Joe:
In Webmaster Tools, right.

Justin:
So I mean another thing you will see is fluctuations, right? And we have these too where the 9th spot and all of a sudden we see that we’ve dropped to the 237th spot, right? And then we’re back up to the 8th spot, right? That happens.

Joe:
And this is why I love Whoosh Traffic, right? Because it’s nice, historical data. It emails you on a daily basis. You can see the fluctuations of the site that have actually changed and it would tell you if sites have not changed. So you can just look at the ones that have and kind of get an update on those sites. So you see one that dropped 200 spots? Well, the next day it came back. Maybe the server that Whoosh Traffic was hitting at that time had a problem or something.

Justin:
Maybe your site was down this last time. Yeah.

Joe:
Yeah, it could be anything and that’s why it’s important not to freak out about rankings immediately. Give it a couple of days and make sure it’s not a normal fluctuation.

Justin:
So part three of this episode is all about monitoring your sites over the long haul. Now this is critical to remember is to not obsess over any particular or individual site. The most important thing to do is to monitor the whole through automated or rolled-up processes.

Joe:
Yeah. If you try to do this manually, you’re going to drive yourself crazy especially if you start building a lot of niche sites.

Justin:
I get questions about this. I just had one the other day on Warrior Forum. Someone was saying, well how do you know – at what point do you watch your site and determine whether it worked or not? And honestly, I don’t look in the individual sites. I mean sometimes I do and it just makes me crazy because I check one and I check another one and I’m like, “How is this one doing?” Maybe it ranks for the secondary and once I go down that rabbit hole, three hours of my day is wasted.

Joe:
Right.

Justin:
So it’s a really bad idea. I try not to check individual sites. I try to look at them as a whole and the more sites you build out, the more you will start to do that, start to see them as groups.

Now it’s important when monitoring your sites, to make sure that you’re checking both their uptime and the speed on the site. The site is not up, right? If it’s down on a regular basis, that’s going to be a problem. It can dramatically hurt rankings. So can speed. So if your site is loading really slowly as ours were when we were hosting on Go Daddy – that’s one of the reasons we switched over to HostGator because HostGator was much faster. We found our sites were loading much faster for visitors.

Joe:
Yeah, there’s a number of things you can do to speed up your site. I mean obviously you can change hosting providers. You can also change the theme. You can make your CSS a little bit better and there are a number of tools to help you analyze your site and see what your speed is. Check the show notes. We will have those available but in terms of site monitoring, something so simple as measuring whether your site is up or not, you figured they would have a gazillion tools. And there are a gazillion tools out there to do it but I have to say that the cloud-based ones like Pingdom are not cheap if you have a lot of sites, especially if you want to do just like daily monitoring or something like that. It can be quite expensive for just a ping.

So what we use is a piece of software called SiteMonitor Enterprise. You can Google that. We will have the link down in the show notes as well. That’s actual software that we have running on a US server. It measures the response time and to look for a little piece of text. We have it look for our pub ID just to make sure that the sites have our AdSense code and everything is running as expected.

Justin:
Yeah. It’s cool to have something that we know is checking our sites. It would suck to have 300 of our sites down and us to not even know about it. So I’m really glad we have that in place.

Joe:
Yeah. I get a daily alert of the sites that are down or unavailable and once in a while, something is messed up. And I have to contact our hosting provider or talk to our site team or site setup team and see what’s going on. But it’s good to have these kind of automated reports so that I’m not, like you said, going crazy spending three hours of my day seeing if sites are up and working.

Justin:
So let’s wrap this podcast and the heart of this week’s podcast up. This is one of the main points we talked about. Make sure that you understand checking ranking, analytics, monitoring your sites. This is all secondary to making sure your sites are profitable. None of it matters if you’re not making money with your sites.

Joe:
We said until we’re blue in the face but yeah, focus on making money. This kind of stuff should be automated and just working on the background.

Justin:
Still important but not as critical as being profitable. Second thing is make sure you’re focusing on the whole and not in any particular individual sites, right? So how are your January sites doing? How are the sites from last year doing? Kind of group them together. Don’t look at specific individual rankings. Make sure that this is rolled up so maybe you look once a week to see how everything is doing. But don’t go in and start digging through all the individual sites.

Joe:
You know, I can also already see people disagreeing with us and saying, “Well, I only have eight sites and therefore I need to really track the rankings. I really need to see what the sites are doing on a daily basis.” You know what? I would say your efforts are better focused on making those sites better in some way or creating new sites. Even if they’re authority sites, even if they’re larger sites, don’t focus on this stuff.

Justin:
You’re setting yourself up with bad practices that you’re going to kick yourself later if you’re doing that with 8, 10, 12 sites. You’re going to be in a position where when you have 30, 40 sites, you’re going to pull your hair out and not be able to keep track of all your different sites. And that’s kind of the last point is to make sure that you’re using automated services and roll-ups and you need to get this cheap because this is secondary. It does hurt the bottom line. It starts to stack up, right?

Joe:
Yeah. I was just going to say this can get expensive not only in terms of time but in terms of actual money and things, that you’re spending a little piece of software here, an automated service there. But it is important and I would prefer to pay for a service that’s good and provides me a nice, automated, clean report on a daily, weekly or monthly basis than me have to check or make the script myself or something like that.

Justin:
Yeah, it’s peace of mind. It allows us to focus on other projects we’re working on, right?

Joe:
Exactly.

Justin:
All right. That’s it for the heart of this week’s episode. Let’s get right into our ninja marketing tips, tricks and our plans for the future.

****The AdSense Flippers Podcast continues****

Justin:
So the first ninja marketing tip we have for you is SEOmoz. Fantastic resource and not only their blog but some of the tools they have as well. Right now, we’re paying 100 bucks a month and we’re getting some great information. For example, we use their tool to track AdSense Flippers and some of our other sites. We also are using it for keyword research, right?  It’s helping us find which keywords we can rank for and where they’re at.

Joe:
Yeah. I always knew SEOmoz was there but I never actually used any of their tools until Yahoo! Site Explorer went away.

Justin:
Yeah, yeah.

Joe:
And then we’re kind of forced to use their Open Site Explorer tool and we noticed had a bunch of their other tools that are really useful for what we’re doing. So make sure to go over there and check it out.

Justin:
We’re pretty late to the party here. I mean SEOmoz has been out for a long time but I mean Open Site Explorer is fantastic. We are looking for a replacement for Yahoo! Site Explorer. This is the way to go. But anyway, check it out. It’s a free trial. If you don’t like it, cancel it. No problem.

Joe:
So something they have upcoming and kind of interesting that I’m working on is a tool to help analyze the first page of results in terms of competition.

Justin:
Yeah. We found that to be a bit of a problem, right? Like we’ve gone through keyword research. I mean the data is the data. The numbers are the numbers, right? On trying to figure out which keywords will work. The really hard part is the stuff that’s in our heads, right? That we haven’t really kind of put out like – we feel which keywords are best.

Joe:
The subjective stuff and I think that we just – you touched on it before. We have so much data that we could make that subjective analysis a little bit more objective but we need to use a tool to kind of organize that a little better. So I’m working with a developer. I hope to have something up and running in the coming months and we will see how we release it to readers and listeners.

Justin:
Yeah. The idea is we want to take this tool and kind of use it internally first. We want to get – kind of set the parameters, have it go back and look at all the keywords we’ve ever researched and look at how well it pulls out the actual winners that were winners for us.

Once it does that, then we can start to apply it to our future sites to see how well that works and then offer that tool up for other people so they can start to pick out their winners too. I mean this is a real problem. We get this question a lot from people. What do you think about this keyword? What do you think about my site? Is this the right niche? And I think this would really help solve a lot of people’s issues there.

Last thing we want to touch on is a reminder. We have a free niche site drawing to any iTunes reviewers. Any iTunes review through June 30th will be in the drawing for a niche site free from AdSense Flippers. So make sure to check out the AdSense Flippers podcast on iTunes. Give us a review and you will be in the drawing.

Joe:
Good luck everybody and you know I will be picking the number.

Justin:
Well that’s it for this week’s episode of the AdSense Flippers Podcast. Thanks for being with us. Make sure to check us out on Twitter, @AdSenseFlippers. We would love to see you.

Joe:
And I’m taking boxing advice in the show notes. Thank you.

Justin:
Yeah, buddy. KaPow in Davao this next weekend. Hope you win.

 

Topics Discussed This Week Include:

  • Our keyword research newsletter at NicheSiteGold.com, an upcoming re-design of AdSenseFlippers.com, and our latest niche site giveaway.
  • How to setup your website tracking before even getting started.  (And the reasons why you should)
  • Why analytics are important for niche websites and AdSense data alone isn’t enough.
  • How to track rankings across a host of keywords and niche sites and rolling up that data for review in a way that’s not insanely time consuming.
  • Solutions for monitoring your websites for up-time and speed through both hosted and cloud-based solutions.
  • Explanation as to how the data we’ve tracked over the last 18 months is helping us today.

Mentions:

  • TechTalks.ph – Great group out of Cebu that organized the most recent StartupWeekend event.
  • NicheSiteGold.com – Our weekly newsletter that gives examples of keywords we actually use and why we use them.
  • WaitKnowMore – The winner from StartupWeekend that looks solve the problem of waiting in line.
  • GetClicky, ClickTale, and Optimizely – Great alternative or add-ons to Google Analytics
  • SPI blog post – Great post from Pat Flynn about tracking opt-in conversions.  Make sure to download the “perfect dashboard” here from Michael Wiegand.
  • Whoosh Traffic – The tool we use to monitor and roll-up ranking reports for all of our sites.
  • Site Monitor Enterprise and Pingdom – Tools to check speed and up-time on your sites.
  • SEOMoz Free Trial – Great tool to help with keyword research, campaign ranking tracking for authority sites, and open site explorer.

Now…it’s your turn!  What do you use to track your sites?  Let us know in the comments below or give us a shout on Twitter!


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Discussion
Leave a comment
  1. AS2 Software says:

    Great post guys. I agree you have to use the third party services for tracking. I really like Moz, however their last update dropped DA and PA for everyone. So, I try to have a few others as a back up too. Thanks for the thoughts.

  2. jasonmark says:

    Great post! It kind a long conversation but it is worth it. But I wish you have mentioned Colibri tool, it is what I am using now and my favorite tool this year. You can check it here: http://colibritool.com.

  3. Craig says:

    Hey Guys thanks for the list of tools especially Whoosh Traffic, I,m currently using traffic travis to track my stats on my niche sites and it works pretty well. Is there are better keyword research tool than adwords.

  4. EBT Balance says:

    WaitKnowMore.co heh? Well this has been out there for awhile now. One place is speciic for restaurants, check it TapGuest.com. It uses text and voice to notify when your table is ready at a restaurant. It even automatically follows up with customers. I only mention this because I saw it in a restaurant once. Very cool.

    http://www.tapguest.com

  5. Mottobiz says:

    Hey Guys,

    Bow down to ya! Simply the greatest niche site radio show on mother earth. I am tired of listening to the same info shared on the net by the so called big SEO guys.. You guys actually come up with ideas that helps affiliates not just brand marketers. I cannot wait to try out the keyword competition tool as I also feel the same way about the lack of/not enough tools for this particular area of research.

    Thanks for the wonderful show.

    Best Regards,

    Chetan Jariwala (loyal follower)

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Thanks, Chetan!!

      It’s great that people get value out of our shows in ways we didn’t anticipate. We’re excited about the first page analysis tool as well…really interested in seeing if we can tweak it to where it picks out the winners…that will be awesome!

  6. Lisamemexweb says:

    I did not realise how important stats are until I actually started using them. I use Get Clicky and think it is the bees knees.

  7. bryan says:

    awesome, i am currently still testing my very first niche site, and i am getting very into tracking the SERPs and the traffic, this pod cast was right on time

  8. stefan says:

    Hey Guys i just want to let you know, that also german niche website builders enjoy your podcast and your blog. It’s always very interesting how you describe your daily business and in my opinion all your hints a very valueable!
    Too bad german subscribers of your podcast can’t win the niche site, but i will review your podcast on itunes!

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Thanks, Stefan!

      Sorry about the niche site offer…we’ll try to do another promotion that ANYONE can be a part of so that we don’t leave out our German friends!

    • stefan says:

      Great Idea ;) If you do so i will try to promote it. Have a nice week!

  9. Spencer Haws says:

    Great list of tools! A couple there I was not familiar with…thanks guys!

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Sweet, Spencer, glad you found it helpful! I really liked your last interview with Pat on your podcast. I like how you went through each of the legs in his revenue engine to discuss…was interesting.

  10. stevewyman cloudventuresgroup says:

    Hi Guys

    As always good solid info and education from the owners of a large number of sites.

    Im suprised (although pleased for you) that you saw no real effect on the bottom line from the vicious Panda update on the 19-21st april and then penquin!

    Whilst i take you rpoints about not looking to much i do think regular reviews of performance of the business as needed. Ok not daily detailed but at least once a week I’d want to know exactly where i was.

    I understand the argument that if you have 500 sites the work load might exceed the return. And that if you have 3 looking at them all the time will get you into trouble. Tweaking every week is certainly a bad idea with the updates rolling through..

    So do i gather your pushing ahead with “micro” niche sites as you produced nin the 1st qauter?

    And have you seen any results from the “new” backlinking methods your deploying?

    Its really usefull to understand the “average” effect of the changes your making.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Steve!

      On an individual site level we’ve definitely seen changes due to Panda/Peguin, but, overall, they seem to have balanced out with gains made on other sites. We saw quite a few changes, but I think it has to do with the wide range of sites that we have. For example, we’ve recently seen some of our sites that “tanked” last September recently pop back up on the SERPs…which helps to make up for some of our losses due to BMR links.

      Tracking sites as a whole and batching reports comes with some drawbacks. We have some security and tracking holes that come along with it, but we think those risks are worth the rewards we get in efficiency.

      Still pushing forward with niche sites…but we’ll be adding the new authority site test sometime in June, most likely.

  11. Rich Buggy says:

    Hey guys. Don’t waste time optimizing the current site if you’re going to change the design. Improving conversions is all about AB split testing. If you want a new design then switch early. Ideally you’d AB test the new design against the current one first.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Rich,

      Hmmm…interesting. I just spoke to John The Intern about this and he felt similarly.

      What I think we’re going to do is this:

      Talk to a conversion expert about some best practices, based on our goals, current traffic, etc. We’ll establish some of the changes we want to implement by moving to the new design that are “high-value” changes without much debate.

      Once we’ve switched over to the new design, we can A/B test from there on the more risky stuff…

      • Rich Buggy says:

        Hi Justin

        You’d be surprised how the little things impact conversions. It still amazes me how changing a few words in a heading or colors on a button can improve conversions.

        If you’re interested then I’d recommend reading:

        Patrick McKenzie (http://www.kalzumeus.com/) is well known for his AB testing skills. If you’ve got time then watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZpa6vepBQk where he talks about marketing for software engineers (AB split testing).

        Mr Green (http://mrgreen.am/) is an affiliate marketer who has publishes lots of studies about AB split testing ads and the impact on click through rates/conversion rates.

        My final thing would use Bing orange (the orange from the Bing logo) for buttons. I don’t know why but people love it.

        Rich

  12. I use Whoosh Traffic to track my rankings for over 400 websites. I don’t know what I would do without it :-)

    The one thing I don’t like about Google Analytics is that I can’t use one account for all my sites. For every 25 sites I create I have to use another Google account. It’s just a bit annoying, but it’s necessary, like you said, if you want to sell the sites on Flippa.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Mike,

      Yes, a bit annoying about the 25 limit, but the fact that you can now search in Analytics to find the sites rather than “guess” the grouping of 25 is quite helpful in the new interface. Before that…ugh!

  13. WaitKnowMore – great idea, nice looking website, horrendous name.

    I use MySeoTool for rankings.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      It will be interesting to see how they roll it out. Originally, they were talking about implementing only in the Philippines. There’s a MAJOR need for it here, but the country’s commercial opportunity is quite limited, unfortunately…

  14. Gregmilner89 says:

    Hey guys, nice podcast, I am a sucker for this, I sometimes find myself checking stats 2 or 3 times a day!

    My question is what would you guys suggest is normal for a fresh site in terms of fluctuations etc in the Serps? How long is an appropriate amount of time for rankings to settle down to some degree?

    Cheers

    Greg

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey, Greg, great question!

      It really depends and it’s hard to define a “normal” here. Typically, we wait 3-4 months to determine whether a site is successful or not. Fluctuations from day 20-60 are not uncommon, but many continue on after that. Typically, we wait for rankings to stabilize before selling them to both protect the buyers AND so that we don’t lose out on a ton of value while the rankings are still fluctuating.

      Don’t worry…I get caught up with too much “checking” too! :-)

  15. Andy says:

    Great episode as always. I try to check analytics once a month otherwise it feels like I’m overengineering it. I am also hunting for a new keyword ranking checker, as I used to use SEScout and they seem to be having a lot of problems.

    Also you know that website audits/optimization is what I do, right? Email me, maybe we can come up with some fun way to do it. :)

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Andy!

      Yeah, I struggle with too much checking at times, for sure…best to roll it up and do it once a week max, I think. Will definitely keep you in mind for the re-design…thanks for reminding me! We’ll be looking to get that started in late June, most likely…

    • Erica says:

      Hey Andy,

      Erica from Whoosh Traffic here. Drop us an email directly at [email protected] with the number of keywords you want to track, and we’ll get you hooked up. :) I think you’ll love what we have to offer–we’ve been amazingly stable since we launched in October 2010.

      -Erica

  16. Vin says:

    Woosh Traffic looks pretty rad guys. I have been using Microsite Masters for my rank tracking. It’s really good actually. I’m going to have to line up the features and pricing of both of these services and see which one provides a better value for our purposes.

    I think I might be migrating from Google Analytics to Clicky as well.

    Thanks for another awesome podcast!

    • JustinWCooke says:

      No problem, Vin!

      Definitely let us know whether you think Microsite Masters or Whoosh Traffic is more effective for your sites. I came across MM a few weeks ago, heh.

    • Erica says:

      Hey Vin, Erica from Whoosh Traffic here. Our pricing is currently higher than Microsite Masters because we track to 1000 results deep. We’re about ready to launch new pricing for 100 results deep that’s more in line with theirs. Drop us an email directly at [email protected] with the number of keywords you want to track, and we’ll get you hooked up. :)

  17. Nice podcast episode! No matter if you’re talking about niche sites or even bigger authority sites the analytics are definitely important! I use Google Analytics for all my sites but I am going to try GetClicky as well as it seems a bunch of people are now using that! However, one thing to remember is to not get obsessed with the traffic/earnings stats (I have a problem with that!) :)

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Thanks, Thomas!

      Yeah, tracking is definitely secondary to building/growing, hehe…and it’s something you can get caught up in at times which makes it that much more dangerous!

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