The following is part of an ongoing series, The One Hour Authority Site Project. If you’d like to read more about it then click here!
I miss the good old days.
Creating content, building links, then checking my Google rankings every few hours to see if I had reached the promised land (otherwise known as the first page). It was exhilarating and frustrating, but perhaps most importantly, it held promise. As long as I was working at building websites and achieving rankings, the dream of creating passive income streams was alive.
In reality, those days were not good for me at all. I threw a huge amount of time and money (relative to my personal wealth) building out two authority sites and around fifteen niche sites, and achieved next to nothing in terms of income. I did however gain a lot of invaluable experience, and now I’m coming back for more.
Interested? Read on…
Learning and Developing
The best lesson my niche site mishaps taught me was simple — don’t mess with Google. Don’t piss them off, don’t do anything against their Webmaster Guidelines (or at least, if you’re going to, be 100% sure that they won’t be able to tell). Operate from a position of absolute conservativeness, and play the long game.
Whilst you can achieve quick rankings and build up an income-generating website with black hat techniques, you always run the risk of being wiped out by the next Google update. If I’m going to pour a whole load of time and effort into a site, I do not want that possibility hanging over my head.
Furthermore, I have always had a focus on quality content. I am a writer, and I hate the idea of pumping out average or poor content of little use to anyone. When I was developing my previous authority sites, I had a strong focus on quality content. That focus slipped with niche sites as I sought to systematize a passive income model, but I soon learned that it wasn’t for me.
Just a few weeks ago, all of the above was floating around in my head. I don’t like link building. I do like quality content. I love the idea of building an online asset with a basis of strong Google rankings, which I can than develop into a complete authority blog with varied traffic sources. I just needed a little impetus.
I wasn’t really thinking about starting up a new website that focused on obtaining rankings in Google until I received what initially seemed to be a rather innocuous email from one of my clients on 27th August.
That particular client is very interested in SEO, as a lot of his site’s traffic originates from Google. The email he sent was just a one-liner, with a link to this article: How to Launch a New Blog With (Already) High Search Traffic.
For those of you who haven’t read the article, the strategy explained within is pretty simple — build a website with content based upon long tail keywords suggested by Google instant autocomplete. So if I were to create a blog about dog training, I could grab some topic ideas by typing “dog training how to” into Google:
The ideas you can get from Google autocomplete are nearly endless. Take this search for “dog training how to u”:
The logic behind this is pretty straightforward — such terms have historically been searched for, and are very specific and long tail. That means two things:
- The competition for these specific phrases is likely to be relatively low
- People who create such specific queries are likely to be highly targeted
In the original article, Skellie (the author) explains how he built out a blog with over 600 daily visits, without doing any link building, just by creating a lot of unique content based upon Google autocomplete search terms. That’s the kind of result that will catch my attention.
I did however have reservations. This article was written over a year ago, and the SEO world moves along at a rapid pace. Plus, it just doesn’t seem entirely plausible to me that you can create a website with good traffic numbers by creating a lot of content alone. That just seems too easy. But then, the easiest things I have done in business have often given me the greatest reward.
So I thought, what the hell — let’s give this a go.
The One Hour Authority Site Project
Whilst Skellie’s article served as the inspiration for my project, I knew that I wanted to create a more developed and customized strategy based both upon the time available to me, and my own experience with onsite and offsite SEO and content creation.
I quickly realized that this could become a great case study for LWB. So in my typical full disclosure style, I thought I’d kick off a new case study series, in which will reveal everything I do in terms of strategy as I try to develop my new authority site.
The initial rules in what is the “first stage” of the development of the site are as follows:
- I will spend one hour per weekday on the site
- A new 400+ word article must be published on the site every weekday
- I will not engage in link building until at least 60 articles are published on the site
Impatience is most certainly not a virtue when it comes to ranking in Google, and I am attempting to circumvent that by imposing a strict “no link building” policy for the first 12 weeks of the site’s life. After all, let’s consider that for a moment — if I am trying to build a solid long term asset, 12 weeks is an utterly inconsequential amount of time.
There is also a secondary aim to this 12 week link building ban — I am interested to see if I can build up a decent level of traffic with content alone. This is similar to what I tried with Deal With Anxiety, but involves a lot more content, and more specific keyword terms.
In a perfect world, I will never have to engage in link building of any type (even if it is “safe”, such as creating genuinely valuable web 2.0 properties). If the site has gathered momentum in those first 12 weeks, I may jump straight onto blog outreach, guest posting, and other “organic” link procurement strategies. Alternatively, I might choose to simply continue with producing as much content for the site as possible.
So What’s the Site?
I have made the decision to not reveal the identity of my site. I don’t think doing so would actually be of any practical help to anyone, as I will be revealing every step of my strategy in absolute detail anyway. The specifics of my site in question aren’t really relevant.
I will however be revealing all of the site’s vital statistics. By means of an introduction, I can confirm that the site has been live for just over two weeks, and has attracted nothing more than a handful of visits at this time.
However, what has been interesting to note is its rankings:
I am currently keeping a record of my site’s rankings for each of the long tail queries I have written articles for (as well as a couple of higher traffic “short tail” keywords). I am currently ranking for eight long tail keywords.
Although they only offer a handful of traffic even when combined (the most searched-for keyword amongst the eight only attracts 260 searches per month), it is a pretty encouraging start — especially considering that Google hasn’t crawled my site in 9 days.
In conclusion, I have a lot of ideas for this site, but I am not getting too far ahead of myself. My focus at the moment is just to keep pumping out content, and keep an eye on my rankings.
I do however have a lot more to reveal in terms of my process. In future posts, to be published in the coming weeks, I will be covering everything from choosing a topic, to site setup, to onsite SEO, to content production, and more!
Until then, I’d love to know what your thoughts are on this project. Do you think that it is an interesting idea? Or do you think that it is doomed to failure? Please feel free to voice your opinion in the comments section!
Creative Commons image courtesy of RLHyde