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-
|what happens when you quit smoking||5400||5.27|
|health benefits of honey||5400||1.57|
|how to increase libido||2900||2.62|
|honey health benefits||2400||0.21|
|how to communicate effectively||2400||2.4|
|coffee nutrition facts||1900||1.41|
|how to increase sex drive||1600||3.05|
|increase sex drive||1300||1.83|
|should i shave my head||1000||4.34|
|negative self talk||880||0.01|
|how to have good posture||880||0|
|shaving your head||880||2.35|
|how to increase libido in men||880||1.33|
|what happens when you stop smoking||720||5.43|
|foot massage techniques||720||0.11|
|how to increase your sex drive||720||1.69|
|what happens to your body when you quit smoking||720||5.81|
|how to increase your libido||590||1.42|
|how to have better posture||590||0|
|what happens after you quit smoking||590||3.26|
|different types of tea||590||3.68|
|benefits of smiling||480||0|
|how to declutter your house||480||1.73|
|how to prevent bronchitis||480||1.57|
|famous presidential speeches||390||0|
|how to boost libido||390||1|
|healthy frozen pizza||390||4.22|
|how to get good posture||390||0.74|
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.
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-
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-
|what is personal development||http://inspiyr.com/what-is-personal-development/|
|personal growth and development||http:// inspiyr.com/5-steps-personal-growth-and-development/|
|a diet to lose weight||http:// inspiyr.com/a-diet-to-lose-weight/|
|medication for sleep||http:// inspiyr.com/aids-medication-sleep-counter-natural-prescription/|
|what is a heart healthy diet||http:// inspiyr.com/what-is-a-heart-healthy-diet/|
|best workouts to gain muscle||http:// inspiyr.com/6-best-workouts-gain-muscle/|
|ways to lose weight in 2 weeks||http:// inspiyr.com/best-ways-to-lose-weight-in-2-weeks/|
|foods you should buy organic||http:// inspiyr.com/food-you-should-buy-organic/|
|healthy high protein breakfast||http:// inspiyr.com/healthy-high-protein-breakfast/|
|healthy takeout options||http:// inspiyr.com/healthy-takeout-options/|
|health benefits of honey||http:// inspiyr.com/health-benefits-of-honey/|
|worlds healthiest foods||http:// inspiyr.com/worlds-healthiest-foods/|
|healthiest food at mcdonalds||http:// inspiyr.com/5-tips-ordering-healthiest-food-at-mcdonalds/|
|what happens when you quit smoking||http:// inspiyr.com/what-happens-to-your-body-when-you-quit-smoking/|
|unhealthiest foods||http:// inspiyr.com/unhealthiest-foods/|
|coffee nutrition facts||http:// inspiyr.com/surprising-coffee-facts/|
|top ten healthiest foods||http:// 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.
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:
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–
Because the page was now easy to find on the first page, the natural links just kept on coming!
Then a crazy thing happened.
It exploded on social media.
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.
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.
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.
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!
- 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.