Friday, July 9, 2010

Case Study: I Listened to Google and I Failed

This is a post of why natural link building seems to be no longer working, despite Google not admitting that.

I don’t know how many times Google have said: “Produce great content and if users find it useful, they’ll recommend and link to you.” But Google, how do I get these people to even come through your engine? “Produce great content and they’ll (somehow) come. They’ll find your content and recommend you!”

It was January 1st. I’ve decided to start a blog and listen to Google’s advice. I started and decided to write on topics I like and also some I want to rank for. So far I wrote 31 world-class articles, all amazingly great content. My motto was: I’m not going to focus on building links for the search engines at all (by building them manually), I’m just going to get traffic to my articles and hopefully, some of the people who see them will find them useful and link to them! So I focused 90% of my time on building useful content, 10% on building links manually.

I did that for 6 months. Some of the articles got on the Digg front page 5 times (it’s easy to get on the Digg FP if you know how with an average article, but mine got a lot more diggs than the average because the content was really useful). Many of them got featured on StumbleUpon which is all about good/interesting content (over 10 of the articles got 20k+ views each, this one had the biggest success, 110k+ views.) Here are the traffic stats for the site from January:

But what about Google? Only 2000 people? That’s around 10 per day (it was actually 10-20 daily because I wasn’t receiving much traffic during the first 2 months.)
Several days ago I took my most popular posts and did an analysis to see what traffic Google sent to each of them over time. I was shocked to see most of them didn’t rank even in top 100 for the keywords which weren’t so hard, judging by the top 10 pages. Ironically, the ones that received most traffic from Google were the ones where I took the time to manually build the links by doing some forum marketing/guest posts (there was one exception though, I got one article that went both popular on Digg and StumbleUpon and 2 authority sites picked it up but it still wasn’t ranking in top 20 for the intended keyword, it was frustrating to see that most of the top guys for that keyword did manual link building.) Overall, I wasn’t receiving much traffic from Google.

Thanks to

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