Dead Cat Strategy – Downwards Trend on Sites a Bad Thing? – Case Study
In January of 2017, I took over a site that was on a decline. Most of the time people run away from sites that have a downwards trend because they believe the site is a goner. More times than none, the site is just lacking quality, consistent links as well as good content. This article will go in detail on the “Dead Cat Strategy” and how you could turn your site around.
I was like most other people when it came to buying sites that looked like these. I was very hesitant and in most cases refused to buy, or put too low of a price tag for the seller to sell. This site fell into my lap and so I decided to do some digging and find a system the could help turn the site around. What usually happens when sites start to do a decline is owners build it up, set up the monetization and then leave it for a while, only to go back and look to see it plummeting in the rankings.
When I bought the site, I wanted to do small tests to see if there was any possibility of turning the site around before I put more of an investment into it. At the time of buying it, the site was only ranking for 461 keywords and according to SEMRush, only had 3 as its traffic. So, I went through the rankings and picked out the landing pages for some keywords that the site was already ranking well for (10-40 ranking).[thrive_link color=’green’ link=’https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1gyTHSaLyotcNZtwWeOn20PvXdHKYduNEjjKIWaiNPHw/edit#gid=0′ target=’_blank’ size=’medium’ align=’aligncenter’]FREE Upgrade Content Template[/thrive_link]
I then asked my team to go to those landing pages and check out the content and run it through MarketMuse. Through MarketMuse I ran each article to see how they compared to other articles going after the same keyword. I found a lot of the content was very thin, and needed more words added to it. Once I did this within a few weeks I was able to see a few good bumps in the rankings. If you haven’t read my guide on how to do content upgrades, you can view that tutorial here.
After we saw the rankings increasing, I knew this site wasn’t a goner and just needed a bit hand holding to get it back on track. My team then did a bunch of keyword research and competitor analysis to find other keywords that my team could go after. Once this was completed, we put a good solid 10 additional articles on the site and have been rolling out 4-5 articles per month since then.
In conjunction to the articles being published on the site, I also had my team creating Done For You PBN sites as well as getting Use My PBN links pointed to keywords that were seeing a good increase in the rankings. After a few months (June 2017), we were seeing some great increase in both rankings and traffic.
1 Year into Having the site
After seeing the great results for this site, I bumped up the article creation to twice a week so 8 articles per month. I also continued to get the PBN links pointed to the articles but on top of that, I also did some genuine outreach and got a few good backlinks from other quality sites. Over the next 6 months, we continued with the links and the articles and almost tripled in traffic.
Overall, the site that I thought was doomed, has turned out to be a great test. Within 1 year, the site went from having traffic of 3 to over 20,000 as well as only ranking for 461 keywords to well over 6,000 keywords, a lot, which are in the top 1-3 position.
Now when I come across sites that are for sale that have a downwards trend I look at it more as an opportunity as in more times than none, the sites just been left alone for too long. There are still going to be the sites that are banned, deindexed or have spammy backlinks so make sure you check all of those before you buy but if everything looks clean, it may make a great investment.
Note – buying a site on a decline often stays on a decline so definitely a risk that needs to be sufficiently priced in if you are looking to buy. Sometimes I call this my “dead cat” strategy… if you can buy a site for cheap enough… kick it and see if it moves and if it moves give it some TLC… if it doesn’t move you can put it in the dumpster.
Hello Jon, not sure how I found your article (get a lot of email) and I will admit to not reading everything in this email but I’d like your opinion on something related…
I’m in the planning stages of building a WordPress blog about wilderness camping. I’ve received an email offering ‘auto-content software’.
The offer looks terrific and the price is not expensive but since I plan on being an Amazon Affiliate, I am truly concerned that they will discover that my blog content is not original and I will be dropped…
What are your thoughts regarding this issue?
Great article Jon! I have a few affiliate sites that I built out a year or so ago that have been left to collect dust. After reading this article I went to check in on rankings and one site is actually turining its self around on its own the other site has dropped to a few visitors a day at best!
I think implementing some new content and building links like you mentioned will get the site back on track.
I love your blog and services keep up the good work!
You are right. I’ve found that adding content, even without links sometimes, gives a “dead” site some new lease of life and some automatic rankings with age. I’m doing a similar project to what you did with the “Dead Cat Strategy”. I, however, have been slacking on content, only adding one article a week. I think I should ramp up the content to get better results.
I am always inspiring from you, Jon. You are real mentor. Thanks for your great sharing.