Zero Link Building Case Study – How I Built A 6 Figure SEO Blog

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I love experimenting with things when it comes to SEO and this zero link building case study is no different. Honestly, the best SEO advice I can give to anyone is that you should never believe anything you read until you have tested it for yourself.

You might not have realised it, but this blog is an experiment to see what happens if you do SEO without link building…

UPDATE: Track the performance of this experiment here. You’ll be shocked.

You can also read the follow up post of how to start a blog and make money.

The Zero Link Building Case Study

I have never really payed much attention to the Google Webmaster Guidelines in my SEO efforts.

That Matt Cutt’s bloke keeps banging on about them so I thought I’d see what all the fuss is about and decided to setup an experiment.

Is it possible to rank a website in Google with nothing but high quality content and zero link building?

In essence, I wanted to know if it was possible to do SEO without link building or using any kind of link building tools.

To test that theory I created this SEO blog that does not use SEO to drive traffic.

Yes you read that correctly, my SEO blog about SEO will not use SEO to secure rankings and traffic. Irony ^^

Instead I’m going to focus on sticking to the official Google Webmaster Guidelines as closely as possible. After reading through the guidelines and brushing up my skills via the Webmaster Academy I setup this blog and zero link building case study.

The end game is to create a loyal base of fans and subscribers through E-mail, Social Media & RSS with a steady flow of traffic from Google without any link building or PPC.

SEO Without Link Building Methods

SEO without link building can be achieved by focusing on content, user experience, and other new strategies to optimize for search engines.

This holistic approach includes content creation and promotion and you can achieve good search engine ranking without traditional link building campaigns and guest blogging.

The methods I’m going to use can be broken down into 2 parts, content creation and promotion.

The Content

Matt Cutts always says that the best way to get links and rankings is by creating great content as that will naturally attract links rather than relying on link building tools.

That makes sense to me, but what is great content exactly?

I watched this video for some ideas-

  • Create a blog and establish yourself as an authority
  • Do something that is unique/different/original
  • Create content that is useful/helpful to the community
  • Answers common questions in your niche
  • Publish original research
  • Create videos
  • Publish how to guides and tutorials
  • Create lists of helpful resources

Can you name an SEO blog that does all of that? No one seems to offer anything original; it’s just the same generic around the block advice written in different ways over and over again.

What makes things worse is that a lot of the stuff that gets published as fact is actually just baseless thought and opinion.

Very rarely do I find an SEO blog that has something new, unique or different to offer which creates the perfect opportunity for my zero link building case study.

My Content Strategy

With that in mind I’m going to create the ultimate resource for SEO’s that is jam packed with helpful content based on my own research, knowledge and experience.

I’m going to tackle a lot of the common problems SEO’s face through a series of tutorials in the form of videos and blog posts.

I’ve already published a few examples-

  1. How To Analyse Your Backlink Profile To Fix Current & Future Penalties

The Promotion

I have always relied on SEO to drive traffic to my sites. Although I have experience with other methods, SEO is my bread and butter.

If Matt Cutt’s is right, then publishing high quality content should do the trick when it comes to promotion. As more people discover my content, they will share it/link to it which will allow more people to discover it and so forth.

Ideally I will want to create content that is so good, it will promote itself.

When people read what I have created they should be falling over themselves to subscribe for updates via email, follow me on Twitter, sharing the page on social media and so on.

So how can I get the ball rolling?

My Promotion Strategy

My entire promotional strategy to drive traffic is as simple as-

  1. Posting on forums like TrafficPlanet, WarriorForum & DigitalPoint
  2. Getting involved on Twitter / Facebook (SEO types seem to prefer Twitter)
  3. Commenting on blog posts (with links to my tutorials if related)
  4. Setting up some ninja Google Alerts to find new places to get involved
  5. Asking people to share the page to get access to my exclusive personal resources
  6. Just straight up asking people to share

Seem’s pretty basic and straightforward right? I’m also going to make sure that it is easy for people to share my content, connect with me on social media and subscribe to e-mail updates.

I’m hoping that the combination of those mechanisms with great content will be enough to snowball the blog to success.

The Reporting

Every month I will write a detailed report about the sites progress and tell you exactly what I have done to get it there.

This will be a great resource for myself and readers of the blog. It will help me keep track of progress efficiently while teaching readers what to do and what not to do.

The reports will be classed as ‘great content’ in their own right.

These monthly reports will include key metrics such as-

  • Traffic statistics
  • The number of e-mail sign ups
  • Social media growth
  • Number of affiliate links clicked
  • Income reports
  • All the juicy details of what I have done and how I did it!
  • And a bunch of other stuff

Click Here To View All Of These Reports

SEO Without Link Building Is Crazy

Part of me feels like this zero link building case study is doomed to fail and it really does push me out of my comfort zone completely. I have never created video tutorials before or used my knowledge and experience to teach/help others.

I have always relied on creating links to get rankings and traffic, but now I’m only relying on creating great content to get links to get rankings and traffic. Scary!

On the other hand I believe this could be one of the most rewarding SEO experiments I have ever done. I have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share and I’m hoping that will help out real people like you.

Will You Help Me?

If you want to help me out with this experiment and say thanks for my tutorials then please take 60 seconds to share them.

You can do that by-

  • Posting on SEO & webmaster forums
  • Sharing them with friends on social media
  • Writing about them on your blog
  • Sharing them with your e-mail list
  • Leaving comments & ratings

Be sure to drop me a mail if you share them and I’ll shout you out in the monthly reports!

Over To You

What do you think? Is SEO without link building even possible?

Do you have any tips or advice on what I should be doing to make this a success?

Is a zero link building case study setup for success or failure?

read our case studies

What Are Your Thoughts?

133 Responses

  1. Thank you for this information – I’m going to put some of these theories to the test while launching my new blog – will for sure give you a shoutout for the value that you add to the web ~

  2. Great guide, thanks for sharing with us dude. I thinks Backlinks are way more important for getting ranked.

  3. This is the first real help. Incredible points. Solid arguments. Keep up the good work. Thank you very much because I will be using these sites!!

  4. hello sir, can I start blogging on Blogspot and is it good for SEO? , can blogger blog rank better than wordpress blogs

  5. This is a good post on the capability of just having a quality content to improve SEO. I currently have two blogs now about make money online and movie review and your post encouraged me to push through on implementing such tip to succeed in my SEO journey. Thanks.

  6. You tell your story good, I could relate to some of the things you mentioned here on your post. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Thanks for breaking it down for me mate. I’m a newbie to SEO and link building and this definitely helps me understand things in a better way. Hoping to see more articles coming from your end. Cheers

  8. I share my articles on social media — mostly LinkedIn and Twitter (I use Hootsuite to schedule my posts on social media — it’s great)And, I send them to my email list — that’s all :I think I should be more active on social media, comment more, and be good friends with other bloggers. I’ve decided to be active on Quora and too. Recently I’ve submitted my blog to Stumbleupon, News360, made some Flipboard magazines and shared my posts on them, I have done some guest posting but I have to do more. The newsletter you sent this morning was also helpful — thanks. I was just curious to know the pro secret to content promotion. But I think the most advanced tactics are blogger outreach and Facebook ads.

  9. Hi Matt, Great blog, keep up the great work! Your promotion strategy already seems advanced to me — but you say it’s basic. Can you give me a sketch of how to do more advanced kind of content promotion?

  10. I was testing this same strategy in one of my projects, I was only creating onpage linking without external linking and the results are also getting to me!

  11. Interesting experiment, i’ve always wondered how websites would go without building any links whatsoever.

  12. Excellent post Matthew. Be prepared to get an email from my end containing a blog post with a link back to your post, and a request to give me a link back… 🙂

  13. Hi Matthew,Fascinating read. Thank you for taking the time to write it. I wouldn’t have thought it would be possible . . . regardless I do have one question. On average how many days a week did you comment (I assume with BuzzBundle) and how many hours when getting the site off the ground? Just trying to get an idea of the time you put in.Thank you,Wesley

  14. Indeed, a great article! No doubt these back link tips are useful in ranking website in major search engines. These techniques can be very helpful if we utilize them on the right way.

  15. Hi Mathew,Really a great blog. I have few sites (which I used for my part time income) and used to spent 25% of my sale on link building task. After reading this post I am really excited.But I still have doubt because without doing link how can we increase the DA or TF or Traffic of sites instantly ?

  16. Hi Mathew, Thanks for the awesome post, i have been trying hard to write awesome content, to follow onpage optimization guidelines, but my rank is not updating..i am stuck on 3rd page for a keyword, can you suggest me what more i can do, as linkbuilding is not my cup of tea i guess..

  17. Hi Matt,Good read, I wanted to start from the beginning. Now I’m here, read all and ready to read more.You’re an inspiration.Thank you.

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