In this article, I’m gonna show you how to make money with SEO — but I’m not just gonna give up a bunch of tips — no.
…I’m actually gonna go over a couple of my sites, that are actively generating passive income for me right now. In fact, I’m gonna actually reveal the URL of these sites!
I’m gonna break down everything about these sites, and I’m gonna explain how I decided on the niche, as well as how I went about content creation, and even how I built links.
In fact, if you check out section #4. You’ll even see some of the outreach emails I used to build links.
Why am I doing this? Do I just want to show off my SEO skills so that people think I’m awesome? Well, yes, partly — but that’s not the whole reason I promise!
Really, I mostly just want to show people new to SEO how you can actually build a successful site.
If you don’t really understand how SEO can produce a profit, hopefully this article will help you see how the different parts of SEO can come together to produce a website that generates a passive income month in, month out.
Let’s get started!
A quick point
As mentioned, article is basically gonna cover two different sites —
Now, I pretty much used the same strategy when it comes to building, ranking, and monetizing both of these sites.
Part #1 — Choosing a Niche
Right, so first let’s take a look at the topic of picking a niche.
I have a few rules when it comes to picking a niche. And I stuck to these rules when starting both of these sites.
Rule #1 — actually deciding to niche down.
This might sound like an odd thing. But one of the key things I did here was actually deciding to niche down.
After all, look at chipperbirds.com — this is a site that focuses on birds. It isn’t a website that focuses on general animals or pets or even something like the outdoors.
The fact that it’s niched down helps me. Because I can now create a website that is an authority on a given topic.
This can then help me rank. Because Google likes authoritative sites, it’s also easier to build links if people think you’re an authority.
Rule #2 — picking a big enough topic that’ll generate plenty of traffic
Chipperbirds.com generated around 169,000 pageviews in its first year.
One of the main reasons it could do this is because the niche was big enough. Now, there are lots of ways you can verify the size of a niche. And later on, we’ll look at how you can use keyword research to do this.
But…It’s fair to say that the topic of “birds” is big enough to generate plenty of traffic around the world. And this isn’t something I needed to do a ton of research on to figure out.
Plus, “relax like a boss” also focuses on a pretty massive niche. It’s based on the meditation/mindfulness niche, and again, it’s pretty obvious that this niche will produce a ton of traffic.
Rule #3 — Picking something I can actually work with
Another rule I thought about here is actually picking topics that I can stomach working on.
I know this sounds kinda silly. But if I just picked something that didn’t interest me, it’d be hard to motivate myself to figure things out.
This would then limit my success, and I wouldn’t really have gotten to the point I’m at now.
So, if you’re gonna work on a site that’s going to generate a passive income for you. Try to pick a niche that you can work on for a long time.
Part #2 — Keyword research
Once I picked out the niches for my websites, I then had to do some keyword research.
This was actually one of the most important parts of the process here. Because If I picked the wrong keywords. I wouldn’t really be able to generate a ton of traffic to my site. And that would mean that I wouldn’t generate a lot of income.
This is actually really important for these sites because they’re both reliant on ads.
I’m gonna cover monetization in more detail later on in this article.
But basically…If you’re monetizing your site with ads, you really need to get a large number of visitors if you wanna generate a decent income.
Now, of course, this is true for most forms of monetization.
But it’s especially true if you’re trying to generate a sizable income from a site that makes money from ads.
After all, if you’re using an affiliate model, you might make something like $40 for every 1000 visitors. But if you’re using something like ads, you might only make $25.
That’s generally because a single click on your ads doesn’t really generate a ton of cash.
So, you want to generate as many ad clicks as possible. And you typically do that by generating as much traffic as you can.
And you do that…by identifying high volume keywords and then ranking for them.
Anyway, keyword research also basically helped me figure out what kind of content I was gonna create for my sites (again more on this later).
So, with all that said…When it comes to keyword research for this site — I focused on identifying high volume keywords on Google that had relatively low levels of competition.
I also wanted these keywords to have a good click-through-rate.
So, how did I find these keywords?
Well, generally, if I’m gonna do some keyword research, I’ll tend to use a tool like Ahrefs. You can also check out my article where I spill my top 12 Easy To Use SEO Tools for Beginners.
With Ahrefs, I can type in a keyword based on my niche. And I can then see a list of keywords related to this niche. As well as data on search volume and keyword difficulty.
For example, here’s what pops up when I type in “camping.”
As you can see, there’s a bunch of different keywords related to this term.
This is all good, but really, I just wanna identify keywords that are high volume and low difficulty.
To do that, I need to change some of the settings. So the results only include keywords that have a difficulty score under “10”. And a search volume of at least 100 searches per month.
Keep in mind that, sometimes, you might need to tell Ahrefs to include certain words.
For instance, in the earlier example. I told Ahrefs to include the keyword ‘camping.’ This is just to improve the relevance of the results.
If I want to refine things even more, I sometimes include other keywords.
…Anyway, after doing all of that I’m presented with a list of relevant keywords.
As you can see, this list of keywords is actually quite a good start for anyone that’s gonna start a website in this niche.
I mean, they’re all pretty much relevant, high-volume keywords that don’t have a ton of competition.
I basically went through the process we just covered, when doing keyword research for the sites I’m talking about in this video.
Once I had my list of keywords, I then put them in a Google Sheet so that I could keep track of the keywords I was actually targeting.
By the way, if you’d like to learn a little bit more about how you can do keyword research. You can check out this other video where I do a deep dive on this topic.
Part #3 — Creating Content
For example, I really like to include the keyword “best,” as this helps me uncover “informational” keywords that might be good to focus on when it comes to content creation.
Once I identified worthwhile keywords for my blogs. I then had to focus on actually creating content that targeted these keywords.
Now, even though I’m an amazing content writer (just kidding) — I decided to outsource the content side of things here.
If you wanna find writers for your blog, you can generally find someone on a site like
When you’re writing the brief for your job posting, try to be really specific as this will help you attract the right kinds of people.
You should also ask for writing samples.
This will give you a sense of how good a particular writer is. And you can then use these samples to figure out who you should go with.
Of course, finding a writer for your blog is really only half of the issue here.
That’s because there are also a few really important things you need to focus on, when it comes to actually producing your content.
At the most basic level, you wanna make sure your content answers questions as fast as possible, and in the best possible way.
This can help you rank on Google for specific terms, but it can also help you build some goodwill with your audience.
After all, if they find that your content is actually useful and interesting, they’re gonna be happy to visit your site again.
They might also be much more open to the idea of actually sharing your content.
You also want to make sure you’re producing enough content, within a given time frame.
This is key, because unless you rank for a major keyword right off the bat (which is unlikely. You’re really only gonna generate a lot of traffic (and money) if you publish lots of content.
So, it’s fair to say that content is really the bottleneck here. And in many ways, the sooner you can produce a lot of content, the sooner you will be able to generate enough traffic to actually monetize your site.
By the way, if you’re worried about writers not hitting the mark, you might wanna ask them to produce an outline before they actually write out content.
This can help you figure out if they’re gonna approach a topic in the right way, before the words start hitting the page.
Even if it’s just you writing the content…Creating outlines can be a really good way to focus your writing time. So that you don’t end up staring at a blank page, wondering where to begin.
Part #4 — Building Links
So far we’ve covered how I approached keywords and content.
Of course, both of those things are really important. But without links, I reckon my sites wouldn’t have been nearly as successful as they are now.
Why is that?
Well, because without links, it would be really hard for me to outrank some of the high-authority sites in my niche.
For example, chipperbirds.com ranks on the first page for the term ‘Eagle facts.’
However, what’s really interesting here, is that chipperbirds actually ranks above britannica.com.
If you didn’t know, Britannica is kind of an official encyclopedia brand, and they’re actually a really authoritative resource.
If I didn’t build high-quality links to my site, I don’t think I’d have been able to rank above this brand/website.
Well, the main technique I used was something called the Skyscraper method.
This is basically when you look at your competitors and study the kind of content that’s getting a lot of links.
You then create something better than what your competitors have created. And you then reach out to the people linking to your competitors and ask for a link.
This method works really well. But the thing is, building links in a niche about birds, or even health and wellness, isn’t always easy.
After all, within these niches, there are only so many pieces of content you can write. And there are also only so many places you can get a high-authority link from.
Because of this, I adjusted the Skyscraper technique a little bit to make things easier.
So what did I change?
Well, the main thing I did was I focused on something known as ‘cross-niching.’
This is basically when you try to find some overlap between your niche and another niche. You then create content based on this overlap, and you then try to build links to this “hybrid” content.
This works really well because by including another niche, I’m now opening up a whole new world of opportunities.
I now have more to write about and also many more places to go when it comes to requesting a link.
This approach worked really well, and in fact, it helped me build a lot of links in a relatively short amount of time.
Here’s a Ahrefs screenshot that actually shows this…
Now something I just wanna mention here, is that the Skyscraper technique involves a lot of email outreach.
One of the reasons I did well with this method, is because my emails did a good job at getting someone’s attention and then getting them to take action.
For example, here’s one of the emails I sent when doing outreach for relaxlikeaboss.com.
As you can see, it’s light-hearted and kinda entertaining. Because the email is written this way, it’s a lot easier to get links from people as my emails don’t feel like spam.
Also, follow-ups are really important because some people might miss your initial email.
I always made sure I sent follow ups, and this helped me secure even more links.
Here’s an example of one of my follow-up emails.
Again, as you can see, it’s lighthearted and fun. And this made it much easier for me to get a positive response from people when asking for a link.
By the way, if you’d like some advice on how you can pull off the Skyscraper method for your website, you can book a free consultation call with me at juliangoldie.com!
Part #5 — Monetizing the Site
Finally, let’s cover how I monetized the sites.
This part isn’t that complicated, as I just put up ads on the sites.
There are lots of ad networks to choose from if you’re gonna monetize a site with ads. I picked Mediavine, because I found they were a good match for my sites, and their payouts were pretty good.
That said, if you wanna join a network like Mediavine, there are some rules.
For example, your site needs to have at least 50,000 pageviews in the past 30 days and it must also have a good reputation with Adsense.
Of course, if your website isn’t hitting 50,000 sessions every 30 days, you can just use a platform like Adsense, as they’re less strict with session requirements.
By the way, adding Mediavine or Adsense to a website is actually really easy. If you’re using WordPress, you can just use a plugin, and then you can pick where the ads appear.
Obviously, you wanna have a good balance between ads and usability, or else people are gonna hate using your site, and they’re just gonna click the back button if they’re bombarded with ads.
Right, so that’s basically how I managed to make a passive income with SEO.
Hopefully, you now have a much better understanding of how the different bits of SEO can come together to produce a high-traffic website that generates an income.