I love reading case studies. So, I thought I’d try one myself.
At the last affiliate summit I attended, I met up with some pretty cool folks over at Integrate.com, and they proceeded to tell me all about some of their auto insurance affiliates making 3-5k per day on Auto Insurance CPA offers.
So, naturally, I thought I should build a site in that niche.
What I want to do in this case study, is:
a) Buy a decently ranked, aged domain. (Preferably related to auto-insurance, but we’ll see how tough that is)
b) Create a slick little PSD design for an auto insurance site, which will promote CPA offers.
c) Have the site coded up over at HTMLCUT.com. (LOVE these guys)
d) Purchase keyword targeted content from TheContentAuthority.com
e) Hammer this site with links, and see what kind of organic traffic I can accumulate.
FYI: EVERY big affiliate focuses on FREE organic traffic. Well, not EVERY, but most that I’ve met. I love organic traffic for the same reason I love multi-level marketing. You do the work once, and with a little maintenance, you get paid over and over and over again. Just good biz.
step 1 – a killer domain.
So, first thing is first, I need to buy a domain. I like to use RegisterCompass.com for aged domain research because it allows you to see back-linking profiles, Page Rank, and let’s you filter using those attributes as well. I’m not looking to spend much here, mostly because I want this case study to be easily duplicated by others.
Okay, so I found the following domain, Hallenbrick.com. It appears that it used to be a brewery, and it’s a few years old. It has some decent links, and as of the last PR update it was PR3. So, not bad for $30. The links won’t be very relevant, but the goal here is just to find something generic sounding (hallenbrick could be an insurance firm, right?) haha.
We also want a domain that Google already has indexed, so that when we start hammering it with backlinks, Google isn’t surprised. (This was a couple hour task, unless you’re building a big authority site, I wouldn’t recommend spending tons of time on this step either)
Also, keywords aren’t THAT important to have in the domain itself. I’d sacrifice that for a good domain with PR and age, every time.
step 2 – a killer design.
Okay, so we’re still on day one here, and I thought I’d jump right into creating the design. I’m not a photoshop expert, but I’m good enough to make things look okay, and I enjoy it. So, here’s what I came up with for a layout.
For those of you who haven’t built a site like this before, the main objective is to get a person’s information and point them toward one simple action. In this case, (because I know a little bit about the offer that I’d like to promote) I want the user to enter their zip code into the box in the upper left. I’ll also end up putting an image in the box/ad space in the middle right to this offer, and probably a few hyperlinks throughout the page on some of the ‘action’ words, like insurance quote, etc…
Also, if you can’t use photoshop to create something decent, then leave it to the professionals, or just go get a nice WP theme. For me, I’m only looking to create a 10 page mini-site, and I like to have control over EVERYthing, which is why I’m building a static site, and not using WP.
step 3 – killer coding.
HtmlCut is really amazing. Their turnaround for me is generally less than 24 hours, and it usually costs me about $150 dollars, an in this case, it was $128. You can literally upload your PSD file, choose all the default options, and if there’s a problem, they’ll email you, or you can request a rework.
The last time I used HTMLCut I had a few changes I wanted made (that were my fault), and they did them all at no charge. Awesome.
This time, again, took about 16 hours, and I have my clean, seo-optimized, html to upload to my server.
step 4 – killer keywords and content.
I use ContentAuthority almost exclusively for my web content needs. Generally speaking, if it’s a sales letter, or something that needs some real ‘love’ I do it myself, but if it’s anything else, I use these guys. I’ve found that I get the best results purchasing the tier 3 content, called EXCELLENT on their site. I’ve ordered the .05 words before, but I can’t usually tell a difference in quality between 2 cents and 5 cents.
I’m not going to get too in depth with what I did for keyword research, because I didn’t do all that much. (I’m a bit lazy) I tend to just ‘try’ things out, and if they work, I keep going, and if not, I switch ‘em up. It can be difficult to gauge exactly how difficult a niche is, until you get into it.
But for those of you new to this, here is the little bit I DID, do.
I love using the Google Instant/Suggestions for keyword research, and then using the related keywords (which is under the “more search tools”) in the lower left when performing any search.
First off, Google gives great suggestions, and I believe that people see what they’re looking for in the Google suggestions and they often click those. So, I like to start there.
I also know that Google loves when you theme your site, so I like to dig down a few levels of keywords, then I outsource content based on those keywords, then I link them all together, bottom to top. So, to give you a real example, I used these phrases:
Level 1 (Home Page)
Online Car Insurance Quotes
Level 2 (Supporting Article Pages)
Cheap Auto Insurance
General Insurance Payment
Level 3 (Supporting, Supporting Article Pages)
Cheap Auto Insurance Florida
Now, every level 3 article links back to an article on level 2, and the level 2 articles link to the home page, and the home page links to my money page/cpa offer. As far as content goes, I’m having 300 word articles written for level 3, 400 for level 2, and 800 for level 1. I’ve found that Google doesn’t care too much about article length anymore, but Bing and Yahoo like long articles. Of course, this stuff changes every day, but for what it’s worth right now…
step 5 – killer backlinks.
Okay, now comes the fun part. The site is LIVE, and it’s time to find some good backlinks.
Now, this is going to be pretty black-hat, so if you’re a virgin in this regard, you might be slightly offended. However, it’s necessary to do the job.
NOTE: For all of my linking, I’m going to use a combination of Naked URLs and my main keyword phrases, approximately 50/50, and approximately 50/50 home page links vs deep page links. KISS.
Here is my pseudo-plan for the site.
Submit a Press Release at SubmitInMe.com
Digg, Twitter, Facebook, Redditt, Google Buzz, Google +1 – Mimic viral nature of new sites
Purchase 2 high PR links from TextLinkAds.com (one home page, one deep)
(everything in days 1-7 is meant to mimic a natural looking site release, viral and new press)
5 links per day (profile accounts, existing blog network content posts, high PR blog comments (mix in and edu/gov))
(these should be GOOD links, from manually created accounts and solid blogs… nothing shady)
10 links per day, keep it clean, use directories, article submissions, profile accounts, forums, video distribution, rss feeds and make it very diverse
(you can find great help here from oDesk.com for less than $5/hour)
20 links per day – it gets shady. (add LinkPwn2.0, Dripable, LinkPushing.Net, PaidBacklinks.com etc to your existing link methods)
30 links per day – repeat shadiness.
It’s important that your linking is CONSISTENT. There should not be ANY lulls in your linkbuilding efforts, and you should maintain a very natural link profile at all times. Always have video links, forum links, etc..
Okay, it’s Sept 27th today, and my site should be live and ready for linking any minute now. I’ll update this post with my rankings, income, etc… asap!
TO BE CONTINUED…