Today I’m going to be discussing a programmatic SEO site that, with a little effort, anybody viewing this could create in just three days. Then you would have something where it’s yours; you created it, monitor it, and learn from it: Boom!
This site is for students who are moving into a dorm room and need essential items for college. The products on this list can be used by any student at any university, anywhere in the world.
We’ll review the concept (again), the dataset needed, monetization strategies, an example website that’s doing this on a smaller scale, and some additional information.
So the concept is a place for students to find what the fuck they need for dorm life. You would write an article for the University of Alabama, the University of South Dakota, and Texas Christian University on a regular content site. Maybe not in that order, but you would go down the line from most popular to least popular.
But realistically, how much different would those articles be? Answer: they wouldn’t.
We will create a page for every college, university, trade school, etc. The goal is to list products that any student could use in their dorm room or apartment. Things like bedding, entertainment items, laptops, decorations, and bathroom necessities.
This would be useful for any student, no matter where they go to school.
Get a list of every school. That’s it.
It’s likely that you’ll have to scrape the data. I’m not entirely sure, but the Department of Education might have a list of every school available—though don’t quote me on that. You can always Google it and check for yourself, but my initial assumption is that they would have such a list.
All you need is a list of schools; there’s no need to know their location, especially if this is your first foray.
After you verify the proof of concept, include optional general information about the schools. This could be scraped from Wikipedia, but it’s not necessary. If someone is looking for dorm room essentials for the University of New Mexico, they probably got accepted there and don’t need to know when it was founded.
It would be best to have the logo on there again. This way, you wouldn’t have to do the scraping or manual work. You could hire somebody for a very reasonable price to do it for you.
Optionally, images of different campuses could make the page more unique and personal. For example, if someone goes to the University of New Mexico, they would see pictures of their school on the page. However, this is all optional at this point. I would start with just a list of schools and then add other features later.
Make sure that your website is getting indexed, and receiving traffic, clicks, and sales. Once you see proof of those metrics, you can add extra features to your site.
If we want to make money from a website like this, I suggest running with Amazon.
I’m giving this away because I had this idea, but I don’t want to mess with Amazon Associates. I have a few sites that get 10 clicks per month to Amazon, but I’m not interested in making sites specifically for Amazon.
With Amazon, you can be creative with your links. You can do general searches to find what you need. For example, if you want a laptop for schoolwork, you can search for laptops on Amazon.com. Or, if you want to know the best laptop to use at Tulane, you can type in “MacBook Pro,” and it will link to the MacBookPro page.
You could also use the concatenate function to customize links on every page.
You plug the school’s name into the search with a product; for instance, I went to South Dakota State University. So where it’s highlighted right here at the top, you can type in whatever school’s name there.
With this method, your search would be specific to that school. You could enter the University of South Dakota, New Mexico State, or Tulane, and it would take you to the page where you’re likely to purchase.
Display ads would not be as beneficial because the website’s traffic is minimal. A better idea would be to make the site transactional so people come to the site and buy what they need.
An example site
One example of the types of sites I found was Campusarival.com.
If you go to campusarival.com and click on just two schools, you can see that this right here is all the same. This is the same on every single page. Of course, it’s customized for the schools, but then again afterward, they have a list of more or less the same thing on every page. There are a few variations, but 80 to 90 percent of that list is exactly the same.
Don’t be discouraged if you see low search volumes for your keywords when using campusarival.com. This is because the keyword tools are only looking at a small subset of data from the 6,000 schools that are available. When you create pages for all 6,000 schools, you will see a significant increase in traffic.
I like to call these schools the “long tail” schools. You know, not the ones playing in the big bowl games televised yearly. I’m talking about the schools people go to because they want to get their degrees and get out quickly. They’re gone – they’re not going to every game at the football stadium, right? Those types of schools.
Just because a school doesn’t show up in Semrush or Ahrefs doesn’t mean people aren’t searching for it. People are still interested in going to those schools. Do you know what I mean? It’s an easy way to think about it.
But to give you an example, if we take a school like the University of Alabama with 40,000 students, and according to our data, 400 people search for the “University of Alabama dorm checklist” or something similar per month. We could then assume that at a school with 10,000 students, 100 people are searching for that same term per month.
Seasonality is also a factor. You’ll probably get a ton of searches in August, September, and maybe December or January.
Some additional shit
What if a school doesn’t have a dorm? Well, nobody will be searching for that school’s dorm moving. That’s okay because, again, you’re not writing the article. You’re literally publishing six thousand times, writing what would amount to 5 articles. Boom!
If your first website doesn’t rank, don’t worry! You can take all the logos, images, and data from that site and use them to create a second website. Just focus on including the information and images people are searching for that generate traffic and sales.
You’re writing for all these different schools and creating pages for each one. For example, long-tail schools like Minot State University or the University of North Dakota don’t have much else going on – but somebody is probably searching for moving essentials for those dorm rooms.
You can make a site live in just two days if you know how to use WordPress and all the important website-building elements.
Creating something like this doesn’t take long, but even if you only get 130 searches per month, you could still make 100-200 dollars a month from it. That’s pretty cool, right? And if you sell it later on down the line, you could make a lot more than that.