Guest Post: From 0 To 10,000 Uniques In Less Than 60 Days: A Case Study

This post was written by Sean Sullivan who Director or Tier 1 Development with  DomainHoldings:

Not long ago I wrote an article asking if a .US domain could become just as successful as a .Com.

The story was about CelebrityGossip.us, a domain that I acquired for my girlfriend Erika  as a side project that I thought would be fun for her.

After she showed that she had significant interest in it I thought that I’d help take it to the next level and do some professional development on the project.

So the first step was designing a great looking site that was different than the traditional gossip sites. Erika and her close friend and business partner in this endeavor, Samantha decided to give it a different look and feel and incorporate some original ideas into it.

One of which was including stories from “Old Hollywood”, gossip and scandals from 50+ years ago. Again quality content that’s original will always help a site gain ranking on a more accelerated rate. The site officially launched on June 5th.

One of the less commonly known ways that you can help establish a brand and accelerate rankings is by using highly targeted re-directs. It’s something that if done correctly accomplishes two goals. One, it helps establish your brand with consumers. Secondly if you have a massive amount of visitors being directed to your site that can help grab the attention of other websites who will then link to you. Plus there can be some SEO benefits as well, but it’s technical and detailed so I’ll spare you.

So now you might be wondering exactly what I’m talking about when I say re-directing traffic. Do I mean just purchasing traffic with PPC or one of the traffic market places? Well you could do that, but I think a better strategy is to find domains and or websites that are highly related to your target audience with traffic and then re-directing that domain with a permanent 301 re-direct. I’m going to bypass the SEO specific details and instead provide you with some metrics instead.

From June 9th to July 17th the traffic re-direct sent approximately 450,000 unique visitors. I know, that sounds like a giant expense and you’re thinking how do you possibly send that much traffic to one site affordably. If you can get creative and cut deals with domain owners who have sites that do a huge amount of traffic (even in aggregate) but convert poorly you can accomplish this.

Celebrity Gossip - DevelopmentAs You Can See – At Launch Zero Traffic – Click To Enlarge
celebritygossip.us traffic closer lookA Closer Look At The Traffic

One of the key things that I did with this re-direct was find targeted traffic that was inexpensive yet still relevant. I won’t disclose the traffic source or all my secrets but my goal at the end of this program was to retain anywhere from 1% to 3% of those 450,000 re-direct visitors as regular readers of CelebrityGossip.us.

On July 18th we turned off the traffic re-direct and have since relied solely on the sites type-in traffic from returning readers and the traffic obtained via organic search. (Mostly Google) As you can see from the images below (click to see larger picture) the long tail is where things really start to develop.

I’m pleased to say that while it is still early, it seems to have worked as planned. CelebrityGossip.us was doing on average 250 to 450 unique visitors a day in organic and direct navigation traffic. This traffic is most likely attributed to visitors who were returning to read more since being introduced to the site.

celebrity gossipTraffic Once The Re-Direct Was Turned Off

I won’t know the exact numbers for about 45 days (based on returning visitors vs 30 day period) but I am estimating that CelebrityGossip.us will have retained roughly 3,000 to 4,000 unique visitors (regular readers) that were introduced to the site via the traffic re-direct. Things will be slightly more difficult to determine now since we have re-branded the site as CelebGossip.com but as you can see in the images below (click to enlarge) all traffic sources were growing quickly. Just before we re-branded the site on August 2nd total traffic was nearly 900 uniques a day.

Organic Traffic Ramping Up
Great Increases In Organic Traffic

While I think that the re-direct was a good technique that’s outside the box of traditional SEO and web development, the real force driving the sites success has been Erika and Samantha’s commitment to writing great quality content daily. As anyone who blogs or does web development knows, writing content on a daily basis can be a grind. So kudos ladies, you’ve done well.

In closing there are no immediate short cuts to success. There are some opportunities that you can take advantage of that increase your odds for success. That said, I don’t want people to think that by just doing a re-direct it’s going to equal success over night. If done incorrectly or not methodically re-directs can do more damage than good. So kids don’t try this at home without the supervision of an SEO professional.

Regarding the matter of being able to obtain success with a .US domain, I think this case study is indicative that it in fact can be done. You simply need to have the right plan of action in place. I think that a .Com is always going to be a preferable domain (hence the acquisition of CelebGossip.com)

But if you’ve got a great site, good content and are bringing something of quality to the internet you too can go from zero to 10,000 uniques a month pretty quickly.

Comments

  1. Anon For A Reason says

    More interesting to know is if the traffic bought had justified the expense, converted?
    —–

    That’s what it’s all about these days.
    All quality traffic (paid search, SM, or type-in) is a commodity, it is not all equal and it’s only value lies in the ultimate eventuality that someone opens their wallets and spends. Everything else is a game; or, to put it another way, bullshit.

    The current ‘paid search’ market is ridiculously inefficient, but getting there… One of the stronger plays out there now is to arb itragethe difference between how much that traffic costs to buy and how well it converts versus how much affiliates are willing to pay directly for hot leads. There is *a lot* of value in the long tail.

    .us will never be .com from a relsale or global marketing standpoint, but if your objective is targeting lightly trafficked and low bid keyword strings that are topically synergistic with a high paying affiliate/lead generation platform, you will soon find that US based users show no reticence whatsoever clicking on a bang-on .us, whether it’s at the top organically or via paid search. I mean, fuck… It was and still is used in many official government capacities. It has an intuitive, trusted place in John Q’s mind. Not that hard to understand, yet shocking that so many still don’t.

    The same thing cannot be said bangon.ws, or some triple hyphenated .info. Personally speaking, I’m thrilled that contorted domainer-logic is so distant to what goes on in the real world and has passed our ccTLD by.

  2. says

    301s can certainly work but I have discovered a faster way to get visitors and sales.

    I simply use domains that have “High” Exact Google search traffic, place some relevant content and add backlinks until it reaches 1rst page.

    Some of my sites get as high as 3,000 unique visitors a day.

    I do have some that I have not gotten too yet like SongsCom.com 22,200 Exact searches and some others.

    You might ask how do I know a domain gets high search traffic? You go to Google Search Tools. Choose “Keyword Tool” at top left, then type in your keyword.

    Then choose “Exact Match” and search again. Voila there you will see how many exact searches that particular keyword domain receives. Try songs com and then hit enter and you will see 22,200 exact searches. Then for good measure check the trends spy glass you’ll notice by moving your mouse to the right of your key word or key word phrase if it looks like it is trending upwards then you have a winner.

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