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Our Google Ranking Experiment

10:25 am on Apr 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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In the past, people have been kind enough to share their experiments on WW and some have been quite helpful to us. Thought I'd post the results of our recent work. Roughly one year ago we created 2 sites targeting different sides of the same industry and worked them differently:

Site 1: Bought a brand new domain name that was brandable e.g. "widgets4you.co.uk" (the 4u and RUs thing is very popular in the UK!).
- We built around 70 doorway pages i.e. pages on topics related to the widget being sold and wrote keyword full (not stuffed) articles.
- We bought paid links from directories (e.g Yahoo) and other high PR sites.
- We built a reciprocal (not three way) link directory on site offering link exchanges to anyone in any industry.
- We hired 2 people and had them work full time finding reciprocal link exchanges on other people's sites that were mostly related to us ... though sometimes the connection was tenuous!
- We wrote 10 articles and submitted them to article sites.
- Anchor text was therefore controlled and total links as of last month was 7,151.

Site 2: Bought a 3-year aged domain name on Sedo. The domain was a keyphrase i.e. bluemetalwidgets.co.uk
- We started off adding around 3 pages of unique and informative content a day aimed at our market, any keywords in there were all naturally occurring, not aimed for. After the first 6 months we reduced this to 1-2 pages per day. Again, each article was on current affairs, tips etc. for the industry, totally unique and between 400-800 words.
- We developed press releases and submitted a total of 16 over the last 6 months through PRWeb, PRNewswire and BusinessWire.
- We developed a blog.
- We developed a video news channel now showing 22 videos.
- We started a twitter service of main headlines.
- We started an RSS/email subscription service to our articles.
- We had no link building work, we relied on natural link occurrance (4,374 links as of yesterday) and natural anchor text.

The idea being that one would use regular SEO techniques (reciprocal link building, doorway pages etc.) whilst the other would use actual business methods (press releases, informative user-oriented content etc.) to see which did best.

Site 1: after just 3 months it was skyrocketing past some pretty hefty competition with traffic increasing well each month. The site was making 10,000+ a month for the last six months we had it and just sold for a rather nice figure.

Site 2: has struggled to rank anywhere, even for it's own name, and traffic has been stagnant since the outset - it made a loss for the first 8 months and made just under 3000 in it's best month which was last month.

I don't really want to state conclusions but I hope the information alone is though-provoking ... not least because the reciprocal and paid-link site was ranked in the top 3 consistently by Google (even above the 10 year old and government websites!) whilst the natural linked site never even got off the ground.

6:57 am on June 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Dec 19, 2004
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Internetheaven nice controlled work. Makes total sense too. I know of a business person in a predominately US genre that follows this same format in a very competitive genre. However, he leans very heavily on the paid links. After 4-5 websites and I am sure lots of earnings it really makes you rethink about the effectiveness of the algorithm as a whole, and how some smaller mom and pop websites get tossed out from time to time with the bathwater.
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