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If you’re on the internet in 2021, you’ve undoubtedly encountered memes before. Whether you’re confused by them or enthralled, memes are a powerful, modern form of communication. Today I’m going to profile a meme site that ranks for over 9 million keywords, has over 65 million backlinks, and is likely making a fortune in ad revenue. In fact, it was purchased in 2011 for 7 figures!
So, yes, it is possible to become a millionaire writing about memes. Before I go any further it makes sense to establish terms.
What is a meme?
According to LifeWire, a meme is: “A meme is a virally transmitted image embellished with text, usually sharing pointed commentary on cultural symbols, social ideas, or current events.”
My Meme Niche Video Walkthrough
If you want to deep dive into this niche opportunity, check out my video walk through. I discuss this niche and its huge SEO potential:
Popular Meme Examples
For a frame of reference, some popular examples include the following: The ‘But That’s None of My Business’ Meme:
The Business Cat Meme
The Expanding Brain Meme
Now that we’re on the same page, let’s examine the site’s structure, rankings and traffic sources.
What’s The Site?
The site is KnowYourMeme.com.
According to Wikipedia, the Know Your Meme (KYM) project started in 2007 and is a website and video series that employs wiki software to:
“document various Internet memes and other online phenomena, such as viral videos, image macros, catchphrases, internet celebrities and more. It also investigates new and changing memes through research, as it commercializes on the culture. Originally produced by Rocketboom, the website was acquired in March 2011 by Cheezburger Network. Know Your Meme includes sections for confirmed, submitted, deadpooled (rejected or incompletely documented), researching, and popular memes.”
The Cheezburger Network is chaired by CEO Ben Huh, a South-Korean-American internet entrepreneur. According to Wikipedia, its collection of sites received 375 million views a month across 50 sites in 2010. KnowYourMeme was recently profiled by the New York Times- a pretty illustrious bit of press (and backlink).
In a nutshell, the site is making money with display ads. As you’ll see in my traffic breakdown section, it’s getting a lot of traffic from its meme research.
Breaking Down The Site
The site has several notable specialties:
KnowYourMeme.com is primarily a meme database– a repository to catalog both new and old memes. As you can see, there are sections for memes that are: Confirmed, Submissions, Researching, Newsworthy, Most Popular, Deadpool, & All Entries.
Each meme gets an academic, Wiki-analysis that examines its origin, its meaning, and popularity.
For example, check out their Slender Man entry:
It’s an authoritative writeup (and video) on perhaps the most bizarre internet creation of all time. It’s this sort of focus on content quality that’s earned them such fantastic organic keyword rankings:
Know Your Meme Keywords
Video Database: they also have a video repository that’s a bit scattershot. Definitely not an emphasis for them.
The site also chronicles a variety of popular and niche news items. At the time of this writing, there most recent articles include one about the volatility of Bitcoin, John Schnatter’s resignation from Papa John, and the sentencing of the teen from the Slender Man Stabbing case. A bit of a hodge-podge of internet culture news items.
It also hosts an active forum.
Their blog provides some pretty in-depth analysis of internet culture, including their recent writeup of the top Sites and Apps of 2017, a full review of all of 2017’s Trump memes, and even the best video game memes of 2017.
They have a podcast that, at the time of this writing in January 2018, doesn’t seem to have been updated since June 2017.
Read More Of My Niche Reports
Social Media Properties
Their YouTube Channel has over 200,000 subscribers at the time of this writing in 2018.
Their Twitter profile @KnowYourMeme has over 45,000 followers.
Their Facebook page has over 900,000 likes.
They have a relatively inactive Tumblr.
KYM has an inactive Instagram account, as of this writing.
On to the traffic stats. When I plugged this site into Ahrefs, I had no idea what to expect.
I was absolutely floored to see that they rank for 9.3 million keywords:
Overall, it has a strong domain authority of 67, a high Ahrefs Rank of 5,882, as of this writing, and tons of referring domains.
Below you can see some of their top keywords- including a number 3 rank for the keyword “urban dictionary”.
What I really like about this site is that they’ve capitalized on the enormous search traffic and low search competition for meme-related keywords like “lenny face”, “dat boi” and “shadman”.
Top 100 Know Your Meme Keywords
*As of 1/18:
Indeed, the keyword volume on some of these terms is absolutely absurd. The term “shadman” has a Keyword Difficulty score of zero but over 150,000 monthly searches!
Plugging the site into SimilarWeb, it’s estimated that KnowYourMeme.com got over 38 million visits in August 2018:
In terms of traffic sources- as expected, it primarily comes from organic search. Followed up by direct traffic, which also makes sense.
Obviously, the site is really well known and people are visiting it by typing it directly into their browser.
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Why I Like This Niche
- Fun niche: If you’re fascinated by memes and internet culture, there’s a ton of traffic out there for the taking
- Low SEO competition
- Opportunity to rake in traffic from different platforms because memes are so visual & popular: YouTube, Reddit, Pinterest, & Facebook
- Opportunity to ‘niche down’ into a smaller segment of meme culture- a good way to specialize a site and avoid overwhelm
Why I Don’t Like This Niche
- While a great niche for AdSense and other display ads, there aren’t any ready affiliate opportunities
- You’ll need lots of traffic before you can quit your job using display ads- think at least over 500,000 monthly page views
If you’re nuts about the internet and meme culture, there’s lots of traffic out there.
(Be sure to check out my YouTuber niche idea if you’re into internet culture.)
Know Your Meme produces a well-researched, Wikipedia-style analysis of memes.
It’s not a flimsy joke site- it examines memes in an almost academic fashion, without being too self-serious.
I’m not recommending that you do exactly what KYM does. I’d suggest niching down into a subset of memes. Or maybe there’s another type of ‘internet culture’ you could begin documenting.
Wikipedia has an internet culture category page that might be a good place to start. The way I’d recommend thinking about it is finding a category of internet culture with a lot of high-volume/low-competition keywords.
Emjois could be an interesting topic. Looking through some of the keywords, I found the term “skull emjoi” getes 18,000 searches a month with a Keyword Difficulty score of zero.
That’s a pretty powerful SEO opportunity!
Another thing I like about KYM and the meme opportunity, in general, is that it lends itself to user submissions.
KYM allows user meme submissions, which combined with their forum, enables their fans to create content for them. Down the line, user-generated content can be a powerful content strategy for your site.
How To Get Traffic
As I’ve written about extensively, one of my favorite strategies to get traffic is to target high volume/low competition terms.
In this instance, a meme site will rely on the fantastic amount of search traffic for meme terms.
If you’re on the ball and begin documenting new memes as they emerge, you’ll start raking in traffic for meme terms that aren’t even recognized yet by traditional keyword research tools.
Social media is another good traffic source- as you can see with KYM, they have various social properties. Though they do get the majority of their traffic from organic search, according to SimilarSites.
If you want to differentiate a bit from KYM, especially as you wait for organic traffic to get going, I’d consider focusing on one social media channel to grow.
Long meme list posts, ala the 100 best memes of 2017, could be great for SEO and compel people to click from social to your website. As opposed to just digesting a funny, one-off meme you’ve posted on a social platform like Reddit.
How To Make Money
Adsense and related display ads will be your best option here. The more content you have on page, the more ads you can reasonably serve.
To be fair, you’ll need a good dose of traffic before these ads will begin paying off- so you’ll need at least several thousand a day before you start seeing decent money.
The trick is to rank high enough for these obscure, high-volume search terms that you get a passive influx of visitors that click your ads. Social traffic can also play a large role- you’ll want to establish a system for producing on-site content and promoting it across your different social media platforms.
In addition, the more page views you get, the more money you’ll earn- so an intelligent site structure is crucial here.
You’ll want your users clicking through to different pages to increase your RPM (revenue per thousand impressions) as well as increasing the number of ad clicks you get.
If you like this niche idea, let me know in the comments. If you think it’s cool, give me a share. I’d really appreciate it!
Last Updated on November 15, 2023 by Ryan Nelson