In the first part of this case study, I looked at the 1,000,000 search per month term “Garcinia Cambogia” to see what was working in Google for such a competitive, sought-after term. The results weren’t surprising. Big brands with overall thin content were killing it. And while there were a few interesting results using tactics to rank, such as parasite pages and press releases, there is one site doing some interesting SEO work to rank.
This second part of the niche analysis will focus on that site.
**Update** I’ve been working on this post for over a week now, and just before posting I checked the domain. It went from a steady run in spot #19 to currently #40. Not sure if this is a bit of Google Dancing, or if a suspected recent Penguin update knocked it out of the top 20 for good. Either way, this is an in-depth look at what this site was doing to rank.
This is the only site ranking in the top 20 that was not a big authority site. It was registered on October 31, 2012 and is only a PR 1 (though probably if a new update came around, and it was not penalized, it would be a higher PR). I’m going to go through different aspects of the site and break them down to see if we can figure out what is contributing to its ranking among such big authority sites, and to try and determine any pattern in what does/does not matter to ranking in this niche.
This has the look of a turnkey website. What is a turnkey website?
A website with a ready-made solutions and some configurations is called a turnkey website.
Here’s what I found when I googled the first sentence in the content:
Unique content? Nope.
Here is another sentence from a different paragraph:
Keep in mind this site is consistently ranking #19 for a 1,000,000 search/month. Content, for this set of keywords, is not really a factor.
Total wordcount for this site: 581 words.
PureGarciniaCambogia.com has some decent metrics–but were surprisingly low when compared to the authority sites that were ranking ahead of it.
Here are the MajesticSEO numbers:
And here are the OpenSiteExplorer numbers:
Not bad! But not amazing.
So now I’m going to look at what kind of links this site is getting, to see if we can learn anything from their success.
This is pretty slick: natural links that give a lot of authority. These links are expensive, but can pay off if you’re using them as anchor links to a site you are trying to rank (especially if it is a lucrative niche).
Link #1 – Truste.com
Cost – $499/year for 500 views.
Truste.com has a set of standards a site must satisfy before they can get certified. What does certification get you? A Truste badge on your site (that can get 500 views–2500 views is $699 and it goes up from there) and a link in the Truste site directory. Here’s why Truste.com is a solid authority link to get:
That’s a DoFollow link from a PR 8 for $500.
Link #2 – DMCA.com
Cost – $10/month or $100 per year
DMCA.com, like Truste.com, gets a ton of sitewide links from having their logo in the footer of sites like Reddit.com, Gizmodo.com, Trulia.com and so on, to the tune of 20,000+ sites. DMCA.com provides a content-protection service, helping you go after people that copy your site’s content. Here’s the metric breakdown for DMCA.com
That’s a DoFollow link from a PR 7 for $10/month.
There are a few more examples like this, such a Trustlink.org (which is a Better Business Bureau company), but these were the two biggest. You can see how for a few hundred dollars a year you can get some very high-trust/high-authority (white hat) links.
This is just one of many techniques PureGarciniaCambogia is using to rank, so ON TO THE NEXT ONE!
Directories have a lot of negative associations–and for good reason! There are a lot of very spammy, very low quality directories out there. But there are also some not-so-bad ones (and even some good ones!). PureGarciniaCambogia.com is utilizing some medium to high quality directories to help them rank. Let’s break it down.
Link #1 – CannyLink.com
The Health/Weightloss page that the PGC site is on has a Trust Flow of 37. The overall Domain/Page Authority of the root URL is 46/55, so it’s a pretty strong link.
You can get a link here for as low as $19.95, and can specify whether you want a DoFollow or NoFollow link:
This directory has a less powerful listing page, but a more powerful root domain. The Trust Flow for the listing is 17, while the Domaint/Page Authority is 59/66.
You can get a link here for $39.99:
Link #3 – BOTW.org
This is the most powerful and most expensive directory I found in the many that PGC is getting links from. This one has a listing-page Trust Flow of 20, but a Domain/Page Authority of 78/82. DoFollow, thank you very much.
Finding niche-specific directories that have strong guidelines can be an easy way to pick up some higher-quality, DoFollow links. You can also find general-niche (like the ones mentioned in this post) to get some link juice flowing to your site–for a fee of course.
I’m not gonna linger on this link building tactic, but it still works, and it has gotten PGC several powerful links. I’m not an expert at writing or releasing Press Releases, but I found several sites hosting these press releases. I know a lot of SEOers are saying that press releases don’t work anymore, but they specifically DO work for picking up links (and, as we saw in Part I of this case study, they work for ranking on the first page of Google).
Here are some of the press releases linking to PGC (all metrics for root domain):
Trust Flow 66, Citation Flow 69, Domain Authority 87, Page Authority 90 [NoFollow]
Trust Flow 56, Citation Flow 49, Domain Authority 71, Page Authority 76 [NoFollow]
Trust Flow 62, Citation Flow 75, Domain Authority 82, Page Authority 85 [NoFollow]
So there you go. You can get some really nice NoFollow links via press releases. It’s good to have a diverse, natural looking link profile, right?
Do social shares contribute to a high SERP placement? It certainly doesn’t hurt. For the Garcinia Cambogia niche, there were a fair amount of shares across the top 20 websites. However, the social shares for PureGarciniaCambogia.com were kind of…outliers. Take a look at a selection of top 5 ranking sites with PGC:
37,000+ total social shares!! What? I think there might be a chance those numbers are not exactly…legitimate, or earned. For comparison, the most shares on a TMZ.com story in the past week was 29,719
There’s just no way a site with duplicate content and no blog would ever come close to 37k natural social shares over its life (compared to a site like TMZ, which thousands of people tweet about and interact with every day.
In my opinion, the big social presence for PGC are helping to create a diversified and powerful backlink profile to help it rank so well in a niche dominated by giant authority sites.
Summing up what I covered in part 2 of this niche analysis:
1. Seriously, for this niche, content doesn’t matter.
Content is a peasant; Authority is king. — Click to Tweet
With the use of duplicate content, and the overall lack of content in general, it’s clear that content is not a ranking factor here.
2. You can use paid links to give you some big-authority in the backlink department by signing up for services that are trusted, and that provide a link back to your site. These links are used by thousands of websites, so your using them will a) legitimately help you/your users and b) provide some crazy DoFollow link juice.
3. Paid directories are a great way to broaden your backlink profile and get some (more) legitimate paid links. Not all directories are high quality and useful, so do your research first. Find paid directories that have guidelines, and go through a submission process. Then make sure those directories have good MajesticSEO and Moz.com metrics (and for course, are SPAM free).
4. Social shares can help a site rank well. At the very least, having tens of thousands more social shares than your SERP competitors will not necessarily cause you to stand out and get penalized (at least for a good long while). Social shares are a great way to show that your site is relevant and is getting buzz, but… really you should try and tone it down a bit more than what PureGarciniaCambogia.com did.
I’d love to hear from you. Just leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts. This concludes my Garcinia Cambogia niche analysis. Keep an eye out for my next niche/website analysis in two week.
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