Aug ’19 Update:
I no longer recommend The Hoth. The Hoth has done nothing wrong and I have nothing against it in particular, but I am against the strategy of buying links — it goes against my philosophy of marketing.
In the interest of my readers, I no longer recommend buying links of any kind to manipulate rank. It is not a long term strategy and although it may work for some people, I don’t think it’s a true strategy or makes you a better marketer in any way.
Since I published this post, I’ve made more than $400 in commission. It made me feel sick to receive my last payout because I’m making money recommending something I wouldn’t use for myself. While I could have left my affiliate links on this post and keep receiving commission, I’ve realized I can’t put a price on my credibility.
I could just delete this post, but because it’s fairly popular, I decided to leave it published with an update for people to see. Eventually, I will delete this post.
Are you were on the fence of deciding to purchase The Hoth? This five month review will help give you a definitive answer.
I’ve purchased The Hoth Platinum package twice back in February 2014, nearly 5 months ago, as a tool to help build a solid base layer of links. That was its purpose for me. What does The Hoth advertise itself as?
Judging by their tagline (which is absolutely fantastic by the way), they are positioning their product as a full, outsourced solution to link building for SEOs and maybe the above average tech savvy website owner.
When I purchased The Hoth, I never believed it would replace all my link building efforts, but that’s what they want you to believe. Does their claim hold up?
Before we get to that, let’s take a quick look at how The Hoth works. They provide a very nice page that explains exactly what links they build and how they build them and created this nifty graphic to give you a visual explanation.
In short, they create free blog accounts called top level blogs/domains and the number they create for you depends on the package you choose. Once these are created, they have their team of writers publish blog posts on them that are either all unique and original or they are spun (articles that are taken and modified through automatic software to appear original to non human readers like Google and other search engines). The articles are either written by native English speakers or by native Filipinos who speak and write English well. Again, this depends on the package you get.
Once the top levels have their content, they build links to them with web 2.0 articles. Then they create Social Bookmarks and profile links that link back to those Web 2.0 articles. And finally they slowly roll out their “volume module,” which consists of either 50 or 200 private network posts. Here’s how The Hoth describes it on their Link Building Strategy Page:
We slow-drip each article to our own network of PR sites over a period of 3+ weeks. By slow-dripping these articles, we create a steady link velocity. This means you’ll get a natural flow of links over a long period of time, not just all at once.
As you can see, their link building product creates a tree-diagram-like layer of links. The social bookmarks and profile links boost the SEO power of the web 2.0 articles with a mass of lower quality links. The web 2.0 articles are hosted on authoritative domains that help improve the quality and trust factor of the links on them even though the links built to them are of low quality. Although there are fewer web 2.0s than social bookmarks and profile links, the links from them will be rated higher quality. Then, the web 2.0s link to the top level blogs/domains. The same principle occurs here as it did before — there are a higher number of web 2.0 links than top levels created, but the top levels should have much higher SEO power. And finally, the top levels (the number of them again depends on your package) should have strong enough SEO power to be a great link to your website.
But the question is, is it good enough to be the only tool you need to build links? Let’s look at the data 5 months after I purchased The Hoth platinum package.
Which Package is Right For You?
The most important factor to look at when deciding which package to purchase is the number of top level blogs/domains created because those links will be the most effective. Here’s a quick breakdown of a package comparison.
When broken down, it becomes extremely obvious that the platinum package is the best bang for your buck. The mini is not worth it whatsoever. Even though the mini gets you 3 top level domains, each one will only have one spun article posted to it, and the links pointing to it won’t be as many or as strong. You can buy a permanent PBN post from someone or company for less and get more value.
Although the results package offers just one more top level blog than the mini you get 5 spun articles posted to each blog which gives them each a content boost. The price per top level blog/domain is a lot higher than the mini, but it includes 4 more spun articles posted to each blog, and the entire link building tree is much more robust. But for just $50 more you can get the platinum package and achieve a price per top level of only $31.25 with 24 100% original and unique articles.
You may also notice that the pricing for the platinum, results, and mini package go up to $475, $350, and $100 respectively if you get native English speakers writing your articles. It is my opinion that you don’t need the native English speaker upgrade unless your buying The Hoth for a client.
I have purchased the results package 3 times and the latest two times have been the platinum package. Let’s take a look now at how the last two platinum packages did for me.
Case Study #1: Consumer Vacuums
If you have been following along with the blog, you’ll already know about Consumer Vacuums, one of the niche sites I built. I used The Hoth platinum package to build a foundation of base layer links to the new domain I purchased for the site after I bought the website.
Let’s take a look at what Ahrefs, a domain analyzer and back link checking tool, comes up with for the 8 top level blogs/domains.
After 5 months from ordering, here is what my top level blogs metric’s look like. Remember these metrics are from Ahrefs and their URL rank and domain rank is not the same as open site explorer’s page authority (PA) and domain authority (DA) although they are measuring the same things.
Now let’s look at the other website.
Case Study #2: A FITvertise Client Site
I recently changed the name of my “agency” or client side marketing business to FITvertise (fitness + advertise) where I specialize in helping personal training studios grow their business through marketing.
For one of my clients, I ordered The Hoth platinum package on a domain we used to start ranking in their area. Here are the results:
A very similar story to the previous results, but I’m disappointed that Ahrefs couldn’t pull up any data for the last domain there. I checked Open Site Explorer using their free trial and they couldn’t pull up any results either for it. However, that being said, the site is live. It has somewhat of a strange URL structure so maybe that’s causing confusion with these tools’ bots, but I have no idea if Google is picking it up.
For $250, The Hoth created a mini private blog network for me that I have access to and can improve if I like. I can add more posts, edit the design, and even build more of my own links to them.
Was it worth $250?
Yes, because to create this on my own would have taken me much more time and probably cost a lot more to get them to these metrics. Hell, just paying a writer for 24 articles would cost me anywhere between $120 to $240.
Can The Hoth replace all link building?
No. In theory, you can purchase many more platinum packages, but even buying 5 of them for $1,093.75 (12.5% discount for buying in bulk) wouldn’t amount to great links for the price. That extra money is much better spent in building your own PBN or buying PBN posts from someone else’s network.
How should you best use The Hoth?
Here’s what I and also what Doug Cunnington of Niche Site Project does (you can see his review here): Because you want to keep your exact anchor text down to a low percentage of your total links, I save the exact match anchors for my high PR links or links from a PBN. For The Hoth, I use it as a foundation of links using generic anchor text (naked URL, business or website name if it’s not an EMD or PMD, name of the site’s persona/author, and generic terms) to increase my number of linking root domains, backlinks, and provides link diversity. This acts as sort of a pillowing technique or compliment to the high PR links. This is the only way I recommend using it, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way.
Should you buy it?
This depends on you. You can see the results and what it gets you, and you have to decide whether it’s worth it for your site considering your competition. For most sites, I think purchasing one platinum package is an excellent start. You can then build more links to your top level blogs/domains to increase it’s usefulness over time. In my opinion, buying more than one platinum package for the same website is not worth it.
If you have purchased The Hoth or have decided against it, please let me know in the comments how well it worked for you or what you used instead. Cheers!
Disclaimer: I was not asked or paid to write this post by any person affiliated with The Hoth company.
You might also enjoy
Is it everything the industry has been waiting for?
Why I stopped blogging on Medium and moved to a static, self hosted blog.
That’s what a client told me to my face in a meeting.
And here’s how I did it.