One of my sites showing Low Hanging Fruit in action

Last Update: December 02, 2015

An example of how the longtail ( a.k.a. low hanging fruit ) keywords work when at first glance you might be disheartened by what you see in SERPS

The Site

This is a site of mine. It's around 15 months old, I made it when i was playing around with Adsense sites last year.

It's a directory site for a specific type of course in the US. The site has a page for each college that offers the course. About 150 pages in all. It's pretty thin outsourced content. Only around 400 words or so on each page. And a map showing the location with link to the course homepage.

There are also around 10 blog posts - just general stuff relating to the course. Not targeting any specific keywords . These are around 700 words each.

I haven't added any content for about 9 months. I've only logged into the site once a month on average to update plugins and clear out Spam comments.

Keywords & SERPs

The Top 20 KWs in this niche have monthly search volumes of 1,000 - 5,400 / month.

This site is around position 40-50 for most of those. So it's not a super competitive niche and yet the site is languishing.

If I was tracking those main KWs & visiting daily then I wouldnt be feeling super positive.

It's almost 18 months in and the site is still buried on page 4 or 5 - there's more chance of meeting Elvis than anyone finding it there.

On the face of it, this site is a waste of time.

I might as well give up on it or start another site.

BUT . . .

At first glance this might be disheartening as obviously no-one searching for these main keywords for this niche will ever find my site.

But that's OK.

Obviously it'd be great if people with a general interest were finding the site. But I'm happy if they are interested in a specific course at a specific place.

And here's why . . .

When you look at longtail keywords, which these people are searching for , it's a different story.

The site is showing up in the Top 10 for 120+ very targeted low hanging fruit keywords. Not huge volumes but that doesn't matter.

These are very specific and so people visiting the site have a definite interest.

This is what I mean . . . .

( And so on. You'd be scrolling down a long way if I added the full list )


From these low hanging fruit KWs, the site makes around $10+ / day minimum in Adsense without me doing anything.

That equates to $400 / month which I'm sure would come in handy as a bit of pocket money for anyone reading this.

There aren't many clicks, as there aren't many visitors, but its $1 or 2 per click - you want that as a minimum.

Obviously there's no point writing about a course where advertisers only pay 20 cents for a click and your site gets a small number of visitors.

I did add a new affiliate program a couple of months ago, from Campus Explorer. That is OK, averaging around $50 / month for just adding a form in the sidebar and hoping a few people fill it out.

Next year

I also just realised that there's no SEO done on the site. Not even <h1> headings and the titles and descriptions are all default.

So the plan is to spend a few minutes on each post fixing that next week.

I'll add some more content, I've got a few general posts being written now. Add a new post a week for a month, to bring it back to life.

Then starting in January, do some gradual link building but nothing paid.

Wait 3 months.

See how close it is to top spot for more long tail KWs and those with higher volume.

Then possibly give it a push with a few paid greyer-hat backlinks, the type that WA training says you shouldn't do & which don't work. ( But do really. )


There's no rocket science involved in something like this. It's mainly patience.

I made this site after reading a blog post - I can't remember where now - I think it was from an Aussie guy, who made a site on a course which had an affiliate program and explained the steps.

I first tried something similar but being an idiot I forgot to check if the affiliate program I wanted to use would pay out to me living in Thailand. It wouldn't. So I ditched that idea after a month & racked up another failure.

But I still had the idea for a course based site and then saw a few examples of directory type sites which were doing well. So I had a go at that.

If you want to do this you need to:

1 - Think of a popular training course which is widely available and which colleges / universities compete for students. You don't want a free course or anything too basic that someone can learn from watching a Youtube video for free. You want an accredited course that leads to a well paying job or skill that's in demand across the country.

2 - Domain name. I used a .us domain as the site is specifically for people in the US. Normally you'd want a .com / org / net etc but for something that's unequivocally country specific then I think country specific domains are better.

3 - Grab a Wordpress theme with a map - there are quite a few directory type themes out there. You'll want to show the location of each college / course provider etc. Or use a good mapping plugin with a normal theme

4 - The time consuming bit, where you have to write content for each place offering the course. ( Or to outsource it, figure on around $3 per 500 word article. But ideally you probably want better, longer content than I used. )

5 - Share the posts automatically using to FB and Twitter. Quick to set up and you'll get some credit from Google for having a minor social media presence.

6 - Do a Press Release, ideally through a reliable service, that will get you a lot of nofollow backlinks. These won't directly help you rank but will show Google that your site is relevant to its topic and if news agencies are linking to it it must carry some authority. Figure on $79 for this ( PR Whirlwind is a good one to use ).

( The total cost for my site was about $500 for all the content, domain name & PR. The writers were from iwriter. )

7 - Leave the site to marinade in Google's sandbox. And add a blog post or two every week. Again, there are only ten on my site. But if you can add a post related to the course every week then that will go down well with Google & will help.

8 - Once you start to get visitors, add Adsense or affiliate links.

9 - Get on with your life and other sites. Forget about this for a while.

10 - After 6 to 9 months the Adsense revenue should be ticking over. Once it starts then it's up to you if you just leave it to grow naturally, like I did. Then either just keep the site ticking over or spend a bit more time and effort to try to give it a push, maybe you'll find affiliate programs you can use too.

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shermand2268 Premium
I took a ton of notes from this post. Thank you so much.
shermand2268 Premium
What do you mean by "Adsense sites?"
marcand Premium
Just looking at some of your posts. This one is a great case study for longtail keywords. I know several people who have built up a collection of these types of sites and earned a good income through Adsense and affiliate programs.

My only question is this ... how do these sites play out in the long term, with the various Google algo updates and such?
Theresaw90 Premium
Congrats Ian,
Keep up the great work!
whitsunday Premium
Nice work Ian, thanks for showing us the steps. I have seen this done with Phlebotomy courses. That worked well because there is country wide employment opportunities for people with the skills.
Go Well From Janelle
KatieMac Premium
Interesting sounds like a good prospect kind of the ever green method thank you
2Al Premium
Thank you for sharing the info.
BenORourke Premium
Very useful information. Thanks Ian.
ClareG Premium
Great info! Thank you
Mark1957 Premium
Great info Ian, sounds like the perfect sort of site for royalty type income........the holy grail of a lot of online marketers.
Mike1942 Premium
You took a big weight off my mind. This sounds really like what I was looking for! I don't want to get rich, I just want an extra few bucks to supplement my meagre pension, with the least amount of effort. If that works, awesome!
mijareze Premium
That's good to make money w/o maintenance, hardly.