Monday, December 26, 2016

The Ridiculously Amazing Case Study about What Basic SEO Can Do, Part Two

This post is by Cathie Dunklee-Donnell, Advanced SEO Analyst and owner of Ducktoes Computer Services Inc. Ms. Dunklee-Donnell is certified In Advanced SEO by Bruce Clay and Yoast SEO. Also trained at Pubcon Master Training several years in a row.

In The Ridiculously Amazing Case Study about What Basic SEO Can Do, Part 1, I showed how a site went up in ranking after I did the minimum amount of essential SEO work on it. I began the case study because I wanted to test for myself how effective a small amount SEO could be on a non-ranking site.

The minimum included both onsite and offsite SEO.  The site I chose was a four-year-old site,, a hair salon in Calgary.  I tracked the keyword with the most search queries, the best money keyword: hair salons Calgary.

What I did:
  • For the onsite SEO, I created the title and meta description tags, and also added text, keywords, synonyms, and internal links.  
  • For offsite SEO, I created eight links, high ranking ones, between 83 and 30 in Majestic Trust Flow. (Since the demise of Google page rank, at Ducktoes we use Majestic's trust flow as a ranking signal and SEO quality indicator.)
  • The above SEO work resulted in the site going from not ranking at all to ranking on the fourth page, position 35, in only three weeks. Read more about that here.

Month 3

So now it's been three months since I've done any SEO on the Salon G site, and the site has continued to go up in ranking, but only slightly, and not enough to be where a site needs to be to get any traffic: on the first page.  

It is now on page three, position 28, for its money keyword "hair salons Calgary."  

In the last month, the site went from position 35 to 51 then back up to 28. I'll discuss this volatility later.

Adding Five Citations

So now I'll add five citations to the backlink portfolio for Salon-G and see where the ranking goes from here. Citations are typically done for local search rankings, but they also help organic rankings. 

The five citations are:

  1. Foursquare
  3. Canada411
  4. CTI Directory
  5. Wand

For our regular clients, we create many more citations than this, but for this case study I wanted to see what a minimum basic amount of SEO can do.

Tweaking the Title

I also tweaked the title to include the money keyword "hair salons Calgary."

Google Plus Page

I'm also trying to sort out Salon-G's Google plus/Google My Business pages. Salon G had several, for some reason. Every site needs to have a Google Plus/Google My Business Page.  (They work together and give you a map listing in local search results.)

However, while a Google Plus page is absolutely necessary for this or any site, duplicate Google plus pages are problematic. Working with a Google support tech, I deleted the extra Google plus pages and am verifying the remaining one.  We're waiting for the Google postcard to come in the mail with the verification pin.

For local search, if you didn't know, the optimal place is to be is the top three listings for your money keywords.

Wait and See

Now I'll wait and see what happens to Salon G's ranking for its money keyword "hair salons Calgary". Stay tuned.

Month 3, Week 1

I must admit, I'm surprised, if not flabbergasted. I didn't expect Salon-G's rise to the first page for their money keyword this soon. The rankings have been up and down quite radically in the last two weeks, but now in the last two days, Salon-G has been consistently on the first page for "hair salons Calgary"! They're on the bottom of the first page in 10th place, but on the first page nevertheless.

High Volatility for "Hair Salons Calgary"

The ranking for "hair salons Calgary" has been quite volatile, going from 31 to 28 to 49 to 16 to 51 to 10. The rankings for other major keywords are not changing rapidly like this.  See below graph from ProRank.

There must be something particular about this keyword that is causing it to go up and down with Google's algorithmic changes. The only way I've treated this keyword any differently is that I used it for the exact match anchor text for internal links to the home page. If the ranking goes dramatically down again, I'll change up the anchor text.

Wait and See (Again)

Now I'm waiting and seeing again. Stay tuned.