Justin Cooke

October 3, 2011

It’s been a particularly interesting September and we have quite a bit to cover in this report. We had our best month ever by far when you consider our gross revenue at over $25,000 for AdSenseFlippers, but we also had a few things happen that have shaken it up and have us making changes to further our goals in the long-term. I’ll be going through the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly about where we’re at and what’s been going on with our sites, our revenue, and our goals for the future.

The Good:

In last month’s Income Report you might remember us debating whether we should sell more sites in the short-term to improve cash flow or whether we should hang on to more sites for the long-term passive income. It’s a tough decision, because we’re faced with a hot market when it comes to website buyers and feel we should “strike while the iron is hot” so to speak. At the same time, we’re very experienced at building up niche sites that earn, but have almost no experience at building out a $40-$100 site to a $200-600 website and know we could find massive success if we get some practice and experience at doing this. Ultimately, we decided we wanted the cash up-front and sold $19,445 in public Flippa auctions alone this month. We’re not planning to spend the revenue here for a while, but this cash injection should help us accomplish a few of the projects we have planned through the end of the year. We understand there’s usually a “learning curve” in starting or trying anything new and it’s nice to have the extra cash to help you fund and work through your early mistakes and disasters so that you can get them out of the way!

We’ve started to do a much better job in getting ourselves out there and networking with others in the industry. It’s well known that the Internet Marketing industry can sometimes feel like you’re working “on an island”. In this case…we literally are on an island!

While there are some serious benefits to living and working out here, one of the disadvantages is that it’s easy to feel disconnected from the rest of the world, particularly when it comes to work. One of our long-term goals is to expand our brand and start building relationships that can grow and branch into other projects in the future and we’ve had an excellent start with this in September. We’re networking with a group of other professionals in and outside of our industry, setting up interviews with (both as interviewer and interviewee), and are following through on our comittment to start putting more content on video, try out podcasts, etc.

The Bad:

About a week into the month, it turns out that just over 100 of our sites had been “tanked” or had seriously dropped in the rankings, virtually overnight. (Not deindexed…for a detailed description regarding the difference click here) We’re far from conspiracy theorists, but our first reaction was that Google had punished a good chunk of our websites based on something we were doing.  After thinking it through, we realized how very unlikely it is that we’re even a blip on the radar screen for the search giant and started looking at other possibilities. The worst part is that a good portion of those sites were doing quite well as far as earnings, so it was heartbreaking to find all of that value shot down the drain in a very short timeframe. After some research, we found that:

  • All affected sites were on the same hosting account
  • Not all sites on the hosting account were affected
  • Most of the sites had their content copied, word for word on other sites

That being said, we can’t say with certainty the cause of the problem. Our best guess is that these two people found a portion of the sites on that hosting account and copied all of the content from our sites. (One of them created them on individual sites, the other created sub-domains on a site) We’ve attempted to contact both and have filed DMCA requests which took the sites down, but the damage had been done. (The not-so-funny anecdote here is that their sites were never ranked…we all lose here, ugh) A more-worrying concern was that it was not simply a duplicate content issue, but a larger referendum on our sites in general, but we couldn’t find any substantial evidence pointing to this, so we’re hopeful.

Ouch! Even more painful, we found that a couple of our network sales that were in the process of being transferred, but that were still on the server were affected as well, hurting our customers! We’ve been in contact with the buyers and have promised to make it right as we believe the responsibility lies with us.  They’ve agreed to sit tight while we go through the process of recovering those that are recoverable and replacing those that are not with sites that are as valuable or better than those that were not recovered.

So…what do we do? First, we took inventory of our sites. We looked at previously sold sites (they’re ok) and then broke our sites up into groups:

  1. Older sites that were ok
  2. Older sites that were tanked
  3. Newer sites with CTR Theme

We were already planning to sell off a good portion of our sites this month anyway, so we selected samples of older sites that were unaffected and earning, broke them up into networks, and sold them off. We kept some of our sites that were earning well and many of those sites that were low-earners with a plan to expand/improve them in the future. We’ve made the decision to break up all our current and new sites into much smaller groups for hosting purposes and have removed some of the identifying characteristics for our sites across the entire network.

Our plan with the tanked sites was to:

  • Significantly alter the content on the first page (Taking this opportunity to make significant improvements in providing unique, valuable information to the users)
  • Switch themes
  • Switch hosting accounts
  • Remove as much identifying information about us from the sites as possible
  • Add content
  • Add unique look/feel to the sites to distinguish them
  • Additional links built

This took QUITE a bit of work, but it looks like it’s slowly paying off. We’ve had at least 5 of the sites recover already, although not quite to their former glory as of yet. This did significantly impact our ability to create sites this month and dropped production down to only creating 86 sites this month. Still, based on the revenue those sites were generating, we thought the additional expense (both in actual cost and value lost from lowered production) was worth it.

Another issue we ran across is that our trial with CTR Theme seems to be costing us quite a bit. With the sold sites, tanked sites, and an increasing number and overall percentage of our sites being built with CTR Theme, we’ve seen declining returns and statistics across the board on the sites. We’ve been rotating ad placement across all of the sites, but not one of the options seems to come close to the numbers of ProSense. We have enough numbers to back it up at this point. It’s particularly discouraging, as I really LIKE CTR Theme and think it looks WAY better overall. If it were close we’d probably stick with it but, as it is, we’re going to have to look for a change, I think…it just isn’t working unless we’re missing something.

The Ugly

At the very end of September 2011, Panda 2.5 rolled out. As with previous updates, we found some of our sites go up while others went down, but the problem with this update is that it negatively effected our top earners more than our bottom earners, costing us quite a bit. We’ve seen some bouncing around the last few days so we’re hoping that, like previous updates, we’ll see some temporary changes/adjustments and things will get back to normal, when looked at in aggregate. That, mixed with sold sites, tanked sites, and CTR Theme underperforming sets us up for a bleak month or two when it comes to revenue.

Our greatest question/concern/challenge is this: Is what we’re doing really a viable business model at scale? Are we really providing valuable information to the web or are we not really adding anything?

If we’re being honest with ourselves, our early sites did very little to answer the searcher’s intent or queries. As stated before, our goal was not with the user in mind whatsoever and it was our Content Managers who started to improve this. That being said, our newer sites provide more value, but still aren’t at a level where I think they answer Google’s litmus test regarding Panda.

We want to change that. Ultimately, we want to provide enough information to where the user feels we went above and beyond answering their question or need regarding their search query. We’re looking at this long-term and feel this is the only viable option, considering the directions the search engines are heading. How will we get from here to there? Here are some of our thoughts:

  • Individualize the sites
  • Add enough content to the sites to make them “complete” and fully answer the questions in the niche
  • More individualized attention to each site, making adjustments that are niche specific
  • Improved content on all sites

I can’t help but look at the above points and hear/see an old-school cash register popping the drawer open for each point….Ka-ching! This is going to cost us. Still, I think we have enough margin here to be able to squeak it out and, ultimatly we might find that the increased revenue offsets the costs. (hoping!)

AdSense

With everything going on above, our AdSense income was less than stellar this month, coming in at $3,695.68 in total. Our best day was on 9/7/11 at $192.19 (Our worst day on 9/30/11 at $68.83) and our daily average was $123.19, down from last month’s $137.91. With the selling of sites across a range of months, it makes tracking them by month considerably more challenging. What I’ve done is included the sites we sold this month in the averages, even though they didn’t earn for the entire month. I figure this will give a more conservative figure overall:

Predictions become even more difficult. I’ve taken out sold sites to show you what we should be at, without the changes, which gives a pretty good picture of the hole in our revenue we’ve had this month:

Things were much easier with a predictable path for growth!  Still, I think in the long term, tracking these numbers will make it infinitely easier to determine potential, better understand where your risks are, see where you’re improving/declining, etc.

Flippa

We were able to sell off good chunks of our network this month with some variance in multiples. We think that putting larger packages together was counter-productive, in that it saves us more time by grouping them together in larger amounts, but it takes them out of the price range for most of the $1,500 – $3,500 buyers. Also, we grouped one network together under the “furniture” niche, thinking that someone might be more interested in a package that was targeted towards a specific industry, but what we’re finding is that the people who buy our sites are less concerned with the industry and more concerned with the sites as revenue generating machines. We were hoping that there would be more potential value for someone that’s in the furniture niche and knows how to better monetize, but were surprised to find it didn’t happen. I’m guessing that if it were in a different industry we might have had more success and so we’ll try this again in the future.

Private Sales

We’ve had a few more private sales this month with some success. As a test, we’ve also launched our Buy Our Sites page, where you can review the stats on various sites and pick out those you’re interested in purchasing. We like the “Build Version 0.1 Strategy First” approach as it allows us to test the market without spending any money designing something that has no real interest. Early interest in this looks extremely promising and we plan to expand this in the future.

We’ve also added a section where you can buy another EMD for the exact niche we’re targeting. Our thought was that we’ve already built a successful site in that niche that’s earning and we might as well offer it up to our readers rather than letting some other marketer snatch it up. I don’t know if this plan is something we’ll stick with, but you can check it out here and see if you find something you’re interested in.

Affiliates

We’ve done nothing with our niche sites to promote any new affiliate offers, but have had a few new affiliate sales through AdSenseFlippers. I’ve broken out our affiliate sales below in the summary.

Something we’re really interested in is the PayPerCall model. We had experience with a local search company offering their services to small businesses via PayPerCall. We’re not looking to add customers that way…we’d rather arbitrage our search volume into calls and take a percentage from those that already have customers. I’m quite familiar with some of the bigger networks that have a ton of PPCall customers, but I’m pretty sure none of them offer affiliate programs on a smaller scale. I’ve looked into ShareASale which seems to offer something like that, but I haven’t looked into it enough, I guess. Anyone have any experience with this that can point us in the right direction? (We’re thinking service industries…carpet cleaning, movers, etc.)

Summary

Overall we’re happy with how this month turned out, but we’re a bit nervous about the future. While intellectually I know and appreciate change and adapting, it’s a bit harder when you’re forced to put it into practice! In the end, I’m sure that we’ll come out stronger and ultimately provide more value for ourselves, but also for our advertisers and those searching for products and services.

Sites Created: 86 (168 last month)
AdSense Earnings:  $3,695.68 ($4,275.23 last month)
Flippa Sales: $19,445.00 ($6,510 last month)
Private Sales: $2,762.60 ($3,600 last month)

  • Domains: $50.00
  • Sites: $2,712.60

Affiliate Sales: $108.51 ($50.00 last month)

  • SENuke X: $44.10
  • BuildMyRank: $17.70
  • SubmitYourArticle: $0.15
  • Market Samurai: $46.56
Total: $26,011.79 ($14,435.23 last month)
We’ll be going into rebuilding mode over the next few months as we continue to revamp our process and weather the changes that have hit us recently.  We’re sure you’ll have questions, so feel free to leave comments below and do share this post with others if you’ve found it useful!

Make a living buying and selling websites
Sign up now to get our best tips, strategies, and case studies
Discussion
Leave a comment
  1. Regarding adsense, people should know whats happening! I am finding that if someone is using Google adsense (say for some months no problem and money increases double month over month) and then they sign up with advertising on Bing – even though Unique visits continues to climb, the adsense clicks suddenly drop by more then 60%!!! Nothing anyone can do I’m sure, which is why and how Google can do this crap, but I wanted to at least let people know what is happening. Its more then scammy its fraudulent! At least one website this is happening too is REMOVED

  2. Shamim says:

    Just subscribed your blog and download the PDF you sent. It’s an awesome book on Website Flipping……….though I am new in this industry, but have confidence to do better. Nice to meet you guyz…………

  3. […] #2 Adsense Flippers – $26,011.79 […]

  4. Matt says:

    Do you use Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools on your niche sites?

  5. Jeff says:

    So here’s an interesting conundrum for you: the site that got slapped hardest by this Panda 2.0 update (#1 to #9) has nearly doubled its Adsense earnings. You guys experienced anything similar?

  6. mbmo says:

    Awesome that you guys share this, refreshing to see people open about their businesses. Probably a good tactic that builds trust with the people who buy your sites…. keep on killing it!

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey there…thanks!

      Yes, we definitely think it helps buyers feel more comfortable about spending their money with us. Like anything…there are no guarantees…but they can take comfort in the fact that we’re quite open about everything we do and obviously not scamming anyone.

  7. It’s a tough call making money with adsense sites. I have switched from them over to ecommerce as I feel it’s more of a business and more scalable and sustainable.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      That’s an interesting strategy…we’e considered it as well. Please check back in and let us know how that’s going, whatever the outcome ok?

  8. Lindsay Collins says:

    Hey guys, love this site a lot and have a few questions. I have been doing a ton of research but still not too sure what business model I want to use. My goal was to create a lot of sites in good niches that are not too competitive and hope to make $2-$3 per site per day.

    1. I read that you like to sell the good earners but to me it seems it would be best to keep those for yourself for the passive income. Is your reasoning because you think over time the sites earnings will go down?

    2. Do you you use H1, H2 and H3 tags..or maybe just H1 tags when building?

    3. A few months back you guys started testing the CTR Theme and I think before that you used Prosense. Since it’s been a while now I’m wondering what the test shown? What is you’re favorite theme these days?

    • Lindsay Collins says:

      Ahh sorry, the results of the CTR theme was in this post.

    • Thanks for stopping by Lindsay. Some answers for you:

      1) We need the money! If we want to invest in building new sites without coming out of pocket, we need to sell the best earning sites. Selling only bottom earners would not enough money to expand the program like we do. Therefore all sites are on the table at this point.

      2) We use an H2 tag to intro the article using the primary keyword. CTR Theme does this automatically.

      3) As you said this was answered in the article.

  9. Jeff says:

    Hello everyone,
    I just stumbled upon this site today. Great site by the way!! I’m brand new to Adsense and I have an observation to make and a couple of questions to ask.

    1- Reading about how your sites have been hit and moved down in the rankings, why is it when I search Google organic daily I find sites in the top 3 spots that are stuffed full of Adsense ads with poor or no content and they don’t seem to be affected by these Panda updates?

    2- Before submitting my first adsense site to be approved by Google, how many content pages should I start off with and how many days/weeks should I wait for a new domain and site to mature before submitting to Google for approval?

    3- Once I have a site approved for adsense, do I have to go through the whole approval process for subsequent sites?

    Thanks

    • Thanks for stopping by Jeff. To answer you questions:

      1) Ask Google! This personally drives me a bit batty especially because some of the sites are of much lower quality than our sites are. Seriously though, I think it just may be a matter of time before the Google Panda Bot chugs through all the sites out there and reevaluates them.

      2) The approval process is not really about the amount of pages or time the site has been live, but rather sticking to the TOS. Make sure you have a privacy and contact page. A personal blog is preferable to a niche site for the approval process.

      3) Nope, it’s a one time thing. In fact you don’t even need to add the sites to AdSense. That’s already done for you. Find out more in my AdSense Account Organization post.

    • stevewyman says:

      Hi Jeff & Joe :-)

      This is the number one reason Panda exists! customer driven demand for the ellimination of crappy pure adsense directory type sites.

      My users hate them and complain all the time when they hit one. Its why we have tolove the panda :-) removing these guys from the listings. Oh and maybe reducing their value so they dont hogs the great EMD’s :-)

      However i dont come across them myself thse days. Maybe I dont look in weak market much these days.

      Id value examples of where you have found them as my gut reactiob is they are low comp or low cpc niches?

      regards

  10. JayDee173 says:

    Hey Justin

    I too have seen a hit in adsense earnings over the last couple of weeks – although I didnt realise till now that there was an algo change. That explains everything now!

    Regarding the CTR Theme – I’ve been using this since it was first released. Can you imagine how many IM’ers there are world wide using this. From what we all here, Google is definitely against Made For Adsense type sites which the CTR Theme is all about. I reckon the CTR Theme footprint must be huge by now, and well known to google.

    My plan now is:

    * Completely recode the CTR Theme. Keep the essential bits of functionality and layout, but heavily customise it to little bits and pieces that I always wanted of the CTR Theme which arent there now. This includes completely changing the html and CSS to completely scrub the footprint.

    * Move away completely from branded domains.

    * Move away from hyphenated domains. Go for .com only.

    * Split article lengths …. 60% will be 500 words, 20% 400 words, and 20% 600 words.

    * Buy articles in batches of at least x5 at a time only. Allows my writers to have a chance to really “learn” about a niche, and thus write better content.

    * Have 2 or 3 theme variants (diff colours, styles, layouts) so I can mix things up.

    In my opinion only, having all your eggs in one basket with a single WP Theme (e.g. CTR or ProSense) is dangerous. How easy would it be for google to find and devalue en mass all sites using these wp themes. Even if you were to ousource it, it wouldnt cost a lot to get these themes completely recoded/customised to suit, and avoid the footprint thing altogether.

    • Steve wyman says:

      @Jaydee173 you make some great observations. I dont see the need for .com though .net .org and now .co are all doing well. My best performers are .net right now.

      I still cant decided about hypemated. If nothing else they look “wrong”.

      Your gith about mixing up article length and also improving the quality its whats required so hey ho…

      As to themes why not have 5 or even ten standard themes? my only issue with theme thing is “will google penalise me if i only use Gensis framework” i cant see them doing that so its where im headed. WIth child themes and coding to fit the site and products.

      regards

  11. Allen Young says:

    What is the problem with the CTR Theme?

  12. Joe says:

    Hi Joe,

    How many sites do you have that earn that 3k passive income?

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Joe,

      We’ve built over 800 sites total…but we’ve sold off probably 100-150?

      We were in a position where every site would take about 4 months to start earning $10/month on average, but high-value tanked sites, algorithm changes, and high-earner site sales have dramatically reduced that average. We’re thinking the sites we have left that are earning are probably around $5 per month, or so (After they’ve had their 4 months to develop and get ranked/earning)

  13. Itu says:

    man that is a lot of websites and man hours.have you guys ever thought about creating mid sized authority sites? nothing huge, just something large enough to where it can generate 300-400+ per month on its own.

    with each website you build earning that much money in dollars you should be able to sell each website for more and money and save yourself money and time on the man hours that go into building each one.

    just a suggestion. i know you guys have your own team and all. but just imagine what you guys could do building and managing “medium sized websites” and selling each of them for more.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      We’re definitely on the same page here…take a look at our next post in the next day or two discussing exactly what you’re mentioning here, hehe.

      We’re going to take a step in that direction…should be interesting!

  14. Lpcollins18 says:

    Hey guys nice site. I’m just wondering How many sites you have in total now and what your avg. income you get from each site per day. I read your thread on the warriror forum and unless I read correctly you were only averaging about 0.50 cents per site?

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey there…thanks for stopping by!

      It’s really hard to say at this point. Before September, we could realistically say that within four months, our sites were earning $10 per month, on average. In September, we took some hits to some of our better earning sites, think we got caught up in Panda 2.5, and sold a bunch of our better-earning, non-affected sites off at auction. (Not to mention the negative effect of rolling out CTR Theme without fully testing it first…a slow-rolling hit we’re dealing with now…ugh.)

      That puts us in a pretty difficult position when it comes to measuring how much our average site makes. (If we sold off some of our best sites, took a negative $$ hit to others, etc…it skews the average) From the looks of it, it looks like we’re at around $5/month average now, without those better earners.

      I would also say that (when I checked in early Sept) 70% of our income was coming from 30% of our top sites…so our $10 average was based pretty heavily on that 30%. (We had/have many sites that are in the $2-$8/month range) I think we have a plan to address this moving forward…should have a post out about it relatively soon.

      • Lpcollins18 says:

        Thanks for the reply. I pretty much had the same plan. Make as many but good quality sites as I can and would like to earn at least an average of $3 from each one. As for # of pages and words, how many pages are these sites and how many words in each article?

        I will be following and the best of luck. Also what theme do you guys prefer?

        • JustinWCooke says:

          Without something SERIOUSLY going wrong, I think it would be easy to shoot for $3 or more per site, per month…really easy. We create 5 pages of content for the sites with 3 pages of standardized stuff (about us, contact us, and privacy policy pages)

          We’ve used Clickbump, ProSense, Heatmap, and CTR Theme. I like the look of CTR Theme, but prefer the effectiveness of ProSense or Heatmap.

          • Lindsay Collins says:

            Ahh, damn..just realised. I meant $3 per day for each site..not $3 per month. I mean even $1 or $2 would be good. So you think an average of $3 per day per site is far fetched?

          • JustinWCooke says:

            Lindsay,

            We definitely have sites that average $3 per day or more….but that’s pretty far from the average. Just an educated guess here…I’d say that less than 5% of the sites we create reach that level or better.

            But, again, that’s with OUR particular process. I’m sure we could change our process significantly to where the average site made $3 per day or better…but the sites would be much larger and cost much more.

  15. Nate says:

    Have you guys had positive results with sites based on health/medical topics? i.e. grow longer eyelashes dot com, home insomnia remedies dot com.

  16. Daniel Blankenship says:

    care to share how to edit the sidebar in the prosense theme and remove archives, recent entries and etc?

  17. Nate says:

    You guys are amazing. I’m a noobie to niche websites and after reading your niche blueprint I am completely motivated. After reading I researched 5 micro niche keywords ranging in global searches of 4,000-8,000, Google competition of 10,000 pages to 80,000 pages, and atleast $1 cpc. I plan on writing 5 articles for each niche. The only thing that im worried about is the high cost of these programs you use, i.e. $60 – $200 per month each. I can afford to subscribe to one of those programs but starting out it would be hard to imagine subscribing to several of them.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Nate…thanks for stopping by!

      Until you have enough sites and revenue to justify it…don’t even worry about the tools. The only tools I think are worth it from the beginning are keyword research tools. The rest…just wait until you’ve got everything up and running and then go back and use tools once you know how it works without them…you’ll be in a much better position to determine what you ACTUALLY need and be able to look past the sales copy! hehe

  18. Kevin says:

    Hey Justin and Joe,

    How did most recent algo change (10/13-10/14) affect your sites across the board? Did you notice anything substantial or just a blip?

    Thanks,
    Kevin

    • I think (hope?) we have our algo impact, so there is no need for the Google gods to knock us again. However, as Justin states below, we have been traveling the last week and were caught up with some side ventures on The Lifestyle Business Podcast in Puerto Galera. However, we’re back on it this week, will evaluate the numbers and give some initial impressions on how everything is going. Look for a follow up post soon.

  19. Chris says:

    Have you guys started implementing your strategies to rescue the copied sites and un-Panda your other sites? What steps do you think you’ll take to create a unique look/feel to the sites to distinguish them. I see a real catch-22 for you guys here, because you want to automate the creation of these sites, but somehow you have to make them all different. How will you maximize CTR when you’re changing themes/colors/fonts/picture and ad placement on all the sites? I hope things are coming together.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Chris,

      Joe and I have been traveling for about a week now. We were supposed to be back in Davao already, but got stuck on an island (Mindoro) and had to weather the storm/Typhoon as the boats weren’t going anywhere, heh. Anything/Everything we have project related has been pushed back, unfortunately.

      You’re right about the Catch-22…across the board it increases the level of difficulty. We can incorporate a degree of randomness to the process, but we’re going to have to do it in several areas and it definitely makes it a bit more difficult. We’ll most likely have an entire post dedicated to this in the future, once we’ve got it up and running.

  20. Ah, this is inspiring! Our daughter Kate has been following you guys for a while and is working hard on her AdSense sites. Quite nice of you guys to be so transparent with everything you do, it’s been really helpful for her :)

  21. Trends says:

    Sent you a quick email about something I’m a bit hazy on when it comes to auction payments. Please check it out and let me know what you think.

    Thanks!

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey, Trends…good to see your auction KILLING it on Flippa. i’d be shocked/amazed if you got less than 15x…and think you’ll get much closer to or even better than 20x on your auction when all is said and done.

  22. Melissa says:

    I read your thoughts on why you think your sites may have “tanked” so I thought I would let you know that 15 of my sites dropped 3 or more positions in Google in the last couple days of September, and have not recovered. All of the sites that dropped were on the same hosting account and are using the CTR Theme. I blamed it on another Panda update as I have been seeing that there was talk of an update right at the time my sites dropped. If I figure anything out with mine, I’ll gladly come back and post.

  23. Steven101 says:

    @JustinWCooke I’m located in Cebu been living with adsense and affiliate marketing for 8 years. Just took a huge hit or lost from the latest algo update starting October 3. It seems like its getting harder every month to make a living even with having premium domains.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Sorry to hear that, Steven. We’ve definitely taken multiple hits in the last 4-6 weeks and some adjustments needs to be made on our end. Still, it seems to be a worthwhile monetization strategy from our perspective.

  24. NewtoAdsense says:

    Hey Guys,

    New to you site, but just wanted to mention what I saw on a forum…some guy mentioned he was worried about violating Google’s TOS by having ads on the About, Privacy and Contact pages since they don’t have “content” I haven’t read the TOS so I don’t know for sure, but I noticed one of you sites on Flippa had this. Maybe worth looking into further.

  25. Jhoda123 says:

    Hey guys, been reading your blog for a while and found its style extremely effective. Sorry to hear about the sites and hope you guys bounce back.

    I was wondering as I’ve seen on Flippa you started using sites with hyphens in the emd. Have you found these to be any harder to rank, needing more backlinks, etc. than regular emds?

    • JustinWCooke says:

      That’s great to hear…thank you!

      We ran a test where we went after hyphens and what you’re saying is true, to some degree. The interesting thing is, though, that we had a few with hyphens that did quite well. My best guess is that they ARE harder to rank across the board, but because they allow you to target juicier niches it might wash out…just not sure. We went back to targeting EMD’s after that, though.

  26. Trends says:

    Income reports… favorite time of the month :D

    Glad to see you guys ticking along. Definitely in my group of sites I check regularly.

    Will be setting up my first auction this week. Let’s see if all the tips I’ve learned from you guys, Trent and Spencer come in handy.

    – TRENDS

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Awesome, man.

      Send us an email or give us a message when you’re auction’s live on Flippa…would be happy to check it out!

  27. Andrew says:

    Great post! Sorry about the drop for that group of sites, but it looks like you’re taking the necessary steps to rectify the situation.

    I really appreciate the discussion about Panda 2.5. That’s always been my hesitation with large-scale niche site creation; it seemed like all signs from Google said they are planning to implement more and more “user experience” factors into rankings and punish thinner sites based around ads. It’s great you’re committed to providing more value to the searcher and wish you the best of luck.

    I’m looking forward to following as I build up a few of my own niche sites in addition to the two blogs I run.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Andrew,

      We’re definitely hoping that approach will have long-term viability. Aside from Google hinting and showing that’s the direction they want to go…ultimately, it’s just better for the users, right? I think keeping the user’s interests at heart will keep you ahead of the Google curve…but have to balance that with reality when it comes to profits, costs, etc.

      In the end…you can go past large-scale niche site creation. We could have an even larger team knocking out higher-level, manually built sites with excellent content on a very large scale…it’s just a matter of cost and revenue, right? There’s also more complexity that comes in to play…but definitely something that can be done.

      We’re just a little gun shy when it comes to building $500-$1000 sites on a large scale (That hopefully make $70-$200/month on average) because it’s simply not something we’ve done yet successfully! Gotta start somewhere though, right?

  28. Rahul says:

    Well looks like this is some kind of manual penalty. Make these sites bigger should be helpful. I have one website getting 100 visitor per day but clicks. What should i do?? I never saw such pathetic performance on adsense

    • JustinWCooke says:

      100 visits per day and no clicks? I’m guessing it’s either bad ad placement on the site, advertisements that don’t match the content very well and aren’t interesting to the reader, or just a bad niche overall for adsense.

    • Jennifer says:

      Have you looked at click fraud? I had one of my sites that was not performing and come to find out there was code stealing my adsense clicks

  29. stevewyman says:

    Hi Guys

    this “game” sure has its ups and downs. Panda is definetly getting tough. Tactics will have to change for sure. A lot of th eolder backlink practices are not working.

    Intresting comment from Charleen. I cant see that Google is going to penalise backlinks from blogs. Its to difficult to work out whats a spammy blog and whats not. smartpassiveincome has a thread with over 1000 replies now other threads 30-40.

    What i think were starting to see is an increasing amount of footprint analysis. SO when you have lots of domains and they are very similar and one gets picked up in a manual audit. a whole group gets hit.

    Its been a standard practice for some time to do the following

    seperate hosting accounts on seperate C clss ips, Seperate web master tools and analytics. Then within a hosting account very the template. There are tons of free temapltes. just pick one wih two columns right or whatever the format you need.

    I know for efficency you have been using one set of processes but Im sure you can vary it up with little difficulty. Shame about the hosting though as the large installation made economic sense. On the other hand 50 mysql accounts are easier to provision and support.

    The best fo luck with the reorganisation and pacifying the Panda.

    In teh long run as always with Google they and we want happy users that love our sites. I totally believe in niche sites they will always be quicker to rank for a tight niche. Authority sites i also like but i dont belive panda cares about size that again doesnot make sense.

    Feel the quality dont worry about the width.

    regards

    • As I’ve posted to the Warrior Forum, it is not difficult to detect “private” blogs — meaning of course blogs that exist purely for the purpose of providing backlinks to paying customers. If you’re willing to spend the time and some money hiring people to write unique articles, then pay to have them posted on these private blog networks, all you have to do is search for your article and blam — you’ve identified a private blog. Shampoo lather rinse repeat as many times as necessary or until you run out of money. In Google’s case that could be a very long time indeed. :-)

      While I’m at it and a totally different topic I want to congratulate Justin and Joe on their recent Flippa results. Good job!

      • JustinWCooke says:

        Charleen’s totally right…I can tell you a bunch of sites that are in a particular network just by checking out the articles and links that have been posted. That being said, I highly doubt Google spends any time signing up for blog networks to find out which sites they’re using so they can shut them down…I just don’t think they work that way.

        What would be easy, however, is for an angry customer or competitor to research that information and try to sabotage. I’m sure there are people that would be interested in doing that (Although you really have to wonder what they’re doing…why not spend their time making themselves money rather than causing grief to someone else?)

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Steve,

      Definitely agree with most of what you have to say…specifically that regarding quality overall and not necessarily the AMOUNT of content you have on the site when it comes to “authority” status…and the fact that it’s better to have AUTHORITY niche sites that area easier/quicker to rank.

      I do think it unlikely, though, that Google does many manual reviews of anything. Maybe in particularly large, sweeping cases (JC Penny’s?) but I don’t think they do it on a small scale.

  30. Adam says:

    I currently use CTR theme and I like it. I never used ProSense so I can’t compare the two though. I have had good earnings with it. In the beginning I let the ads rotate but I thought that was too spammy and me as a surfer wouldn’t like it. There are really only 2 of the 5 layout options I use, the others I don’t like too much.

    If you continue to use it stick to one layout per site. Pick one that has optimal layout for adsense.

    Sorry to hear about the rippers, I guess thats one of the pitfalls of what you are doing here. I would offer a suggestion, if you plan on selling more sites put those sites on one hosting account that way people can’t search your server for your other sites. More work but considering what happened it would be worth it.

    I have enjoyed your site and hope you don’t pull back.

    Good luck

  31. Charleen Bunjiovianna says:

    Hi guys,

    Sorry to hear about the time in the penalty box. What I was wondering is: Did you promote any of the smacked sites using private blog networks? I believe (but can’t prove) the big G is going to come down on those soon — and may have already started.

    Thanks,

    Charleen

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Charleen,

      We did…but not to the affected sites, so that couldn’t be considered the cause. We looked at other linkbuilding methods too, but nothing that tied them together for the “tanked” sites.

      Now…you might be right about the sites in late September…some of those would have links from those blogs. In looking today, though, it seems that some of those sites are coming back…thinking that’s a temporary bounce as often happens with newer sites.

      I hear your warning, though, for sure.

  32. Thank you very much for sharing the income report and most important of all, ‘the ugly section’ revealed some important things for those who go after thin sites (including myself). :)

    So improving content quality and writing well researched and insightful content would cost a lot more than what you guys currently spend, right? So do u think such a content can be ordered for $5 per article? So what’s your plan on investing in top quality content?

    Hope u are gonna continue with prosense-blue template as the CTR theme didn’t work much… right?

    Thanks..

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Yes, Mohamed…that’s our concern.

      I know we can use TextBroker and get some pretty strong content overall from them, but we’re looking at around $7-$8 per article on average, when our current price is around $3.50 to $4.00….ouch! Doubling our cost for content would be a heavy hit to take. Still….would it make sense to have a few pages of good, strong content, but have a few extra pages of thin content? That doesn’t really serve the user well, does it?

      We’re still working out the content issue for now…same with the WP theme issue.

      • Yeah $7-$8 per article seems to be reasonable if the article is well researched and have something unique of their own. But should be increased in word length too. I think that can attract some additional long tail traffic on the go, right? So best of luck for your upcoming tasks.

        Keep doing and motivating us…

        Thanks for the reply

        • Steve wyman says:

          You make some good points. I think the days of 5 pages of 350 words are a thing of the past. I tend to be using 700 as a minimum for the main ranking page and 500 for innerpages. with some 400 word pages in the mix as well.

          and sure having as many long tail phrases on the page that are natural is a real bonus for traffic.

          regards

  33. Anton says:

    Hi Justin and Joe!

    Just read your post and I totally agree with you on the CTR Theme performance! I have it installed on a couple of my recently created adsense sites, and while both sites get long-tail traffic, I haven’t seen any clicks at all. Also tested all possible placements etc.. but seems it’s in vain. Both sites are in the education niche.

    THanks for pointing out the recent Panda update, I also see some drop in adsense (since Sept) so I guess my XFactor minis were also affected. Most of these are having 3-5 pages of content most.

    I’ve been watching adwords stuff lately, and I’ve got a gut feeling that google tried to get rid of “small people” in their paid and organic rankings. It’s probably their general direction with all these Panda updates.. google has never been as vulnerable as in 2011.

    Targeting ideas/topics VS keywords – this is what I’ve been doing with most of my recently launched sites. As affiliate – I create a “money-pages” where I expect to get sales from, but the larget chunk of content is articles that are covering specific questions/concerns in the niche – seems this works and gives a domain that “trust” factor that really helps in high rankings. So you’re definitely in the right direction here!

    I ususally use tools like Keywords Digger (I bought it for $9 on WickedFire) -very lightweight yet super fast soft, alternative is Keyword Snatcher by Jon Leger – these tools extract all possible variations of keyword suggestions where I find all the possible ideas of what info people are looking for related to certain “seed” keywords.

    Another cool tool is Wordtracker Questions – https://freekeywords.wordtracker.com/keyword-questions/ – I guess you need to create account to use it massively (free). Also shows the # of times this question was asked! That’s enough for getting a clear picture for creating a useful content ;)

    I’m really impressed with your approach to earning on adsense – really smart and pretty fast in returns. I hope you can adapt to these changes that google makes, we all have to – adapt&win or get a job with a boss and sit still…

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Anton.

      We definitely wouldn’t want to go back to working for the man! lol

      The approach where you create an informational site with a money page or area that you regularly link to or reference seems like a good idea. Good for a larger authority site, for sure. If you can get enough traffic and ultimately sales on the resources page you can justify setting up things like dropshipping or even selling directly via fulfillment.

  34. sweetheater says:

    Tough luck mate…I create 5 websites a month and spend more time building them hopefully not to get rooted by Google,It would be great if you could share with us on what made Google to drop you and characteristics of those websites that dropped…Everyone faces success and failure so please don’t give up…You are a big inspiration to me!!

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Definitely not planning on giving up! Just wanted to document our speedbumps in an effort to be as transparent as we can be.

      We gave our best guesses as to the problems with the sites above, but we really can’t ever know for sure. The only characteristics that we could apply to “tanked” sites that the non-affected sites didn’t have was the duplicate content…but can’t be sure that’s the complete answer/picture. We’re applying other changes as well to be on the safe side, aside from just changing the content.

  35. Tyler Boshears says:

    This post is a real eye opener!

    I’ve got content up on about 50 sites as of now.. (5 pages of actual content per site) but now am considering whether or not it’s worth it to keep going.

    The only real insurance I can think to give myself is if I put roughly 50 sites per hosting/adsense account/IP.

    I’m part of a private Adsense forum and I have seen sites making 20-40 bucks a day get deindexed over night (one of the live case studies over there) So authority sites are definitely not safe either. He started it back in June and it was steadily increasing in revenue with over 100+ unique high quality articles.

    All it takes is that manual review and if they don’t like something they can end your income from that site with the click of a button, at least if you split the network up they are only hitting a small percentage of your total basket of eggs.

    Just food for thought.. great income for the month guys, look forward to seeing where you guys take it from here!

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey, Tyler…thanks for stopping by!

      What AdSense forum are you in?

      We agree with splitting up your sites into multiple hosting accounts and is a part of our strategy, for sure. It would suck to have such a large, earning site deindexed. I would say, though, that a deindex is a pretty harsh penalty…usually reserved for sites that were particularly bad. Just an FYI for anyone wondering:

      DeIndex test – Site:domain.com – To determine whether any pages are in the index.
      Tanked test – primary keyword domain.com – If your site isn’t on the first page, it’s most likely “tanked”

      We think that manual reviews are VERY rare. When they do happen, it’s most likely for the REALLY big players (JC Penny’s, for example) and not likely for sites like ours. We know that the AdSense will sometimes review sites, but they’re primarily looking for sites that don’t adhere to AdSense team guidelines, not search team guidelines which are different.

      Thanks for the tips!

      • Tyler Boshears says:

        Hi Justin,

        The forum i’m on is from http://www.adsensemasterscourse.com/.

        He started it back in May so it’s fairly new and growing, but he’s got a neat case study with an Authority site, and some others have shared their growing process over there as well for Authority sites. This is XFactor’s forum.

        Yeah it looks like you were hit by the search team.. if the Adsense team had any problems with your sites i’m sure they’d have told you by now…especially considering you’ve met up with a rep!

        I’ve seen this in the past with others making this amount, having their entire group of sites either knocked into oblivion, or deindexed all together.. but they still kept their Adsense account.

        I guess you can never be too careful when you are putting so much on the line with this crazy company they call Google!

        • JustinWCooke says:

          Ah…ok…yes. Familiar with John (Xfactor) actually. He doesn’t know it, but he was a big inspiration to us in getting started…I poured through his free thread on the WF when we were just getting up and running. In fact, his “authority site” WSO is one of the VERY few info products I’ve ever purchased.

          Let him know we said hi…and thanks!

  36. Brian says:

    interesting post as my concern was over building thin sites as google puts more emphasis on links/time on site,etc..backlinks are just becoming more and more relevant……1 footprint I noticed on your auction sites if you had a footer link to your outsourcing company so anyone could find other sites….flipper is a great resource for finding data of successful niches and looking up the keywords for those successful sites for sale so I am sure you get some unwanted attention from it.

    Commission Junction has decent PPcall but they programs are strict about only paying when customer on call for minimum time,etc….

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Brian,

      Yes, that’s one of the footprints we’ve removed. Silly of us…was more of a vanity thing than anything else. Someone had a whole video they were selling dedicated to reverse engineering our sites, unfortunately, based on our Flippa sales. Some good and bad has come from Flippa exposure, for sure.

      Will definitely check out the CJ PPCall program. We’re not too concerned about minimum call times…more as to whether they take smaller marketers with small sites onboard.

  37. Ben says:

    Justin and Joe,

    I’m actually part of an internet marketing forum, and a lot of members there saw their sites go down big time this month. So your def not alone. But congrats on the $25,000 month! Impressive and motivating.

    One of my niche sites is actually earning between $2 to $4 a day, which is pretty motivating.

    Now, I do agree that the problem with these very specific niche sites is that they don’t offer much value to the reader.

    So here is the million dollar question for you guys. With such a large budget, why is it you have decided to pursue creating tons of micro niche sites, instead of going after one large website, working towards making it an authority? You’d have a lot less to manage, and earnings would probably be a lot higher. I’m just curious, because I’ve been debating whether I should begin building one large niche site, that will have a lot less chance of being slapped by Google, and will also be a lot easier to manage than hundreds of small sites.

    • Sud.Lamiran says:

      Yeah, this is an interesting question:
      “why is it you have decided to pursue creating tons of micro niche sites, instead of going after one large website? ” + what are the cons and pros? Opinions from a pro always good to hear before make a leap…

      • JustinWCooke says:

        A pro, eh? I don’t know that we’re that, exactly…but do appreciate the compliment! I think I answered this question above, but I’ll just add that it was quicker to determine whether the process was working or not with mini-niche sites rather than larger sites, so we went that route to start and have just continued. We’ll definitely be testing out authority sites, but fairly cautiously.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Great question, Ben!

      When we were starting off, we thought smaller, niche sites were a better choice/test as they’re easier and quicker to get ranked. You’ll know within just a couple of months as to whether the investment was worth it or not, where larger, authority sites can take 6-9 months to fully realize a return, see if it’s working, etc. We thought that niche sites would be a better test for us.

      The reason we’re not actively pursuing larger authority sites now is partly the same reason, but partly because we don’t know as well how to do it! We believe that if you have something that works you run with it and scale it, trying not to put too much time into trying something new, except to expand your revenue channels…and then only one or two other tests at a time. Otherwise, you get to spread out and are focusing on things that are not proven and successful for you.

      I’d also add that larger sites are feeling the effect of Panda as well and simply having larger/authority sites is not necessarily protective. (from what I’ve read) There are great authority sites that have been hit pretty hard in the Search Engines. I’ve read that Panda can damage a site even if most of the content is quality but a few of the pages are thin or don’t add much value, so do be careful to only add content that adds to the experience and info overall.

      • Chris says:

        Justin,

        I forgot to say earlier, congrats on the income this week, despite the setbacks. I remember you mentioned before that you were working on some larger sites. What have your results been for the larger sites you’ve been creating?

        I was brainstorming this so here’s my thoughts. Maybe it’s totally wrong, but I’ll share it with you anyway. For what it’s worth, I think you’re best bet would be to dump all the micro-niche sites and use that money to start something bigger. Since we know it will take 6-9 months for the authority sites to mature, perhaps you could slowly transition your resources over to the larger authority site model as you see progress. For example:

        Now: 100% niche
        Months 1-3: 70% niche, 30% authority
        Months 3-6: 50% niche, 50% authority (starting to see some return from the authority sites)
        Months 6-9: 30% niche, 70% authority (seeing good return from authority in months 1-3)
        After: 100% authority

        If you’ve completely moved over your business model to larger sites in 9 months, then by month 12 you could sell off the last of your smaller niche sites.

        Here’s the catch. I think an authority site is more than just lots of the same types of articles you were putting on the niche sites. In that case it would just be a larger version of the same thing. I think you’ll need a strategy with your writing to address the visitors needs, adding different types of value and a more interesting user experience with video, audio, downloadable giveaways, etc.

        You might possibly create other forms of revenue, such as affiliate marketing, or creating a system to sell small ($7-$10) digital reports (5-10 page research papers) written for each site in addition to adsense. I think you could figure out a good formula to produce an acceptable ROI. 1 sale a month at $7 = $84 per year. Figure it costs you $40 to have the reports written, that’s a 6 month ROI. I realize all this goes against the strategy of minimizing leakage by limiting the user options, but I think the ship has sailed on that strategy when it comes to Adsense. I don’t think Google wants sites like that anymore. The Panda Litmus Test link you shared makes that point very clear. What do you think?

        As a side note, here’s a quote from your January 2011 income report:

        “We’re not convinced that the sites will make enough money to be hugely profitable, but we’ve seen some bright spots along the way and definitely plan to continue this journey.”

        You made the small niche sites work without knowing exactly how to do it or if it would work. You know you have the resources and the ability, so don’t let the doubt of uncertainty keep you from making necessary changes. Just my $.02.
        Chris-
        Your site is way too distracting for me :) I need to get some work done…

        • steve wyman says:

          Hi chris

          there is a lot to your idea. however im not sure dumping the niche sites on the market is either the right thing to do or even neccasry.

          IMHO they just need some love attention and new links. I do believe post panda the old smart passive income model is dead. Just llok at the earning report over their. its static at best and with out affiliate sales not worth the effort.

          What Joe and Justin are doing is quite different. and one month is no reason to quit a business model.

          IMHO (again) the way forward is to fix the sites with the best potential, start more and also build the authority sites. You could always point the older niche sites to inner sections of an authority site to boost it up the serps as well.

          Not that these smart guys need my input :-)

          regards

          • Chris says:

            Steve,

            I think we’re on the same page, mostly. My suggestion was not to get rid of the sites before they are mature or to completely stop making the small sites (until the new plan has been proven), but simply to direct more effort to larger more user focused sites. Once they learn that business, see some results, and tweak the ROI they could refocus more of their attention in that direction.

            I agree you shouldn’t dump a business model at the first sign of adversity; I’m suggesting a modification. My concern was continuing in the same direction when Google has clearly outlined that their main objective it to get rid of sites in their index that have that model. Every business has to change or die, right?

            Pat with SmartPassiveIncome has an authority site about security guards which is killing it and is a great model for what I was suggesting. I’m not sure what you mean by the model over there being dead.

            Yeah, I agree these guys are smart. That’s why I come here ;)

            Chris-

          • steve wyman says:

            Hi Chris,

            we most certainly are.

            I want to be clear and carefull about explaining my observation about Pats site. Legal dsiclaimer time: this is my own personel take. Its not facts its an opinion.

            That site made $1481.32 last month. But we dont know what the costs of running it was. so thats turnover. Its great Im a fan of Pats work and his awesome contribution to the community.

            However that site is not passive income. its being worked on. its not in a set and forget mode. so the set and forget passive income model is not being used. Nor do i believe its viable going forward.

            The days of set and forget are limited.

            I also believe theres a limited life time to affiliate based income model. The income reports are there for one and all to see. But with so many coupon and discount sites around the web thats got to impact sooner or later. Plus better software such as Spencer hawes long tail pro etc undermining market samuris dominance.

            I wish the very best for Pat’s business and contribute over there when i can.

            Time to go kick some p
            Panda butt :-)

          • Wow great discussion here back and forth guys! I have to say I lean towards micro niche sites, for the reasons that were mentioned — cost and time. An authority site simply takes so long to prove it’s worth during which time you need to be constantly working on and refining it. Our limited authority site experiment is still in the works, but I have to say the initial results are NOT encouraging.

  38. Chris says:

    Hey guys. Tough break. I came to a decision this weekend that I need to exclusively focus on authority sites, using only high quality expertly outsourced content, customized and branded look and feel, minimal ads, along with obvious value on each page. It’s interesting that some people seem to dodge the bullet, but I think Google is getting better aim. More and more people that I follow are having issues. Some other revelations:

    1. I think many sites on one hosting account leaves you vulnerable, especially if you expose one of your sites to other internet marketers, such as one does selling on Flippa.
    (I would consider setting up a holding account and before you make the site available to sell, move them to the holding (hosting) account. I would also set up a separate business account with adsense and have only your “for sale” sites on that account. It’s too easy to reverse engineer peoples network these days.) What’s too many? I don’t know, depends on your threshold for risk, I guess. For me, probably 10 – 20 sites, but if I ever get some big earners, I’ll probably break them out on their own.

    2. I will use the Cary Burgeron method of growing a site slow. It takes longer, but look what happened to Spencer from Nichepursuits and his authority site. This is a perfect case study on the dangers of adding backlinks too fast, and I think to a lesser extent, adding content unnaturally fast (ie, posting 60 articles at once on a new site.)

    3. I need to focus on user experience so the site doesn’t look like the only point is to sell ads. I have a bunch of ideas on that, so I’ll let you guys know what I end up doing.

    I don’t think your model is broken, but I think you’ll have to make some changes to meet the criteria set forth by Google. Perhaps you should add a step to your process before placing the article orders. You could make a list of ideas on how that site will help the visitor. Then try to incorporate those helpful ideas in the articles you order by adding unique data, expert insight, tutorials, etc. Your might consider producing slight larger sites, say 8-10 pages, but I suggest the main change should be refocusing the goal on user experience instead of targeting keywords for ads. Good luck.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Chris!

      Love your suggestions overall…they really seem to be on point. Specifically:

      1. Agreed. While putting our sites on Flippa has the additional benefit of gaining us a bunch of positive attention…the negative attention comes as well. I hadn’t thought of using an AdSense “holding account” while on Flippa, that’s a good idea. We are breaking sites up regarding hosting, though, for sure.

      2. We’re big fans of Cary Bergeron’s method…he’s an AdSense star, for sure. Unfortunately…we haven’t tried his process out and so it’s unfamiliar territory for sure. We do want to get there and give it a shot…it does suck that the payoff is slower and you don’t know if it’s working or not for a while though, heh.

      3. User Experience is key with Panda, for sure….but balancing that with wanting the visitors to click the ads is the tricky part, I guess.

      With our experience regarding cleaning up the tanked sites, we’re changing the process a bit to allow the Content Managers free reign when it comes to several of the secondary articles. Instead of targeting keywords, they’ll be targeting ideas or subjects that closely match the intent of the user on the site to give them better content to review.

      Great comment, Chris.

  39. Aldo Vargas says:

    I really hate this pandan stuff ;).

    I also working on my sites and i saw some minimum changes but yeah i agree with you.

    I think that Next panda update will try to get rip of the small content sites… so we better add more quality content to our sites so we dont fall behind.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Aldo….agreed!

      While I think it’s an overall good thing that they’re factoring quality into rankings, it does mean we have to adjust…which is a good thing anyway, of course…just a bit painful!

  40. Sud.Lamiran says:

    Well done mates..!
    After reading your report:

    1. Which sites of yours effected most: the celebrities or the fruits ones?
    2. Which is harder: fixing the damaged sites or building entire new ones?
    3. Can you recommend what we should do to ‘play in safe’ with Google dances in long terms?
    4. How could you be sure to choose a good hosting to host your niche sites?
    5. With those funding, do you plan to build your own server? Is it a wise investment?

    Thank a lot.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hmmm…

      1. Not sure what you mean here?
      2. It depends on how effective the fix is! If we can get a few of those top earners back, it’s well worth it. It’s probably break-even on the lower-earners…putting more resources into those that were making more money.
      3. Long-Term…we’re trying to figure that out! Ultimately, Google wants the BEST resources for the search term to appear near the top of the results. Apply all of the seo and allowed tricks you know to get the sites ranked, but, ultimately, you need to be a GREAT resource for the person that’s looking for the information.
      4. Not too worried about our hosting, although “bad neighborhoods” can negatively affect you, for sure. GoDaddy works for us, though.
      5. Not going to put sites on a dedicated server…there are advantages to being on shared hosting that we like.

      • Djlest_uk says:

        Interesting – i must have missed this post and here i was thinking id read your entire blog and asking questions you already answered here.

        its a shame panda caught up with you, i was wondering how you managed to wangle it, well evidently you didnt. Reading your post on TWF today, it started from last year in your early days, and your meeting with the Google rep. That’s gotta suck!

        Well whether or not it was a dupe content filter (which we all thought never existed), some bad links, or whatever the reasons, i hope you fathom it out and let us know your findings.

        I just registered 75 domains to take another stab at this adsense game after reading your blog this last few weeks. I have to say, the last 24 hours ive been somewhat deflated after a lot of research on the panda updates , now your own experience and many others from 2010’s crumbling adsense empires. As i have already purchased the domains I’m considering the following changes to see how they perform:

        1. Static sites that don’t follow footprints – no blogs
        2. RSS feeds incorporated into the sites (to look like blogs)
        3. No rotation of ads, just carefully selected ad blocks (less is more)
        4. Variation of themes, colours, headers, graphix
        5. Personalized Header graphics based on niche
        6. logo to facebook & twitter (the human touch – probably not active )
        7. Video page (may scrape some vids on related themes – can also use adsense on if they prove successful)
        8. Possible top menu with (home-contact-products) this may cause less CTR on the ads but will make the site look less spammy – i know you guys like the link header across the top – i will test it against some others and see how it performs
        9. A possible products page – only with products amazon etc. yes one page on the site where people can actually find what they are looking for without clicking an adblock
        10. No less than 10 pages per site at any time (needs testing but im worried that for indexing purposes, even one page sites with adsense on may cause some damage should panda find them fresh out the gate.
        11, 50 sites per hosting account or C block/ godaddy account / maybe adsense acc too – will think about that.

        anyways, all the best guys… and thanks for keeping us updated on the good with the bad. Hope to report back to you on if any of the above works out or not.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a site to sell?
Sell Your Site

Click here to find out how much your website is worth