The Story of 10Beasts - Interview with Luqman Khan

About a year ago, I was introduced to a site called 10beasts.com.

At the time, it was an 8-page affiliate website in the technology niche that quickly busted out of the sandbox in six-figure profitability within 8 months.  December 2016, it broke $80k.

This site became incredibly popular when it was featured on Glen Alsop’s Gaps.com.  I mean, how often does someone go public with an affiliate website of this level?

Fast forward one year…

10Beasts grew in size and earnings and flipped for over half a million dollars.

And then the unspeakable happened.

It got penalized with an unnatural links manual action in Google Search Console.

And guess what?

The penalty had recovered in 5 days.

Meet Luqman Khan.

Luqman is the creator, builder, and recoverer of 10beasts.

In this no-holds-barred interview, Luqman discusses the entire story of 10beasts, how he got it ranked, how he sold it, and how he recovered it.

In this interview we get into:

  • The story of Luqman
  • Keyword research
  • Content planning
  • Onsite optimization
  • Backlink strategy
  • Social signals
  • The huge flip for $500k+
  • …and the miraculous 5-day recovery

Resources:

Transcript

Matt:                     Hey, Luqman. How’s it going, man? Thanks so much for coming on.

Luqman:              Hey, nice to meet you, Matt. You’re absolutely welcome and thanks for inviting me for this interview.

Matt:                     Absolutely. For the people that are watching that don’t know who you are, can you give us a brief introduction like what’s your name, how old are you, where you came from?

Luqman:              Well, my full name is Mohammed Luqman Khan and I’m from Lahore, Pakistan. Lahore is actually the second biggest city of Pakistan. I’m like actually, I’m born here and I’m living since I’m born here, and I have been to England, Turkey, Egypt, and a few other countries. And for now, I am still living in England as a computer science student in University of Manchester.

Matt:                     Oh, great, awesome, so you’re well-traveled. Tell me a little bit more about the home city you grew up in. Lahore, right?

Luqman:              Yeah.

Matt:                     Is that a city where people are doing like what you’re doing, working online? What’s it like where you’re from?

Luqman:              Well, Pakistan is actually the second biggest country who are doing the freelance work like freelance jobs are more open here in Pakistan. And what I’m doing here a lot of people are doing here. Actually, I’m inspired from a Pakistani guy called … his name is Salman Baig. He’s from another city called Peshawar. It is the north side of Pakistan. So, yeah, that’s all.

Matt:                     Yeah, cool. And what do your parents think about what you’re doing?

Luqman:              Well, my parents really don’t like what I’m doing. They want me to really work. They ask me there what you do and I really tried to explain them what. They don’t know that what you can do on internet. They want me to get a physical job, they want me to show doing something because the people think that I’m just a lazy guy who’s sitting in home all the time and do nothing but yeah, that’s actually what’s going on here.

Matt:                     It’s not one of their familiar lawyer, doctor, so it’s garbage. I get that too. So tell me a bit about your background. You said you were getting a degree in computer science, right?

Luqman:              Yeah.

Matt:                     Okay. And are you working on your bachelors or masters?

Luqman:              I’m doing bachelors yet.

Matt:                     Okay. How are you doing there?

Luqman:              It’s not that great. It has nothing to do with my career, so I’m actually just doing it to get a degree to satisfy my parents, that’s all.

Matt:                     I hope your parents don’t watch this, and if they do, I apologize for instagating this guy. Okay, cool. Have you ever had a jobby job? Have you ever worked for someone else?

Luqman:              I had a job in call center. It was in the sales department in some kind of product, I think security installment product in Canada but the call center was here in Pakistan.

Matt:                     That sounds fun.

Luqman:              Yeah. I had it back in 2011 maybe. I don’t remember. I don’t really … yeah.

Matt:                     Okay, all right.

Luqman:              So, I only worked for like one month. My back was already completely trashed of sitting on a chair for eight hours continuously.

Matt:                     Yeah, I can agree.

Luqman:              It’s like …

Matt:                     Mm-hmm (affirmative). And so, when did you get into SEO and how did that happen?

Luqman:              When I was a freelancer, I started, you know, I figured out online earning from an ad. It was a PTC website, I don’t know. I was I think smartphone were newly introduced back then and I was looking for a smartphone on GSMArena.com, and there was an add earn by clicking in it was a PTC website. I hope you know about PTC websites.

Matt:                     Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Luqman:              There you click on an add and you get a few cents and things like that. And that was a scam website but I ended up with an idea that earning, online earning is quite a possible thing. So I started research, I learned HTML, CSS, and WordPress. By the passage of time, I started to work on upwork.com, fiverr.com. And I had a project on Fiverr, they were the client who had a website. I think Amazon associate website. That’s how I figured out about Amazon associate and by the passage of time, I figured out about marketing that how you can get visitor to your website and that’s how I ended up on backlinko.com, cloudliving.com. And I saw that guy, Suman Bake, whom I told you about earlier from Peshawar. I saw him. I know he was posting somethings on his Facebook walls so it was good.

Matt:                     Okay, so you were doing some online freelance work. You started working for a website. And you’re like, “Okay, if he’s paying me this much, how much is he making?”

Luqman:              Yeah.

Matt:                     Then you went down the rabbit hole, I’m guessing.

Luqman:              Exactly.

Matt:                     And where have you learned from in the meantime? Do you read blogs?

Luqman:              Yeah, the main learning source is backlinko.com for branding. And a few other Facebook pages, Facebook groups, sorry, and Neil Patel. You know neilpatel.com and Quick Sprout also. These famous blogs, they are really helpful.

Matt:                     Awesome. And this was how long ago when you first started getting into SEO?

Luqman:              I think in 2013 or ’14. Maybe … I’m not really remember.

Matt:                     So like maximum like four, four-and-a-half years ago.

Luqman:              Yes.

Matt:                     And I would definitely say you classify as what I would call a very successful SEO. I’d say you’re probably in the 1% considering what you’ve done with 10Beasts. How does that sound to you?

Luqman:              Oh, thank you.

Matt:                     Like how does that make you feel?

Luqman:              That sounds great. That sounds really great, man.

Matt:                     I’m not just saying that because its coming from me… but just like you were not an SEO four years ago and now you’re … I would say you’re in the 1%. That … you’re awesome.

Luqman:              I really do feel awesome actually.

Matt:                     That’s good, that’s good. You deserve it. You did a lot of hard work and I’m excited to talk about that site but not quite yet. On the way to where you are now, did you ever face any setbacks or any big issues that kind of … roadblocks that got in your way.

Luqman:              The biggest issue I faced was drop out of college in November 2015. I had a fight issue with my ex’s boyfriend and the fight really turned rough fight, fight.

Matt:                     Okay.

Luqman:              So you know, actually, that guy, he brought a few guys to beat me up from outside the college, those who weren’t students. So the students of the college, they find out that people came outside the college to beat me, the student of the college. So the fight really turned into a big scenario like there were more than 50 to 60 students fighting in the hockey ground.

Matt:                     Oh, my goodness.

Luqman:              And it really turned bad. They suspended like more than 16 students and including me and that other guy. I was suspended for five years. I cannot [inaudible 00:07:47].

Matt:                     Wow. So, I mean, that probably not just affected you in your school life. It probably affected every aspect of your life including the relationship with your parents.

Luqman:              Yeah, exactly. The relationship with my parents, my family, my teachers, so it was really bad.

Matt:                     How did you bounce back from that?

Luqman:              I flew to England.

Matt:                     Okay, let’s just get out of here for a little bit and decompress.

Luqman:              Yeah.

Matt:                     I get it, okay, cool. Okay, so let’s talk about 10Beasts, the topic at hand. Where did you get the idea to start this site?

Luqman:              The one, I think from pcmag.com because they really do post top 10 lists in different niches and so that’s really where I got the idea from. And I am actually a computer geek. I do love computer games so I started with computer peripherals like gaming mouse and gaming headphones, computer … other computer peripherals for I knew that I could … I really in the first hand, I was just targeting keywords with a year like best gaming mouse 2000-something, 2016 or ’17, or whatever.

Luqman:              I ended up ranking on 2000 without the year in the keyword like best gaming mouse. Maybe because maybe it was one off … like there were very few marketers who were using scholarship technique back then. I was the one who publicly posted that and it ended up… And other things which really helped me ranking on that keyword I think are the guest posts and the web 2.0 and Tier Two Service which I bought from BlackHatWorld. It was really helpful in start. It was really kicking in some serious juice. And by the passage of time, I disavowed the whole list.

Matt:                     Yeah. Let’s get into that later. Let’s build up to this story. Let’s start from the ground bottom.

Luqman:              All right, sure.

Matt:                     And then all the way to the peak, and then the crash, and then the recovery.

Luqman:              All right.

Matt:                     So 10Beasts, was that a brand-new domain or had that expired?

Luqman:              It was a brand-new domain. It was a brand new domain.

Matt:                     How did you come up with the name, by the way?

Luqman:              Well, beast is something like monster or something which is out of the box, yeah?

Matt:                     Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Luqman:              So 10Beasts is actually, you know, at the domain niche was like top and lists. So that’s why I know I came up with that name, 10Beasts, like 10 in any category, top 10.

Matt:                     Okay, I get it. I get it. I think it’s cool.

Luqman:              Yeah.

Matt:                     Like I was thinking about the other day is like at first glance I don’t understand what it means but your site got so popular, it just became like a household name. It’s kind of like what is a Kleenex? Well, Kleenex is a tissue paper but we also just call it a Kleenex. That’s how I started thinking about it. Interesting.

Matt:                     So, when you first started this site, you were going for the 2016 keywords. You said you grew into like just without the year modifier. Eventually, at the point in time you sold it, what kind of keywords were you ranking for then?

Luqman:              I didn’t get you, you’re breaking up, sorry.

Matt:                     By the time you sold the site, what kind of keywords were you ranking for at point?

Luqman:              I think best drone camera. Best drone camera, best gaming mouse, best wireless router, best windshield wiper, best hover board, best hover board … sorry, best crossbow.

Matt:                     It’s all over the net.

Luqman:              It’s quite a number of … best 3D pen. A number of articles. I think of the articles which I have posted on that website except best gaming laptops. I’m ranking it all off the pages.

Matt:                     Interesting too because I wouldn’t call a crossbow an electronic and it seems like it’s a website focused on electronics but it’s just apparently more than that.

Luqman:              Yeah. By the passage of time, I added more categories like outdoor goods and this stuff.

Matt:                     Nice, nice. So I’ve first hear about 10Beasts on Glenn Alsop’s blog ViperChill (actually it was Gaps) and I’m sure you got a lot of press from that and you got a traffic of people just curious about what is this nine-page site or seven-page site at the time that’s just dominating so quickly. I’m assuming that you’re probably okay with it because you’re already blogging about it on NichePie. How did you feel, were you ever nervous about how much publicity the site was getting?

Luqman:              Well, I wasn’t nervous at all because I was getting back-links some from serious killing marketing websites like gaps.com, cloudliving.com, and other websites so it was quite beneficial towards 10Beasts to get those high-quality backlinks naturally.

Matt:                     Right, yeah, for sure. There’s a definite bright side to that.

Luqman:              And other than that, people like marketers, those newbies are actually searching for 10Beasts on Google. So it was a brand name search which really provides the authority in the Google, and I had searches like 10Beasts best wireless router, 10Beasts best gaming mouse so it really helped.

Matt:                     Yeah, awesome. It’s awesome. I don’t think I’m going to do that …

Luqman:              Yeah, no, but actually newbies do, yeah?

Matt:                     I’m a little too black-hat to go that route.  Okay, cool. So how did you do your keyword research? You use any tools or you just … what were you doing?

Luqman:              I was using a few tools. First of all, Google keyword planner. And after that, another tool called kwfinder.com and that’s pretty much all. I don’t use any other tool like Longtail Pro. I’m not a big fan of it and that’s all.

Matt:                     Okay, cool. And I’m just curious … this is like a paradigm or paradox question that I’ve been wanting to ask is like do you consider 10Beasts to be an authority site? As most people define an authority site as a hundred pages but even right now it’s like around the 30 range and when I first saw it it was around the seven range. What would you classify it as?

Luqman:              I think it’s an authority site. Authority site is the one actually which Google do prefer which have a lot brand popularity. So 10Beasts have actually a lot of following. So if the buyer, she puts some efforts in it, she can really make it some big thing.

Matt:                     I’m sure, yeah, especially if this is ranking for anything like crossbow at this point.

Luqman:              Yeah.

Matt:                     Okay. And you speak really good English and I even detect a little bit of a British accent since you’re spending so much time over there. Did you write the content yourself or did you outsource it?

Luqman:              No. I think I wrote only one article, best electric shaver by myself. For the other article, I hired writer. One of the articles write was from Pakistan and the other one was from I think Australia maybe, Australia or New Zealand.

Matt:                     Where did you find these guys? Did you find them on Upwork or …

Luqman:              The guy from Pakistan, I found him … he was actually a gaming colleague.

Matt:                     Perfect.

Luqman:              Yeah. And the Australian or New Zealand guy, yeah, I found him from Upwork.

Matt:                     Okay, got it. And what about like other than writers, did you use any VAs? Did you have any other help on it?

Luqman:              I had a guest post publisher. He was also from Upwork. (Character for) Infographic designer, he was from Fiverr. The graphic banners, I have a lot of graphic banners on 10Beasts, in sidebar, on top of the article. I had a guy from Pakistan from a graphic group, from Facebook graphic groups. Actually, I don’t know, I had like five or six guys working on 10Beasts.

Matt:                     Okay, cool. Awesome. And so like at the beginning it was probably just you.

Luqman:              Yeah.

Matt:                     Then you got the writer and then you got some graphic guys, and by the end it was about five or six people, right?

Luqman:              Yeah. I had writers like from before choosing the name 10Beasts. So I had already an article written. So yeah.

Matt:                     Cool. How long were your articles?

Luqman:              I think average article length is 5,000.

Matt:                     That is beastly.

Luqman:              Yeah.

Matt:                     Those are big ones, okay. And how often did you publish new content?

Luqman:              Oh, I posted about two articles in the last 12 months. That was actually the main reason for selling the website. I really had no time to work on it. I wasn’t even replying to comments. There were like more than 30 pending comments and I hired a guy to reply to the comments. Other than that, I really didn’t had any time to update the products which were out of stock on Amazon or maybe gone forever. So I really needed to sell the website because I was lacking a lot of time on it, which I had to give to 10Beasts.

Matt:                     Got it. Yeah, that was a question that one of … I asked in the lab Facebook group what would you want to ask Luqman. And one of the people asked like you know this site was blessed in Googles eyes, why didn’t you publish more? And it’s simple, you just ran out of time. That makes complete sense and why you would sell it too. Did you do any siloing or like whatever people want to call it these days, page sculpting, interlinking? How did you manage the way you were interlinking pages to each other?

Luqman:              I had a lot of internal links like in each article, I had three to four internal links by the end of the article. And that’s pretty much all I had. I had a few sidebar links which were on page links, hope you got it.

Matt:                     Yeah.

Luqman:              And that’s pretty much all.

Matt:                     Okay. Were you ever super-

Luqman:              I was actually passing the links just between the page into the internal pages using internal links. That’s really helpful.

Matt:                     Yeah. Were you ever like really picky about what you link to each other? Would you just refuse to link crossbows to shavers or sorry, I don’t know if you did shavers. But crossbows to-

Luqman:              I had, yeah. I did shavers.

Matt:                     Okay, yeah.

Luqman:              Yeah, I was actually, you know, from technology article or gaming art … gaming computer peripherals art I was only linking towards the pages who are relevant to that article. But for the crossbow article, I think I had a few links to toward it too because it had no connection with any of the other article on 10Beasts. So I managed to provide them links for a few articles but that’s how I was doing it.

Matt:                     Yeah, it makes sense. Good, man. Any other like last minute before we move on to off-site, anymore last minute onsite SEO tips that you could say that made a big difference with 10Beasts?

Luqman:              I think lengthy articles and using the main keyword in the first 100 words. As you know, Brian Dean infographic, if you follow it, the own page SEO completes, really with that infographic.

Matt:                     Awesome.

Luqman:              You just have to follow that infographic, yeah.

Matt:                     Nice, I’ll put it in the references, actually, after this post edit. Cool, okay. Let’s talk about the fun stuff. We’ll talk about off-site. In the beginning stages of your website, like what were the first links you got?

Luqman:              I think I started with web 2.0. And then I started a scholarship link building, guest posts, infographic, and I had that expert roundup. I had few links to all that too. That’s pretty much all, yeah.

Matt:                     Okay. And let’s take a look at them one by one so the web 2.0s, where did you get these from and how do you feel like they did for you?

Luqman:              BlackHatWorld. I had a service on BlackHatWorld and it was really helpful in the start. Was really kicking in some juice. The SERPS boost with that service after like 15 to 20 days. But the thing is the keyword on which I got that service. It was the best 3D pen and the competition was extremely low back then. So I managed to rank best 3D pen 2016 and best 3D pen on page one only with that service.

Luqman:              And after that, I started scholarship technique and I forwarded the linkages to other pages using internal links. And that’s how I managed to rank best wireless router article on the page one. And with that article that I provide some internal links to gaming mouse, and electric shavers, and they came up on the page one. So by that passage of time, that’s how it worked. And now, if you post a new article on 10Beasts, it will show, appear on the page one by itself within 15 to 20 days.

Matt:                     Nice, nice. Wish you could have sold it to me. So another question. So for the people who are not familiar with scholarship link building, do you want to break that down a little bit more.

Luqman:              Well, I’m not … I don’t recommend it anymore but scholarship technique was like you provide a scholarship, any kind of scholarship like you can ask the student to make a video or you can ask the student to write an article or whatever. You can post it on your website. Then you have to go back to the universities, most of the time you can contact the webmaster or the email is like [email protected]… .whatever.

Luqman:              Okay, so you have to contact them. You have to tell them that I’m providing this scholarship and it is for students of this department, and they have to write this article and send it to this email and by this date, we will select a winner and we will award him.

Matt:                     Okay. So the EDUs, all these universities link to your scholarship page.

Luqman:              Yes.

Matt:                     And then what were you doing to take that link to yourself is landing on this page and get it to the pages you wanted to rank? Where you interlinking or 301’ing?

Luqman:              Interlink, yeah. If you see the scholarship page off 10Beasts, you’ll see an internal link to all the best wireless router. So you know, all the links coming from that EDU pages was going toward the router article, and from that router article I had internal links to other technology pages including the 3D pen, best gaming mouse, and I think best electric shaver. So the link too is what’s passing towards internal pages using those internal links.

Matt:                     Right, makes sense. And how about … did you do any 301 redirects? Not internally on your site but any external domains coming in?

Luqman:              I think I did. I did, I did. I had micro website, MicroNiche site, I don’t really remember the URL, and I think those are expired now. I had internal links towards I think crossbow page and another one was to I think … and there was an article really to X-box something toward that page.

Matt:                     Okay, all right. Cool.

Luqman:              Yeah.

Matt:                     How about … I mean, maybe you should answer this honestly. Did you do any gray hat or black hat stuff for the site?

Luqman:              Well, I think the web 2.0 actually falls in gray hat or black hat, yeah. But for PBN, I really didn’t use any PBN but I’m getting comments like I can see the PBN links in the back-link profile. But I never used any PBN service or I never allocated a PBN by myself for 10Beasts intentionally. Maybe I got the links from PBN without noticing it, someone provided me a link or whatever but I never intentionally created any PBN for 10Beasts.

Matt:                     Yeah, makes sense. Yeah. And it happens sometime too when you do an outreach on a big scale like sometimes you outreach to a site that’s like a PBN or at least looks like one. It can happen, yeah.

Luqman:              Yeah.

Matt:                     What were you doing for your anchor text strategy?

Luqman:              Sorry?

Matt:                     What were you doing for your anchor text strategy?

Luqman:              Okay. Like I was trying to make a 50% anchor text as 10Beasts or 10Beasts.com. And the remaining 10% was like naked URL. 40% from that, 40% about like 20% were the main keywords like best electric shaver, best wireless router, best whatever. And the other 20 were like main article titles.

Matt:                     Yeah, makes sense. Okay, good. Very nice and structured. I like that.

Luqman:              Yeah.

Matt:                     Did you do any social signals like were you focused on getting social signals?

Luqman:              Yeah, I did it Black Hat where I had a website, there was a website… I don’t remember the URL. AddmeFast, sorry, AddmeFast.

Matt:                     Is it still around? Is it still kicking?

Luqman:              I’m not sure. I don’t think so that it’s working anymore. But I used that website to provide Twitter tweets, re-tweets, Google+, and Facebook Share, Facebook Likes, and the Pinterest Pins and that really worked.

Matt:                     Yeah, I remember that. Yeah. Okay, cool. Any other links that we might not have talked about. We talked about some web 2.0s, some 301s, some scholarships, the social signals. Anything else we’re missing of the expert roundups, right?

Luqman:              Yeah. I had a girl, Minuca Elena from Romania. She had that expert roundup for me. She literally explained in that field, she have a lot of connections. So I hired her and she did that for me. And after that, I outreached to a few persons using alltop.com.

Matt:                     Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Luqman:              I found a few relative sites from there and I outreached them and I asked for a link and I think I got a few.

Matt:                     Yeah, nice. Okay, cool. And I think last question I have regarding off-site, did you care at all about bouncing like … do you follow ratios or do you just whatever, just natural?

Luqman:              No, I really don’t care about the rate. It’s natural, yeah.

Matt:                     Yeah. Any other offsite tips for the people watching that maybe you can give us advice on going forward?

Luqman:              Don’t go for scholarship technique anymore.

Matt:                     Okay. We’ll dig into that real soon. Okay, so at what point in time did you say to yourself, okay, this 10Beasts site is really starting to take off?

Luqman:              I think in July, July 2016. All of the main keywords like with the year,  were getting … was showing up in the top 10 SERPS. And most of the backlinks which I created were indexed in Google Webmaster so I can see them. Yeah, so that’s all.

Matt:                     And what happened to the revenue in July? Was it just like boom, hockey stick?

Luqman:              I don’t remember, really. I think it wasn’t that much. It wasn’t really that much. I don’t really remember. I think it was increased but I don’t really remember.

Matt:                     Mm-hmm (affirmative). Okay. How did you monetize this site? Mostly Amazon, right?

Luqman:              Mostly Amazon, actually. Yeah, and I had Amazon CPM Ads in the sidebar. So which weren’t generating enough but like in December and November they were generating like $1,000 a month and for normal months they were like $400.

Matt:                     Mm-hmm (affirmative). Of all the keywords you were ranking for, all these different categories, what would you say were the best profitable keywords for you?

Luqman:              I think wireless router article and the gaming mouse article.

Matt:                     Okay, yeah. Okay, gaming, that makes sense. They’re expensive. Everyone needs one or the gamers need the mouse, gamer mouse. Cool. Did you try any other monetization methods like, I don’t know, email list or anything else other than straight up affiliate?

Luqman:              I’ve never been into email marketing and social media marketing so I never really put in any effort in it.

Matt:                     Yeah, fair enough.

Luqman:              Yeah.

Matt:                     Did you do any conversion rate optimization like… did you AB testing?

Luqman:              Yes, I did. Like I tried to add the comparison table at the end of the article. Then I changed the position in the middle, then changed the position at the top. So I think the best position I’ve found was pitch the competitive table as soon as you can because with a check-price button. So if the visitor will click on that check price button, he or she will have the cookie in the browser. But my main focus wasn’t to convert the visitor. It was just to put the cookie in the browser, that’s all.

Matt:                     Yeah, man, yeah.

Luqman:              Yeah.

Matt:                     Yeah, for sure. I got some theories on that one like most of the people coming to your site are searching for best wireless router. So these guys are like ready to buy something. If you take them through a whole article of reading and then give them the table at the end, they’re going to leave.

Luqman:              Yeah.

Matt:                     These guys are ready to see which one the best one is right away so that was a good, good call. Okay.

Luqman:              And the pictures. It’s like with each product I had a picture, which was saying check price on Amazon, and that was really … the CTR on that picture was like 30%. I used the heat map, heat sync, whatever that’s called, to figure it out what is … where the user is collecting.

Matt:                     Nice. Which heat map software did you use?

Luqman:              I think it was from Neil Patel. I don’t really remember the name.

Matt:                     Okay, we’ll try to track it down so we can give that to the readers. That will be really good.

Luqman:              All right.

Matt:                     Did you try any different types of traffic sources or just 100% organic?

Luqman:              100% organic, yeah. I wasn’t focusing on Google traffic, really.

Matt:                     Okay. And while you were at it, did you build an email list at all?

Luqman:              I had an email list but like it was so filled up with marketers… newbies. They really want to see what email I’m sending.

Matt:                     They do!

Luqman:              But there wasn’t any … yeah.

Matt:                     Okay, cool. All right. Now, and finally like over the lifetime of the site, I believe it was like 2016 until now, what was the highest monthly revenue it ever got to?

Luqman:              December 2016 I think it was $80,000.

Matt:                     Nice, nice. Okay, so how long did the site run before you sold it? What was its lifetime in your hands?

Luqman:              I think 18 months. 18 or 19 months, yeah.

Matt:                     Okay, and what made you decide to sell it, just ran out of time, you wanted more freedom in your life?

Luqman:              Yeah, actually, I was really busy with the studies, with other projects I have, and I really want to put some effort in it but because of the lack of the time, I couldn’t. So I decided to sell it.

Matt:                     Yeah, it makes sense. And is this is the first site you sold or have there been others?

Luqman:              It is the third site I sold.

Matt:                     How nice. And were they successful as well, like as successful as this?

Luqman:              The other two which I sold in the past. No, actually, this is the fourth site that I sold. The first site I sold, it got sold for like $500 and it was back in 2013 maybe. And the other two, which I sold and they both were like $3,000.

Matt:                     Okay, so yeah, this one was bigger.

Luqman:              Yeah. No, I started off with a micro … extremely micro niche size like a single product targeting websites. Like if you have an electric shaver and a specific model, so I’m only promoting that model on that website.

Matt:                     Yeah, whole different ballgame here. Okay.

Luqman:              Yeah.

Matt:                     So let’s talk about the sales process like how did you sell it? Did you use a broker, did you go private?

Luqman:              Yes, I used empireflippers.com. They were really helpful. The site got really sold quite quickly and they were really helpful, yeah, although they are expensive but they’re worth it.

Matt:                     You know what my theory is on that? Like they take 15%, right?

Luqman:              Yeah.

Matt:                     Right, so they take 15% that you might … you wouldn’t have had to pay if you would have been private. But are we sure that we would have been able to get the same sale price because they do have a bajillion customers so they can get a higher fee on that. I’m not sure. I think about that all the time, right?

Luqman:              Yeah.

Matt:                     How long was it on the marketplace before it sold?

Luqman:              I think maximum one week.

Matt:                     Good, gees, it’s crazy.

Luqman:              Yeah.

Matt:                     And how much was the final sale price if you don’t mind me asking?

Luqman:              It was $570,000.

Matt:                     That’s pretty awesome. That’s a life-changing amount of money. Congratulations, man.

Luqman:              Yeah, thank you very much.

Matt:                     Yeah, yeah. Where there any difficulties in getting it sold? Where there any roadblocks in that one week of selling it?

Luqman:              No. Actually, you know, the after the buyer agrees and I agreed on that amount, I think it literally took five days, yeah, to replace all of the tracking code of Amazon and hand over all of the stuff to the buyer. It literally took five days, no more than that.

Matt:                     They really do make it very easy.

Luqman:              Yeah.

Matt:                     Okay, now let’s get a little bit gloomy.

Luqman:              Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Matt:                     How long after the sale was the penalty?

Luqman:              I think the website was hand over to the buyer on 8th of December and it was penalized on 25th or December.

Matt:                     Merry Christmas, yeah.

Luqman:              Yeah, the worst Christmas.

Matt:                     What was it like for you, though, wake up and I’m sure…

Luqman:              Not actually. The buyer didn’t give me that much headache, the community did. Everyone was tagging me in the comments, oh, Luqman got sold, Luqman got out of it on time, yeah. So I was really panicking that everyone … they were feeling sorry for the buyer. Actually, I was really feeling sorry for the buyer too.

Matt:                     Yeah.

Luqman:              But at the same time, it was kind of a harassment to me like it was going on in my mind that what shall I do. The buyer just asked me, hey, look, please help me to get out of it, get back on track to restore the revenue and the traffic here. So the moment I go to see the back-link profile, I get a new notification on my Facebook comment, there I got something like that.

Luqman:              So yeah, for me it was quite a big headache from the community, from the newbie members. I think there were a number of people who were quite happy, I don’t know why, that 10Beasts got down. And especially newbies. But the credit to restore the website mainly goes to the buyer because I was just telling her what to do and she was doing it. And she dis-evolved the most of the worst back-links without even me telling her.

Luqman:              Then she just asked me can you contact the webmaster of these pages and tell them to remove the back-links. I went through monitorbacklinks.com. I inserted all the backlinks over there to see which … like I mostly, most of the back-links which it had which were high OBL, which had more than 30 OBL. So after that, I contacted few universities and told them that this scholarship is no longer available so can you please remove the link, and few of them did.

Luqman:              And after like 25th of December, the site got penalized. 28th of December it was restored. So it was three to five days, really.

Matt:                     That’s a weight off your shoulder.

Luqman:              Yeah.

Matt:                     So in your opinion, what was the link type that was causing the most trouble for the site?

Luqman:              There were a few web 2.0s. They were scholarship links mainly. That’s pretty much all, yeah.

Matt:                     Mm-hmm (affirmative). Okay. So would you tell newbies going forward to stay clear of the scholarship links?

Luqman:              Sorry, you were breaking up.

Matt:                     Again, would you tell newbies going forward to stay clear of scholarship links?

Luqman:              For now, yes. I think so because it’s being stabbed a lot. From the very day, I publicly announced it and yeah, so I think this is the time to stop using that technique.

Matt:                     Sure. Yeah, that’s good advice. And since the recovery, which is so fast, that’s very reassuring for anybody-

Luqman:              I think it was fast because I knew that what is the thing which is the main reason to penalize the website because a manual penalization is really helpful that you know that it is the link and that’s the natural links’ utilization so you know what you have to do really. So it wasn’t that difficult to figure out what to do.

Luqman:              But I was thinking that it will be easy to get out of the penalization but it will be difficult to get the positions back in the SERPs. But I don’t know how all of the SERPs restored on the very position that they were before. So it’s was a miracle, really.

Matt:                     Yeah, that’s the next question if it recovered to the same levels and it seems like it has.

Luqman:              Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Matt:                     I’m assuming that this is ghost-link effect, and in my experience, I’ve had one penalty before and it’s a very similar situation. I didn’t have-

Luqman:              A few of the SERPs, they moved up like best gaming mouse I already go with ranking on number four before the penalization and after the recovery, it was a ranking on number two. So I don’t know what’s going on. Google is quite tricky.

Matt:                     Ghost links, echo links, phantom links, yeah. The links just sticks around for a while. Have you talked to the buyer and asked her what she’s going to do because those EDU links which are providing juice are no longer providing juice anymore so she’s going to have to replace that.

Luqman:              Yeah.

Matt:                     Does she ever go to-

Luqman:              No, I’m scheduling a meeting with the buyer. She was actually busy last few weeks like for after the Christmas so let’s see.

Matt:                     Okay, cool. Question for you. This is a fun question. And this is the most highly asked question I got by far when I asked people what they want to ask you. What are you going to do with the money?

Luqman:              Well, first of all, I think I’m going to buy myself an apartment. And after that, I’m going reinvest that money in Amazon FBA, I really want to get into that. I have few micro-niche sites that I think I’m going to buy those from a … that at a wholesale from aliexpress.com or alibaba.com or from somewhere from China. And then let’s see how it goes.

Matt:                     Mm-hmm (affirmative). That’s a really interesting thing that you bring up regarding FBA and that. I’ll talk to you more offline about it but a big part of my success has been taking affiliate traffic and then combining that with your own product, and just because it takes all the risk out of e-commerce. It’s the only problem with e-commerce is the risk on moving the inventory so you’re really smart to go towards that direction. I’m really proud of you.

Luqman:              That’s great.

Matt:                     Another thing that I wanted to ask, so you’re going into FBA. Are you going to do any more SEO projects in the meantime?

Luqman:              Of course.

Matt:                     Any 11beasts coming up?

Luqman:              No, not actually 11beasts as I had a deal with the buyer that I can’t really compete. Well, I might do that in other categories in like outdoors, or home decoration, or whatever like that, or maybe niche products. I won’t be sharing the site again as it was the worst idea. So I will do Amazon affiliate as I’m experienced with it, not experienced … no, I don’t have any experience in Amazon FBA so my main earning source is Amazon affiliate so I’m going to keep doing that.

Matt:                     Okay, yeah, that’s good.

Luqman:              Yeah.

Matt:                     Keep doing what you’re good at. Okay, here’s a surprise question for you. I don’t know if you know this but every year in Chiang Mai we’ve been having what we call the Chiang Mai SEO invitational mastermind where we bring in like high-performing SEOs all over the world, and we get down together, and we break up in small groups, and we help each other with our business. There’s a limited amount of seats and I wanted to offer you on for 2018 if you want to come.

Luqman:              Oh, that’s great.

Matt:                     All right.

Luqman:              That’s really great, yeah.

Matt:                     Cool, man. I’ll send you the invitation when we get everything sorted out but I’d love to have you come and that will be awesome.

Luqman:              Mm-hmm (affirmative). All right, great.

Matt:                     Awesome. Any advice to give newcomers who are inspired by your story who want to start with the Amazon affiliate or do something like what you’ve done? Any words of advice?

Luqman:              I think the newbies, they shouldn’t start with the multi-niche side. They should really start with the micro side, micro niche, start with a single target, a single product, then start with a product category. Like first off I’ll start with like a single product like Braun series nine, 730 model. Then they can start with a category like best electric shavers, only a whole website on electric shavers. Then by the … as it takes time they can have their experience, they should come in the multi-niche site like 10Beasts store, like top 10 articles, top 10 categories or whatever like that.

Luqman:              So you can’t really go from the very basic towards that [inaudible]. You need to …, start slowly and make it natural. There’s nothing really … you don’t have to worry about the keyword density or something. Just make your articles natural. Just work on the user experience. Make your site look good, make your articles … the user too, don’t make it look like a wall of text. Insert some colors or add some images, add some video, some graphs. It’s really helpful.

Matt:                     That’s awesome advice. Thank you so much. Where can people find you?

Luqman:              They can find me on Facebook. They can find me on various Facebook groups and on my email with is [email protected].

Matt:                     Okay. And tell us about NichePie real quick.

Luqman:              NichePie is a website where I know I just put a case study on 10Beasts and I may write more articles on it maybe later in the future.

Matt:                     Okay.

Luqman:              For now, there is 10Beasts case study there for now.

Matt:                     Cool, cool. Well, I just want to say thank you so much. I’m going to say thank you in advance for everybody that’s about to watch this like you shared so much. I’m sure you’re going to inspire. It’s a really cool story. It went up, it went down, it’s back. And congratulations to you again and a big thank you.

Luqman:              You’re absolutely welcome, man. Thank you very much.

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