The SEO Strategy We Used To Rank #1 for “Unhealthiest Foods”

In today’s SEO case study you are going to learn the exact SEO strategy that we used to rank #1 for the keyword “unhealthiest foods” and #4 in the same search.

They have been there for over a year and are stuck in the top 5.

This is a white hat method with some grey hat mixed at the beginning since we “built some links”.

What You Will Learn

  • How we ranked #1 for “unhealthiest foods” for years
  • How to blend white hat content marketing with grey hat SEO for huge results
  • The exact SEO strategy we used

Revealing The SEO Strategy

We were approached by an online content distributor who wanted help with SEO. My company, Grey Umbrella Marketing’s (now Visiture) process back in 2014 was to pick target keywords, create content and then rank for them.

We didn’t use any black hat SEO strategy, but we did build links via relevant web 2.0 sites and we were very good at it.

This is how we did it step by step.

Step #1 – Keyword Selection

First we selected keyword phrases to go after. Here is what we chose-

KeywordSearch VolumeCPC
what happens when you quit smoking54005.27
health benefits of honey54001.57
how to increase libido29002.62
honey health benefits24000.21
how to communicate effectively24002.4
coffee nutrition facts19001.41
how to increase sex drive16003.05
natural sex13000.06
increase sex drive13001.83
should i shave my head10004.34
negative self talk8800.01
how to have good posture8800
shaving your head8802.35
college booty8800.04
how to increase libido in men8801.33
what happens when you stop smoking7205.43
foot massage techniques7200.11
how to increase your sex drive7201.69
what happens to your body when you quit smoking7205.81
how to increase your libido5901.42
how to have better posture5900
what happens after you quit smoking5903.26
different types of tea5903.68
benefits of smiling4800
how to declutter your house4801.73
how to prevent bronchitis4801.57
famous presidential speeches3900
how to boost libido3901
healthy frozen pizza3904.22
how to get good posture3900.74

Overall, 38,000 people a month searched for these phrases. If we could secure the top 1-3 positions, we would be able to achieve a lot of targeted keyword traffic.

We picked these phrases based on the relevance to the website and competition. The lesser the competition, the better the keyword to go after. I always recommend using Adwords keyword tool to do keyword research.

finding keywords for our SEO strategy

So once we had this list of keywords, we needed to create an article that targeted each one.

Step #2 – Content Creation

We used Buzzsumo to do all of our content research for each keyword.

BuzzSumo makes it really easy to see what is popular and we entered each keyword into the tool and then picked an article to replicate or “make better.”

This is what it looked like-

Screeny

Once we knew roughly what we wanted to write for each one, a content team wrote the articles for us and published them on the site.

The content team did a great job with a significant amount of research in producing “bad-ass” pieces of content that really blew you away.

Here are all of the articles we created-

KeywordsArticle
what is personal developmenthttp://inspiyr.com/what-is-personal-development/
personal growth and developmenthttp:// inspiyr.com/5-steps-personal-growth-and-development/
a diet to lose weighthttp:// inspiyr.com/a-diet-to-lose-weight/
medication for sleephttp:// inspiyr.com/aids-medication-sleep-counter-natural-prescription/
what is a heart healthy diethttp:// inspiyr.com/what-is-a-heart-healthy-diet/
best workouts to gain musclehttp:// inspiyr.com/6-best-workouts-gain-muscle/
ways to lose weight in 2 weekshttp:// inspiyr.com/best-ways-to-lose-weight-in-2-weeks/
foods you should buy organichttp:// inspiyr.com/food-you-should-buy-organic/
healthy high protein breakfasthttp:// inspiyr.com/healthy-high-protein-breakfast/
healthy takeout optionshttp:// inspiyr.com/healthy-takeout-options/
health benefits of honeyhttp:// inspiyr.com/health-benefits-of-honey/
worlds healthiest foodshttp:// inspiyr.com/worlds-healthiest-foods/
healthiest food at mcdonaldshttp:// inspiyr.com/5-tips-ordering-healthiest-food-at-mcdonalds/
what happens when you quit smokinghttp:// inspiyr.com/what-happens-to-your-body-when-you-quit-smoking/
unhealthiest foodshttp:// inspiyr.com/unhealthiest-foods/
coffee nutrition factshttp:// inspiyr.com/surprising-coffee-facts/
top ten healthiest foodshttp:// inspiyr.com/top-ten-healthiest-foods-lose-weight-easily/

We then went in and optimized them for their target keyword.

This was really pretty simple, we just made sure the article was fully optimised for the target keyword using the SEO by Yoast plugin.

Each of the articles was written with a great deal of research and depth. You cannot create subpar content. It has to be the best on the top three search results – this is very important.

A good rule of thumb is to write the content, then look at the content on the top three results. Is your content better? Is it more in-depth or more informative?

If not, keep making it better.

on page seo optimisation

Once we had all of the articles optimised and published, it was time to do the real work!

Step #3 – Building Links

We built some web 2.0 property links to the individual blog posts first. Each one was basically a private blog network which had an article that we could link to each of the blog posts.

They were all created with relevant unique content and I suppose this is what would be considered a grey hat SEO strategy.

Here is a sample link that is still alive:

5

We used a service called POSI rank back then to create the web 2.0 properties along with some guest posts. We had them pointed directly to the articles and sure enough we popped into the first page for lots of terms.

Important Note About This SEO Case Study

Since we executed this SEO strategy we have updated it. Instead of creating web 2.0 sites now we just create 10 relevant high quality unique articles along with guest blogging on other sites to get them published with a link back to your target blog post.

Just make sure that you do not use the same anchor text as the keyword you are trying to rank for!

You should only need a handful of them and then promote the links and the post on your social channels. You can also use other successful pieces of content on your site to interlink to that particular guide.

Once we hit the first page with our posts, over time natural white hat links started appearing

The content we used for the SEO case study

Because the page was now easy to find on the first page, the natural links just kept on coming!

worst food on the planet

Then a crazy thing happened.

It exploded on social media.

Social share counters

We found that once someone had shared it, it got shared again and again until eventually a famous celebrity shared it and, sure enough, thousands shared it behind him.

Facebook share

After this, it exploded to the 2nd positon in Google and after one and a half years, it remains #1 (and now has the Schema markup) and the #4 position as well.

google search results

Then over the next year, it continued to be shared and now has 70 white hat acquired backlinks.

This page brought hundreds of thousands of views and tons of social signals and also attracted 151 real comments.

Results of our SEO strategy

I hope you understand that you can use link building to get a white hat campaign started, but at the end of the day – the content has to keep you there.

If the new engagement ranking factors for your content are poor then Google will drop you from the first page entirely!

Lessons Learned

  • Social media has a huge impact on rankings & Google will always keep quality content at the top of search results.
  • One good retweet or share can make a huge impact. Promoting to the right people can make the biggest difference.
  • Acquiring White hat backlinks is often a “the rich get richer” scenario because the people who already rank high attract lots new links naturally with no effort.
  • Spending time & money to create quality engaging content is worth every penny

Wrapping It Up

What I want you to take away from this article is that no matter how much research you do, you will never really know what is going to work until you try it.

Don’t be scared to come up with a small list of keywords and create the very best content on the web for each of them.

With a few backlinks and social signals you will be surprised at what sticks! The simple SEO strategy always wins!

But don’t forget – links will get you to the first page but engagement with your content will keep you there.

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