Often, when I am working on a project, I do not have time to test individual SEO techniques. Instead, I need to throw the full weight of all my techniques into the project at once, in order to get the site off the ground as quickly as possible. Since my schedule for the last year has been hectic, I have not had nearly enough time to play around with individual tests as I would have liked. Starting today, I have decided to change that, and I will report back here with anything interesting that I stumble across.
History of this project: I created a site nearly a year ago. I applied all of the standard on-page optimization, got a few incoming links (32 to be exact), and then got overwhelmed with a much more important project. Consequently, the site I had started got put aside, and I have not touched it since. This site is focused on an extremely high-value, ultra-competitive term. Logic tells me that the only hope this site has to rank well in Google is to achieve an enormous amount of backlinks to it. Currently, it doesn't rank in Google at all. It does rank well for secondary keyword phrases in both Yahoo and MSN.
My goal with this test is to see what I can achieve by focusing only on on-page factors. I do not intend to seek out any additional backlinks. My hypothesis is that very little, if anything, will be achieved, but with all the recent changes to Google's algo, I want to test this fully so that old assumptions do not turn into wrong assumptions. So, this first SEO test will be to see what the effect of adding fresh content will have. Adding new content will be the only change I will make. A month from now, I will evaluate the results (if any), and then move on to the next test. If anything interesting crops up, you will know about it.