Nearly six months has passed since we published the University of Solitude on Amazon.com. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Six months, that’s exactly how long I’d been imprisoned in Iran.
Those memorable six months, from August 2012 to February 2013, felt like a few years to me. The last six months of my life? They just flew by. . . . The perception of time is indeed relative.
But I do no want to be nostalgic, or summarize what we have achieved with our English publication so far. There’s nothing to brag about anyway 🙂. We’ve sold just a couple of dozens of books. That will neither spread my philosophy of life, nor help the Red Cross in their humanitarian operations (we donate all the book royalties to Red Cross).
There’s nothing to brag about, and there’s also nothing to summarize – since we are far from done yet!
Six months, however, is about a right time to start building backlinks to Universityofsolitude.com, in order to try and rank on Google for the keywords of our choice. I’ll try to outline my strategy, what we want to achieve on Google.com and how we’ll progress to do it.
The ultimate best traffic source & marketing strategy
Ranking on Google (for keywords of your choice) beats all other marketing strategies. I will demonstrate it on “jumper’s knee treatment” keyword. My brother suffered this knee injury recently, and I’ve looked for the information on treating it. So, why ranking on Google beats any other marketing strategies?
- People search for you, your product, your niche. Instead of trying to convince them to visit your website (what we do with all our social media, press release, banner and offline campaigns), people show interest in “our topic” if they search for it on Google. We do not need to create a need, or a desire, so they will go and check what we have to say. They already do have this need, or desire. It will lead them to search for information on Google. If I suffer from jumper’s knee, I will go to Google and try to find out how to cure it on my own. I will write “jumper’s knee treatment” to Google search. You can bet most people would do the same.
- Recurring traffic. If we manage to rank on the top of Google for the keywords of our choice (staying there is not difficult), we will get new visitors week after week, month after month. My desire today—your desire tomorrow. Brother suffers from jumper’s knee right now. Many other people, however, had suffered from it in the past, and many other will get injured later. Someone will always search for that keyword. At least until people do sports :).
- Traffic from Google converts better. Logically, if people feel the need, or the desire, they will more likely purchase, or they will take some other action. The website sitting on the third position for “jumper’s knee treatment” belongs to a guy from Germany who published a book on the subject. As you can notice, he refers to the book in his article (ranking 3rd. on Google):
Checking his book on Amazon, we confirm our hypothesis: the traffic converts pretty well!
Famous guys have it easy
In one of my very first blog posts, I analyzed the average monthly Google searches for “James Peterson” (one of the top 10 best selling authors on Amazon). Can you recall the numbers?
Guys like Peterson do not need to give a thought to marketing. Not anymore. They can focus only on writing their books. People who search for their name on Google will always find their work. And if they search for it, be sure many of them will make a purchase as well! “James Peterson” isn’t just a pen name for a writer. It’s his personal brand, and he certainly invested a lot of time and money into building this brand. And maybe he got a bit lucky as well, or had a strong publisher behind him 😉 . . . .
Anyway, I am not Peterson. Neither you are. We may (as well as not) get some recognition. If people read our thoughts and books, if they enjoy reading them, they may start looking for our names on Google, to check our blogs and new publications. But in order to make that happen, we firstly need to attract them to our initial work, to our first books, so they can read them and enjoy them.
University of Solitude does not address a specific problem, or a topic, such as a jumper’s knee. But it definitely relates to a variety of subjects. For example:
- Inspirational story (true inspirational story, real life inspirational story, etc.)
- Prison books (books from prison, books from inmates, books for inmates, prison stories, etc.)
- Solitary confinement stories
People search for these keywords, and many similar expressions, on a daily basis. Our website (Universityofoslitude.com) does not rank in top 100, yet alone top 10 Google search results, for any of these keywords today.
But it doesn’t surprise me. We have done practically nothing to rank on Google until now. Other people did something, so they rank instead of us.
A tough task
Universityofsolitude.com is a book landing page. It does not include the keywords in the domain name, the site structure doesn’t help Google to figure out what we want Google to figure out about the book, and we also do not update the website regularly. All of that makes it much more difficult to rank.
What’s more, many other websites specialize on inspirational stories, prison stories, and similar things. If you checked top 10 results for “true inspirational story” (one of many keywords we hope to rank for), you will find that some of the top 10-ranked websites are well-structured and optimized for Google. I have also checked their link profile, and must admit that some of them are really strong. It will be tough to outrank them.
On a scale from 1 to 10, one meaning “super easy to rank” and ten meaning “virtually impossible to rank”, I’d give our project a difficulty score of 9.
It will be difficult, and I may fail to rank the web for the keywords of my choice. But even if I do fail, I have a backup plan in hand. It consists in ranking our YouTube videos on Google instead (for the same keywords). In this case, we would benefit from a super-high authority of YouTube.com domain in the eyes of Google. I write more about that in this post about ranking YT videos on Google.
The strategy for ranking
Except of writing great content, setting up a suitable website structure and navigation, ranking in Google is mostly determined by the quality, relevance, and number of links pointing back to your website from around the internet. We will focus on building such links.
The picture below illustrates the strategy I outlined for this project:
I won’t go into details, explaining what private blog network means, or how to locate high authority web 2.0 properties, and how to build a link to your website on them.
I won’t do it because you can find countless articles on the topic, and great tutorials. If you are serious about your book (online biz, non-profit website) marketing, and want to rank high on Google for the keywords of your choice, you will do your research. But I attach a couple of pictures to give you an idea how link building works in general: (I’ve done a bit of work already!)
Q: How long does it take to execute a similar link building strategy?
A: Depends on how many hours a day you are willing to work on it, and how fast you can write new, original content of an average quality. You’ll need to write a lot of such content in the process of carrying out this strategy).
In my case, a rough estimation would be about 150 hours of focused work. (I can write new content pretty fast).
For someone with little internet marketing experience, or someone who doesn’t like to write, it will take anytime from 300 to 1,000 hours of work. Needless to say, you can outscore ALL THE TASKS, and pay people to do it for you.
Q: How much money will it cost?
A: Depends on if you do it yourself, or hire other people to help. If you do everything on your own, your only expenses will be for setting up and maintaining a private blog network (the strongest and most important chain in the strategy). Done properly, it will cost you about $300 per year.
The more you outscore the more you pay. If you were to outscore the entire process and pay someone qualified and experienced, you’d pay anything between $2,000 and $4,000 (one time fee), plus the annual expenses for maintaining a small blog network ($300/year).
Q: Is it even worth?
A: Depends. 🙂 It actually depends on many things . . . Your goals and motivation, the monthly search volume of the keywords in your book niche, the difficulty to rank, your overall strategy as a writer, etc., etc.
I know why I decided to translate my book to English, and why I try to attract the readers to my message. Money is not my goal, neither is fame. People who read this blog regularly know it already, and others can check my goals here.
In my opinion, every effort is worth trying to achieve goals of this project, doesn’t matter if I actually succeed to achieve them or not.
But everyone has to answer the question on their own. If you have already written a book, you know how much time it takes to write one. And the manuscript is just the beginning of the odyssey. Editing, proofreading, publishing, marketing … so someone actually reads the book you spent year writing.
Is it worth? I can not tell. You have to answer the question for yourself.:)
What if our strategy fails?
After carrying out the link building strategy outlined above, University of Solitude may still fail to rank for relevant keywords on Google (because of the difficulty of the project). If it happens, I’ll do the following:
- Build even more relevant links pointing back to it around the internet, especially from expired high authority web 2.0 properties, and relevant blogs (first option).
- Change the target of the links I’d built, so they point to my videos on YouTube, trying to rank them for the same keywords, benefiting from the authority of YouTube.com domain (first/second option).
- Build a brand new website, ideally on an expired domain, focusing on great content and navigation that will help the site to rank on Google easier, and change the target of the links I’d originally built so they’d point to this new domain. I’d redirect the domain to the landing page of University of Solitude.
- If my alternatives don’t work, I will just adjust the content on a private blog network and point the links from there to some other websites I’d try to rank in other projects (non-profit or for-profit).
I will be carrying out this strategy in the next months. I will also continue trying to rank YouTube videos on YouTube search (we achieved nice progress there, I’ll update you soon). And I will continue building my personal brand as a thinker, participating in forums and discussions, and commenting on relevant videos and articles—always with my real name.
I will try to regularly post updates on my progress, and I may add thoughts and reflections to the next posts as well.
Meanwhile, have a great time, work hard on what matters to you, and if possible, do something good for the others as well. See you soon!