Guest Post: a Super Digg: Gaining 300k Hits from Google in 24 Hours with January 1 TCP/IP

Jan 4th
posted in

Guest post by Ryan Durk
For 24 hours on 1/1/08, Google's logo kindly began linking to my site.

Starting New Years Eve, Google redirected all clicks on its homepage logo to a search for the term January 1 TCP/IP. Recognizing the opportunity to receive immense amounts of traffic (and Google's endorsement), I devised a strategy to rank for this term. My site grabbed rankings at 1, 2, 3 and 4 within 2 hours and maintained spots 1, 3 and 4 until sometime Wednesday. As of right now, it has received over 2000 Diggs and 300,000 page impressions of traffic that converts terribly. More on this later.

The project began like any other: analyzing the search engine result page. Wikipedia ranked some mildly relevant content at 3rd and a Squidoo clone had 2 auto-generated pages in the top 5. Beating Wikipedia would be simple considering "January 1, TCP/IP" was nowhere to be found there. Beating the auto-generated content would be more difficult. Adding to my woes, Yahoo! lags behind Google in indexing, so my link: queries on the sites in question returned blanks.

Note: I should have scrutinized the Google phrase-match SERP. Considering that the auto-generated sites had incoming links with "January 1, TCP/IP" in the anchor text a little digging would have turned the inlinks up.

Not knowing where those links came from wasn't a major issue, particularly because they couldn't have been more than a few hours old. Additionally, I could leverage an authoritative domain and ping for backlinks. I chose Blogspot.com because it met this requirement, because it can handle the traffic, and because it allows AdSense.

But blogging and pinging aggregator services wouldn't be enough. The site had to hold on to the SERP. Topical blogs with authority and blog farms posed substantial threats, and I had no immediate way to gain indexed authoritative links. And I was working against the clock.

The plan:

  • Step 1: Register http://january-1-tcp-ip.blogspot.com. Write an SEO'd article and upload.
  • Step 2: Social bookmark.
  • Step 3: Circular SEO/SEM a la Digg-Google-Digg: Why the site ranked #1-4 for the term Google linked to from its homepage

Circular SEO/SMO:

The idea was to rank Digg itself. Making the bookmark popular would increase Digg's inlinks to it and hopefully grab Digg members off of the SERP. If Digg ranked high, Digg members would Digg it out of vanity/curiosity (or at least a small percentage would). Digg's trustrank, freshness, relevance and authority would keep the bookmark at #1. I just had to get the bookmark in the top 5 and the Digg users would take care of the rest. After social bookmarking the bookmark itself, it grabbed rank 3 for the term and made the Digg front page 3 hours later. Google's immediate indexing of Digg's internal links was all that mattered, which increased as users Dugg the site.

In short, Digg members found the bookmark by clicking the Google logo, which was ranked so highly because Digg members found the bookmark by cl… And in the middle of all of this was the real target: the average Google searcher wanting to know why Google was endorsing "January 1 TCP/IP" SERP.

Four Listings:

As a side-benefit of using Digg and Blogspot, I had some domain-level authority to play around with. I wrote another article and added a link with the keyword phrase in its anchor text. Pinged it and voila, ranks 1, 2 and 3. After Digging the new article I held the top four links for the target keyphrase.

Copycats:

If you spent some time on the SERP yesterday, you saw sites like "january-1-tcpip.blogspot.com", "january-1-tcp-ip-123.blogspot.com" and "january-1-tcp--ip.blogspot.com," none of which were created by me. The pages are hosted on Blogspot since my work with Digg established blogspot.com as a relevant domain for the keyphrase, which helped them rank in the top 10. Additionally, an SEO was occasionally able slide into rank 2 by persistently adding new Digg bookmarks optimized for the keyphrase.

Monetization:

The site received over 300,000 unique hits of traffic converting at below half of a percent.

Mistakes:

  1. Not using the traffic to promote other sites.
  2. Writing for Google and not the users. This bookmark had the potential to become the number 1 most Digged of all time.
  3. AdSense: non-optimized layout, using AdSense at all.
  4. SERP defense. I mentioned the site had rankings 1-4 but now only has 1-3 (or 1,3,4 depending on the data center).

The result of clicking on the Google logo:

Published: January 4, 2008

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Comments

January 4, 2008 - 2:23am

Very cool idea. SO how much did you make? :)

January 4, 2008 - 2:58am

HA! Love the content at january-1-tcp-ip.blogspot.com. With all sorts of strange things thrown in, it reads like some sort of acid trip.

January 4, 2008 - 3:47am

Wow, interesting sequence, and a good test of SEO prowness, and this will probably lead to many jobs for this person.
"Guest post by Ryan Durk"

300,000 Uniques, he should make about 3000 dollar mas or menos depending on price of bids for the words, and not bad for an intellectual assault.

I have been trying to understand this instant indexing, and utilize or leverage my blog traffic. My readers are global and I have incoming click from IP from the whole planet, not just the USA. Google feels favorable, I am testing as I move from country to country.

I am not sure, interesting play here, and a smart person, however not a day, in day out money maker plan, the model has elements to utilize. Blogging about current events or topics is always a good ride.

I raised oops, I fell-down traffic on my site about 80 percent by updating all 50,000 pages and then re-publishing on FTP. Not that simple, but something like that. I try to list how to make a page policy for the techies to follow, they do not undersand the SEO, I just give them the list of what to do and hope they stay on the same page.
Global Update To Code In Body Of Web Pages Monthly

January 4, 2008 - 7:15am

Excellent case study, thanks. =)

January 4, 2008 - 5:57pm

ok, this question is going to expose a massive gap in my knowledge, but still, i need to know: what does he mean when he says: "Pinged it and voila, ranks 1, 2 and 3."

- what is he pinging?
- how is he pinging it?
- the SERPS reacted *that*quickly* to it???

thanks for exposing my n00bness. cheers, and happy new year. :)

January 4, 2008 - 6:25pm

so you got about 1500 clicks for an extremely specific technology. I assume the profit was around $700. Not bad for 1/2 day work.

January 4, 2008 - 6:26pm
January 4, 2008 - 8:28pm

Circular SEO...I like that. Did you buy the domain yet?

January 8, 2008 - 4:14am

Hi,

Have you read a post of Google Operating System blog about January 1 TCP/IP?
http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2008/01/google-artificially-promotes-re...

It says Google artificially promotes recent web pages.

Does the freshness of Ryan's article really have anything to do with his high rankings?

January 8, 2008 - 6:22am

It is not that fresh pages get promoted on all queries, just that fresh pages from trusted sites might get some small relevancy boost, and if a query's seems to be about recent news they shift to a Query Deserves Freshness algorithm that surfaces more recent information.

  • The put recent articles from trusted news sources near the top of the search results.
  • QDF may be enacted if search profile of a keyword is spikey with a recent large jump OR if many trusted news sites or other trusted publishers recently talked about a topic
January 14, 2008 - 1:32am

Hah, that's freakin awesome. Good job!

January 31, 2009 - 3:53pm

Wish I could post a screen shot up here of what I just found. I did a google search for Ryan Durk and every link on the first 2 serp's had "This site may harm your computer" including the link to this post, which came up 3rd in the search. Any of those links clicked on produce a google warning page that makes one hesitant to go any further. If you decide to not heed their warning you have to manually cut & paste the link from that page, or delete part of the address that got you there. Point being it doesn't appear Google wants anyone reading anything about Ryan Durk. Is this punishment from Google?

January 31, 2009 - 11:27pm

It was a Google error Heidi. For a while every search result was doing that :)
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/this-site-may-harm-your-computer-...

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