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You know that feeling of euphoria when you finally accomplish or achieve a long-term goal. It could be something like paying off a credit card, a car loan, student loan debt, or even your house. It could be hitting a certain income threshold at your day job or hitting a milestone with your retirement savings. These are all big wins. But the little wins are just as important. In my case, it has been a goal of mine for quite some time to reach the $100 payout threshold for Google Adsense on a recurring monthly basis. I’m ecstatic that I’ve been able to do so for a couple of months straight now – and it appears that the income will remain steady and stable. In this post, I’m going to show you exactly how I did it and how you can use the exact same technique to grow your Adsense income. But first, a short story about the day that I first hit the $100….
The Day I First Hit the $100 Adsense Threshold
I remember it vividly. It had been 3 years and 2 months since the day that I first signed up for Google Adsense. In February of 2010 I was just learning how to post content on the internet and create my own websites and blogs. I signed up for Adsense with high hopes of getting rich off of my free .blogspot blogs like this one. I was dumbfounded when I realized that nobody visited my blogs and likewise nobody clicked on my ads. The Google threshold for payment is a minimum of $100 – meaning they won’t send you a payment until your account shows that they owe you at least $100.
Fast forward three short years – and I had now learned quite a bit about blogging, internet marketing, SEO and niche website creation. And then one day it happened. In April of 2013, I finally hit the $100 threshold which meant that Google would be sending me actual money the next month! Woohoo! This was a very big moment in time for me. I’ll always remember where I was and what I was doing when I found out. Kind of like remembering the same kind of stuff when 9/11 happened, or when the Challenger space shuttle blew up. In this case, I was at my day job – driving a semi-truck up northbound US-131 between Big Rapids and Cadillac, MI. I have an Adsense app on my Android phone, and I would periodically check it. Admittedly, I would check it way too often. Several times throughout most days – just because I could. So when I opened the app and saw that my lifetime earnings had surpassed $100 – boy was I excited! While driving up the highway, I was yelling and screaming and doing fist pumps. I had the biggest smile on my face and I wanted to tell the world. I could have announced it over the CB radio, but nobody probably would have heard me and even if they did they would have no idea what I was talking about. Here is the tweet that I sent out shortly thereafter…
I’m either embarrassed or excited to announce that my Google Adsense earnings FINALLY crossed the $100 mark today after 3 bloody years!! — Matthew Allen (@Matt76Allen) April 16, 2013
And then it was over. The excitement wore off. I called my wife and another friend who knew about what I was doing online. They weren’t nearly as excited as I was. Life went on and I continued to work to increase my Adsense and other online earnings.
Getting Google to Send Me Money Every Single Month
Getting Google to send me money once was awesome. But getting Google to send me money every single month would be the coolest thing ever! So I made that one of my goals for 2013. And I talked about it at the end of my income reports for the last several months of 2013. I never ended up reaching that goal, but I got close. I think I earned around $66 in December of 2013. Then things turned the corner and I crossed the $100 barrier in monthly Adsense income during the very first month of 2014. Things have really taken off for me as far as Adsense goes. My passive income from Google Adsense continues to increase dramatically as 2014 marches on. Take a look at the following screenshot and see for yourself (January 2013 to March 2014 by month)!
Here are my total monthly earnings for the past several months:
- Nov 2013 – $35.60
- Dec 2013 – $66.78
- Jan2014 – $234.07
- Feb 2014 – $458.22
- Mar 2014 – $531.90 and counting.. (writing this post on March 25th)
And here is a breakdown of the URL’s where these earnings are coming from…
As you can see, approximately 96% of my Adsense income is coming from the one niche site. I’m sure you’re wondering about that site and how I was able to increase it’s income so drastically. Ultimately, that is what this post is all about. It only took me 800 words to get here! haha So, here we go…
How and Why I Started this Small Niche Site
Although I have not revealed the site and don’t plan to – I can show you where I’ve talked about this site before on the blog. This was actually a site I was using as part of an experiment where I was testing the effectiveness of social bookmarking links that I obtained automatically with SocialADR (affiliate link). I never intended to grow the site this big and never thought that it would do this well. A quick recap of the experiment:
- published only 4 articles optimized for 4 great keywords (1 main and 3 highly relevant)
- setup SocialADR to automatically drip social bookmarking links to the posts
- monitored and recorded results over a 30-day period
- watched the site steadily climb to the 3rd page of Google with only these links
I then let the site sit and started working on other things. Whenever an opportunity would arise or if I felt like it, I added a new post or a backlink. I really didn’t do much with the site though. It was July 2013 when I started the site. By October or November, it had worked its way up to the first page of Google (hovering around position 9 or 10) without much effort by me. By December, this site was responsible for most of the $66 that I brought in from Adsense. Before December though, I had noticed what was going on and I started to put my plan into motion to increase the income from this site.
How I Increased Adsense Income on My Site
You ready for the secret sauce? Content. That’s it. I added content. Lots of it. Well, not a whole lot. But far more than the 4 posts that I originally had on the site when I thought I was done with it. As of today, the site now has 26 published posts, with 4 still in Draft mode just waiting to be edited and published. I’m currently working on a plan to add at least 50 more articles to the site as well.
But just adding content isn’t really the secret.
The secret is the type of content that I’ve published and continue to add to the site. Every single article on the site is very purposely and intentionally targeted and optimized for low competition keywords that have good Adsense metrics (good CPC and High Advertiser Competition). And all of these keywords are relevant to the main topic of the site. When I say low competition keywords, I’m talking about keywords I found using Long Tail Platinum (affiliate link) that have KC scores below 30. Low 20’s is better for secondary articles like these and KC’s in the teens is outstanding. Search volume doesn’t even matter to me for these secondary articles. I will have articles written for keywords with low KC scores even if they have as few as 50 searches per month. 50 searches per month and low KC keywords will be easy to rank an article for, and the long tail traffic that comes in naturally as a result is the real key here.
Side note: All content on this site is outsourced to my private writer. It’s a topic that I’m not really interested in and have no use for. It would probably drive me absolutely crazy to have to do research for and write articles for the site. And it would take me WAY too long. My writer does a fantastic job, and much more expediently than I could. She does all of the research and creates awesome articles that are obviously working as far as Adsense conversions!
How to Find Low Competition Keywords for Secondary Articles
As mentioned above, I use Long Tail Pro with the Platinum upgrade for all of my keyword research. Here is a short video I recorded awhile back which shows how I find keywords to write articles for.
This video was intended specifically for how to do keyword research for blogging. But it’s pretty much the same thing for niche sites. Just make sure your seed keywords are relevant to the main topic of the site. In my case, I usually use the same keyword list that I had when I found the main keyword. Or start a new campaign in Long Tail Pro using the main keyword as the seed keyword. I then go through the list of keywords and find all of the ones that look like they are relevant and would be good for secondary articles. I click the Calculate KC button (within Long Tail Pro) for each and every one of them. After I am done with the entire list, I sort the list by the KC column (lowest to highest). I now have a list of the lowest competition keywords for this niche. Depending on search volumes, I usually start at the top of this list and start assigning keywords to my writer for her to produce articles.
Did you know that I sell lists of keywords like this?
Not ironically, at the same time that I was figuring out how well this strategy works – I was also in the midst of launching and beta testing my Keyword Research Service. I actually use this exact same process to produce keyword lists that I sell as part of my Keyword Research Packages. The popularity of the service has amazed me, especially since my blog isn’t super well-known yet. So far, my customers have been really happy and appreciate the fact that all of this work is done for them. Not only do I find and provide great main keywords that will be easy to rank for, but I produce massive keywords lists which will provide ideas for most of the secondary articles for the niche site as well.
I Increased Adsense Income on My Small Niche Site and You Can Too
I just realized that I didn’t really completely define what I meant by “small niche site.” I mentioned that it started out with only 4 articles. The local monthly search volume for the main keyword is only 1,900. It originally had a KC score in the high 20’s (I think it was 29 when I started). The current KC score is now at 36 for the main keyword and I am ranking in the number 2 position in Google. The site is on track to make close to $700 during the month of March, and probably even more in upcoming months.
I share with you these stats about my main keyword just to point out the fact that they don’t really matter. Yes, I get a good amount of traffic from my #2 ranking for the main keyword. But the vast majority of my traffic comes from long tail keywords. And these long tail keywords that I am ranking for are the direct result of creating a lot of content based on lower competition keywords that get less searches per month.
Creating more content and getting valuable links are the two biggest factors to increase Page Authority and Domain Authority. When these metrics increase for a site, rankings tend to go up across the board for many keywords that the site is ranking for. More content also attracts more readers who might also have web properties, which in turn attracts more natural links (given your content is worth linking to).
So, all-in-all – creating more content based on low competition keywords is the secret sauce. Based on my experience, this is what you need to do to create increased adsense income from your niche sites. Find the low competition keywords that have good Adsense metrics. Don’t use this strategy for keywords with low CPC or Low Advertiser Competition. That won’t do much for your Adsense income. Create as much content as possible. Get some links whenever and wherever you can and watch your Adsense income explode the way mine has!
Finding Low Competition Keywords with Long Tail Pro
As mentioned above and demonstrated in the video embedded within this post, the Platinum version of Long Tail Pro makes this process extremely easy and fast. I don’t know how I could even find these types of keywords without this tool. I know it is possible, but very time consuming and difficult to try to check all of the metrics that indicate the competition levels of keywords manually.
If I didn’t own Long Tail Platinum, I wouldn’t even be trying to find these types of keywords. In other words, I would probably just be guessing on which keywords to have articles written for. I would have no idea whether they would be easy to rank for or not. That is exactly the strategy I used before I purchased Long Tail Pro, and my results were reflected. My sites were terrible. They didn’t rank and they didn’t make hardly any money. The Platinum version of Long Tail Pro really has been a game-changer for me. I would not attempt to build a niche site without it. If cost is an issue for you, check out my post about the 3 ways to make Long Tail Pro pay for itself.
To be continued…
Update: One day after originally posting this article – I realized that there are a few other things that I actually did to increase the income on the niche site I talked about here. Publishing more content was definitely the most important thing, but there are other factors as well. I could write another entire post about those, and so I will. Later. Get signed up for my email list if you’d like to stay up to date. I usually send out an email when I publish new posts that contain value like this one (which isn’t very often these days). Unfortunately, I’ve been spending more time working on my niche sites lately and less time blogging about it here. And look what it’s doing for my income!
Remember that there are several dumb ways to create passive income online, but only one site that is blogging about it! Dumb Passive Income… dot com.
Image Credit – quickonlinetips via Flickr
Matthew Allen is a full-time trucker, part-time blogger, and imaginary entrepreneur. He is the only known trucker who is blogging about creating passive income online. He is also the co-founder and co-creator of the most popular WordPress plugin for Amazon affiliates – AmaLinks Pro.