It has now been 1 month since we started the SEO work for Flower Child.
In the month 0 SEO case study post I covered keyword choice, on page SEO and some quotes from the client.
In this post I will run through the results so far and some of our link building tactics.
Results so far
In 4 weeks we have made it to the front page going from 31st to 5th which is pretty cool. Importantly however we are getting more traffic for the term. In fact while the actual traffic numbers are fairly low (I won’t reveal them here) the percentage improvement from week 1 to week 4 for the term is a whopping 280%!
It’s early days so we’ll continue to monitor the traffic and the numbers will get more reliable the longer we monitor it.
Existing link analysis
The existing link analysis is about finding out who is linking to you already and maximising those links. For example you might have one of your suppliers link to you with your business name as the anchor text. Just getting them to change this anchor text to the keyword you are chasing can make a big difference.
Theere are many ways to check backlinks but my basic steps are to:
- Use a tool like Linkdiagnosis.com (free) or SEO spy glass (paid) to obtain a list of all sites linking to yours.
- Sort the links by Google page rank (PR) that are ‘do follow’ (do follow means they count towards your Google authority). Basically the idea here is to not worry too much about the low level links going through to your site but focus on the high level ones. Google PR isn’t the be all and end all in page measures so if you have a better one then use that but the point is that if you have a lot of links you don’t have time to look at all of them.
- If the link looks like one that you might be able to contact the site owner and change then do so.
Note you can also use Yahoo Site Explorer or the free version of Open Site Explorer however these tools won’t let you sort the links based on the value of the link so if you have lots of links then this won’t really work.
In the case of Flower Child, I’m not sure they were able to change too many of the links however there were a few key ones (like forum signatures) which can make a big difference.
The competitor analysis is very similar to the existing link analysis, the only difference is you look at your competitors instead of your own sites. The competitor analysis can be a gold mine for finding links and for understanding how your competitors are ranking.
The basic approach is:
- Go into Google and enter your keyword and make a note of who your competitors are. I would generally stay away from some of the larger sites that may appear (e.g. often Wikipedia will appear in the results) and lean more towards companies who you know to be competitors.
- Put their URL into Linkdiagnosis.com (free) or SEO spy glass (paid) and sort the links by Google PR.
- Based on what you find you might discover things like associations that allow free listings, industry specific directories, other companies that have ‘partner’ programs, forums which allow do follow signatures, blogs that allow do follow comments, companies that allow ‘testimonials’ you might even find links on totally irrelevant sites (in this case they could be paying for links, which is against Google’s guidelines but it still a well utilised SEO strategy by a lot of companies)
A competitor analysis can really reveal some great sources of links, particularly if your competitors have invested in SEO!
Blogs and forums
If you have read my ebook, small business search engine domination, you will know I advocate that clients get involved in the SEO process by undertaking some key SEO tasks themselves.
I’m not talking about the laborious mind numbing tasks, or the highly technical tasks. I’m talking about tasks that are best done by the person who is the subject matter expert (the client).
2 great examples of tasks that business owners can undertake themselves are:
- Commenting on blogs
- Participating in forums
However knowing which blogs and forums to participate in can make all the difference.
We provided Flower Child with a spreadsheet of blogs and forums that related to their industry. We indicated in the spreadsheet whether the blog or forum provided ‘do follow’ links (for example some forums will allow you to have do follow links in your signature). It is then the client’s job to comment on the blogs and participate in the forums.
I would usually recommend having a monthly reminder to spend 30 minutes or so on blog commenting and forums.
Basic link building
We offer 2 SEO packages, a starter plan and a premium plan. Breaking the plans up in this way is done because of my approach to SEO which is all about doing more than your competitors are doing (see the only way to win at SEO). In short, it’s not necessary to go all out and utilise the most sophisticated SEO strategies to rank if a basic strategy will get you ahead of your competitors.
With this case study we are starting out with the starter plan and we will engage the premium plan if necessary. The starter plan includes what I could call basic link building strategies including:
- One article written for article marketing
- Post different versions of the article to 10 web 2.0 sites
- Post different versions of the article to 10 premium article sites manually and 50 second tier sites via bulk submission
- Submit business details to 10 premium business directories manually
- Submit business details to 50 second tier business directories via bulk submission
- Backlink all new properties to increase indexation
These are fairly simple tasks, great tasks to outsource and depending on the level of competition they may be enough. If not you will need to look at some more advanced strategies (which I will cover in another post).
You will also note that i have linked to their site in my blog posts which is also going to have some impact on their SEO results (as my blog has a pretty high authority). This is not really part of our program but we do have a number of high authority sites that we can link from if necessary. Often in highly competitive industries you will find companies have their own high authority network of sites.
Stay tuned for next month
Next month we are going to introduce one more keyword and provide an update on traffic and results. If we can get to the top 3 we might leave this keyword for a while and move onto another highly competitive keyword to see if we can get that ranking in the 6 months that we have available.
As always if you have any comments please feel free to reply below.