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Building A Niche Site Empire Guide

Justin Cooke Updated on February 29, 2020

***UPDATE 10/25/16***

The guide below was created in 2012 and was a tactical approach to building niche site. Much in the guide is no longer relevant in 2016 and beyond and has been removed from publication. If you’re looking for business models to follow, please see our updated post on the 11 most popular business models here.


Finally!  Our niche site guide, “Building A Niche Site Empire” is finished and ready to download!

We’ve been working on this for several months and lots of blood, sweat, and tears (mostly the intern’s!) went into making sure we delivered something extremely useful to our readers.

The best part?  It’s absolutely free! If you’re reading this post you don’t have to opt-in, pay us $17.95…none of that.

Our first 30 sites failed until we discovered the secrets you’ll learn in “Building A Niche Site Empire,” our step-by-step guide to creating valuable websites from scratch.

Our first release of the guide was actually last week during our first public webinar and we’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response.

In addition to getting an early copy of the guide, 5 attendees received a copy of LongTailPro from us as a thank-you!  We had a ton of questions, some of which we couldn’t get to, so we actually included them as a Q&A in episode 18 of the AdSense Flippers Podcast where most of the questions came from the webinar.

We hope you get a lot out of the guide and we’d love to hear your thoughts…let us know the things you like and the things you didn’t.

If you liked the guide, you’re gonna love the additional tips, tricks, and strategies we share with our email list!

Download your free report

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  • Steve says:

    None of the links to the Guide are working. Did I miss something?

  • Anas Khan says:

    I bought a new programe that updates my website with unique high converting content every hour automatically. Its a really cool program check out this link for more info.

  • JJ says:

    Are you just trying to get my email address to add to your list? It says download now but when I put in my email, I never got a file to download… only your emails. Something fishy here.

  • Adam James says:

    Thanks for sharing great guide for new to sell website business

  • sales says:

    Hi, Thanks for this very interesting guide. Notice that most of the comments are 2 years old. Would the link building now be out of date? are there any other sections that now would need revising?



    • Justin Cooke says:

      Hey there!

      Yep, linkbuilding is out of date, although we didn’t mention too much in the guide either. We also are less aggressive on using exact match internal links and typically use partial match. The last changes is that we use partial/phrase match for our secondary article titles.


      • sales says:

        Thanks Justin,

        Really need a revised update.

        So that means the guide wont really help that much any more as people would be stuck with the link building and there have been changes to research and articles etc. Maybe you guys could email everyone on your list, put a vote on, and if you get enough votes for people who are happy for a latest edition for a fee, then it makes it worth your while.for you to do it, or if 100 people commit to $50, that’s $5000, and maybe after this you can give it away for free

        • Justin Cooke says:

          Hey there…sales? Wish I knew your real name. 🙁

          Have you read the guide? You’ll see that we don’t mention much in the way of linkbuilding. That’s on purpose – we’re not big fans of sketchy SEO’s and their Johnny-Come-Lately tactics.

          We share some of the (few) SEO resources and tactics we trust on our email list for site builders. Maybe you should join?

          Just give us a real name – it sucks calling you “sales”


          • sales says:

            Hi Justin.

            yes read the guide. Sorry for it showing as sales. had to register to post a message to you and it asked for google login details and just shows as sales..

            Considering this seriously. That’s the reason for all these messages and hope to be in touch soon.

            Ibrahim, UK,

  • Lance Ferrari says:

    I have a question. How did you all come up with the advertiser competition number when researching a keyword. I can’t find it under the Google keyword planner or long tail pro.

    • Justin Cooke says:

      The tools have changed a bit in recent months. With the GKP you can select “Competition: High, Medium, or Low” when setting your filters….you’ll want to go with “high” for the competition.

  • Hi guys,
    Just a quick note to say you rock – but I’ve been having a tough time with the download links. Specifically, neither the primary or secondary links are working… They look to link to the same URI…? Is there another source / mirror out there?

  • Branko says:

    How important is the Page Rank attribute on Long Tail Pro when you are analyzing the top 10 keywords? Can the page rank value fully decide on its own whether you are going to go for a keyword or not.

    Lets say for example the keyword meets everything what you are looking for except the Page Rank seems to be all above PR 0. What do you do? Can you still go for that keyword?

    I just read that some other person totally discards keywords that DON’T have a “no-pr” or a “0” Page Rank value.

    • I use it as just a guideline to measure competition strength. If I see lot’s of PR2’s or PR3’s and above usually those pages have lot’s of links and have the exact keyword in their title and URL. The scenario you outlined would not be that scary for me as long as the pages did not have many links (less than 10) and did not have the keyword in the title and URL.

  • Adam says:

    Awesome work guys! Thank you so much for the guide. This is by far the most extensive thing I’ve seen yet and I’ve paid for other ebooks.

    A couple of things — I’ve noticed you didn’t fill in some SEO type stuff on the following: Image Alt tags, About/Contact pages etc. Not important? Everything I’ve read on SEO says otherwise. Just curious. I didn’t end up seeing the Privacy Policy page referenced in one of the videos in the guide either. Do u happen to have a dl link?

    Other than that, excellent book. Truly.

    • While image alt tags help, we have found that file name tends to be more important. Name it the same as the keyword you are trying to rank for. Alt tags are just a bonus.

      We put a small about us and contact us on every site, but it is really simple — a two sentence blurb for the about us and a simple contact form using a plugin.

      For the privacy page, just Google search for a template that mentions the DART cookie and you will be ok.

  • It’s hard to find good useful tips and resources like this for free these days. Thanks John and Justin!

  • Greg says:

    Hey guys…thank you very much. I just found you from Michelle McPherson a couple days ago and immediately felt the love…:)
    No I’m not kidding – I have been fortunate enough over the last couple years to be directed to or even stumble across some PROS like you who have big hearts and generously provide really useable info for those of us who are struggling to ‘get it’ and make a success of our IM efforts… at the very least so our wives (or husbands) will stop nagging us to stop this ridiculous waste of time…!
    I’m trying to learn while working full-time at my brick and mortar business and I can use all the help I can get, so thats why I put you guys on a short list of folks who make a difference in a post a couple days ago about being grateful for all the free and reasonably priced info you make available to really help us find our way.
    So have a big hearty Canadian handshake and a truly grateful THANK YOU from me.
    Greg Snyders – Red Ridge Wine Cellars

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Awesome, Greg!

      We’re happy to share information and hope it does help people out. Please do keep us updated on your progress and any tips/tricks you come across that you found helpful. We’re always looking for ways to improve the process and some of our best information comes from readers!

      Thanks for the mention on your site!

  • Clare says:

    Where can I find the CPC to calculate the SEO Value?

  • Mel says:


    Thank you for the awesome guide. There is one particular question that is bugging me and I hope to seek clarification on that. While it make sense to look for niches that has the following criterias

    – Global search volume – 1000exact
    – 3 syllabus words
    – <10,000 competing pages in quotes

    Shouldnt we also look at if there are any adwords ads for the keyword
    when we search for it ?

    A particular niche like – phone tracer has 1600 exact searches with 123,000 competing pages in quotes but there are no ads when you search in google.

    I wonder if its effort wasted if you go for this niche and there are not relevant adsense ads in your webpage when you launch it.

    Your view please ? Thanks

    • That’s why we ask you look at the completion in the Google AdWords Tool. You want that stat to be over a .6 or almost a full bar. You can also use for better advertiser statistics.

  • Martin says:

    I noticed that the “Primary Keyword” ‘palm tree ropes’ in your Secondary_Content_Sample.PDF is also one of the “Secondaries” (I’m assuming ‘secondaries’ are actually the longtails for that article) in the Primary_Content_Sample.PDF

    Does this mean that we can/should use the longtails from the primary article as the primary keywords in secondary articles?

    I’m just a little confused because on page 45 of your guide, none of the primary keywords for your secondary articles match the longtails in your primary article.


  • Peter says:

    Guys, absolutely killer info!

    I can’t believe it’s free I don’t know how anyone can make a niche guide again and sell it with this on the net! Love it!

    I’d been following spencers formula for a while and have recently switched to keyword research for my own country and found that with the low search volume aiming lower for around 500 local searches even 200 can be hugely profitable with the right keyword. Thanks for making me realise this!

    Also don’t sell your sites so fast! I’ve been trying to get one for ages! =)


  • Absolutely awesome info here. You could’ve easily sold this for some profit and here you are giving it away for free – this is the kind of stuff that makes you guys stand out in the community!
    If you readers are not following them and taking action on their stuff, you’re missing out!

  • Nice video guys – Joe, you’re in the wrong job – time to get an acting gig!

    I’ve just recently given Spencer’s Long Tail Pro a whirl and its really cool – very easy to use and churns out some hot info at the touch of a few buttons.

    Are you outsourcing to get clicks on your social shares? The numbers on this post alone are amazing!


  • Cathnco2 says:

    Hi guys, I hope you can offer me some advice here while I learn this stuff =/ ….

    I am using MS to search for keywords and found a keyword that I am trying to evaluate but am confused. I was wondering if it is a bad sign if:

    Almost all of the top 10 are sites like kmart, target, walmart, overstock, nextag… 4 of which have the keywords in the url.

    None of the top 10 have the exact keywords as the url.

    The PR average is 1, and there is a ton of green in the optimize(?) section and very low back links for all the top 10 sites. Exact phrase match, SEOT = 370, SEOC 22k, CPC= $2.72.

    The top ranking site on a live google search does not have the keywords in the url nor in the title but it does have it in the description.

    The product is priced upwards of $100 and I can sell it through an affiliate source. I am thinking this is better than making it an adsence site.

    Advice? Thanks for any help! Hope this isn’t a no-brainer dumb –?!

    Great info in book and video guys, Love it!

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey there!

      It’s really hard to say, honestly, but it sounds pretty good. Is it a “buying” keyword for that $100 product or is it more of a “tire kicker” keyword? If it’s a buying keyword, I say go for it…

      • Cathnco2 says:

        I am thinking it is a buying keyword but I am not totally sure, being new at this and not knowing if this product really only sells when people can ‘see’ it on display somewhere instead of buying online. I would be taking somewhat a shot in the dark on that point.

        I guess I tend to shop the old fashioned way myself, and find it hard to imagine people buying expensive goods online, sight unseen. In saying that this product has a great quality profile.

        Okay then, I will be going forward with it. My gut tells me it is good, even though I have just started this whole adventure into internet marketing and not sure I know enough yet.

        Thanks again for your help it is very much appreciated and I will be a regular visitor here for sure! I love that you are a go-to site for advice, inspiration, and resources. Keep up the good work!

  • Andre Garde says:

    Hey guys,

    I had a quick look at the guide and while most of it is just review for me, I think that it’s really great that you put this out there for the community. Especially since it’s not behind a paywall. Stylistically it looks great and is an easy read, so kudos to JohnTheIntern as well.

    If you ever update this again I think your timeline should include a 60 & 90-day check of rankings just to see where things sit. Also, expanding the Conclusion section to include something like an “Okay, I built my site, built some links, what now?” type of message. Apologies if this was somehow written into each section as I only skimmed them.

    Then, maybe one more section: how to detach from your sites so that you can sell them. I feel like I’ve “grown up” with some of them, and I don’t want to let them go! lol.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Andre,

      Thanks so much! LOVE the critical/useful feedback. We’ll definitely be implementing some of this in future revisions. Let me just mention a few of the things you covered:

      60-90 day check – I really do think this is something that should be done, but it’s not something we’ve yet added to our process. It seems to make sense that it would provide value…we will be testing this out in the future and will be included once we’ve made the switch for sure.

      Conclusion – We kind-of just linked to our blog posts about how to sell your sites. We really did put our best information into those posts and they’re still applicable, but I do hear you…we could have put a bit more in at the end, I think, about what to do after you’ve gotten everything up and rolling. In addition to “how to let go”, it would probably be good to lay out our plan for expanding the sites. (Being extremely clear this is not something we’ve tested…but our best guess as to how that can be best implemented.)

      Thanks again!

  • brian clark says:

    Great Stuff guys, this is one of the most comprehensive guides I’ve read so far. My favorite part of the guide was when you talked about keyword values & ect.. very detailed. I’m featuring this on my blog.

    As far as my progress, I’m doing ok with adsense, but I want to expand into other income streams because of all the bans as of late.

    Thanks for everything.

    Brian Clark

  • Mercy says:

    This is a very resourceful post. It has greatly helped me to learn more and improve in my online ventures. For anybody wishing to know more I recommend this site.

  • Moruf says:

    Thank you Justin for the detailed response here and in the email. That is very informative, and something that will help me to plan.

    kind regards


  • Casey Dennison says:

    First off, I want to thank you Justin and Joe for this awesome product. A step-by-step business plan in a box lol. Although I write my articles and do my keyword research a bit different, I love the system you guys have in place for determining if a site is worth building or not. I quit chasing EMD’s and started building brands utilizing the ‘low-hanging fruit’, but I would like to follow this guide to the T and see what kind of results it brings, or if it would be something that works for me.

    I’m just trying to get a process in place that will allow me to start small, like 2 sites a weeks, and then eventually scale up.

    What would you do on a budget of about $100 a week for building and ranking sites??

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Casey…really glad you liked it!

      While you can follow the guide to a T, I think your initial thoughts were probably the best…take what you’re currently doing it and play to your strengths there.

      Hmmm…if I was writing my own content, doing my own linkbuilding, and only had $100/week I was willing to spend…

      I’d probably get a good English-speaking VA that could setup the sites with hosting, install WordPress, get plugins, etc. I’d then also have that VA edit/upload my content and with his/her down-time, do the INITIAL KW research. (I would still be responsible for picking the niches in the second part, though)

      With VA’s, it’s always good to assign primary responsibilities (In this case, it would be site setup and editing/uploading content) and secondary responsibilities (lower-priority stuff that can be done whenever…initial KW research in this example) It sucks a bit that you would need someone that’s somewhat technical AND with strong English…but you should be able to pick that up for $70-$90/week with VirtualStaffFinder. You’d still have to pay for domains and whatever else it is you have, but I think that would be the way I’d do it…

  • Moruf says:

    Hello Justin,

    Incase you missed my question. Will like to ask How much on average can i expect to pay for a good Content Editor, Keyword Researcher/Link Builder and a Site Builder if i use Virtual Staff Finder. Your response will be much appreciated.

    Kind Regards

    • JustinWCooke says:

      If you want 20 sites a week, I would estimate:

      – 1 KW Research/Content Linkbuilder – Would do the first part of your KW research every week and then would help out with content on linkbuilding. $350-400/month
      – 1 Site creation agent – Someone to setup the site on your hosting account, add the content, etc. $250-$300/month
      – 2 Content Managers – Order, check, and edit your content for the sites. $300-$350/month each
      – 1 Content Linkbuilder – Ordering/spinning content for linkbuilding $300-$350/month.

      That’s around $1,500 – $1,750 per month with staff. You can use VirtualStaffFinder (aff link) to find you the staff you need easily here in the Philippines…we’ve used them ourselves.

      for 20 sites/week, you’re also looking at:
      $160/week for domains
      $100/week for primary content
      $240/week for secondary content
      $200/week for linkbuilding content

      Monthly costs there are around $2,800 or so for domains/content/links. I’d also include around $300-$400/month for tools.

      All-In, you’re at around $4,600-$5,000/month.

      • stevewyman says:

        Hey Justin,

        Man that was a blog post in its own right!! Im not sure ive seen you set those costs out so clearly anywahre in the past! Not a critisim more of a wow nice work..

        I was also suprised by som eof the figurs for staff found through VSF they were a bit lower than i thought (Bear in mind I use contractors through Odesk myself).

        Great feedback


        • JustinWCooke says:

          Hey, Steve…we’re currently commenting together on two separate blogs…you are all over the place! lol

          We haven’t laid out those costs quite as directly in the past intentionally…you’re right. We’re extremely open about what’s going on with AdSenseFlippers, but we keep our outsourcing business a bit more closed off and we considered those types of things a little closer to the other side of the house.

          We’re re-thinking that now, actually. What the hell…the marketing has done quite well here and we know a helluva lot more about outsourcing than we do AdSense…I think that would be really useful for people, probably. Also, it’s a bit outrageous that many of the outsourcing guru’s out there now aren’t really in outsourcing! (Chris being an exception, of course!)

          Speaking of Chris, the prices I’ve listed are a bit less than you might hear from VSF. Remember, hes running a business on both sides. On the one hand, he’s offering great, talented VA’s for cheap. On the other, he’s trying to recruit the best talent and get them to tell their friends about the best, highest-paying, home-based jobs around. If he can get HIS VSF agents paid a bit more, he’ll get the better talent and, ultimately, VSF will deliver better agents.

          It’s a great strategy!…but living/working here I know the gig, hehe.

          • stevewyman says:


            Sure Chris is on point as always 🙂 get the people mor e money and “us” better folks everybody will be happy.

            “t’s a great strategy!…but living/working here I know the gig, hehe.” He he indeed im not jealous much 🙂

            As to the “Hey, Steve…we’re currently commenting together on two separate blogs…you are all over the place! lol”

            HeHe but think about it “how do you know im there if your not also “all over the place” 🙂 LOL

            All good stuff

          • JustinWCooke says:

            “HeHe but think about it “how do you know im there if your not also “all over the place” 🙂 LOL”

            Damn…busted! 🙂

  • malds says:

    Hey guys, again awesome guide. I would like to ask about your link building practice though. Do you really need to wait a whole month before you start building links? Because I noticed that if you do the bookmarking the first week, a site can usually get indexed and do the google dance by the second week. I think if indexed early, it “might” have settled down by the third week already. Then maybe link building could be done by then.

    Have you guys tested out a link building strategy that’s faster than the one you have in the ebook? Maybe something that cuts the time period by half???

    I’m playing around with a week old niche site to experiment on this and I’d love your thoughts on a faster link building strat.

    Do you think starting with link building 2 or three weeks after a site is built is too fast? Given that I’d be doing probably only one or two links a day.

  • Paul J Courtney says:

    Hey guys, really appreciate the tremendous content you have given away for free. I already have a portfolio of niche sites and the information you have provided will help me build out future sites more successfully.
    I’m lucky to still have an adsense account in light of recent high profile casualties in this arena, so I’m treading on eggshells and producing sites of a quality I hope is acceptable to google.
    Many thanks and keep up the great work!
    Paul in the UK

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Thanks, Paul! Definitely glad you’ve picked up a few tips. Let us know if you think there’s something we could add that would be useful as well!

      Yeah, it’s a mess with AdSense accounts right now…horrible that happened to Spencer, ugh.

  • meiko says:

    Hi Justin.

    Great stuff. One question. Is Competition for ADwords really that important? What if my competition is below 0.20?

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Meiko,

      It is really important, actually. Full disclosure: We HAVE gone after keywords that have advertisers competition of .00-.40, but it’s pretty rare and the reason we went after them was because of tremendous search volume.

      The problems with targeting a keyword that has such low advertiser competition:

      – You’ll likely get a REALLY low return on your click values
      – Your page will not have a fairly high number of “unmatched ad requests”…which means your page will be displaying non-relevant ads, public service announcements, or no ads at all.

      We’ve gotten better about avoiding these over time and VERY rarely would go after a keyword like this now…

    • I agree that it’s really important to look at competition. I’ve ranked for keywords that had a $5 cpc but then ended up being $.10 clicks because there was no competition.
      Very important.

  • Omid says:

    Thanks guys for a complete guide which is absolutely FREE!

    I was one of the attendees to the seminar and really enjoyed it. I think what you guys gave away could be several separate WSO’s. Now, we have all in one!

    In my opinion, this is a complete guide for making niche sites and by following it everyone could build his/her own empire of sites.

    Thanks again for the high quality gift.

    ~ Omid

  • amr el desouky says:

    thanks very much .. awesome working .. really useful : )

  • Moruf says:

    Once again Thanks for the Guide. Full of Top Tips. Will like to ask How much on average do i expect to pay for a good Content Editor, Keyword Researcher/Link Builder and a Site Builder if i use Virtual Staff Finder.

    Kind Regards

  • Phillip A. says:

    You guys are awesome! We would get along.

  • will be checking out the webinar recording today and the ebook! Im sure it’s fantastic!

    I sure hope the webinar is as great as the goofing around video! lol! if you keep this up, being real people, you’ll have more followers and loyal fans.. at least that’s what i think

  • Mindthepap says:

    Hello from Greece,

    Really nice content! 😉 🙂

    Keep up! 😀

  • Jessica says:

    Love the ebook! Great info, and the layout is fantastic. Did you outsource that or did someone on your team do it?

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Thanks, Jessica!

      John The Intern is to blame. 🙂 He designed the pages and one of our agents put it together. We were going for the “…for dummies” book feel.

  • Moruf says:

    Thanks for sharing this information, I have been following you for sometimes now, and i must say most of the resources and advice you share value more than what one can get from some paid products. Having problem downloading the Guide from the link.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Glad to hear you like our stuff, Moruf.

      Wait a while and see if you can download a bit later…lots of people on right now…

  • Mitch says:

    Honestly, with adsense accounts being banned left and right I’d be hesitant to follow the advice of anyone with ‘niche’ site advice. Sorry.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey, Mitch.

      To be perfectly clear, we wouldn’t recommend you blindly follow the advice of ANYONE…especially us! This guide lays our process completely bare…but the chance that it will work for you or anyone else is completely unknown. We make that excruciatingly clear.

      I’d also point out that “niche” sites have nothing necessarily to do with AdSense. Ours do, but that’s certainly not a requirement.

    • semmir says:

      guys who dont own lots of niche sites got banned too. so i dont think the niche sites are the main cause. may be the quality of them is the cause. or else we all would expect adsenseflippers to get banned this week too. but no! i i dont think it is going to happen. may the creator of all keep thier buisness unharmed. amen! and you should know that adsense team and search team are separate groups. and if you still have the traffic why not look to contact the advertisers and or try putting affiliate banners….you might even make more money.

  • malds says:

    awesome, been waiting for this 🙂

  • Steve Eason says:

    FYI, when you’re already on the mailing list and try to opt in to download the PDF, it won’t let you go on. It says you’re already on the list and then does nothing. I was able to download it through the alternate links, but thought you should know. Thanks!

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Steve,

      Ack…yeah…sorry about that. If you’re already a subscriber it won’t allow you to subscribe again. Glad the alternate links are working, though!

      Actually, any new subscribers we get today will get the “old” guide for now. No subscription needed to get this one…just have to click the link. 🙂

      • Passionplux says:

        Justin , Please help me out here . I have a site that is getting 100 Unique per day but no click on my adsense. I have one 336X280 ad above the fold and another at the middle of the article and one 160X600 ad on the sidebar . I am using the twentyeleven theme . I took out ahead the custom header. So it is plain and ulgly . Plain and ugly themes seem to work best right ? But I can’t tell why I am not getting any clicks . All traffic are organic , the site is ranking very well. What should I do

        • JustinWCooke says:

          I’m not sure whether we included this in the guide (We SHOULD have, though) but your CTR is heavily dependent on the niche.

          For example, if I had a niche site geared towards tech geeks, I might have a much lower CTR because they are (generally speaking) much more ad blind than your typical web surfer. Also…it might be that the niche you’ve chosen has very few advertisers…and Google is having a hard time displaying relevant ads, so you’re not getting many ads displayed at all.

          Lastly, I would make sure you’ve selected both text and images to show for ads. That will give you the highest amount of advertisers possible and will allow Google to optimize the ads to your audience.

          Hope that helps…

          • Passionplux says:

            Thanks Justin,

            well the niche is “weight loss” .The keyword is something like . I tick “Text ads Only” because they pay higher per click. But I will change that option to image and text right away.

            So, if my ads are placed correctly and the theme AND NICHE is ok then what could be the issues.

            Have you guys experience this before . I got one click yesterday for $0.50 . I should be able to get 5clicks easily, since I am getting 100+ Unique visitors per day

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