Today I have a ‘Guest Post’ from Penny Lewis that I think will be of interest to many online marketers, enjoy!
For as long as there has been an internet to exploit, people have been exploiting it. From those dark corners where nobody ever goes, to the more family-friendly end of the spectrum. Wherever you are on the web you can bet there’ll be someone behind the scenes who is monetizing it. As any budding SEO specialists will tell you, there’s always been some money to be made in optimising a page for a specific search term and peppering it with Adsense blocks. Sometimes, these sites can make thousands per month, other times they can make absolutely nothing. Call it niche marketing, micro niche blogging, or whatever you’d like, the question remains: is there still money to be made in this way, and more particularly in EMD (Exact Match Domain) sites?
A Matter of Distinction
So what’s the main difference between an EMD site and a regular blog or website? Well, simply put, an EMD site is dedicated to one particular keyword. The SEO, or whoever is running the site, will do some fairly thorough keyword research, find a niche that has low competition but a high search volume (and yes, this can take hours on end), then check that it has an EMD available. If so, they’ll snap it up and build a whole site around it. Ever seen a site on the web when you’re searching for something that’s plastered in ads and oddly targeted? That’s probably an EMD site. For example, if you wanted to find the best skincare product for acne, you might find a site called bestskincareproductforacne.com, filled with posts and articles on that very theme. The endgame of these sites is to have you click on the ads. Some are specifically designed to ‘confuse’ the visitor into clicking, by disguising the ads as links or other nefarious practices.
Are EMDs a Licence to Print Money?
When the web was very young, and the web-going pubic were naïve, EMDs would have made millions is Adsense revenue. Nowadays however, it’s a slightly different ballgame. Not only are web users getting a little wiser to such things, but the competition for practically every keyword combination is ramping up. So not only is it hard to get people to click on ads once they’re on one of these EMD sites, it’s also very difficult to find a niche which can bring in enough organic traffic to make the whole venture worthwhile. Remember that these sites can’t just be knocked together in an hour, it takes time and effort to create index-worthy content. Most EMDs these days are filled with cheap content that reads terribly, and it shows. That’s dilution of the web, and it’s not a good thing at all.
It’s not all Bad News
This may all sound like bad-mouthing of EMD projects, but that’s not necessarily the case. Yes, some of these sites are designed to draw in organic traffic simply to click ads. They serve no real purpose and offer no real answers. These sites are the ones that give niche marketing a bad name. However, there are a great many exact match domain sites out there that have become ‘authority’ sites. These are the other side of the coin; yes, they will have ads to generate income, but they also have valuable content written by people that actually know what they’re talking about. It’s the simple difference between a spam site and an informational one.
What it Boils Down to
So, the bottom line is that yes, there is still some money to be made in exact match domain websites; however any SEO who is planning to take on such a project will need to remember the golden rule: content is king. That means that if you’re planning on covering a site in ads, you need to have some real content to back it up. There are plenty of ways to get good content on a site – and sometimes writers will even provide it for free (think backlinks) – but that’s a discussion for another time. For now, don’t be tempted to fill the web with even more spam; if you want to make money with Adsense, do it the right way and make the web a better place for all of us.
Penny Lewis is a professional freelance writer and researcher who has worked in all manner of fields from promotional work with a hyper-luxurious furniture company to news pieces for a political blog. She has interests across all areas but has a strong background in online marketing and branding.