How We Used Interns to Double the Traffic to Our Sites in Just 3 Months

EF Staff Updated on February 29, 2020

spencer haws niche pursuits

Anyone that has ever looked into or built out affiliate niche sites is probably familiar with Spencer Haws of Niche Pursuits. Spencer is someone I look up to immensely from the very start of my dabbling in this crazy world of internet marketing. His practical advice and pragmatic approach to business has always been a refreshing breath of fresh air in an industry often filled with emotional headlines and hyped up work-for-a-night strategies.

He’s been in the game for a long time, and he’s here to stay using strategies that don’t work just for a month, but produce results for years.

In addition to building out niche sites and sharing his SEO knowledge, he is also the creator of Long Tail Pro—a keyword research tool we highly recommend here at Empire Flippers.

Today, Spencer is going to reveal an exciting new method he is using to build out his niche sites at a faster pace than ever before. If you are looking for some golden nuggets on how you can scale from just a handful of niche sites into potentially dozens of profitable web properties, this post is for you.

Hey everyone, Spencer Haws here from!

I was chatting the other day with Justin and Joe about a unique intern-centric business model that a couple of partners and I have been employing to grow our websites. Justin and Joe thought the business model was worth a blog post.

Before I jump into how we are using interns and some of the results that we have seen on two sites that we’ve purchased recently, I want to give a little background.

I first heard of the idea for using interns to grow online businesses from Hayden Miyamoto a couple of years ago. Then in February of this year, Hayden, Scott Davis, and I decided to buy a website together and use our combined years of experience building and growing digital assets to quickly ramp up the value of the website.

After several discussions, the idea of teaching interns to “clone” our working power just seemed like the best way to scale the website, so we dove in head first.

After seeing success with a couple of our sites using this model, we created Authority Machine where we buy websites, grow them with interns, or provide training to others to grow their own sites.

Today, I’m going to share the results of our strategy, how we recruited interns, what we had them do, and what was in it for them.

If you don’t think you are ready to recruit your own interns, you might be interested in joining our team as an Authority Machine intern right here and checking out the internal workings of our business.

The Results

Let’s start with the results to show you why this is of interest to you.

Results of Site #1

We bought a website in early February 2016. In just a few short months, we have more than DOUBLED the organic search engine traffic going to the site.


When we purchased the site, it was getting just under 5,000 organic sessions a week. By mid-May the site was attracting double that amount per week at over 10,000 sessions. As you can see, the site only continued to grow and now receives about 12,000 organic sessions a week.

Results of Site #2

We bought a second site in mid-March of this year. In this example, we were able to double the organic traffic in just two and a half months, and in just over four months we have grown the organic traffic to five times its original volume!


So, the results we are achieving are very real, and recent.

How are we achieving these outstanding results?

The Engine Driving Our Impressive Growth

As I mentioned before, we never could have done all of this on our own. We were able to take our years of experience and put some interns through an intense four-week training system that we created to teach them all our strategies for either keyword research and content or link building.

Then these interns were able to work on our sites using the skills we had just taught them to research easy-to-rank keywords and produce high-quality content that Google loves.

For site #1, we recruited dozens of interns primarily through my blog and email list at Niche Pursuits. This first group for site #1 only did keyword research and writing content, no link building. These interns were able to work virtually and keep any hours they wanted.

We taught them advanced keyword research and how to find what we call “definite wins.” We taught them how to write great articles themselves or how to outsource their writing duties. In addition, we provided them step-by-step documentation and standard operating procedures to make sure they didn’t make any mistakes on our newly purchased website.

We didn’t hold anything back in terms of training, including webinars, skype chats with coaches, and more. Since the quality of their work determined the outcome of our own website, we made sure they were trained properly.

When all was said and done, the interns wrote or outsourced about 500 pieces of content. I’ve shared some more results from this experiment on my blog here.

For site #2, we focused primarily on link building. That’s right; the dramatic uptick in site sessions was achieved mostly through link building and with very little new content added.

We again recruited dozens of interns and put them through an intense four weeks of training. This time they learned link building strategies that we knew could bring in relatively quick results.

The main link building strategies we focused on were:

  • Infographics
  • Creating and sharing top lists
  • Contributor accounts and a couple other advanced strategies

On my podcast recently, Hayden Miyamoto and I discussed one of the advanced link building strategies we’ve tested right here.

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Are Interns Right for You?

If you don’t have any experience building websites, you won’t be able to go out and recruit interns. The value proposition to an intern only makes sense if you have a proven track record and can provide truly valuable training.

Here’s what we provided our interns:

  • Four weeks of advanced training
  • Videos, webinars, lots of spreadsheets, and standard operating procedures that they can take with them
  • Skype chats with coaches to answer any and all questions
  • A network of other ambitious interns and entrepreneurs that they can stay connected with

In exchange, we asked the interns to make a deposit and write 10 articles (or build links). When the four weeks are over, they all got their deposit back. This just provides them some motivation to keep working the full four weeks.

So, if you have a successful track record and can provide enough value that interns would be willing to work with you, this could be a great business model that you can employ.

Providing Training and Additional Internships

Running internships is not easy.

In fact, we now have a staff of over 11 people and growing. This staff is dedicated to helping us run and manage the internships.

What we discovered in recruiting interns is that some people don’t want to work on our sites for four weeks—they want to work on their own sites!

To subvert this problem, we’ve now combined all the keyword research, content, link building materials, and some other advanced strategies into a training course, which people can purchase.

The course is eight weeks long, and we believe it can provide a significant boost to anyone’s website.

If you want to learn more about how to join an internship or get access to our training course, join me on a live webinar right here.

I’ll provide an even deeper look into the results of our first two sites and share our plans for future website purchases along with our strategy for growing them.

In Summary…

Overall, using interns to help grow your business is a pretty unique model that is working really well for us right now. However, you have to be able to provide value and truly train your interns before you will see the good results.

We really like the model of buying and growing sites. Empire Flippers has a great marketplace where you can find some excellent sites with lots of potential for maximizing the benefits of the intern-centered business model.

We’ve seen so much success in the past few months that we are buying more and more sites. We just closed a six-figure deal with them this month and have a seven-figure deal in the works that we should close in the next month or so.

Hopefully—by using the basics of the business model I’ve just laid out—you can find some takeaways that are applicable to your own business.

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