Do you want to see a crazy SEO experiment with simple SEO free tools (if you have no idea what SEO is, check out this page)? Check this article out…
Although I have successfully improved many metrics of my site, the current “popularity” of my site among search engines is pretty much ridiculous, especially if we consider that I want to hit 100-150k views per month until the end of this year. The most important metrics for sites are 1) domain authority, 2) page authority and 3) Alexa rank. So let us proceed with those in mind.
As of February 20th, 2017, this is my domain and page authority:
Not only they are very low, as my spam score is also very high (you should aim at <=4, although good sites have 1 or even 0). You can check your metrics at Moz. These are one of my competitor’s metrics:
He got me badly. His stats look so much better than mine that it even seems ridiculous comparing the both of us. The main difference is the number of backlinks each one of us has… Fortunately, I’ve got him in terms of traffic. As as result, I rank 299,342 in Alexa, while he ranks 730,000+. I am convinced that this difference is only because I have way more traffic than he has (about a 4x fold factor), and Alexa values traffic a lot. However, most of my traffic is direct, whereas he has way more traffic from organic search:
which is much better. I think that the best distribution would be something even, although getting traffic from Social and Mail is more difficult to automate.
What makes me cringe the most is the fact that I only have 2% of my traffic from organic searches. This is so embarrassing that I should not even be showing this data. The figures are particularly bad if we consider that I wanted to have 15% of my traffic from search (and I implicitly defined 10% for Social Media and 5% for e-mail) by the end of this month. I am fully convinced that I will fail terribly and not accomplish these goals until the end of March.
OK, “I need to do something serious about this”, I thought…
If you recall correctly, I’ve started to write about SEO lately, as I am getting more and more involved with this topic (I have also promised to work on the SEO of my site during February). Side note: I used to work with SEO in the past, but due to main algoritmic changes, I had to re-learn everything from scratch. For instance, I’ve provided you guys with a technique to build a lot of golden backlinks. Backlinks are not what they used to be a few years ago, where they were almost the only important metric to assess a site’s popularity (and thus the probability of ranking high in search engines). Today, the story is different. I will cover this in a future post. For now, let us draw our attention to backlinks.
Despite the major changes search engines have undergone in recent years, backlinks are still the most important factor in website ranking. So I’ve decided to do a crazy SEO experiment with backlinks…
Before you proceed, let me advise you that I’ve put about 120h into this experiment.
The first thing I did was to assess my competitors. I ended up with an Excel file with over 150 blogs. I have up-to-date data on these blogs, including monthly visitors, page and domain authority and a few other things. The most important stuff is actually the backlinks that those blogs have, which I want to acquire for my own. On the internet, this is sometimes called “legally stealing viewers” from your competitors. 🙂
The very first thing I have done was to create backlinks on my competitors themselves. I started with the highest-visited, highest authority blogs. Then, I started the actual task and I have…
…analyzed the backlinks of over 100 of my competitors!
I used a technique I have introduced, which teaches to build a lot of golden backlinks. I created a huge list of backlinks for each competitor, sorted them out (and filtered nofollow links). Having these links in hands, I started to create my own backlinks.
I created TONS of backlinks…
OK, so as I said, I first started with my own “competitors”. Note that when I say “competitors” I simply mean blogs on the same topic – they are not necessarily someone who I wanna beat, in contrast to the “competitor” I compare myself with, in the beginning of the post. I created almost 100 backlinks on my competitors’ websites:
- February 15th – 17 backlinks, mainly through comments on other blogs of the niche.
- February 16th – 23 backlinks, mainly through comments on other blogs of the niche.
- February 18th – 2 backlinks, through comments on other blogs of the niche.
- February 19th – 18 backlinks, through comments on other blogs of the niche.
- February 20th – 19 backlinks, through comments on other blogs of the niche.
- February 21th – 10 backlinks, through comments on other blogs of the niche.
I also used cutting edge techniques to build “smart” and “powerful” backlinks, which I will replicate massively in March and April:
- February 17th – 1 backlink on Google+, e-mailed 10 library managers to include a link to my list of books on the university pages (.edu links are golden…), provided one testimonial and asked 22 bloggers on my niche to include my blog on their blogroll (at least 7 backlinks were confirmed in the following days). I expect a conversion rate of about 60% on this type requests (for university pages, I would be happy with 1% conversion rates).
And of course backlinks that my “competitors” had for themselves (PA = page authority and DA = domain authority):
- February 20th – 50 backlinks on sites pointing to competitor #29 (PA = 62, DA = 54).
- February 21st – 25 backlinks on sites pointing to competitor #17 (PA = 73, DA = 70).
- February 22nd – 20 backlinks on sites pointing to competitor #18 (PA = 63, DA = 56).
- February 23rd – 20 backlinks on sites pointing to competitor #22 (PA = 68, DA = 61).
Between February 16th and February 20th, I also agreed on writing 3 guest posts, on blogs with high domain page authority (I captured the actual figures, but it’s not relevant to leave them here). This will only produce effects a few weeks after I write the guest posts.
In this period, I have also prepared a roundup with top bloggers in the niche. I want to present my readers with the roundup in May, when my blog turns 1 year. I will also have a major surprise then. 🙂
Keep in mind that not all backlinks are the same…
dofollow vs nofollow backlinks.
Note that some of the backlinks I created are “nofollow” backlinks, because I’ve used a different way than my competitors to create the backlink. Some of my competitors obtained backlinks on the front page of other blogs, which I can’t replicate (at this point, at least). You may be asking yourself “are nofollow backlinks useful, then”? Well, yes and no. These links do not help with ranking, but 1) they increase the diversity of the backlinks you have, which I believe is of major importance (unless they are from totally irrelevant sites, which could actually hurt you), and 2) they provide you with (residual) traffic. Plus, some nofollow links still pass link juice.
So, what is the reason why I’ve put so much effort into this experiment and these links? First off, many of these links will be dofollow links, although I cannot determine how many at this point. In a few weeks, I will analyze my backlinks and post about that. Second, some nofollow links still pass link juice as I said. Third, they will provide referral traffic (of mostly active bloggers) and above all, they will help with relationships. I am building relationships with the owners of the blogs I comment on, so that I eventually find my way to a dofollow link on their blog (either through a guest post or their own initiative).
So, what do I expect from this experiment?
Essentially, I want Moz to acknowledge at least 500 backlinks in the next update (programmed for February 28th), which will help increase my authority figures (even though they are not directly connected). This is only the first step I am taking in terms of SEO. There is a LOT to come. This series of SEO optimizations will have at least 6 or 7 parts.
I will assess the results of this experiment (Part I) in late May 2017, as I want to leave 60-90 days for the process to yield some results. Either way, I expect a huge boost in my authorities (at least double my domain authority and increase page authority by 50%, so that DA = 24 and PA = 36) and percentage of viewers from organic search over the next months. This would also allow for 2 updates of Moz. I will post once again in May and refer to this very same post.
One thing I tried to be extremely cautious about during this experiment was not building unnatural links. If you are to take on this task, make sure you don’t build links from totally different niche sites because Google may identify those as unnatural and penalize you for that. I always advise to NEVER, under any circumstances, buying backlinks.
What are the next steps?
This crazy SEO experiment will have 4-8 parts. Backlinks are the beginning, really. I should have done this 10 months ago (even better, over the last 10 months…), but I didn’t, and now I wanted to recover from that quickly. I want to see results very fast, that is why I am taking this enormous amount of time to carry out this experiment.
Part II of this SEO experiment will revolve around Social Media (currently, I am only at Facebook and Pinterest), specific competitor keywords I want to outrank, and other types (including “intelligent”) of backlinks. As for other types of backlinks, I will follow some of the tips provided by backlinko. I won’t say more about it right now. 🙂 I expect to put in about 80-100 hours for the second part, which should be ready by the end of May.
There will be more parts, but I won’t disclose what they will be about because to be fully honest, I will have to determine what angles does it make more sense to work on. I will only be able to properly assess that after I integrate my new template, as the terrible user experience for mobiles is clouding all the other negative aspects.
Good luck with your own SEO. Any comments on this and further SEO experiments? Let me know down below in the comment section! Run your site on an SEO free check tool and free SEO audit tool and compare the results with my site, please.
Your biggest fan,