The Hoth Review: Backlink Building for Niche Sites
No doubt one of the most frustrating and challenging aspects of the niche site process is building backlinks to your sites.
When do you start building links? What kind of links are good for your site? How many links do you need?
It can be a confusing mess.
Well, when it comes to building links to my niche sites, there is a bit of a one-two step process that I like to follow to help ensure higher rankings and get my sites started on the right foot.
And in today's post, I'm going to show you Step 1 and exactly how I build the initial layer of links to a new niche site by using a trusted and proven backlink service called The Hoth.
Review of: The Hoth Link Building
Use: Building Backlinks
Build a nice tier of initial backlinks to your niche site.
Intuitive order form has you set up in minutes.
Wide price range of $60-$475 attractive to many.
Used on one niche site now ranking #4 in SERPs.
So you have a new niche site, and have picked out a broad market that you'd like to target, you've done the proper keyword research, you've identified some best-selling and profitable products that you'd like to promote, and you've finally got some killer written content up on your site.
And now, it's time to build some links.
Ah, link building. By far, the most asked-about topic I receive when it comes to niche sites.
Where do you go next? You know that you need some links back to your site in order to start your climb up the SERPs, but where do you begin?
For me, at this point, is all starts with The Hoth.
You may have heard me mention The Hoth a few times on here before. In the very first post I ever did on this site, I gave them a brief mention in the link-building section, and as of today, 28 of my readers went on to sign up with them.
So I'm glad to see that some of you have already signed up with them and are hopefully starting to see the value of the service.
What is The Hoth?
The Hoth, as you may have guessed by now, is a link-building service.
But this isn't some shady link-building service that you'd find on somewhere like Black Hat World. No, The Hoth is an actual SEO company with hundreds of clients and a long, documented history.
Check this screen shot from my account for a recent job I just had done for my Shower Specialists niche site.
Do you see my order # there? 38,353!
Bottom line: The Hoth has handled a lot of jobs before, and they know what they're doing.
The Hoth offers a couple of different product lines. For the purposes of this review, we're going to focus primarily on the standard Hoth package.
Take a look at that image above: it illustrates how The Hoth uses a tiered link building strategy to get your sites ranking higher in the SERPs.
What The Hoth does is build several layers of links, starting with the first tier of mini-authority top-level properties built on sites like WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr. Depending on which package you choose, The Hoth will create anywhere from 3-8 unique high-level properties.
They create these Tier 1 properties and articles so that they are relevant to your niche.
For the package that I ordered last month, I did The Hoth Platinum package with Filipino content, which got me 8 different top-level properties (WordPress, Tumblr, etc), including three unique articles on each site.
On each of these sites , for each article, there is a link pointing back to my money site.
That's the first tier of their link-building process.
The next step in the process involves The Hoth creating various Web 2.0 properties, social bookmarking links, and profile links that the link back to those top-level blogging properties (not your money site).
The point of all these supporting links is to make it seem like our top-level properties have gone "viral". You'll see in the screen shot above that my order included 35-75 Web 2.0s, 100-200 social bookmarks, and 500+ profile links.
The idea is to create multiple layers of link juice funneled through the top-level properties, which are linking to your niche site.
But the process doesn't stop there.
No, over the course of three weeks after your top-level properties have been completed, The Hoth will slow-drip each of your articles to their own private network of high PR sites, creating a nice, steady link velocity.
If you're more of a visual learner, here's a quick video from The Hoth, explaining the process.
Getting Started with The Hoth
When you first hop on over to The Hoth, you'll be greeted by a simple sign-up page (and the same video I just posted above).
Then you'll be taken to the Welcome screen, where you can browse around their different offerings.
As I mentioned above, for the purposes of this review, I'm going to be focusing on the first option here, "The Hoth" package.
(The second option they offer is a Local SEO service, which doesn't apply to our niche sites. Their third option, Hoth Blitz, is something you may want to also look into: they basically offer homepage blogroll type links on various PA30+ sites, and the links are permanent).
When you click on the "HOTH Tour" button above, and scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, you're shown all the various packages that you can purchase.
As you can see, there are a lot of different options, and one for everyone's budget.
What kind of package do I usually order? The Hoth Platinum package with standard Filipino content, for $250.
This gives me 8 top-level properties/blogs with unique written content on Tier 1, plus a load of Web 2.0s, social bookmarks, and profile links on Tier 2 that blast those top-level properties. My articles are then slow-dripped out over the course of three weeks to The Hoth's private network.
A quick word on the Filipino content, which is used for your Tier 1 properties. I find the Filipino content sufficient for my needs. No, these articles aren't going to win you any writing awards, but the content is unique and readable, so it's fine for me.
You can get American content written for each package, but it will cost you a lot more.
As I said though, what's nice about The Hoth's pricing structure, is that there's a package for everyone. If you just want to test the waters with a basic package, you can have one for only $60.
Placing Your Order
Once you've done enough browsing around, it's time to place your order.
You navigate back, and hit the "Place Order" button.
You're then taken the the New Order form.
Here is where you can enter all of your details.
You select your package type, the URL(s) for your money site, the keywords that you want to use (I prefer using brand name and naked URLs for keywords), and the "subject" and "category" of what your niche site is generally about.
You also have the option to include "co-citations", which I recommend. This means that for all the articles/posts on your Tier 1 properties, in addition to linking out to your money site, The Hoth will also include links to other authoritative sites, such as Wikipedia, making your articles appear more natural.
Once you've completed your order, you'll be taken to the "thank you" page, confirming your links.
Then, when you're logged into your Dashboard, you'll be able to keep track of the status of your order.
For my most recent order, which you can see was placed on May 29, I received the finished job on June 19th. So that should give you an idea in terms of turnaround.
Just a quick note here: customer support with The Hoth really is excellent.
Before I ordered my first package, I had some questions, so I e-mailed support. And they got back to me right away.
Greg Webb from their team, in particular, is fantastic with support and responding to any questions you may have.
So if you're afraid you're going to place an order with them and never get any answers to your questions afterward, don't be.
My Results with The Hoth
As I've noted a couple of times, here and elsewhere, I like to use The Hoth to build out an initial set of backlinks on newer sites.
You can certainly use them on older sites as well, but the process I generally like to follow is: pick a niche, build a site with content, use a links package from The Hoth for my first set of links, wait a little while to get initial rankings, then slowly build out some PBN links.
My first experience with The Hoth actually dates back to more than a year ago, with Niche Site 3, as you can see above (I would have used The Hoth on my other niche sites as well, but I hadn't heard of the service yet).
I ordered this package (Hoth Platinum) within one month of my site being published, to give you an idea of timeline.
Now, this was back when I was still a bit of a niche site novice, so I didn't have any subscription to services like SerpBook to track my rankings over time (back then I would manually check my rankings by typing my keywords into Google!), so I can't give you the full picture here.
But as anyone who has read one of my income reports already knows, this niche site is currently ranking #4 in the SERPs for its main keyword, and has been ranking in the top 10 for several months now.
Now, is that all due to The Hoth package that I bought last year? Of course not. This site has also received about 15 PBN links or so.
The Hoth will not get you onto Page 1 by itself, but it will certainly set you down the right path initially.
And for those of you wondering, no: NS3 has never been hit with a Google penalty.
Using The Hoth with My New Niche Site
As many of you know, I started a new niche site last month, and have revealed it publicly in this post here.
So, naturally, I thought it would be a good idea to order up a new Hoth Platinum package, which is what you've been seeing with some of the screenshots in this post already.
Again, I placed my order on May 29th, and received my completed report on June 19th. And then over the three weeks after that, The Hoth will slow-drip my articles through their private network.
My plan is to simply wait and let those links do their thing.
Patience is the name of the game these days when you're building out a new niche site. The Google sandbox can be brutal, so you just have to focus on adding great content, building out a nice set of initial links, and then waiting.
My new niche site was only registered in mid-May. One month later, I've now got my Hoth links pointed at it. So my timeline is to probably wait about two more months, see how I'm doing in the SERPs, and then probably add a few initial PBN links to the site.
Hopefully, this will give you a good idea of what kind of timeline I use when I'm building out a new site.
Of course, I plan on coming back after a few months to update this review with the results of my Hoth package with this new niche site.
Summary: The Hoth is my go-to link-building service for new niche sites. They create a nice, powerful layer of tiered links that will get your niche site off on the right foot to get in ranking in the SERPs.