2017 Review: I Bought a $1,000 Hoth Mega Small and Here’s What Happened

October 31, 2017 Update:

The quick summary is I didn’t see my rankings increase from the $1,000 Hoth Small. While TheHoth.com does have solid customer service and they did try to work with me (including offering me added services to boost my ranking), I can’t recommend them because the core product doesn’t perform.

Great customer service only has meaning if the product works. With a prior citation purchase, I did see the ranking for a client increase results in the local maps but as far as the Small package, I wish I would have asked for a refund sooner.

For this update, I went back and looked at the PBN links they sent me and the domains as well as the site setup (very clear it was a PBN) was a disappointment.

I’d suggest less Ric Flair appearances and more dedication to buying high quality domains and building up strong private blog networks.

I do give them credit for disclosing the actual links though.

I have a streak of riverboat gambler and I’m not afraid to throw a thousand dollars into the wind if I feel like the wind might give me something good back.

Right after Christmas, I lit up The Hoth’s scoreboard with a $1,000 ding.  Below you will find out what happened after the money transferred hands.

Setting the Table

I have a company in a fairly uncompetitive niche.

Let’s put the competitiveness this way: On the first page for my primary keywords there’s an Amazon and Home Depot page but no one’s coming for it like gangbusters.  There may be a stray affiliate out there for my niche but that’s it.

I was/am trying to rank both my money site and a supporting blog site on an EMD with articles that bolster what my money site sells.

At the time I placed my order, the EMD was not getting any traction.  It was in G but not showing up well for anything despite some really well written long form content, interlinking, and it being an EMD.

The money site was one of those homepage only sites that you can click to the subpages and it’ll scroll down to that part of the website on the homepage.

It has a lot of text, videos, and pictures but, again, it’s only one page.

With that in mind, here’s the timeline of what went down:

On December 28, 2016 I ordered a Mega Small from The Hoth for my company.

On February 21, 2017 my report was rendered complete.

After receiving the notice, I wrote back:

I’ve received no rank results from this.  Yes, my Trust Flow and Domain Authority has increased but I don’t rank any better before spending $1,000 than I do after.

I think the EMD domain is a can.  It shows up in Google but for some reason Google doesn’t like the site.

The other domain is fine (it’ll show up on pages 3-4-5-6-7 for some long tail) but it doesn’t rank in the first 5 pages for any of my prime keywords.

Just wanted to get The Hoth‘s comment on the results.

If that’s all that comes of this, I understand.  I took a risk on ordering this package.  I was hopeful but these things don’t always work out.

Jessie replied:

Thanks for reaching out to us! We always appreciate the feedback.Would you mind clarifying which domain you’re referring to when you say the ‘EMD domain’?

I’ll go ahead and take a deeper look into your rankings for you. As soon as I have more information, I’ll be sure to let you know!

On March 1, Jessie wrote back:

Thanks for your patience! I’ve taken a look into these sites for you.

First, I’ve looked into [one of my two websites]. As the Press Release was done for your other site, I would suggest finding a way to build out some natural anchors for this site. Attached is your anchor text profile from Ahrefs. You want to make sure you also have some natural anchor text in your anchor text profile. Here’s a blog post about this more in detail:  https://www.thehoth.com/blog/anchor-text/

I would also suggest building out your site a bit more. You want to make the site appear informative, authoritative and user-friendly in Google’s eyes. You can see more on On Page optimization here: https://www.thehoth.com/blog/on-page-seo/

Looking at your HOTH Guest Post 4 pack order, I’m seeing this was completed February 21st. We suggest waiting about 4-6 weeks after your Mega package is complete to see significant results.

I’ve also taken a look at [my other website], I see this is also a one-page site. I would suggest building this out as well, as you want to make sure Google sees you as an authority site.

Your anchor text profile is really balanced for this site. Attached is a report from Ahrefs.

I see the keyword ‘[a keyword]’ have moved up to position 24. I would suggest waiting 2-3 more weeks to see movement for the keywords from your Guest Post order.

Overall, I would suggest creating more natural anchors for [website 1], building out the sites for [website 1] and [website 2], and give it a little more time for your Guest Post links to be crawled and indexed and for rankings to change.

If you still don’t see any movement, please message us back! I’d be glad to create a solution moving forward, and offer a HOTH Link Building package on the house.

In the meantime, please let me know if you have any questions. I’m happy to help!

More Backstory

Money Site

On or about March 7, my money site domain had expired and had a Godaddy parked page for 4 days.

I know this because I had just set up a PPC campaign and the page was working fine and then I check up on it 4 days later and I find out the domain had been expired.  There’s a clear drop off in my Adwords account that shows this.

My money site was ranked #1 for my branded keywords (nobody’s competing for them) and #25 for my primary keywords.

Blog Site

Around February 15, I de-optimized my blog site’s content because I thought there were too many keywords on it so I majorly reduced the amount of keywords both in the URLs, page titles, and body content.

The site wasn’t ranking anyways so I figured this might help.  It didn’t.

I mention these things because they could very well have affected things.  I don’t think they had a dramatic impact now that things have sorted themselves out but you never know and I want to be as fair and objective as possible so I included both.

The reality is we don’t live in a static environment so unless you’re doing some serious empirical testing, it’s impossible to separate and isolate every last dynamic variable.

For example, what if the EMD was previously penalized (it was dropped before)?  How would anyone know?

What if some of the links I built before ordering the Mega got indexed while this campaign was going on?

And so.  You get my point.  Stuff happens.  Unless you take this stuff to the laboratory, it’s hard to be conclusive.

Immediate Post-Buy SKYPE Consultation

The Hoth arranges for you to talk to someone after you buy a Mega.

When I talked to whoever it was, they said my sites looked good and everything was good to go.

Jessie’s point that I needed to build out my money site was fair because it’s true but that’s something that you would think would come up in the consult.

As for the over-optimization, I actually had to tell The Hoth to scale back my keywords because they were counting my EMD as a brand.

For example, they were giving me branded keywords for doghouses.com as “dog houses”.  I got on them immediately about this so as not to overdo it on the anchor text.

Other than that, I left them alone because I figured these guys run these campaigns all the time, surely they know what they’re doing.  Hell, maybe I’m being overly cautious.

Ultimately, I was paying them $1k to see what they could do and I didn’t want to tell them how to do their job.

Thoughts

I was trying to take a shortcut.

I hoped that if I threw a $1,000 at my sites, they’d rise in the ranks and I’d easily get my ROI.

I knew full well when I submitted my credit card that I might get nothing in return and I was willing to take that gamble.

Nearly 4 months later, I lost just about 100%.

As an example of where I’m at now, if I search “best [main keywords], both of my sites are on page 7.

The benefits are my blog site has a trust flow of 13 and a citation flow of 11.

The money site is at 15 and 36 probably because of the additional work I do for it.

If you’re reading this review, I want you to keep in mind that this was one experience for one person and we all know how wacky the SERPs can be.

I wanted to put out an objective review because there aren’t but a few out there.

My personal takeaway is that you can’t expect to outsource your rankings away for a $1,000 one-time fee.

Like I said, this was a true gamble and I was hoping that because there wasn’t that much competition, I could buy a Mega and surge up the results.

I have nothing against The Hoth and I’ll still order from them, but next time I do it will be for strategic purposes (i.e. getting a press release) and not a hero ball move like what you see above.

The customer service was solid and I was given full reports of the links they built.

Just didn’t work out for me.

Do you have a Hoth review?  Whether it’s good or bad, please share your experience below.