Jonathan Leger – SEO And Internet Marketing Blog Internet Marketing Blog


Over One Year Later – Still Going Strong

In August of last year I started a case study on building a small niche site from scratch and using to get the site ranked in Google. All of the work I did to put the site together took about 5 hours (from start to finish). I posted a follow-up in May of 2008, showing that the site was still going strong.

Well, it's been over a year now (about 15.5 months actually), and I thought I'd do another follow up. I can't tell you how many nay-sayers have told me that would get sites banned from Google, and how quickly the "Google gods" would catch on and stop the network from working.

Blah, blah, blah, yack, yack, yack. Nay-sayers are so annoying. The reality is that my case study site is doing better than ever! Let's take a look, shall we?


First, there's the overall traffic to the site, which has risen over time. November was its second best month this year, with over 4,000 unique visitors, most of whom came from Google, as the next image shows.


As you can see, almost all of the site's traffic came from Google. The traffic is great, but what's more exciting is the AdSense earnings from the site. Here's November's earnings:


November was the best month so far, at $230.55. Remember how much the site earned when I did the update in May? Take a look:


Only $103.60. Quite a difference, no? A rise of about 223%. How much has the site earned total in AdSense revenue since it was created?


More than $1,800 so far. Let's see: $1,837.46 divided by five hours of work... that's $367.49 an hour this site has earned me. Would you say it was worth putting the five hours into building it? I'd say so! Put up one site per week and do the math -- not a bad living, I'd say.

What's very interesting to me is that the longer the site stays well-ranked in Google, the higher the AdSense eCPM goes. So I'm earning more per visitor now than I ever was. I'm not sure if Google's "smart pricing" has decided that the site converts well for advertisers, or if I've just got a new set of advertisers, but it's certainly doing well in the eCPM department.

If you remember my original case study, I said my goal was for a site to earn $3 a day on average. In November my case study site earned about $7.67 per day on average, well over twice my goal. I'd call that a success! For its entire life, the site has earned roughly $4.08 per day on average -- still well over my goal. If my eCPM stays high, that daily average will continue to rise as well.

So does work to get sites ranked in Google and keep them there? The numbers speak for themselves.

Please post your questions and thoughts in a comment below.

Related Internet Marketing Q&A

Comments (69) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Hi Jon,

    I read in a seperate report that 3 Way Links had been implemented together with a software known as “Hyper VRE” which enables one to easily create content websites (which I too own as well).

    Being a new subscriber to 3 Way Links, I am aware that you’ll need to provide a header and footer data in the setup account for every single site.

    As such, is there is a “quicker” way to provide this header and footer information from my Hyper VRE site into my 3 Way Links account? Thanks!

  2. Hello Jonathan,

    New to your SEO blog and found it very interesting. You mentioned that the site is a niche market web site. Have you tried your technique on a site in a more competitive field, such as real estate? For some websites that are not in a very competitive field, linking isn’t as critical as in others. A web site that has good onstie optimization can perform very well, given weak competition. The true test is to SEO sites that have tons of competition. Thanks!

  3. Thanks for the update Jon and for all the answer above,

    Now I am ready and feel more excited in using 3WL.

    I already a member of 3WL and still waiting my site approved.

  4. It seems when I get building wordpress blogs down a little better I am going to sign up. I have just had a few up for the last few weeks. I am learning.

    Thanks for the update,

  5. Thank you for sharing this, it’s awesome.


  6. I haven’t tried 3WL yet – but I’m going to. It definitly seems like the best “set it and forget it” link-building strategy I’ve found yet.

  7. Hi Jon,

    Really enjoyed this case study, so much so I will have a go at following your lead and see what happens.

    One thing though, I see you still have a link up to Niche Inspector, you might want to remove it now that it has died, perhaps replace it with a different provider, or maybe that could be your next project, :-)



  8. I must say Jonathan, very impressive and encouraging. I’m just wondering if you’ve had any problems with Hyper VRE? At this point would you still use Hyper VRE or just start with a blog straight off?


  9. So you created a site in 5 hours – keyword research, site creation, content writing, article distribution, social bookmarking – and then you used 3WL to generate incoming links and achieve top ranking for your keywords.

    After one year, this site makes about $250 a month. Normally, if you had continued with keyword research and adding content on a regular basis the monthly income would have been substantially higher.

    The reason I’m asking is that on you give the example that a site put through the 3WL system will average $150 per month. If the system works as you say, the earnings should be much higher given that the webmaster publishes fresh content on a regular basis.

    I’m surprised that you didn’t continue to add content to this case study site. The earnings would have been bigger and people would have been even more interested in the 3WL membership.

  10. Johnathan,

    Thank you for the follow up on this case study. A question I had was where are you ranking for your 3-way links keywords? Also are many of your long-tail keywords on the first page of Google? By how many different keywords did people find your site last month? How are your 10 internal pages ranking for those 10 keywords?

  11. Hi Jonathan,
    I did a test about a year ago on 3waylinks. I set up 175 websites and about 50 of them had 3waylinks. Within a few months the 50 picked up more traffic, better ranking, and some pr than the other sites. One year later and those 50 sites still outrank the other 125 in all areas.
    Thanks again for some great software.

  12. great progress! Congrats. Any other projects in the works?


  13. John,

    I think the problem with most in the IM community is that they don’t try things for themselves. They rely on what others tell them to formulate opinions on link networks and such. You can’t succeed in this industry unless you give things a shot for yourself. Your little case study proves that many are missing out big time because they’re buying into misinformation that others are spouting right and left. You’ve done an amazing job at showing how imperative it is that IMers do things for themselves before formulating theories.

  14. Thanks for providing a tool that get our site to be ranked in Google.By SEO we can promote our site to increase the traffic to our website.

  15. Outstanding results for this website. 3waylinks seems to be a winner. It looks as thou this is all you will get out of this site, not that $200 a month is bad for 1 site, like you said if you could duplicate the results with 10 plus sites the revenue you make would be very handy.


  16. Jon, would you attribute your high CTR in large part to the topic of the website, or do you think the placement of the ads and blending of the ads with the site material had the greatest effect.

    Nice reports btw.

  17. Hey Jonathan

    Great case study and your theory on 3 way links has worked out. i’m surprised about how many comments reflect a – well lets see if it works out over the next year.

    Who knows what’s gonna work out over the next year. But if all things stay equal then you’ll make another $200 a month off this site. Seems worth a 5 hour risk to me.


  18. I have been using 3WL since January 2008 and have had excellent results. It works especially well with good, well-designed sites with real content and a few other backlinks, say from PR6 sites like You can use articles with links from high PR sites for quality and 3WL for quantity (although there is some quality there too).

    What doesn’t work well is expecting it to be a ‘miracle cure” and convert a “sow’s ear” old site into a “silk purse” winner. It will help some but not nearly so much as with a good site.
    In the test Jon started with a good site and got great results!

    3WL gives you a domain quota of 50 domains. Imagine 50 sites at 5 hours each to set up and.$1,837.46 income each. And that in 15 months. Do the math!

    Jorge Chavez (jorchav)

  19. Great case study but need to wait for more than 1 year to see the impact.

    May I see the case study for 1waylink?

  20. Anthony- I did some checking into the 30 minute backlinks deallio and wasn’t too impressed. It’s building little software utilities that people download. The way you get your links is posting them on download sites. It’s not free either.
    I may be wrong but to me it looks like if you were to just submit some good articles to top 30 or so directories every week you’d get alot more mileage out of your link building efforts. You can have varying anchor text..deep links to internal pages which you will not get with the 30 minute program.
    Last note- if you do search for her terms cool tattoos…don’t think her site is anywhere in the rankings that I can see.

    And Jon- many thanks for adding this..I’ve been following this case study and am really happy that it’s worked so well for you!

    And PPS- it really would be cool to get gistit up and running again at some point when/if you have time.



  21. I have gotten adsense from google and have never figured it out to get it up on my site . I figured out some other kind of add program got tired of running it because it was a lot of work and all I ever made was 1 dollar and I had it up for months when I took it down part of my website went with it .
    Would I do it again maybe if I could figure out adsense but I have not been able to ..

  22. i bougth 3 way link . net the last month

  23. Does 3-way links work well with eCommerce sites or just sites that are Made for Adsense, article marketing sites, etc?

  24. Any chance of you running a Christmas Special or Economic Stimulus Deal of $27.00 month like when you launched 3waylinks?
    I would be in, In a heart beat.

  25. Nice words Jon

    I hope it’s true what you re saying.

  26. Hi Jonathan,
    Michelle MacPhearson is selling a backlink product for $100. I think it’s called 30 Minute Backlinks.
    Any comment or review available on this?

  27. Hey John,

    I was thinking that maybe you should come out with a program that would give .edu and .gov links to websites and blogs. I know this would be a powerful tool and a lot of people would definitely buy it, including me.

    If you decide to do this, my email address is provided in the “information” section of this comment.

    Thanks John,
    Philip Mansour

  28. Hi Jon,

    Do you think 3 way links would work for old sites(less than 1 year but more than 6 months) that have already been indexed and have some links already pointed at them from articles, directory submissions etc

  29. I have been hoping you would do an update. I just read all the other comments. It would be interesting to see if you had added another dozen articles like one a month for the last year also.

    Which would you buy if you were only going to do one. One way links or 3 way links?


  30. Nice work Jon. Thanks for inviting me to look it over. :O)

  31. Hello,

    I cannot thank you enough for this post. I have wandered by your blog a few times and I have wondered what you did with the site. Great writeup. Have you done a similar project on your one way links?


  32. Wow, thanks for the update Jon. Thats doing really well.

    Your posts always give me more motivation to do more, and remind me that it’s not that difficult to earn money online.

    Thanks again!


    PS – Without releasing your keywords obviously, whats the competition like for your selected keywords, and where are you ranking for said keywords?

  33. Do the links appear in the BODY part of the website ? Do the links rotate from time to time?

  34. Hi Jon,
    i have a question for you.
    If i use 3waylinks and 1waylinks together strengthens my ranking on google or if use 3waylinks is unnecessary to use 1waylinks?

  35. Hey JL, I have a site using 3WL. It started off ranking pretty well, but now it gets virtually no traffic. You mentioned in a comment reply above that sometimes Google doesn’t rank “garbage sites.” I certainly don’t consider my site garbage, but can you clarify what that means exactly? For example, I was told that since this site is a sales letter for an ebook I’m selling, it’s important that I have a privacy policy. I guess not having one would deem my site “garbage” by Google’s standards. Could you elaborate?

  36. You certainly haven’t demonstrated that is better than any other method for obtaining incoming links.

    I haven’t? What other method is as set-it-and-forget-it? You can have 3WL trading links to your site in 5 minutes, and then you just leave it alone and let it work. What other method of link building is so simple?

    Excuse my ignorance, but what is WCA?

    WebComp Analyst

    If I use 3waylinks do I still have to post to blogs and get backlinks to my sites?

    It depends on what you’re trying to rank for. If it’s very competitive, 250 links may not be enough and you may want to get more from other sources as well.

    How would I know the anchor text to be used for 3 way links?

    You can use 3 link texts with each site in 3WL. I always recommend the 60/30/10 rule: 60% of your links should go to your primary keywords, 30 to your secondary and 10 to least.

    Now that the case study is over, would you mind sharing the URL of the website you built, so we can see exactly what you have done?

    No-can-do. That violates the terms of service for 3WL and is a security risk.

  37. You should give away a free copy of the program to one lucky poster to this article.

  38. What is WCA?

  39. Hi Jon,

    Now that the case study is over, would you mind sharing the URL of the website you built, so we can see exactly what you have done?
    I know this will effect your visitor stats, but if the study is finished then you shouldn’t mind us looking at it.

    If you don’t want to skew your stats, can you post a screen shot of the site?

  40. If I use 3waylinks do I still have to post to blogs and get backlinks to my sites? How would I know the anchor text to be used for 3 way links?


  41. Okay, so you’ve demonstrated that incoming links helps a page rank in Google (and other major search engines) and that as you improve ranking you improve traffic.

    But that’s pretty much all one can conclude by this “experiment”.

    You certainly haven’t demonstrated that is better than any other method for obtaining incoming links, nor that three way links are any better than reciprocal links.

  42. If 250 is good, and works,…why not delay a short time then do another 250 or 500?

    If you have too many links then you start popping up in Google’s radar. 3WL is designed to avoid that.

    Would like to know if it works for blogs?

    Yes, it works for blogs. There’s even a WordPress plugin for it.

    What is the age of the domain?

    It was brand new when I put it in 3WL.

    Are you posting new content to the niche site regularly?


    If your IAW is used for the content creation why we should buy HypreVRE Gold?

    HyperVRE Gold is what I used to put the articles together into a site. IAW doesn’t build the site, it just helps you write the articles.

    Your experiment would not be as successful now.

    I’m adding sites to 3WL all the time, and they’re all ranking great when I do the keyword research properly. Where are you getting this idea? Lots of success stories still to come for 3WL.

    Care to share the style of ad and placement you’re using? How many adsense ads on the page?

    One 336×280 block above the fold (upper-left of the page) and one 250×250 to the left of the article on the page.

    Have you actually not done any additional promotion?

    I submitted it to two dozen or so social bookmarking sites after having a problem with my ranking because of some server downtime, but that’s it.

    Now that you have spent lots of time writing WCA, how would you do the keyword selection for this site (if you could do it again)?

    If I had it to do over again, I would use WCA for the link analysis that’s for sure.

  43. Hi Jon,

    Thanks for posting this. Let me say, that I am very impressed. Both of your accellerating traffic curve considering the low level of maintenance, and on the CTR as well!
    One out of every five visitors clicks on Adsense – hard to believe IMO.
    I know that you rarely reveals your chosen niches and keywords, but it is definitely not a Quiz site;-)

  44. Jon;

    I went back and looked at the original case study video. You were pretty casual about how you selected the keywords.

    Now that you have spent lots of time writing WCA, how would you do the keyword selection for this site (if you could do it again)?


  45. Could you please just give the same dollar figures AFTER you have paid all the memberships – i.e 3waylinks – that are necessary for each site as it seems you push that system as almost “magic”

  46. Hi Jon.

    According to your figures it’s time to rethink the placement of Adsense on my blogs. It took 2 years to earn my first $100 check. Laughable, eh?

    By the way, will GistSearch ever be repaired? It’s a great tool, when it’s working. Have you considered selling it as a stand-alone desktop software application?


  47. Hi John,
    Since I subscribed your maillist, I have implemented 3 way links building manually, and I got better traffic to my site. But it spends much time. If I have budget, Your 3 waylinks is good choice to cut working time. Thanks for your motivating case study.

  48. What an incredible case study! I’m starting up a few niche sites myself in the coming weeks so I can have additional revenue streams as well as further assets to fall back on. It’s going to be great!

  49. Hi Jon,

    Thanks for the update to your sites visitors and earnings. And well done on the success you’ve had!

    Forum signatures and blog comments on ‘do-follow’ blogs is also a great way to rank for long tail keywords.


    ~ Peter Tremayne

  50. This is inspiring Jon!

    I know that I sometimes have a tendency to think that “I need to do this and, that, and those things if my site is to succeed” – sometimes with the result that I actually wound up canning the whole project! Your case study show that you can achieve respectable results with comparatively little effort involved.

    Also a question: Have you actually not done any additional promotion, besides 3waylinks and the initial article submissions?

  51. Jon –

    Your CTR of 13% seems too good to be true – not that I don’t believe your numbers – I just wanna know how you’re getting 910/6915 to click the adsense ads. A typical clickthrough would be more like 90 clicks for so many impressions.

    Care to share the style of ad and placement you’re using? How many adsense ads on the page?

    Thanks for sharing the great information and this case study in particular!

  52. I was actually thinking about this case study the other day, wondering how the site is doing now. Glad to hear that it’s still doing well.

    I’ve had great success with 3waylinks. If you can find the right long-tail keywords to use as text links, it’s money in the bank.

  53. Not to sound negative, but at the time you put that site to the 3waylinks network the quality of the links was higher than it is now. Most of the sites people are putting in the network since than are very new sites, so the quality and authority of links is lower. Your experiment would not be as successful now.

  54. You suggest us to buy 4 products for the success. If your IAW is used for the content creation why we should buy HypreVRE Gold ?

  55. Thanks for the update Jon. You have made some very relevant points.

    I look forward to your future updates.


  56. Hey Jon, I am having much the same results from the new sites I am adding to my domains. The traffic is growing, but for some reason the income is almost non existant.

  57. Hi Jon,

    The case studying was very interesting and those are some amazing results.

    I am wondering though..are you posting new content to the niche site regularly? Or is the site the same as the day you created it?

  58. What is the age of the domain ? Can that play a factor?

  59. Hi Jon

    Thanks for the update – I have been following your case study with great interest from the very beginning…
    I guess it was a very chosen niche and you put some effort in determining the traffic potential.
    When I started out I often made the mistake that even though I managed to get top spots on google(often number one) I did not get much traffic, because I chose something weird that was not searched often enough…
    Very good point in your answer to Sconti: You have to go for quality….


  60. I wanted to say thank you for your Instant Article Wizard. I’ve bin using that baby to get great articles posted on ezines and article sites. Even a daily blogpost is now a breeze in the sail. I’m ready to go offshore now, sailing to the Island of Fortune and Ridiculously Rich Treasure! Thanks for such an easy tool to use!
    Wish you good luck and keep up the pageranking dude!


    T.K. Quincy

  61. Jon,
    I’m a happy half way user of 3 Way Links. By that I mean I had to stop using it (and everything else I was doing) when I had a stroke.
    It did get my NEW site ranked in 15 days! With 105 3 Way Links! :)

    2 keywords are Top 10 results on Google!

    The only other linking was with a few articles.

    Now I’m back to work and ready to continue, can this be re-started on the same sites? Will your delivery system be able to handle that? I would like to get the full 250.

    Next question….if 250 is good, and works,…why not delay a short time then do another 250 or 500 or??? Wil this ever be possible?

    Would like to know if it works for blogs? If a page is added are the benefits the same?

    Do YOU use it on this blog?


  62. Really nice case study…Congrats

  63. JL… you always speak the truth and code beautiful tools… Thanks for a great post. Haven’t looked at 3WL in awhile, I’ll do so now. Tim

  64. scarface:

    Article marketing is your best bet on a limited budget.

  65. I’m very interested in but that is to high from me bcause I’m a newbie..can you suggest the other ways to link building

    Thanks in advance

  66. Interesting case study, Jon. Glad to see how successful your experiment has been so far. Wonder where it will be a year from now…

  67. Sconti:

    My experience has been that if you try to use 3WL to rank garbage sites, it can hurt you. But if you have a site that is actually valuable and has quality info on it, then there’s no worries, because if Google ever does a manual review (and they often do), they see that you have a quality site and leave it there. Thus my niche case study site has been riding high on page one all this time.

  68. Interesting case study, Jon.
    And the hourly rate isn’t too bad ;)

    Question: do you think that having the only incoming links to your blog/site beeing from 3WL could hurt or suspect G ?


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