Authority Site Project – Month 6

by Will Blears

Authority Site Project – Month 6

by Will Blears

by Will Blears

amazon authority site project month 6

Welcome back to the sixth month of the authority site project.

If this is the first time you are reading my authority site project then check out the first post which explains the strategy and the long-term goals, you can read it right here.

Before we start, let me apologise for the large gap between the last monthly update and today. There were a few reasons for this, mainly real life and business priorities which took a president, however, it was also because during the past 3 months very little has happened and that’s because I’ve been waiting to finish the startup loan application, which I can now confidently say is almost over, I am literally waiting for the loan to be deposited into my account which should be this week!

This authority site and the overall plan for the site was built upon having an initial £25,000 investment which is going to come into fruition this month, therefore from now onwards we will continue with the monthly updates.

However, since we’ve had a big gap let’s quickly summarise what results we have seen during this time.

  • Organic Visitors: April – 452  / August- 997 = 120.57% increase
  • Revenue: April – $45.79 / August – $186.35 = 306% increase

From a revenue perspective, I am quite happy with the amount I’ve generated from just 997 organic visitors, this calculates down as $0.18 earnings per visitor and if I can sustain that then I will be absolutely thrilled! However, I am not happy with the slow growth in organic visitors, a 120% might seem fantastic but over 3 months I think this absolutely sucks and to still be in the hundreds and not in the thousands or even the tens of thousands, sucks a lot. Before I get all depressed,  I just need to remind myself that this authority project has had an incredibly soft launch, it’s not been all systems go and will only begin to go in to a full blown launch now that I have the loan approved.

Let’s compare Amazon clicks and engagement for August vs. April:

  • Amazon Clicks: April – 366 / August – 570
  • Pages/Session: April – 1.83 / August – 2.21
  • Average Session Duration: April – 1 minute 5 seconds / August – 1 minute 9 seconds

Again these metrics are fine, nothing close to what I am trying to achieve, as I keep mentioning though there are lots of plans now that the loan has been approved.

£25,000 Investment & rapid growth

The £25,000 will be invested throughout the next 6 months (October 2016 – March 2016) and is based on a forecast model which I’ve been building for the past 12 months. This forecast is built using an estimated revenue per visitor (lower than what I am currently getting). I’ve also done a significant amount of competitor analysis, looking at approximately 15 competitor sites and analysing their success from the launch until present day to understand what sort of organic growth they had.

With all of this data (there was a lot more) I built a few different forecast models, and I have predicted that I need to hit 50,000 organic visitors per month by April 2017 to sustain the level of spend I will be investing from this month onwards. So basically, I have 6 months to hit 50,000 visitors per month from organic search, which right now when I am recording just under 1,000 visitors a month sounds extremely scary!

What will the £25,000 be spent on?

OK, so each month I will be investing approximately £4,305 which will be broken down as follows:

  • £3,000 – Content
  • £125 – Virtual Assistant
  • £1,000 – SEO
  • £55 – software (SERP Book e.t.c)
  • £125 – Initial Loan Repayment

I plan on publishing 100 pages of unique content each month at 1,000 words per page so in total 600 pages spread across 6 months. As well as this I plan on creating an additional 250 pages per month which will not have any content; these will just have the algorithm which generates the recommendation table.

Our burn rate is 6 months, and after the initial 6 months, we will need to hit revenue levels of at least £4,305 revenue, otherwise we will have to reduce our monthly spend which in turn will have a negative impact on growth.

What is the strategy right now?

OK, so up until this point the strategy has been to focus on increasing the strength of the overall site by building links to the homepage and category pages, rather than focusing any link building on specific ‘best xxxx pages’ and over the course of 3 to 4 months monitor what queries we begin to appear for and this is where it begins to get interesting.

I am currently tracking 69 keywords in SERP Book based on data I’ve analysed from Google’s Search Console, all of these are ‘best xxxx’ type keywords and this is what it currently looks like:

SERP BOOK Authority Project

Admittedly, we’re bouncing around the SERPs massively, for example just now I’ve checked, and we’ve just moved up 68 positions in 1 day for one query and this happens daily. As you can see from the above, we have hit the first page for 4 keywords this is beginning to generate some traffic and a few sales, however, these keywords are relatively low search volumes and we’re not hitting the top positions yet, we definitely need to in order to see any real volume.

What’s the strategy going forward?

As I mentioned above, with the loan being approved this will be invested in two key areas – SEO & Content, there is also an initial lump sum which will be invested in web development, we will talk about that in a moment.

Content Plan

Initially, I am having the writers produce 1,000-word buyer guides for each page, I hand select which pages based on keyword competition, where we are currently ranking (if anywhere) and what our competitors are doing. I do have my reservations with writing just 1,000 words per page, however the idea is that we initially publish 1,000 words of content, if the page begins to climb, generate traffic and sales or is close to the first page in the SERPs then we can produce additional content for that page to help push it to the first page.

Each month I am planning on publishing 100 additional pages of content, this is a hefty investment both in time and money but it’s the only way we will see the growth we need to see. Personally, I feel 100 isn’t enough but that’s all we can afford to invest right now.

Side Note: We all know that content isn’t the key to ranking, sites like BestProducts.com clearly proves this as I discussed here.

SEO Plan

There are a few elements to the SEO strategy I’ve devised for the authority site, from an on-page point of view the pages are dynamically generated and I use dynamic meta titles & meta descriptions that automate this process. As well as this I always append the year to the end of the meta title to help rank for ‘keyword + year’ queries.

From an off-page perspective it obviously all comes down to links and there are a few layers to this, let’s first discuss global SEO.

Global SEO Plan

By global I mean, link building across my entire site so usually targeting the home page or category pages but not focused on any particular keyword or page for ranking. This strategy is to help build the site’s overall authority and spread link juice throughout the entire site.

What sort of SEO am I doing for this:

  • Press Releases
  • Social Media Marketing (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Google+)
  • Social Bookmarking
  • Guest Posts
  • Scholarships
  • Job Boards
  • Directories

As you can see there are quite a few different things going on here, the idea is to basically get my site out everywhere, many of these are probably considered to be ineffective in today’s world of SEO, but I am still a firm believer that whilst they may not work as singular strategies, collectively they have a larger impact.

Page Specific SEO Plan

This is the strategy I am using to rank specific pages for specific keywords and many of the strategies are the same but are used in slightly different ways.

  • Press Releases
  • Social Media Marketing (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Google+)
  • Social Bookmarking
  • Guest Posts

The big one in both plans are the guest posts though and this will be achieved through a lot of outreach as well as trying to build up a network of contributor accounts across multiple sites so we can publish multiple posts.

So that’s it in a nutshell, the SEO plan laid out flat – I am sure it will evolve, but that’s what I have so far. If anyone has any other suggestions, please let us know in the comments section below!

Web Development

As I briefly mentioned before, the website has been struggling – the initial launch was an alpha launch of the platform. However, I did expect it to handle the volume of data e.t.c better than it is has been doing. I don’t want anything to jeopardise the success of the website and since I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to site design and usability this stresses me out even more so.

Quick Update: I recently upgraded from a VPS Server to a Cloud Server and also installed Litespeed Web Server & Litespeed Cache which have dramatically improved both the front and backend speed of my entire portfolio. For anyone interested, I use Scalahosting for my host which I 100% recommend.

Initial Web Development Plans

For now I’ve decided to hire a web developer to make some tweaks to the current alpha site, hopefully, these updates to the custom theme will carry us through the next 6 months. I will be monitoring this closely though and if at any point I feel we are hindered due to the website development then I may have to speed up the phase two development.

On that point, what exactly is the phase two development of the site?

Web Development: Phase 2

For the second phase of the development I am currently torn between staying on WordPress or moving away to another platform. My current thought process includes two options which are:

  • Ruby on Rails: moving away from WordPress to Ruby on Rails, a language, and platform which is extremely popular amongst startup companies and is used by companies such as Air BnB and Twitter. The reason I’ve been considering ROR is that it’s lightweight, powerful, intuitive and dynamic  which will not only set the site up for the next few years but will be a solid foundation for the entire future of the business.
  • Genesis Framework: the other, easier, more affordable solution is to continue with WordPress but to use the Genesis Framework and to develop our own theme using this Framework.

At this point in time though, both options have their pros & cons and I am nowhere near making a decision, nor am I really informed to make a decision on either as there are plenty other options I’ve not yet considered…a decision for the future I think/hope.

OK, that’s all for today – I promise I will continue updating this monthly and will also release a quick update once the startup loan has been deposited in to my account and we kick off. Also, if you have any questions or thoughts please add a comment below.

And, lastly please join us on Facebook for awesome tips and networking with some great, experienced people – check us out right here!

Entrepreneur and Online Advertising Expert. I have 11 years experience in Online Advertising and currently I am the founder of a boutique Paid advertising agency and Affiliate Marketeer.

34 Comments

    • Thanks Andhy.

      It is a large budget, you definitely don’t have to start with such a large budget, I just had the opportunity to apply for this startup loan and decided it would be worthwhile.

    • Hi Tuhin,

      Thanks for the comment – I’ve just written a similar reply for Leo, perhaps you could have a read of my reply there 🙂

      I am not purchasing readymade services, as the majority of those are FAR too spammy, automated and just detrimental to any sites long term success.

      Thanks for coming by Tuhin!

  1. This is Leo from the NSP group. I absolutely love the details you share and learning about your journey. I would love to hear more about the loan process. Is it secured in anyway? Is it through a bank? I had assumed it would be super difficult/impossible to get a loan of that size through traditional methods.

    Also, is it possible to provide more details on what you are paying the SEO person $1k per month to accomplish? How are you measuring her success. I have had a lot of challenges hiring people to do SEO for my sites in the past so I’m sure you have a lot that you could share with your readers on that.

    Thanks in advance,

    • Hi Leo,

      Thanks for the comment. The loan process is through Startup Loans UK – it’s a UK government led scheme, I went through Virgin Startup which is one of the several companies who offer these startup loans on behalf of the Government scheme. It’s a personal loan, rather than a business loan so it can be secured against the individual, if anything bad was to happen within the business, the loan company would still be able to get their money back.

      The £1,000 will be spent mainly on outreach, I have an outreach specialist I hired from People Per Hour who I am currently testing, they will contact hundreds of websites for potential guest posts, they are also going to get a performance related bonus for every link they successfully acquire. I will definitely go into more detail regarding this part of the marketing in the future, when I’ve got more details and data behind me.

      Thanks for reading Leo.

      • Well, seems you got it all figured out.

        Why not try something like scholarship? Your VA looks for 500 websites (schools and other site) accepting scholarship posts, you offer $2500 for each successful applicant…

        You could make it bi-annual which means $5,000 yearly.

        These .edu links alone will shoot your site up ranking in no time and you’ll also get free articles as well.

        Just a suggestion though and I will be following this case study as well

        • Hi Paul,

          I will be doing a scholarship for this site, pretty much exactly as you described, I’ve already begun this process having submitted the scholarship to approximately 50 sites so far.

          I will be reporting back on the results in next month’s update.

          Thanks for your comment!

    • Hi Victor.

      I’ve just taken a quick look, the site has 225 pages with approximately 2,250 posts and I have approximately 60 pages of content with 1,000 words per page.

      In my experience I should be doing a heck of a lot better by now, the issue is down to a few things including the website design/functionality, as well as the site structure and lack of link building and also down to the fact that most of the posts are not optimized at all for directing people to Amazon.

  2. Hey Will,

    You have awesome study here , I am curious to see that how you gonna work on SEO by this budget. Link building is something which I want to learn from your upcoming post .

    By the way I have also update my new niche site case study you can see the link I guess . Let me know your thoughts on that also

    Thanks

  3. I think it will not be a good idea to move from WordPress. You will need to develop your own web app using the Ruby and Rails which will costs you money. WP is more than good enough to use for information website. Many large sites run on WP.

    • Thanks for your comment Kashem. I agree, I’ve been considering this a lot lately and now I’ve decided to stick with WordPress. The reason I was looking at moving away was mainly due to the backend load, from a database and functionality perspective.

  4. Hey Will. Came here from the NichePursuits blog. Found your story from zero to “hero” in two years absolutely inspiring. Keep up the great work. I’m looking forward to following your progress on this authority site with your budget.

    • Hi Vince!

      Thanks for dropping by. I look forward to you following along and hopefully taking some tips for your own journey!

  5. Wish you best of luck brother with this project. My suggestion is don’t move from wp. Many sites are running on wp, many of them are big fish.
    Thank you

    • Hi Brian, thanks!

      I didn’t get 600 articles for $3,000 – it’s $3,000 per 100 articles 😀 basically $3 per 100 words, however, I’ve now negotiated down to $2.50 due to bulk purchasing.

  6. Good luck with your project Will and if I can give you some solid advice: Invest in your own PBN, it will pay off, especially when you have a siginificant budget it would be a shame not to use it to achieve guaranteed rankings for at least a number of your pages.

    I think it would be pretty scary to solely rely on the uncertain results from outreach, sure PBN’s aren’t whitehat but me as a massive PBN (ab)user myself only saw positive results for the majority of my clients during Penguin 4.0 so Google still has no way to definitely crack them.

    • Hi Dennis, thanks for dropping by and thanks for the advice.

      I’ve considered this so many times before and I even began building a network at one point but I decided to stop due to the fact that it’s expensive and also extremely time consuming and I want to move more towards whitehat and away from PBNs.

      PBNs definitely have huge results I just worry about the longevity of a site built solely on PBNs though.

  7. Hi Will,
    Thanks for sharing your progress.
    Do you plan to use a Private Blog Network (PVN) for this site?

    Have you ever used PVNs for any of your other sites for that matter?
    or do you solely focus on doing outreach (white hat methods) only?

    • Hi Tony, thanks for dropping by.

      I don’t plan on using a PBN at the moment for the site, I have used them before but now I focus on white hat SEO.

  8. Hi Will,

    I was just wondering when you will be doing the next update? I am doing a similar thing albeit using earnings from other sites to make up the same amount of cash over a 6 month period and am looking forward to comparing with you. I started from month 1 though rather than month 6.

    Thanks

  9. Hey will,

    how you doing man.

    Your reports are pretty inspiring. I was reading your interview on nichedesire and got inspired from you.

    I thought to check your site.

    I must say. This is really nice and clean.

    Keep learning, sharing and growing 🙂

    Thanks,
    Piyush

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