Building Multi-Million $ Web Sites from Scratch (Part 1 of …)

Picking a Market and Content Strategy

Most people in SEO have heard the constant stories about how the really good Black Hat SEOs make a million or more dollars per year. They build a site up over time, and while that site’s revenue is building, they are already launching additional sites. They have groups of sites in different stages of the traffic / revenue funnel at all times. The sense of the postings I see out there is that this is the only way to make lots of money in SEO.

Poppycock (can I use such strong language in a public blog?). We’ve done this using White Hat SEO techniques, and we are in the middle of doing it again.

This is the first of a multi-part series of blog posts that will lay out a strategy for generating multi-million dollar web properties (revenue from organic traffic) from scratch using White Hat SEO methods.

1. Picking the Target Market

Face it. You are not going to win big by going after the Frisbee market. There are merits to these types of market, as they are less competitive than other markets, but the total dollar volume is not that high. If you want to win big, you need to play in a big market. Here are some choice candidates:

  • Insurance
  • Mortgages
  • Shoes
  • Travel

If you want to look at other markets, check out the best paying AdSense keywords, but don’t forget to look at search volume too. If the keyword pays $50.00 per click, but search volume is low, it will not make you tons of money.

2. Decide on a Content Strategy

You are going to need content. Lots of it. In a later post in this series, we will talk about link acquisition strategies, but I can tell you now you are going to need content to get the links. In highly competitive markets, it’s going to be a long road to win on the major terms. With the right strategy, and patience you can. But we all want revenue soon.

So you need to take advantage of the long tail. Reams of content will do this for you. Certainly writing scores (or hundreds) of articles will do this for you, but you may not have the time and money available to do this quickly enough. Here are a couple of other ideas:

  • Find publicly available source of data that you can reuse. Better still find such sources of data that you can analyze, and then publish. Your analysis represent added value.
  • Strike a partnership with some entity that is willing to let you use their data (which is currently not publicly available) on your site.
  • Find large data sources that are publicly available and then do mash ups of these data sources.

You also need to comfortable that you can render this into thousands of web pages containing unique content. Duplicate content will not get you any where. So figure out what your value add is going to be. In any event, have your content plan in mind before you commit to a new business.

3. Manage Your Expectations

You better be in it for the long haul. You just started a site from scratch. Think 6 months before you have meaningful search engine traffic, and 2 years before you have a mature web property (reaching 7 figure revenue levels).

There are exceptions, of course. If you have something that is hot enough that you get an article written about you by Walter Mossberg, or a write up in business week, you may be able to climb the curve more quickly.

In addition, you need to go slow on some things. You can’t dump 100,000 pages on the web at once, as you will trigger a review filter at Google. You also can’t go out and buy a bunch of links and expect anything good to come out of that.

Patience is the key here. This will be hard work, and it will take time. But don’t kid yourself, the black hat guys pulling down big money are working hard too. And, their business model is at much greater risk than the one we are laying out for you in this series of blog posts.

Next up

1. Using PPC to help your launch
2. More on building content
3. How to get links
4. How to monitor results, and what to do about it


  1. says

    So the tortoise wins the race? It appears that in this market, as in any, there is no substitute for the slow and steady work of building something of value. As you point out, there is potential for being punished if you try to go too fast. I guess if there where some sure-fire get-rich-quick scheme everyone would be doing it and it would quickly lose its effectiveness.

    A quick question… You mention here and in many of your posts “White Hat SEO techniques”. Do you define this in any of your posts? More importantly, do you define “the dark side”?

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