This is a case study on how I built a website that receives over 100,000 visitors per month, in less than 1 year, without spending $1 on advertising. This was done 100% through SEO and content strategy. Before we dive in, allow me to clarify a few things: The website reached over 100,000 visitors in 9 months. This was a new domain, registered just a couple months before launch. This was done in a language I do not read nor speak (Japanese). Japanese is a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_language, making it nearly impossible to use most of the popular SEO tools. Key Drivers of Traffic Growth There were a few key elements that led to the widespread and sustained growth of the project, these range from commonsense to technical, but come down to three main focus areas: Math – we took a mathematical approach to designing an evaluation model that would allow us to gauge opportunities based on their potential returns. Ultimately this led to the creation of what we now call our keyword opportunity evaluation, which is a financial model that measures the approximate output (traffic) based on a finite set of inputs, including elements like average DA, number of links / linking domains, age of site, content footprint, etc. Analysis – Using our newly built algorithm we got to testing, creating websites to test content patterns and architecture. We were quick to declare defeat within verticals without traction, and paid close attention to where the traffic was growing the most. The algorithm started to take shape and after roughly 3 months was able to identify within an order of magnitude the amount of traffic we could acquire for a given set of costs. Pumpkin Hacking – This is a term that I came across (thank you Peter Da Vanzo) that seems to describe exactly what we did to continue to grow our traffic by double and even triple digits, month after month. The core concept is simple; focus resources on building what works. What this meant for us was paying attention to the search verticals and content that received the most traffic, most comments, most social shares, and being quick to cut the cord on traffic that didn’t perform.