I posted a thread about automated WordPress blog a week back in our Facebook group “The SEO Cartel” and in under 24 hours, I received a response from over 550 people who were interested to know how EXACTLY I started (and scaled) this blog to over 150k organic pageviews and $700 in revenue in just 21 days.
Before we begin with the actual case study, let me tell you one thing: This whole thing is highly risky and Google doesn’t honour the content syndication in this way. So if you plan to replicate the exact thing (just in case) – evaluate all of the risks by yourself and then only take the action.
Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist
Since I’ve spent good amount of time of my life wrangling around SEO, I know the fact that Google is changing their core algorithms at the speed of light and if I stick to the rules of Google, I’ll never be able to break the stuff and move things faster.
This time I broke the rule of Duplicate Content – just to understand how fully duplicated content sites perform in Google Search.
To get the results fast out of this experiment, I had to make sure that my indexation rate is pretty high and the only way to get your indexation rate high is – getting approved in Google News. That having said, here are the exact steps I followed to start the website:
Step 1: Get a Google News Approved Domain (and make sure your blog is optimized for the better performance)
The easiest method to arrange a Google News approved domain is to buy one from the third party brokers. It typically costs $200-$500. The name or niche or existing content on that domain doesn’t matter. Just make sure that domain has less than 50 pages indexed on Google.
However, if you do not consider spending that kind of amount on buying the news approved domain, you can follow following steps to get approval in the Google News:
- Buy a brand-able domain. Do not go for any EMDs or How-to or APK niche domains. [Pro tip: Look for a good expired domain with decent authority and build a news site on that]
- Use premium WordPress theme which gives the visual appearance of magazine to your blog. Here are few examples of decent magazine themes.
- Add Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools on your domain.
- Target one broad category (such as Sports) and start posting 3-5 articles per day around that niche (stick to one country/geography for the news). Make sure you have proper formatting and original content for these articles.
- Continue posting the articles for next 15 days and apply for the Google News inclusion once you have over 100 articles on your site.
- Typically it takes 2-4 weeks to hear back about your approval status from Google News team.
Speaking of myself, I arranged one such domain arkitecture.org which was already approved in Google News for around $320 from one of my friend (just to cut down this process of 40-50 days to less than a minutes).
I changed the old theme, created all necessary pages and optimized blog for the best performance. (Although you might not be able to see the site speed in milliseconds at this point since there are hundreds of cron job running on this domain, resulting in slow speed than before)
Step 2: Automate the Content Generation Game
Now, as I told you above – the main reason of this experiment is to test whether the duplicate content performs better in Google or no. Now here are the most obvious questions came into my mind when I thought of duplicate content:
- From where I’ll find the news type of content?
- Is it legal to copy content from other sites?
- How much time will I have to spend to find the content?
- Can one language content be translated in another language?
- How many articles should I post per day?
- How frequently I should post the articles?
- Should I focus on just one country or multiple countries? If I focus on multiple countries, then do I need to handle technical SEO things such as hreflang setups and all?
- How can I find content on a scale?
- What should be the ideal WordPress and server configuration to handle traffic on scale? (overconfidence, yeah!)
So considering all above questions into consideration, here is what I did next:
WP Automatic – The “Apple” of Autoblogging Plugins
WP Automatic offers the best solution to post the content via multiple RSS feeds. Here are some of the reasons why I loved WP Automatic:
- You can create multiple campaigns and provide multiple seed URLs to copy content from.
- You can control the post frequency.
- You can add multiple attributes to the post automatically, such as tag, category, featured images and of course custom fields.
- You can translate the base content into other language and post the translated content.
- Skip the articles which have less than the certain number of words (such as articles less than 500 words).
- Set the automatic Alt tags for images.
- Replace the brand name (or certain word in general) from the content (For example, all of the occurrences of “TechCrunch” will get replaced by “Winkreport”)
- Add interlinks automatically.
If you want the EXACT setting of my WP Automatic plugin, you can refer to this screenshot. I have already tested multiple permutations and combinations of the WP Automatic features, and trust me – you won’t have to spend even a second to find the best settings for your news site. Just duplicate what I have provided in the screenshot above.
Wait! I how do you find RSS feeds to syndicate the content at the first place?
Well, the first most obvious thing that I’ve done is GOOGLE SEARCH.
But then I quickly realized that hundreds of other news syndication sites are replicating the EXACT same content of high authority news sites. So here is my next thought :
How do I find the news sites which aren’t been copied by so many other people? I just realized that WP Automatic has a setting, which allows you to translate articles from one language to another. So instead of running behind ENGLISH sites who were being copied by thousands of bloggers, I started running behind german sites (which were almost untouched).
The next thing I did was: Searched for the most popular german actors and obtained around 5000 news sites, which posts around that niche/person.
But hold on! Not every news site can be syndicated with WP Automatic. Syndicating the content from the sites which aren’t hosted with WordPress is too difficult and time consuming. On top of that, most of the WordPress hosted sites don’t have open RSS feed – so basically you won’t have a seed URL to enter in. Here is what I did next:
- Grabbed those 5k urls and appended /feed/ in them. So now I have a list of 5k RSS feed URLs.
- Imported this list of 5k URLs in Screaming-frog and crawled them.
For hundreds of URLs, it shown me either 301 redirect of 404 status code, but still I found hundreds of URLs, which were showing status code 200. Which means – their feed is open and you can syndicate their content easily. So finally I have a list of hundreds of blogs, which are posting news in German language and my intention is to translate all these articles in English and post the content.
Here are the bunch of open feeds that I’ve found with the above strategy. I’ll keep this feed updated every week so that you guys will get seed feeds to automate the content across multiple countries/niches.
You can try out the same thing for multiple languages/countries/.niches and try to find the source of content which is’t being replicated so many times.
Step 2: It’s the Time to Get Rich
Believe it or no, I started posting around 100 articles per day [I know it’s too much, but who cares] and surprisingly within 3 days of launch, I’ve got more than 7000 visitors.
Now since I’ve started seeing over 2k organic visitors per day from the first week itself, I thought why not to make money out of this blog. I quickly added Google AdSense on this site and also listed this site [a network which pays bloggers for placing sponsored content on their blog]
Here is how my AdSense reporting looks like:
Here is how my Google Analytics looks like:
Here is how the Performance on Search results section from Webmaster tool looks like for this site:
So as you can see this blog has already made $102 from Google AdSense and $400 from Flyout.io (screenshot not included). So that’s ~$500 in revenue in last 21 days and it’s growing day by day. Pretty cool right? I mean all you did is spent 1 hour on initial setup and this is the output you’re getting to see under 21 days!
Duplicate Content: The main Google policy in question
If you’re been in SEO for a while then you’ll know that this site violates every single rule of Duplicate Content and still performing better in the search. If you were to ask about its effectiveness, you will find bunch of videos around News Site Content Syndication – which all concludes the one simple thing: Duplicate Content still works! As you can see below, there are plenty of videos of this EXACT thing, which are getting thousands of views everyday and everything points to the same thing: Duplicate Content still works!
You can even find people selling Udemy courses on how to make money from autoblogging and thousands of students have already tried this thing.
Is this limited for only NEWS sites?
“News” was just an example, but the scope of sites that can be built fully with duplicate content is infinite. There are already thousands of websites that are just aggregating the content from the web and still dominating the SERPs like a boss. Few of them are:
- Sites like storyinsta.com – keep crawling Instagram public profiles and gets ~6M visitors per month.
- Sites like dreshare.com – keep crawling celebrity profiles and gets ~2M visitors per month.
- Sites like tofler.in – which scrapes company incorporation data from the web and gets ~500k visitors per month.
- Sites like openpr.com – which posts thousands of auto generated market research reports and gets over ~150K visitors per month.
Enough of tips! Can you replicate this?
Absolutely yes! If you know how to use Facebook or Whatsapp, you can replicate the same site even if you don’t know any other technology (all you need is Common Sense and ability to use YouTube/Google effectively). All you need to do is follow the exact steps I’ve mentioned above.
Speaking of myself, I have already started 50 new news sites, which follows the exact same strategy and tech – just to see how soon Google will fix this patch and help original content creators to make a good living from their content.
If I’ve missed anything, please do let me know in the comments.