I have mentioned this in a few posts on this blog as well as a few forum threads now so I thought I should get the introduction post up for my White Hat SEO case study. After recently realizing how unforgiving Black Hat SEO can be I have been thinking of various different approaches available to rebuild my money site network. After coming up with a bunch of new black hat ideas I couldn’t help but be tempted to try a white hat project to see how it goes.
Just to clarify, when I say white hat I really do mean white hat, as in follow the Google webmaster guidelines as closely as possible, especially the part concerning link schemes. Not the version of white hat you see some people preach where the still build links to their site but class them as white hat because they were manually created.
“Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.”
As you can see from the quote above, Google clearly state that any links created maybe considered a violation of their guidelines. Violating the Google guidelines can result in both manual and algorithmic penalties and the point of this case study is to avoid such things.
How I Plan To Do This
I plan to start a brand new affiliate based website on a brand new fresh domain and post monthly updates on the development and progress of the site right here on my blog. Rather than spending most of my time setting tools up to create backlinks for the projects, I plan to spend most of my time doing keyword research. In theory, this will give the sites articles the best possible chance of pulling traffic without the requirement of backlinks.
I also plan to add the site to my Googles webmaster tools account and attempt to workout what that thing is actually used for other than receiving manual action notices. I also plan to keep the sites load speed as fast as possible and include images and video whererelevantt in an attempt to get Google to give me traffic.
As I already mentioned, the majority of the project will be based on sticking to the Google webmaster guidelines as strictly as possible but lets quickly go over a few of the key ones that I have always ignored when using black hat methods on other projects.
Avoid – Automatically Generated Content
Although in the past, I have used auto-generated content on money sites as placeholder articles to see if a site ranked before replacing it with human created content I have no intention to do this for this project. Another common use for auto-generated content with black hat methods is to use it in the various tiers of a link pyramid, as I don’t plan to build any links for this project I won’t require any auto-generated content for that either.
Avoid – Participating In Link Schemes
As already explained, I don’t plan to build a single link to this site.
Avoid – Creating Pages With Little Or No Original Content
Although I don’t have the time to create the content myself I have an excellent writer than I will use for the project, his articles are excellent and due to putting such a high volume of orders his way he is able to lower his rates for me to make him very cost efficient.
In the past, I have successfully used articles with word counts ranging from 500 words upto 3000 words. I plan the majority of the articles for this white hat project to be a minimum of 2000 words long. I also intend on the articles covering as much information about relevant long tails for the main keyword as possible in an attempt to avoid word stuffing and fluff content.
Avoid – Scraped Content
As every article on the site will be human wrote by one of my writers there will be no need to scrape content from the web to use on my site. Although I trust my writer, I may run a few of his articles through my Copyscape account to get some screenshots to post in future articles to show all content is original.
Avoid – Participating In Affiliate Programs Without Adding Sufficient Value
I thought this would be the hardest point to stick to but after reading Googles guidance on this point in their post here I feel my content should be good enough to pass a manual review.
The articles will be a minimum of 2000 words and although content length has little to nothing to do with value, I intend the articles to be helpful to the user. I plan to try and find keywords where top 10 list style articles would work so the user can see comparison tables between various products with a paragraph or so covering each item. If possible I will also embed relevant YouTube videos on the article to offer more value to any readers the blog gets.
Follow – Preventing And Removing User-Generated Spam On Your Site
I plan to lock the site down completely meaning users will not be able to leave comments on articles or submit their own content for consideration to be used on the site.
Time For A Prediction
In all honesty, I have no idea what’s going to happen with this site as I have never actually tried anything like this before. I have seen various forum threads where people claim to have ranked for keywords without using backlinks but I have never tried it myself and neither has anyone I trust.
As I plan to monetize the site with affiliate links rather than display advertising a much lower traffic volume would be required to make the site profitable. I have made pages on sites in the past that I have forgotten to backlink and they have ended up pulling traffic from extreme long tail keywords.
I have checked my analytics for some of these pages and it seems they get around 550 hits per month on average. Depending on the affiliate commission earned for the items featured in the articles this alone maybe enough to make the site profitable.
If the site does make an income I intend to reinvest the profits directly back into the project by purchasing additional content for the project to further increase its search engine visibility. Although I plan to start keyword research tomorrow, I have my writer on other projects for the next few weeks meaning I probably won’t be able to get any content online for the project until next month.
Additionally, as I plan to use a fresh domain I believe it will be placed in the Google sandbox for the first six or so months of its life as explained in my case study on the Google Sandbox here. Due to this, I don’t really plan to see any traffic increases until July or August 2017.
All updates for this project will be posted in my White Hat SEO Case Study section so keep an eye on it if this is something you like the idea of following.