In this post, I’m going to show you how to take a site from 0 – $20K+ in sales per month using organic traffic alone – and how you can do it, too.
Many people know me as the outreach link building guy, but many peers close to me also know that I successfully run and manage a range of affiliate & e-commerce websites where I put many of the strategies and methods that I discuss on the Get Me Links blog into action.
How can I sell people links and teach people how to use them if I don’t know how to rank sites myself?
Well this is a case study of a site that I worked on with Michael Landau Spiers. He has successfully flipped sites into the multiple six figures and he’s a force to be reckoned within the SEO community.
Together, we both took our own unique skills and brought them together to create this very successful e-commerce website. Michael worked on the offers, keyword selection and he works hard to make the brand generate more income. I work more on the SEO side, building the links and creating the strategy that actually gets the site ranked for some insanely high value national keywords.
I’m not going to disclose the exact niche that this website is in, but you should know that it’s in a very competitive health space that has much higher growth potential than we have already achieved.
Here are some promised screenshots:
And, if that wasn’t enough – here’s a mandatory Google Analytics organic traffic screenshot:
Not bad – right?
If you look closely at the analytics screenshot, you’ll see that pretty much all of our sales are coming from direct organic traffic at the moment too.
And look, in this time – we’ve managed to get an Ahrefs DR 60!
As of this month (Feb 2020) we’re actually on track for $30k in sales too… Let’s hope we hit it!
In this case study, I’m going to be going over the strategies that we used from inception to create this site and carry out the on-page SEO.
I’ll also talk about exactly what kinds of links we built, along with some information about what links I feel make the biggest differences. I’ll also share some stories that we experienced when building this website towards the end of this case study, so that you can learn from us and not make the same ones.
The reality is, this project didn’t go completely to plan from the start, but SEO is always a journey and your desired outcome might never happen in the time that you expect.
I hope that this case study will give you a more realistic insight as to exactly what you need to keep in mind when you’re trying to make insane amounts of income online using organic search.
For anyone that knows me, I take a very simple approach to on-page.
I focus normally on a few key areas that carry the most weight when it comes to optimising for keywords.
These are the 2 main areas that we spent time optimising for this website and why:
Domain Name: Keywords in domain are the most important factor to consider when it comes to on-page for multiple reasons. First of all, it’s the only keyword focused area of a website that can’t actually be edited as you build links to it. Not only this, it’s maybe not the keyword in domain itself that passes the weight, but by having keywords in your domain – it allows you to be more pushy with your anchor text on those words as those words are considered “branded words”.
This is why I feel EMD’s (Exact Match Domains) and PMD’s (Partial Match Domains) pass so much weight – not so much because of the domain itself, but because of the ability to be pushy at a link and relevance level.
In this particular website, a hybrid domain was created which includes 2 of the main keywords within the niche and which apply to just about every page on the website.
Title Tags / Inner URLs: Title Tags and Inner URLs being optimised properly is my second biggest priority after domain names.
You only have 60 characters of room to optimise for in a well optimised Title tag, so it doesn’t give you much room for manipulation – this is why Google gives a lot of weight to this area of your page.
On this website, we spent time optimising the title tags of all of our money pages to include our main keywords at the start of the Title tag (more weight is passed to words from start to finish) and we also included lots of long tail versions of keywords to fill up the entire 60 characters.
Other than these 2 areas, we did basic keyword adding to H-Tags, including variation keywords and exact match keywords throughout. We got a good guide for doing this by using Surfer SEO, which I will cover in more detail shortly.
Planning Your Pages
Before you start a website, make sure that you plan out all of the keywords that you want to rank for and assign them to each page on a page by page basis.
If you don’t do this, you’re at higher risk of cannibalising things and you’ll not having a clear outlook on what keywords you need to push on at certain times in your ranking journey.
To prevent cannibalisation, Google the 2 in question target keywords and look to see if the same or mostly similar results show up. If they do, you can optimise for those terms on 1 page, if they don’t – then it’s most likely always better to do them on a new page. Early on, we made this mistake and it meant that we had to split pages up and move links around – what a hassle!
Knowing your pages up front, gives you more clarity on exactly what you need to achieve and it gives you something to go after.
One of the most commonly asked questions I get relates to supporting content.
Here’s a blockbusting statement: I don’t create supporting content.
I don’t build supporting content, not because I don’t believe in it.
It’s because I understand that my money pages support each other.
I see a lot of SEO’s that create pages on their website for the purposes of supporting a main page and most of the time those supporting pages aren’t optimising for anything and end up just wasting crawl budget.
We created 84 pages on this website and those pages all support each other, we’re actively trying to rank them all and we don’t have lots of clutter on the website that’s on there for purposes of just supporting others.
I’ve always been a big fan of fitting in with competition while doing SEO.
Fitting in while having an edge in certain small areas can help you massively and it allows you to stay under the radar as a dirty, blackhat spammer. When it comes to on-page I’m a fair advocate of tools such as Surfer SEO.
On this website, we optimised many of the pages using surfer before many of our jumps so while I can’t say that Surfer was the exact thing that caused some massive results, it’s definitely helped and I will be continuing to use it in my arsenal.
I’ve worked closely with James Dooley, a close friend of mine from Fat Rank who has first-hand shown me some remarkable page jumps using surfer content correlation along with some mega snippet stealing tactics.
If you’d like to sign up to Surfer, then you should use my sexy affiliate link below:
We got some huge boosts by fixing our internal linking.
For this website, we focused on making sure that our largest, most important pages, had the most internal links and we ensured that everything else was linked to at least a couple of times. We also ensured that our main pages that needed the most authority were getting more internal links than others.
In terms of anchor text, we kept this very pushy by using a wide range of varied exact match and partial match keywords across all of the pages on the site. All internal links were contextual other than a few menu and footer links.
We also installed a plugin called External Links to nofollow all external links to reduce the loss of link juice from within the website.
Okay, now for the part that most of you will be excited for.
Here’s a breakdown of the types of links that were built to this website:
- – 38% of links are Guest Posts
- – 14% of links are Niche Edits
- – 12% of links are Homepage PBN Links
- – 24% of links from 1 Niche Related Redirect
- – 12% of links are Pillow Links (mostly socials & relevant blog comments)
These numbers represent around 350 links, however we’ve had around 100 natural links come to the website too.
Let’s go over each type of link, where they were used and why I felt they helped:
Guest Placements are my favourite type of links to use at scale for a number of reasons.
I generally like to use these links at the start of projects as they are extremely safe and great for relevance theming, I also like to use them to inner pages on a long term basis due to the control on relevance that I have with them.
Safety reasons: Guest Posts are safe as I only build links from websites that already have traffic on them.
At Get Me Links, we do a 1000+ Traffic Guarantee on all of our links and I did the exact same filters when I was building links for this website.
Relevance factors: Relevance is one of the most important areas that I focus on when it comes to link building.
Guest Posts are great for building high levels of relevance as you can have full control on what goes into the article title and you write the content that goes onto that specific page.
Guest Posts on their own are powerful, but they can be levelled up by building Tiered Links to them. For just about every Guest Post going to this website, I either built a few Stacked Tier 2 links or hit a homepage PBN link to the page.
In terms of DR Levels that I used, I mixed it up between DR 30+, 45+ and 60+ Links. For the most part, I used the higher authority links (DR 45+ and 60+) and I used DR 30+ exclusively for pages that had extremely easy keywords where I just wanted to pass some relevance signals.
Niche Edits are generally great for homepage theming or for linking to pages that you haven’t got a strong focus on ranking.
I cover more on this in my Niche Edits vs Guest Posts article. On this website, I used them quite strongly on the homepage but made sure that the niche relevance was there on everything.
Niche Edits are unique in that you’re generally getting links on aged posts which can often have referring links too. The result of this is that you sometimes don’t need to build Tier 2 links at all due to the fact they’ll have external & internal links going to the pages that you are placing on. I love to mix these up and if I can get my general relevance perfect, I’ll always hit these to homepage to assist in powering up the website throughout the project.
I’m waiting for all of the white-hats to call me out for this one – I’m on the hat of making profits.
Yes, I like to mix PBNs into things – but, I minimise what I do with them now as compared to what I did years ago.
PBNs are insanely effective for building power at a direct page level.
If you consider it, a DR 60+ Guest Post site might have 2000 links to the entire website, but when you create that page – it has no direct page power going to it. In my Tier 2 Link Building Guide, I talk about the exponential power that you get by linking to that inner page on these massive sites. It quickly turns the Guest Post online by doing this!
However, building out existing websites that have a few hundred RD’s directly to the homepage is insanely effective for passing power. I create 1 PBN for 1 money website and I make a hard effort to avoid Footprints. I always like to send these kinds of links to the homepage for powering up the root authority of a website and I occasionally send some to inner pages that have authoritative and competitive results.
These PBNs are definitely what helped massively in getting the site to DR 60.
My newer method on how I use these sites is to use them at a Tier 2 level. I’m big on the power that can come from a PBN, but I opt to clean that juice through high authority Guest Posts & Niche Edits on a more regular basis these days.
If you’re a newbie SEO that doesn’t understand the implications of using PBNs, then I don’t recommend them.
It can be expensive and there are consequences if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Understanding footprints involves some work and I don’t want to recommend something that could cause your website to be at risk if you make any mistakes.
The Niche Related Redirect
301 redirecting websites for power building is something that I see spoken about much more these days.
It’s a strategy that I used to use more commonly years ago, but it’s much harder to pull off successfully these days.
The number 1 thing I look for when getting a 301 redirect is to take a look at the links that I’m going to be redirecting and I ask myself: Would I build the links that this site has to my own site?
Relevance matters – this particular 301 that we redirected to this website wasn’t keyword related but we knew that it had a very strong LSI relevance.
In terms of where we bought the website, it was actually a post from a private member made in my group, The Proper SEO Group (you should join if you haven’t already).
We just messaged the owner and got a deal for $5k for the website.
Separate to these main power areas, I also focused on building a lot of pillow links.
For those of you who don’t know Pillow Links are – Pillow Links are generally not your main links that you build to pass juice and power, they’re built to keep your site looking natural and they allow you to work in more relaxed anchor ratios.
To get a number on how many pillow links to build – I usually take a look at competition and get ideas that way.
On this site, I built the main social accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc…) and I also built around 100 other social accounts (to which a smaller percentage would have got indexed).
We’re looking to launch this as a service on Get Me Links shortly too.
Other than these, I also built blog comments to the homepage and some inner pages.
With blog comments I don’t care if the links are nofollow or dofollow but I care a lot about the relevance.
I’m only going to get a comment on a real page within my niche that has close relevance to the page that it’s linking to.
I trained a VA up on this and got them to carry out the research, I then approved which comments I wanted and they landed a bunch for me after that.
Link Variety Matters
If you notice my strategy above – I used a wide variety of links going to this website missing up low page authority with high and nofollow with dofollow links for example.
Google understands that any big website that has hundreds of links should naturally have a wide variety of links powering up that website.
I’m considering launching a course shortly which includes a product which correlates data of your competitors links, so that you understand the exact types of links that you should be building, how many you need and where you should be building them.
It’s essentially going to work like an Off-Page version of Surfer SEO that helps you on the link building side.
If you’re interested in this, please PM me on Facebook and share any ideas or thoughts that you have.
Lessons Learned So Far
It’s important to always remember that none of us are experts in everything.
I personally look back at myself a year ago and realise how much of an idiot I was, but at that time I felt like I was king of the hill in everything that I did.
I’ll probably feel the exact same way next year – I’ll look back on myself now and realise what I was doing wrong, how my mindset was wrong and what changes I could have made to become a better marketer.
Always remember this and remain humble.
In this project, Michael and I have learned some amazing lessons that will sit with both of us for any future projects.
Here’s the main lessons along with their stories:
Plan Before You Start
I can’t stress the importance of planning things up front before you start out in your website ranking journey.
Before we started this website, we planned the keywords and got a clear idea of exactly what we could earn from those and we also looked into the competition of each keyword. If you haven’t checked out my How Many Links Do I Need To Build Guide, then you should definitely read that after this case study! A lot of the info in there was what I used to analyse the competitions links.
Michael and I planned everything – we understood the exact pages that we were going to launch, we narrowed in on every possible competitor to steal keywords and we knew up-front estimated costs on what we would need to spend in order to get the results that we were looking for.
Carefully planning will reduce risk and give you a realistic view as to what you need to do and how you’re going to get there.
I meet too many affiliates or website owners that don’t know their competition and have absolutely no clue as to how many links they need to build to take things to the next level.
Be Patient & Don’t Give Up
We started this site half way through the year in 2018 and we got some pretty quick results within a few months, getting the site to around $2-3k per month.
Insane results for a site that was a few months old in this particular niche.
This lasted for about a month, then suddenly the site dropped and we couldn’t figure out why.
At the time, we just kept building links but the rankings just got worse and worse. We got to the point where the site was making zilch and it was barely optimising for anything.
We eventually began to realise that we had changed the web host around the time of the website dropping and there was a crawling issue with our website – Oops!
So we fixed that and waited a few months… Nothing.
Back to the drawing board – we soon realised a few months later that because our website now had duplicate content. This happened because while we were not crawlable with the previous issue, others had previously stolen our content (including our homepage by the way!) and they had essentially taken credit for our website copy.
We revamped the website with new clean content and things began to rise.
I realised from this that generally noticeable rank-ability issues generally come down to one or two main problems – it’s not a mix of a thousand things that holds you back at this level.
It’s important in these situations to diagnose every possibility and be open to testing fixes out.
If anyone deserves results in this niche, it’s us. We went to hell and back with this website!
Get Help From Peers
This carries on nicely from my previous point, when we had noticed the problem with our site – we kept it to ourselves for months and tried to work out the problem between us.
This was our biggest mistake and it probably cost us 6 months by not speaking to someone sooner.
It was after speaking with Craig Campbell from Craig Campbell SEO and Daniel Cuttridge from Pathtorch, that we managed to realise the main issues discussed above, and that allowed us to promptly get things resolved.
Always reach out to your peers – you’re definitely not an expert in everything and it’s important to share and utilise the knowledge of others to take yourself to the next level. Neither Michael or I are technical SEO experts and it was only when we got the technical help that was much needed, things began to take off again.
As I mentioned earlier in this case study – this site has a potential of much more than we are currently making.
We reckon our top end potential is around $200k per month from Organic alone, we might never hit this but it’s good to know that we have the potential to scale 10x from where we are right now.
Our plans for growth now involve building more direct page authority to specific pages that require more direct page power & we’re working on another website in the same niche which is going to feed in sales to our main brand 😉
An area that we haven’t heavily explored is the Email Marketing side of things.
We have basic emails setup, but we intend on finding ways to collect more emails from the traffic that we already have and we’re working on building an autoresponder which will build trust with content and ultimately help with sales of more products on autopilot.
Other Forms of Advertising
To date, we’ve had a very strong focus on direct organic sales to the website, and while this is great and we currently hold an asset that could have essentially no costs to it’s customer generation – we do want to grow using external sources of traffic.
Paid traffic is a route that we’re currently exploring as it’s important to diversify your traffic sources when building a brand in case one avenues stop working.
You need to still have a business when one of your traffic pathways take a break.
Summing Things Up
I’m planning on providing more updates on this project shortly as we continue to grow the brand.
We’re now on track for $30k in sales this month, which is absolutely exceptional and I’m ecstatic to continue working on the website and grow it even further.
Our end game is selling it for a 7 figure multiple and maybe relax with Matthew Woodward in Costa Rica I guess?
Jokes aside – I hope you got great value out of this, I’d love to hear any feedback or questions in the comments below.
If you ever need help with your link building, you can always reach out to us at email@example.com or you can check out the link below to see our range of link options along with information about each of the products that we offer at Get Me Links.