Also, I currently have two other domains that are registered with Squarespace, and I have their annual payments set up automatically so I never have to manually pay (and so nobody else gets that window of opportunity to take the domain away from me). Would it be possible that the owner of this domain might just have a similar system in place and that I might be wasting my time?
SEO is not as easy as it used to be. The market is very saturated now, content is now incredibly easy to generate and publish. Everyone and his dog (or gran!) can make a wordpress website. The main ranking factor for Google is still backlinks and will be for the foreseeable future. Your content might be better than your competitors but if they have more links they'll simply always outrank you and receive more traffic. Fair or not, its a fact. This method can see you get the strong backlink profile you need to rank #1. Please note a PBN is considered black hat so please diversify your backlink profile and do your research first.
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