How to Make Money Flipping Websites on Flippa & Empire Flippers
Given that Google biases towards websites with authority, it can be annoying to start from scratch. That’s where Flippa comes into play. Flippa is a great place to find established and existing sites that you can flip. In this article we will discuss our recommended method for how to make money on Flippa by flipping websites.
Step 1: Purchase a Good Website
At any given time, there are hundreds of websites to choose from on Flippa, but only a select few are good for flipping. In fact, some of the listings may be outright scams or over exaggerations, so you should definitely do your research before purchasing one. Here are some factors that we look for when looking for a website to purchase:
It is absolutely mandatory that the site you purchase has unique content. Flippa does a good job of providing this information directly on the listing pages, but you can also double check if the site has unique content by using this tool.
In order to have a fair amount of authority with Google and to potentially be able to rank for keywords right away, the site should be at least 1 year old. Similar to the content’s uniqueness, Flippa will provide you with the domain’s age on the listing page.
Viable websites can have different sources of traffic, but we look for sites that primarily have organic traffic. You can check the organic traffic of a website by viewing the Google Analytics account connected to their listing, and by checking the keywords it is ranking for via a tool like SEMrush.
We prefer this mainly because it proves that the site has some authority with Google. That being said, a site that has lots of organic traffic will also probably be more expensive and will leave less room for easy improvements and higher profit margins on the flip. That is why we look for sites that have small amounts of organic traffic, where it is relatively safe to assume the low traffic is due to issues that are easily solvable or just a lack of keyword targeted content. Some easily improved on-page factors include: thin content, bad on page SEO, or failing to target low competition keywords.
Has No Google Penalties or Issues
Although this is unlikely if the site has rankings and organic traffic, it is still worth checking. You can ask the seller for Google Search Console access and check for this under the manual actions section. You can also check to see if there are any sharp traffic drops in Google Analytics, as this may be caused by a penalty.
In a Good Niche
A website’s niche is key to whether or not it will be easily monetizable. Some factors we consider when selecting a niche include:
- How evergreen it is
- What affiliate products and offers are available
- Your interest level
- Can you easily create a community around it
You can learn more about selecting a good niche in this article.
If the site is currently only being monetized with Google AdSense, there is a good chance you can add more monetization methods to improve the earnings of the website. The flip side to that is that we also recommend looking for websites on Flippa that have good monetization methods, but low traffic, since increasing the traffic will have a good ROI.
While this isn’t important for rankings, it may be important when you are trying to resell the site. If possible, look for domain names that have a .com extension and have keywords in them, as they tend to be more popular. The name shouldn’t be too out there because it may not be appealing to a larger audience.
Has a Clean Link Profile
Before we contact the seller for Google Search Console access, we prefer to do a preliminary check on the domain by using a tool like SEMrush. You want to look for the number of referring domains, the quality of the sites and pages that are linking to the site, and the anchor text of the linking domains. Once the site passes this preliminary test, we ask for Google Search Console access to check the backlinks. We do this because tools like SEMrush generally only provide you with the links that they find in their index, which may not be the same as Google’s.
- Number of referring domains: When it comes to links, we prefer quality over quantity, but you should check the quantity as well.
- The quality of the linking domains and pages: They should ideally look like reputable websites, and be ranking for some keywords. Most likely, the more competitive the site’s ranking keywords are, the more powerful the domain is. You can estimate how competitive a keyword is by using the keyword difficulty metric.
- Anchor text: Look for anchor text that is neither over optimized nor spammy. The anchor text profile should mainly consist of naked URL (keywordsheaven.com), generic anchor text (view the article here), and branded anchor text (Keywords Heaven). If there are too many keywords in the anchor text, it risks penalization, and if the anchor text is irrelevant or spammy, it may also be penalized or make it more difficult to rank for the keywords in your niche.
- Check the links in search console: Some links may not show in SEMrush’s index, so it is a good idea to ask for Google Search Console access so you can check those as well. When doing this, we recommend looking for any links that may belong to a PBN (private blog network). If you see these pointing to the site, it is a bad sign and you may want to avoid the site completely.
Content Management System
We typically like dealing with websites that utilize WordPress. This is because Wordpress enables us to implement quick changes via the usage of plugins. If a website is custom made or is made on a limited platform like WIX, it is much more difficult or sometimes even impossible to make certain changes to. This therefore makes the site harder to flip.
Has a Reputable Seller
Flippa shows how many transactions a site’s seller has made in the past and sometimes shows feedback. It is a good idea to utilize this information to judge the site. You should also contact the seller with any questions that you may have to see how responsive they are.
Ideally the site will have some organic traffic, but low earnings, making the purchase cheaper. While the listing will show the earnings of the website, we recommend asking the seller to provide you read only privileges to the accounts they are using to monetize their website, like Google AdSense, to confirm the website earnings.
On Flippa, most websites sell for about 20x their monthly income, while on Empire Flippers they sell for about 30x their monthly income. Therefore, while getting a good deal on a Flippa site is definitely important, it isn’t a hard requirement. Sometimes you can make a decent profit simply by buying sites on Flippa that meet the Empire Flipper’s criteria, and selling them on Empire Flippers for a higher multiple. We usually recommend looking for websites that are in the $400 — $2,000 range.
Has a Lot of Bids
While this may seem counterintuitive, the popularity a website listing has on Flippa is a good indicator of how popular it will be when you go to flip it after some improvements. If the website ends up selling for a high monthly profit multiple, it is fair to assume that you can get the same multiple when you go to resell it.
Step 2: Keyword Mapping
One of the reasons people don’t make as much on their websites as they could from organic traffic is that they do not target low competition and profitable keywords. We recommend using SEMrush, Google Analytics, and Google Search Console to research which keywords the site is already ranking for and to map out which keywords you want to target with each page. Keep in mind that you can target more than one keyword per page, but we recommend only one topic per page. You will also want to remember to avoid keyword cannibalization. If you have pages that are targeting very similar keywords, it may be a good idea to consolidate the content into one page and redirect the pages to the new page.
Find Longtail Variations
Once you have decided on which topics you will use on each page, you can add longtail variations of a topic’s keywords to boost the traffic of that page.
Step 3: On Page SEO
The great part about on page SEO is that, if done properly, it can increase your traffic right away. We recommend focusing on pages that are currently doing relatively okay in the rankings, since pages that are not ranking at all are likely not going to improve much with on page SEO. You can use Surfer SEO, to help give you on page optimization suggestions.
In addition to the feedback provided by the tool, you should check for:
- An SSL certificate: an SSL certificate changes the site from http to https and adds a secure padlock next to your URL when people are browsing your site. It is considered to be a small ranking factor with Google and will keep your users more secure when browsing your website.
- A mobile friendly website: You can check to see if a website is mobile friendly by using the Google mobile friendly testing tool.
- Pages that shouldn’t be indexed: It is quite common that we see WordPress category pages, and other thin content or duplicate pages indexed on Google. You can check to see which pages are indexed by simply doing a search like this in Google: “site:domain.com”. If you see a bunch of unnecessary pages indexed, we recommend no-indexing them or redirecting them to the closest page that is better.
- Internal links to pages you are trying to rank: Internal links with keyword anchor text can help you rank your pages, especially if they are coming from pages that currently have external links pointing at them.
- 404 pages: If a page is 404ing, Google will usually ignore it once it sees that this is the case. If it doesn’t, we recommend that you fix the page, put a no-index tag on it, or redirect it to another page on your website. If the 404ing page has external links to it, it’s probably best to preserve that link juice by recreating the page or redirecting it to another page on the website.
- Site speed: You can check your site speed and get recommendations for what you need to improve using a tool like the Google’s Page Speed Insights or GTmetrix. Just keep in mind that as long as you have a decent score, improving it probably won’t make a huge difference in your rankings.
If you need help checking all of this and more, we have an SEO audit service that can do it for you.
Step 4: Research New Keywords and Write More Content
Once you have improved the sites on page SEO and keyword targeting, it is time to go after some new opportunities. There are many ways to go about this, but we outline one simple way below.
Finding a Similar Authority Blog
You can check a blog’s authority via various third party metrics like Moz, Majestic, Ahrefs, and SEMrush. We recommend taking the average score of your competitors blog on these platforms and comparing it to yours. Additionally, it is a good idea to see which keywords they are already ranking for. If their keywords have extremely high search volume and keyword difficulty in SEMrush, their website may be very authoritative.
Finding Vulnerable Keywords
Once you find one or more blogs in your niche that have a similar authority as yours, you can scan through their keywords and see if you can outdo their content for those particular keywords. For example, if they only have a 600 word post on a topic, you can probably outrank this with 2,000 words post full of high quality content.
If you would rather outsource the article writing and keyword research, check out our content marketing service.
Step 5: Improve and Expand on the Monetization Methods
Google AdSense and Amazon affiliate marketing are common ways to monetize websites, but they can also be some of the lowest paying methods. That is why we recommend that you expand into other monetization methods. One example would be to create a course for your niche that you can put on your website. Another would be to sell tools or services on your site around your niche. Get creative!
Step 6: Wait a While, and Flip the Site
SEO is a slow process, so it may take some time before the benefits of your work can be fully realized in traffic and revenue. Before you jump into flipping your site, we recommend waiting for about 10 months to a year for your rankings and revenue to stabilize. This will allow you to earn some passive income from the site and flip it for its full value rather than selling it while it is still growing.
Choose a Place to Sell Your Site, and List It
The two most common places to sell websites are Empire Flippers or Flippa. If you meet the qualifications that are required to sell your website on Empire Flippers, we suggest you do so on there because you will probably be able to get a higher multiple. If you don’t meet the qualifications though, Flippa should do fine.
How to Make Money Flipping Websites Conclusion
While flipping websites can take a good amount of work to do correctly, it is not that difficult, and can be quite profitable. Have you given this a try? Please leave a comment below or continue the discussion in our Facebook group.