How to Build Your Own Successful Website By Reverse Engineering Successful Sites

How to Build Your Own Successful Website By Reverse Engineering Successful Sites

Posted by on Jan 14, 2009 in Earn money online

How to Build Your Own Successful Website By Reverse Engineering Successful Sites

Building your own successful website is not as difficult as you may think.

The factors that enabled a successful website to get lots of free search engine traffic and earn lots of money are almost completely transparent – you can see exactly what it takes to build your own website that works.

This article will show you how to analyze successful websites, learn from them and apply this knowledge to your online business.

Step 1: Find successful websites

How do you know which websites get a lot of traffic and earn good money?

a) lists their most successful websites, and you can study the top 5 from each category on this page. These sites definitely get a lot of traffic.

b) Find sites with an Alexa ranking below 100,000. While Alexa doesn’t tell you exactly how many visitors a particular site receives, in my experience all sites with a ranking below 100,000 have very good traffic. Install Search Status if you use Firefox for a quick glance at the Alexa ranking.

c) Look for success stories. Google has their Adsense success stories page, and if these sites earn a lot of money, they definitely get a lot of traffic. You can also learn where to position Adsense ads since these sites all get very good CTR and eCPM.

Step 2: How many pages of content does the site have?

If you want to build your own website that gets a lot of traffic, let’s say over 1,000 hits per day, then how many pages do you need?

Go to and type:

Here are the top sites from 5 categories from the results page, and the number of pages they each contain:

a), 2760 pages

b), 1390 pages

c), 175 pages

d), 424 pages

e), 818 pages

Your first reaction might be: “How am I going to write so many web pages?”

The first thing to be clear on is that you won’t do it in 2 months, but if you write 3 pages each week, then your site will have over 150 pages in just one year.

Second, lots of pages can be written by your visitors through the clever use of Content 2.0 which SBI sites provide, or by getting comments on your blog which add to the length and word count of the page.

Step 3: How many incoming links do the websites have?

Quality, relevant links are the MOST IMPORTANT ranking factor in Google, slightly less so than in Yahoo and MSN. You can build your own website with 1,000 pages of great content, but without the right links your content will not exist in the search engine index.

You MUST get links to your site in order to rank well. So, how can you see how many links you have, and from where do these links come from?

Go to and type:

To see only external links (which are the key links), select Show Inlinks: Except from this domain and to Entire Site. (You’ll do that on the next page that comes up after you type in your query in the Yahoo search field.)

Finding links with Yahoo Explorer

Let’s check the links of those 5 SBI sites we analyzed before:

a), 3999 links

b), 4288 links

c), 1469 links

d), 1519 links

e), 4996 links

Yahoo Explorer also lists the websites and pages from which there are incoming links so that you can see the quality, page rank, Alexa and the relevance of each link that points to the website you’re analyzing.

Note that Yahoo Explorer also shows the number of pages indexed for the website that you are analyzing; you can compare it to the number of pages indexed in Google. This is explained in Step 2 (above).

Step 4: For which keywords are the site’s pages optimized?

Just building a website with good content and getting quality links is not enough to get traffic unless you have a massively popular website.

You need to target specific keywords which are searched often in search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN, and gradually work you way up in the search engine results page (SERP).

So, how can you determine which keyword a certain page is optimized for?

Most websites follow this SEO (search engine optimization) principle; they include the main keyword for which they want to optimize a certain page:

a) in the title

b) in the description

c) in the keywords meta tag

d) in the first sentence of the page

e) occasionally throughout the page

f) In links pointing to this page, and where the main keyword is used in the anchor text (i.e., link text)

How can you determine the meta tags of each page?

Right-click on the page you want to analyze and select “View Page Source”.

Let’s examine Thrandur’s page of 4×4 Trucks. At the top of the page, you’ll see meta data for the title, description and keywords.

The first keyword in the keywords meta field is 4×4 trucks, and it’s the keyword for which Thrandur optimized the page.

4×4 trucks is a keyword that is in much demand.

… and Thrandur ranks well in Google (at positions #11 and #12 in the Google search rankings at the moment of writing this article) which means he gets a nice amount of traffic for this keyword and its long tail keywords.

(A quick suggestion for Thrandur: optimize your homepage for the “4×4 Trucks” keyword by using it in the title! Also, if you point a few links to your homepage with this keyword – even internal ones will do –you’ll surely get higher rankings in Google for the 4×4 trucks searches.)

You can also run a quick WT query to see the main keywords from the 4×4 site concept:

Then, you can check which of those keywords Thrandur used, whether he chose to use them as T2 (main pages) or T3 (articles), and what other keywords he optimized his site for.

For example, one page is about Off Road Wheels which is, of course, very relevant to the 4×4 topic. This page ranks as #6 in Google at the moment of writing of this article.

How did Thrandur come up with this keyword?×4.html

Kwbrowse lists the relevant keywords to your main keyword, and you’ll see that “off road” is one of them.

In this fashion, you can reverse engineer what the person who built the site did to come up with the keywords that his site ranks high for.

Step 5: How to build your own website that looks great? Learn from others…

The “View Page Source” shows you the HTML of the page, and you can learn some very useful tricks. You can learn how to position pictures, videos, advertisements and so on.

Here’s an example: if you want to add a picture to your page and wrap the text around it, you will need some space between them so that it looks nice.

If you just add the picture with the <table … HTML tag, there won’t be any space between the picture and the text.

See, for example, how the picture on the right is too close to this text?

If I want to have some space between the text on the left and the picture on the right, I have to use a HTML trick to achieve that.

There are a few ways to do this and I used a simple table with an align tag in the example on the right to get some space between the picture and the text here.

Right-click on this page, select ‘View Page Source’ and see how I did this.

This is just one example of how you can learn from others, since websites are so transparent on the World Wide Web.

One important word of advice though: DO NOT COPY from other people. They’ve invested time, money and energy into their businesses, and you need to respect that and their copyright.

I suggest that you LEARN from their success, ADAPT to your needs and eventually build your own website that works!

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Plus


  1. Hi Tom,

    I’ve googled on how to make space between text and wrapped-image before, but don’t really get it.

    What a strike of luck now that your post has mentioned it 🙂

    Thanks and another great post!



  2. Tomaz,

    I have a couple of SBI sites plus many other non SBI sites and blogs, and I always look forward to your posts (they seem less frequent of late).

    My only concern with what you have said in this post relates to the real value you can put on an Alexa ranking. Just because Beauty and the for instance, has a ranking of less than 55K, we still can’t know for certain that the site is getting lots of traffic, or more importantly, making lots of money.

    I really like your idea of reverse engineering, I hadn’t thought of it in those terms before, even though I do something similar; but to go to all the effort you suggest without investigating the potential profitability of a niche, could prove very expensive in terms of wasted time in the long-run.

    Just my 2 cents worth.




  3. Hi Ray,

    You can definitely trust Alexa ranking of around 50k. The site does get a lot of traffic – probably a few thousand per day. Of course, you cannot really tell how much money they make.

    You can trust Alexa especially in the non internet marketing related topic – meaning that not many visitors to that site use Alexa toolbar. So the numbers are not “inflated”.

    This blog for example has totally unrealistic Alexa ranking of around 170k, but receives around 60 to 100 visitors per day only. That’s because almost everyone visiting it has Alexa toolbar or “checker” installed.

    And yes, I agree that you should check the profitability of a niche (at least Google Adwords numbers) before deciding to go into it.

    So does the mattress niche pay well? 😉


  4. Tomaz,

    As you know, I like to reverse engineer sites that work. Now, if I could just figure out how you got #1 at Google for “Vacuum Cleaners” I’d have it made. I don’t think I’ll be able to achieve that for “Gas Grill” but I’m going to try very hard.

    Good article


  5. Mike,

    I am not 100% how I did it, but I am quite confident that it has to do with the internal linking that Site Build It Action Guide teaches…


  6. hi tomaz ,
    could you tell more about the internal linking . i am an sbi owner and i could not find extensive material covering internal linking in the action guide .


  7. Murali,

    There are exact instructions on how to link back from your T2 and T3 pages (the links you add at the bottom of the page). That’s what I meant by internal linking and many people miss the significance of this type of linking but it’s very powerful…


  8. Hi Tomaz,

    Great post! Can I ask about where you get content from for your websites and how much you pay per article? I’ve tried a few content writers in the past but I’ve always ended up rewording or not even using the article because it’s been poor and not very informative.

    I end up writing a lot of content myself which takes up a lot of my time and doesn’t progress my sites and fast as I want.


  9. Hi Jerry,

    I found a couple of writers at after I tested a few. They typically offer to write 500 word articles for about $6, but I offer them $8 per 600 word if they really do a good job. It seems to work most of the times…


  10. Great stuff Tomaz. I have had good success with some writers at oDesk and employ the same overpayment strategy. I pay about $7 for 400 words and end up usaully with about 500.

    Curious… I have been thinking of using a niche blueprint and/or buying the KRA from Andy. Right now I use my SBI account and just pay for more credits as needed. Do you have any thoughts about which has better ROI?

    I am inclined to use a niche blueprint, but I want to be sure the research is as accurate or better than I can do myself through SBI. For $50 I think it is probably a steal, bu then I also have to question how much competition I will have if 99 other people buy and implement the blueprint. What do you think?


  11. Hi Adam,

    If you follow the SBI AG and have a pretty good idea what you want to build your site around, then you have more than enough credits.

    Yes, the competition of 99 people always comes into a discussion. In my opinion, 99% of people do not look to build a really authoritative site with tons of content. They also don’t build links consistently for 1 year or more.

    So there is no competition if you go this way. If you build a site, and then next month buy another blueprint and start another site and build sites like this with 20 pages or so, then you’ll actually have some competition. 😉


  12. As always, I loved the article 🙂


  13. Tomaz, very informative thank you. My first post but been lurking for a long time.

    I have three questions here. I’m an SBI owner and have a travel/destination site and now want to built a product review site. Reverse engineering makes perect sense to me and my only problem is how to avoid “copying” the site.

    I’m not talking blantant cut and paste but the more subtle grey areas. Suppose I wanted to do a vacumn review site (I don’t, just an example) then a review of SuperDuper123 will be very similar as its major plusses and minuses are the same, the keywords will be the same etc.

    Is it all down to voice etc or have I missed something? I would hate to reverse a site then be accussed of cheating or am I’m being over cautious?

    Second question. I see a couple of mentions of outsourcing work which also makes perfect sense to me. What information do you need to provide a writer with? Is it simply a case of asking for them to write a review of product xyz or do I need to research, gather info and send it to them?
    I assume that they are experienced at writing web pages and will optimise keywords etc?



  14. Hey John,

    I’ve answered the first question with the post above.

    As for the writers, it depends. I am trying to be as specific as possible (lately) and tell them for example that I want an intro, a few words on features and benefits and then have them list the pros and cons.

    They can even use the same subheadlines in each article so that all reviews are consistent and the visitor will know what to expect after reading a few reviews.

    Again, you can copy that and I cannot legally touch you. I don’t own the review structure patent. 😉

    But if you’d like to build some self-esteem and self-confidence, then do something original. Take my idea (that’s why I am writing this blog), do some brainstorming and come up with something original.

    You’ll feel very good, trust me.


  15. working on building a website.

    Reading your article reminds me of looking under the hood of a car to see what your getting.



  1. Worried About Being Accused Of Copying A Site? | Financial Freedom Ideas - [...] I’m an SBI owner and have a travel/destination site and now want to build a product review site. Reverse…
  2. Is Link Building Dead? - [...] from reverse engineering what other top ranking sites are doing, I can tell you without a shadow of a…

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *