Leaving Work Behind

My First Niche Site: Update #2 – Metrics And Keyword Analysis

Written by Tom Ewer on July 15, 2011. 17 Comments

This is Part #2 of a series. A list of all the other updates can be found at the bottom of this post.

Please note that Modeling For Kids is no longer an active site. If you’d like to know why I shut down the site and started up a new one, click here.

Hello all! It feels like an age since I published my last progress update, but it has only been just over three weeks. Time moves slowly in the world of niche sites when things aren’t going your way…

My First Niche Site: Update #2

Up until an hour ago, I was not particularly looking forward to writing this. Although there was a quick jump in rankings shortly after publishing my last update, during the last three weeks, Modeling For Kids has remained stubbornly in 13th position in Google for it’s primary keyword. However, just a couple of hours ago, it moved up 11th place – just one spot off the front page! I must admit that I was rather relieved to finally see movement.

Now then, on with the vital statistics…

My Niche Site’s Key Statistics

Hang On A Second…

I’m sure something has caught your eye. Why is gross income “not applicable”? Simple – I do not currently have Adsense on the site. Why? Well, I was chatting to my pal Robert Dempsey about the site. He threw a few suggestions my way, one of which was to ditch the Adsense for the time being. This idea was borne out of a greater general strategy – that the site should be optimally “clean” for SEO purposes.

The proof behind this is anecdotal only as far as I am aware, but it does seem rather logical that a clean, tidy and well-presented site will rank better than a cluttered, ad-ridden counterpart. I also did a plugins clean-out – most of which I did not need (after all, why would you need any plugins for a site that is only attracting 17 visits a day?!).

So, the strategy for the time being is to hold off on unnecessary clutter until I establish myself and start to attract decent traffic.

One final thing – I changed the front page. Whereas before it was in a “typical” blog format (i.e. post previews displayed in reverse chronological order), I have now opted for a static, keyword-rich homepage. This was inspired by Pat Flynn’s Security Guard Training niche site – if it works for him, it’s worth me giving it a try! Now did the uplift in my rankings have anything to do with this change? Who knows…it certainly didn’t seem to hurt!

The Wonderful World Of Metrics

When your site starts to attract a bit of traffic, you can start analysing certain metrics. Take the screenshot below for example:

My First Niche Site: Update #2

First off, I should explain that giant dip in traffic around July 4th. I managed to delete my traffic tracking code in the middle of my plugin purge. I got a bit of a shock when I saw the traffic die, and I was rather relieved to find out it was nothing serious!

There are three key metrics in the screenshot above that can be very useful for a webmaster. Let’s go into them in some detail:

Bounce Rate

This metric is defined incorrectly by many. Wikipedia defines it as follows:

[Bounce rate] represents the percentage of visitors who enter the site and “bounce” (leave the site) rather than continue viewing other pages within the same site.

It is not anything to do with a user leaving before 30 seconds has elapsed, or anything similar (as I have read elsewhere). So how is bounce rate useful? Easy – it shows us how well your site converts. By conversion, I mean, when a browser hits a page on your site, do they explore further, or do they leave?

So what is an acceptable rate? Let’s turn to “Digital Marketing Evangelist”, Avinish Kaushik, for his opinion:

My own personal observation is that it is really hard to get a bounce rate under 20%, anything over 35% is cause for concern, 50% (above) is worrying. I stress that this is my personal analysis based on my experience, but hopefully it gives you a feel for what you are shooting for.

So, in his opinion, I should be slightly worried, with my bounce rate of 37%. At the moment I am not concerned – there are strategies I can put in place to improve my bounce rate, but that is not my focus at the moment.

Average Time Per Visit/Average Actions

These two metrics should be easy to understand. How long is a browser staying on your site, and how many actions do they take (e.g. clicking onto another page)? In my opinion, they go hand in hand – someone might spend 5 minutes reading a particularly long article, or they might spend the same amount of time reading 3 shorter ones – either way, the two metrics compliment each other.

I couldn’t find any reliable “average” data for these metrics, but I have a hunch that an average time per visit of 3m 37s and 2.6 average actions are pretty healthy.

Keyword Analysis

My First Niche Site: Update #2

There are a few interesting things to note from the screenshot above. A caveat first though – you shouldn’t rely heavily on such limited data (i.e. the number of searches is very low). My conclusions below are not set in stone and I am not using them to make any changes to my strategy. At this point, the data only serves to point me in a rough direction.

The most searches are for “child modeling”, when my chosen keyword is “modeling for kids”. This is likely due to the fact that “child modeling” is a much higher-traffic keyword – despite me ranking some 30 or so places lower down for that keyword, I am still able to get more visitors from it. When I rank highly for “modeling for kids”, the ratio should reverse.

“Child models” is the second most searched for keyword. I happen to know that this is a very high competition keyword, and it is in my sights for the long term.

There have been 5 searches total for “modleingforkids” and “modelingforkids.net” – the former search term was likely a user looking to get to my site specifically, and the latter term definitely was. This, along with direct traffic numbers, shows that the site is deemed worthy to return to by some – encouraging indeed.

So What Next?

Well the clear aim remains to rank 1st in Google for my keyword phrase. I will continue with my backlinking strategy and remain patient.

However, I will ultimately look to branch out. I have been looking at the competition for the keyword phrase, “child modeling”. As you can see below, the competition isn’t too horrendous, and the potential traffic is higher than “modeling for kids”. I am already ranking 47th for this keyword without even trying (although that ranking is bouncing all over the place day by day).

My First Niche Site: Update #2

The combined traffic between these two keywords, in addition to the varied long tail keyword traffic that I receive, would be fairly considerable.

This is a strategy often employed by experienced internet marketers when it comes to creating authority sites – target a low competition keyword first, and as the site grows, get more aggressive with your keyword targeting. As long as you are going about things in the right way, the ability to rank for more competitive keywords should increase as your site matures.

As For The Long Term…

I have a lot of exciting ideas for Modeling For Kids. However, there is no point implementing them, or even planning them in detail, until I have a good level of traffic. So I will continue to play the waiting game. Patience and persistence are my friends…

Read The Whole Series

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17 Responses to “My First Niche Site: Update #2 – Metrics And Keyword Analysis”

  1. John Razmus
    July 15, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Great job man, keep it up! Google’s been touchy lately with the rankings..

    Found you on Twitter btw : )

  2. Douglas Prater
    July 18, 2011 at 4:15 am

    I appreciate your in-depth, transparent analysis of these metrics.

    Parsing the analytic data is easily the trickiest aspect of creating scalable niche sights, so hearing the way you interpret your stats and plan your keyword strategy is very helpful indeed.

    Thanks, I look forward to your next post.

    -Douglas

    • Tom Ewer
      July 18, 2011 at 11:10 am

      It’s my pleasure Douglas, and thank you for your kind words!

      I see that you are using Pagelines for your blog – great theme – I use it for my niche site.

  3. Arfan Bhatti
    July 18, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Keep in there Tom, Progress is Progress!! I’ve started on this path as well and while i’ve dabbled before never a full whack at it.

    Though stat checking is also becoming my Bane very quickly :p

    Looking forward to see who you progress from here.

    • Tom Ewer
      July 18, 2011 at 6:03 pm

      Hey Arfan. You’re absolutely right – as long as you are heading in the right direction, try not to get caught up with how quickly (or slowly) you are moving!

      Stat checking really appeals to my obsessive compulsive side 😉

  4. zack
    January 3, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    to bad read the modelingforkids.net getting penalty by google….

    I like your plan any way….it was inspired me

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