This case study was for a personal project of mine. A website that I have since sold for a mid level sum, which was made possible by the strategies I’m about to set forth.
I like e-commerce because it is generally much easier than most verticals due to the increased search volumes and size of industry; also, the number of categories and products create a logical structure to build the website around.
More on that later.
The industry was baseball bats, and at the time there were only four major competitors. Each with their own strengths and weaknesses, but for the most part, it wasn’t anything to be intimidated by.
Because most of their websites were relatively aged, they were full of errors, redirects, dead pages, and other such issues weighing down on their rankings, so my strategy was simple:
Create a tightly structured website and build around 100 referring domains.
That was going to allow me to capitalize on a significant volume of search traffic in a relatively small period of time.
Now, because this was a side project, it didn’t receive all of my attention, nor my full effort, so naturally, its “potential” was limited.
All that aside, let’s talk about what actually made it happen.
II: Website Silo Architecture
For silo architecture, there was a number of ways to try to tackle the industry, and ultimately I decided to go with “types of bats” as the category, and the individual bats themselves as the posts.
Another option would’ve been the “brands” as categories, and the individual bats as posts.
The home page was the unifying “baseball bats” phrase.
I used internal links in sidebars to establish the hierarchy, this was achieved with Network Empire’s Simple Silo Plugin.
And the page titles were constructed as to encompass all possible variations of the keyword. Like this:
“Easton Mako BBCOR Baseball Bat”
That way, if someone searches for:
- easton mako
- easton mako bbcor
- easton mako bbcor bat
- easton mako bat
- easton mako baseball bat
- easton mako baseball bbcor
- easton mako bbcor baseball bat
Any possible keyword combination, there’s a chance that your site will rank higher than most if done in this manner.
If I were to do PPC for this site, it would also have very high quality scores if using SKAG’s or tightly themed ad groups.
Overall, the strategy was simple, and holistic, like I’ve talked at length on this blog.
Just the site architecture alone was driving a ton of traffic without much work on my part, so I knew right off the bat that the strategy had been “validated” by Google.
But it really took off when I started building links actively.
III: Link Acquisition
For link acquisition, I wanted to do a mix of strategies, this was the plan:
- 20 Guest Post Links
- 60 Skyscraper Links
- 20 PBN Links
The reason why I wanted to do PBN links was because there were certain pages that I really wanted to rank, and the best way to do that was by manipulating the link anchor text and landing page link myself.
Doing PBN links as a small percentage of your overall link profile is safe because even if a handful of them are taken down, they wouldn’t have much of an effect on total rankings.
Safety precautions were also well put in place.
For guest posts, I reached out to thousands of sports bloggers and ended up with about 12 guest post links.
For skyscraper links, I reached out to a grand total of 8,000 different webmasters, and got 70 links.
For PBN’s, I used a dedicated service by professionals who I trust, and bought exactly 20 of them.
The total project amassed a cost of $6,000 and I ended up selling it for a significant multiple.
IV: Thoughts On E-Commerce
So, what would I do differently?
From a link acquisition perspective, a lot of things.
If this would’ve been for a client, I would’ve tried to build more than 1,000 referring domains, and that kind of scale requires a completely different approach.
In that instance, you’d have to take more of a “PR” approach, rather than a “link building” approach.
Also, 1000 referring domains would take likely about 2 years to achieve, so there would also be the issue of pacing, and costs.
The emphasis would be placed on large traffic sources, and go outside of just small bloggers to perhaps magazine and media outlets. That would produce much greater results, for arguably, the same sort of investment.
Anyways, that’s all we have for today, if you’d like to know more, or see how we could help you, hit that contact button!