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!
Back in January I revealed my authority site’s plans for organic search engine optimization. Since then I have commented on related sites, had a few articles published on article marketing sites and have also created a couple of unique web 2.0 properties.
My work to date has had no discernable effect so far. While I don’t necessarily think this is an issue with the strategy — I’ve hardly been doing the process intensively enough to draw solid conclusions — my mind has been drawn to the efficiency of my efforts.
I have come to the conclusion that I could get better results in the same amount of time with an adjusted approach. In this post I am going to reveal the content marketing strategy for my authority site that I will be proceeding with immediately.
The Evolution of My Authority Site
For those of you who are new to the One Hour Authority Site Project, the overall aim is simple: to attract a consistent flow of traffic to an authority site with as little upfront and ongoing effort as possible. In effect I want to create passive traffic streams — quite different to the blogging medium, which requires ongoing input.
My approach to this project has been relaxed to date as I have used it as an experiment of sorts. First I wanted to see if I could rank pages in Google by targeting extremely low competition keywords using a brand new site with no backlinks. The answer was a resounding no. Stage two was to implement a conservative link building strategy based upon article marketing and web 2.0 sites, which is what I have been doing for the past few weeks. As I have already said, this strategy has had no discernable impact to date.
Stage three is “blog conversion.” This stage requires a lot of effort, including a complete redesign of the site and an ongoing commitment through social media and content production. As far as I am concerned, once you start blogging you can’t go back — the moment you cross that threshold, you are making a commitment to stick with the site. As I said in my post on the three stages of my authority site’s development:
…once you have a blog on the go, people will take note if you don’t post for a month. The same issue does not really arise when I’m still in stage 1 or 2.
I really don’t want to move to stage three unless it is absolutely necessary, as the whole idea of the project is to not have to commit too fully.
Finding a Compromise
In the past few days I think I have formulated a compromise in which I can get many of the benefits of committing to a blog format without actually diving in at the deep end. Most importantly, it will not require the establishment of social media profiles or involve a complete redesign.
My strategy is based upon a concentrated burst of activity followed by a period of observation in which I can gauge the results of my effort. Based upon those results I can then decide what to do next. The desired aim, quite simply, is to establish a base of consistent referrals via search engines and relevant websites.
There are seven steps to my strategy which I go through below.
Step 1: Tweak the Site’s Design
My site’s design is functional and intuitive. If you read the post on my site’s search engine optimized setup then you will know that it is a lightly modified version of the default WordPress Twenty Eleven theme. It is clean and simple, albeit not particularly eye-catching. In short — it’ll do for now.
However, I have decided to make one key change by adding a sidebar to the single post page. This means that people will be able to sign up to my email list and select categories from any post page.
I certainly could spend a lot more time working on the design, but in keeping with the theory of using my time efficiently, my logic is to start attracting the traffic first then react if engagement metrics are poor.
Step 2: Add “Bloggy” Content
As you will know if you read my post on my site’s search engine optimized content, my focus is on writing high-quality articles that are not overly optimized for search engines. In short, I want people to read and enjoy them.
However, the site is lacking a personal touch — you don’t really see any of “me” in it. As you will understand when you read through the rest of my strategy, this won’t work to my benefit. My site’s content needs to have a bit of personality — especially when you take into account the rather stark design.
Therefore, over the next few weeks I will be creating more “bloggy” content — stories, case studies and a biography of sorts as well. In doing this people who might consider linking to my site will see a much more “human” presence and theoretically be more inclined to send traffic my way.
Step 3: Build a List of Target Blogs
While creating my “bloggy” content I can start work on a list of blogs that I would like to attract links from. These will be blogs that are either directly or indirectly related to my niche. Each one will need to be active and regularly updated. Size won’t be so much of a concern as a healthy variety of links will certainly do no harm.
I’ll find these blogs in the good old-fashioned way: Google. I’ll start with simple search queries like “[my niche] blogs”, “best [my niche] blogs,” and so on. I’ll also search for related keywords from sites that Google would see as contextually related to my own.
Ideally I’ll have a list of at least ten top quality relevant blogs before I move onto the next step.
Step 4: Comment on the Top 10 Blogs in My List
This is the first step on getting on the radar of the bloggers that I plan to network with in the coming weeks. By leaving comments they’re not only more likely to recognize my name in the future and possibly even check out my site, I’ll get a free backlink to my site. Even if the link is no-follow, it does no harm in terms of diversity.
Each comment I leave will be thoughtful and insightful and I’ll comment with my name — not a keyword-loaded pseudonym.
Step 5: Guest Post on Each Blog
Once I have got my foot in the door, so to speak, my next step will be to submit guest posts to each of the blogs. I’ll do this even on blogs that don’t typically accept guest posts, as I can always re-use the article elsewhere if it isn’t accepted first time around.
I’ll take my usual approach of going straight in with a completed article rather than pitching something, in the hope that they will be more inclined to accept on the basis that I have already done the work.
Each guest post will result in a link back to an authoritative and contextually relevant my site. I’ll be careful to vary the anchor text accordingly and not always link back to my home page.
If you want to know more about guest posting then download my Kindle eBook on the subject.
Step 6: Create and Share an Infographic
Once I have had around ten guest posts published I should have established a decent relationship with a number of bloggers. I will seek to capitalize on this by publishing an infographic on my site and asking my new friends to share it and link to it from their own site. I hope that this will result in a number of fresh links and nice social signals (despite me having no social media presence).
The key will be to create something that is compelling and informative. I will probably spend a bit of money on getting a really nice design (something that I am terrible at).
What I Plan to Achieve
I estimate that the whole strategy will take me in the region of 20 hours over the next 4-6 weeks — a time commitment I can stomach for what is a highly speculative project. My hope is that the links from the guest posts, social sharing and so on will be enough to give my site a big of a kick up the backside in terms of Google rankings. At the moment my rankings are terrible:
To be honest I am amazed that my rankings are so low despite the fact that my site has so few backlinks because the keywords I am targeting are extremely uncompetitive. Here’s an example (screenshot from Market Samurai):
I can’t help but think that with a few contextually relevant links to the homepage and other pages on the site that Google will sit up, take note and start moving me up the rankings. Whether or not this happens of course remains to be seen.
I’d love to know what you think about my adjusted approach and would especially like to read comments and criticisms — please let me know what you think in the comments section!
Photo Credit: darkmatter