SEO Case Study: From Zero to a Hero in One Month

Two years ago it became fairly popular to create small, niche content sites  for purposes of adsense or affiliate programs monetization.  Such was popularity (and it still is) of these sites that Google had taken particular measures in their search engine placement algorithms to prevent these kind of sites taking front page positions almost over night.

I was wondering was it still possible today to take a site from zero to what can be considered decent search engine traffic of 300 visitors/day in one  month time. And the answer is still yes.


What I did to improve search engine rank

Instead of buying new domain, I decided to buy an aged one with a site on it (not parked)

Main advantage of old domains is they are usually already crawled by all search engines. Mine even had Page Rank of 1 and 5 or so visitors daily. Small initial investment can go a long away in making your start much easier.

It does not mean new domains can not be promoted, only the amount of work involved may be bigger.

Install WordPress, Theme and Plugins

WordPress allows ease of  maintenance and good optimization out of the box. Over time I also created a pack of hand-picked plugins which main purpose is to further optimize a WordPress site. This is a zip archive with a dozen or so plugins which can be just unpacked and deployed on any blog (more on some  in plugin recommendations and how to setup efficient WordPress blog).

Finally I installed a seo optimized theme. Blue Grace is both pretty and optimized so that was an easy choice.

Extra Tweaking with Page Rank Sculpting

Every site is different and depending on what you want to achieve, different techniques can be used for on-site optimization. My favorite technique is called SEO Page Rank Sculpting where you 'sculpt' the page rank of the pages so it flows to the areas you want it most, like your important articles.

Create content on Daily basis

Nothing can boost your search engine rankings like fresh, original content.  If you do not have time to write it, good practice involves hiring a freelance writer. Many are available on the Internet and prices can vary from $2 to $200 per article so choose wisely.

Promotion on Forums

Since my site was already indexed by search engines, my job was somewhat easier. Only promotion I have chosen to do is to find several relevant forums and post couple of times with useful links back to my site.

Reason I have chosen forums is that large percentage of target population will be interested in my site (providing staying power for the site). Other important reason is that search engines crawl forums vigorously, meaning I would get results quickly.


With good effort and relatively small investment  it is still possible to fairly quickly, in just one month, create and fire up a website.  This website is destined to grow and advanced Internet marketing techniques such as social media marketing can be further used to take the site to the next level.

The main mistake most people make in trying to do the same thing with their sites is in my opinion lack of dedicated investment both in funds and time. Most believe that they can get away with couple of bucks and couple of minutes  as if there was some kind of magical way to create good sites out of thin air. This kind of view is endorsed by many websites claiming it is indeed possible to do that (and sell you an ebook of some sort in the process).  I don't say this never worked before, there were the times when there was little to no competition on Internet, but times changed and that ebook usually didn't.

In real world if you want to run a pizza place you may need to invest at least $15,000 just to start. Do not expect to have a similarly successful pizza website for $15 and you will be fine. Results usually tend to mirror the  invested effort and knowledge.

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  1. Mar 25th, 2013 5:01 AM

    tommycc, what your saying is simply not true, I have never spent 1cent on adsence and my site is ranked.. Perhaps you are proving the point of this article, if you spend the time you can get there, without spending time creating content and links to your site how can you expect results.

  2. Nov 3rd, 2011 10:22 AM

    What you speak of in terms of no quick fix is correct. Our rankings have depended upon much content being done and then doing what works over a period of time. A website is like any business, you have to work it for a while before it turns a profit. Thanks for the tips.

  3. Aug 15th, 2010 8:06 AM

    HI, Madam/Sir

    We offer complete search engine optimization programs certain outsourced individual Search engine optimization processes like:

    - Keyword Research
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    - Creation of Optimized pages
    - Manual submissions
    - Monthly report running and maintenance
    - Link building and management

    We have an in-house team of 10 people comprising of searchengineexperts, linking building experts, content writers & web designers.I have been providing many thousands of links to my SEO clients .

    Kindly let me know if you require more details.

    Thanking You


  4. Mensah
    Oct 27th, 2009 9:32 AM

    By far the best seo related site. thank you for your honest analysis- it is very refreshing.

  5. Oct 21st, 2009 1:54 AM

    Thanks a bunch, just the information I needed. The Grace Themes are just great. I'm new at this and I need all the help I can get.

    Have a good one Bill Kyle

  6. Jan 27th, 2009 4:14 AM

    I think your post is very important for the beginner and the advance. so amazing !!

  7. Jan 15th, 2009 6:57 PM

    Great article! Question: when you post on a forum, do you simply put the link in or do you wrap keywaords in url tags?

  8. Jan 14th, 2009 10:57 AM

    Without knowing much about your site, or it's history it's hard to tell anything, if that was a question you are asking and not merely a comment.

    I know that in early 2007 google implemented new ranking algorithms and also started manually reassigning page rank which could be a cause for the drop that appeared to your site later in the year. If you ask me, from hero to a zero does not happen without someone pressing a button no matter what they told you..

  9. Jan 14th, 2009 1:12 AM

    The website I founded in 1995, Careers.Org, has thousands of quality inbound links, good visibility in Yahoo, DMOZ, and most recently a significant content upgrade. On December 6, 2007 the site had a PR8. The next day it had a PR0, where it has stayed.

    Keyword rankings have been up and down in Google, but always consistently high in other search engines. Many smart people have looked at the site and no one has found a reason the site would have zero page rank.

    • Aug 14th, 2011 6:13 PM

      Not being an idiot here, but seriously, Google is a conspiracy. Have you ever paid into their adwords? If not, chances are slim to none to get any ranking from them. I don't want to give sources here, but you can find them if you look.

  10. Jan 13th, 2009 12:10 PM

    Very informative post... Keep up the good work!

  11. Jan 12th, 2009 11:08 AM

    Jeremy: digital point forums are good place to start. I don't have the archive for download as most of these plugins have been tweaked by me and then I would need to write disclaimers and such. As for forums type in "+keyword +forum" on google and hit the first 5.

    Istok: I agree, 30DC is excellent system, apart from the content automation part.

  12. Jan 12th, 2009 3:55 AM

    Very useful post. It seems that "30 day challenge" system by Ed Dale still works in 2009, but of course, it needs commitment when it comes to content.

  13. Ricardo
    Jan 10th, 2009 5:25 PM

    Excellent write-up.
    Very informative.

  14. Jeremy
    Jan 10th, 2009 5:13 PM

    Vladimir, great post! Thank you for the simple explanation. I do have a couple of questions for you, or anyone else that wants to chime in. What sites do you use to find your "aged" domains, and how much can one expect to pay for a reasonable domain? You mentioned in this post, "This is a zip archive of about a dozen plugins which can be just unpacked and deployed on any blog." Do you have that available to download for us (Hint, Wink?)Finally, do you have an example of the type of forums you post to in an effort to draw traffic back to your site? I would imagine if its niche specific you would want to find forums for that particular niche.

    Again, thank you for a great writeup, a great set of themes and pluggins, and for a great blog. Keep up the work!

  15. Jan 10th, 2009 3:59 PM

    Exactly, and i just remember how Guy Kawasaki invested some 10 or 100K when starting one of his projects couple years ago..