Ep 35 – Adam Smith from buyandrank.com

On today’s episode, brought to you by Alpha Investors, I talk with Adam Smith from buyandrank.com about his content-led approach to flipping websites that has enabled him to turn a $350/m site into over $6k/m within 9 months.

Adam lives in Wales where it rains a lot and amazingly is not the only content site builder in the village (unlike here in Norwich!). 

Mentioned in this episode:

The content site challenge https://alphainvestors.com/fun/challenge-micro-acquisitions/

The new private, exclusive online business marketplace for investors https://investors.club/

Adam’s approach is not to build from scratch (this is website flipping after all!) or use expired domains, instead he buys sites with existing traffic and revenue, building on them and flipping them on. At the moment he has 7 sites varying in size, the smallest one bought for $1500 and the largest one around $13,000 bought back in January this year 2019 which was doing around $350/m when bought which is now doing between $6k-7k/m just 9 months on!

Criteria for purchasing sites depend on decent existing organic traffic, sales coming ideally 100% from Amazon which leaves him options to put display ads on when the site expands.

Adam doesn’t take too much notice to backlinks as long as the traffic is spread across a range of posts indicating that the site is able to rank for more than one or two main keywords. With his strategy for expansion, it’s important that the site can rank for a number of keywords rather than a site just focussed on a couple of main keywords.

He doesn’t like one page to have more than 30% of overall traffic as he doesn’t know how the site will act by expanding a lot more content. If Adam sees that the site owner has added a lot of content recently then that’s a bonus as it means they will start ranking in the near future for him as the new owner. 

Adam buys a number of sites from the facebook group (and is in fact now one of the mods) but bought his first site from Empire Flippers but more recently has a fair bit of deal flow by email, people reaching out to him saying they have a site for sale and if he is interested before it goes to the FB groups – this is due to existing relationships and being a known, real buyer (not tire kicker). He bought a couple of sites from people with larger portfolios who are quite often turning over sites who reach out to him when they have something.

Adam is currently ordering 500,000 words a month! The articles he puts out are 3500-word in-depth buyer guides. He considers all his sites are currently still in their growth stage and index quickly on p1. When they mature and he runs out of keywords to create content around then he will move over to the informational content.

The average return Adam looks for is around 3-5x in terms of exit price / [purchase price + amount invested]. Adam looks to flip a site within 12 months. 

Adam, like myself, is not naturally inclined to build a team. To get around that I joined an existing 30+ team at Alpha Investors!

For him, he is now raising £300k in seed capital from accredited investors to buy and sell sites over a 5-year life-cycle and turn it into £2MM. The rules there will be strict, once it hits a growth % within the first 12 months the site is sold and a % of the sale proceeds are reinvested in the next site and so on. He will be doing this through a limited company, the investment will be in return for equity in the company, either angel investor or VC funded.

It would work in a 3 cycle phase, the initial investment will allow the purchase of 5 websites each around the $30k mark, so 50% of the capital will be used for purchase, 40% of capital will be spent within first 3 months of purchasing, predominantly on content, and the final 10% on running expenses where Adam will take a salary and employ a member of staff and rent an office – basically treating it as a business rather than a solo operator.

By existing within a year and doubling up for the next site purchase, Adam is literally following the How to Snowball $100k into $1MM within 3 Years through Website Investing post I wrote. Adam focusses on content and not links as it’s far more data-driven and easier to quantify the impact of $10k of content vs $10k of links.

People with big link budgets would go after the keywords with 10k-15k searches a month, whereas the content he produces targets less volume and competition – he doesn’t mind going after a KW with 150 searches a month as long is confident can get to top 3. That way, again, the traffic is very evenly distributed amongst many pages, as he’s rankly highly for lower volume KWs.

Originally the plan was to target a head keyword and then have all the other long-tail content below it, in the site structure, but what he found was the main piece of content was not preferred by Google, which was ranked one of the other supporting pieces of content for the KW. And no matter how much he plays around with internal links or de-optimization, he can’t get the specific articles for the head KWs to rank – this may be down to a lack of domain rating. The authority of his big site is only DA19.

Adam has a new content service called Buy & Rank, where you purchase long-form content that ranks really well.

This is based on success with his own keyword research from his own website portfolio. He will be offering 3500 words of high-quality content that is SEO optimized to include all the heading tags, meta description, and amazon products selected already based on top sellers so you know the articles you are promoting are actually selling.

It will also come with an image and correct alt tag. All customers need to do is give a niche or topic that they want a piece of content around and he will do the rest. The content will rank quickly due to keyword selection, as these are long-tail keywords with really low competition that still have buyer intent with volume from 100-1500 searches a month that have the word “best” or “review” in them. The pieces of content are standalone and won’t require supporting backlinks or external backlinks.

Check it out here https://buyandrank.com/