Hey guys, my name is Hogan and today I’m going to explain the process I used to rank a local website to the number #1 spot for the main keyword. And also for other keywords to top 3 positions. I haven’t touched the website for around 2 years now and is still going strong but I’ve decided to use this as a case study. And over the next 12 months I will try to take it to the next level and dominate the niche! Cause a lot of people have asked me how to generate traffic to their site.
Although this is a local website, these things can also apply to other type of sites as well.
Now, this isn’t a get rich blog post – far from that, because it took months and alot of work to achieve that. But the returns of the initial investment are well worth it.
This website, is a local mechanic and body workshop which services the local area of Melbourne – so the searches are normally quite targeted.
Actually, when people are searching, I find that a lot more effective than any paid advertising. Cause of the intent, people have a problem and are looking furiously for a solution. Whereas paid ads, you are interrupting them and trying to guess what their interest are so you can target them.
I’m not saying Paid ads aren’t good, I will probably be doing more of that for this business soon. But when you are ranking on Google, normally all the traffic will be free and to maintain that for a local site, isn’t very expensive considering how much revenue it brings.
Now, let’s look at the process as a whole.
I actually built it on some free builder platform in 2014 but realised the lack of customizations. Back then, it was more of a “Poster” type of website. So that was when I stumbled across Themify and their Drag & Drop builders. So, in 2015 – I re-built the website using the Themify Ultra Theme myself.
Before I re-built the website. I talked to my partners in the business, about what services we offer. This was pre-research. You need to just think about the services you or your client’s business offers.
Stage 1: Research
I took those seed keywords and then I used Google Keyword Planner – to check for the best highly targeted keywords which decent amount of searches. Now I believe, Google Keyword Planner doesn’t give very accurate data these days (If you don’t have an active adwords account).
For that keyword, it had around 300-500 searches a month. It’s pretty good since it’s a service + location keyword. But you don’t need to be too greedy. I’d rather target service keyword + location which has less searches than just the keyword with no location. Cause you don’t want people from interstate searching for you, unless your target audience is nationwide or worldwide. But even if it is, I think going for lower competition/less searches is a good confidence and assurance booster, so you can quickly determine what you’ve done is one the right track.
I researched all the top competitors and looked at all their keywords and just noted the ones which we could target since we offered the same type of service too.
Listed all Keywords, and Put Them Through Keyword Planner. And Excluded those with Less than 100 Searches/month for main target keywords. (but keep these, you can include them within your content)
Stage 2: Content Creation with Keywords in Mind
What I mean by content creation with keywords in mind, is that you want to naturally add related keywords within your content.
Let’s say for example.
Car Servicing Melbourne is my main keyword.
But my suburb is say Mornington.
And is located in south east Melbourne.
And some other variations people would type in might be car service Melbourne, car service center etc.
Then within your content, you’d try to include them once or twice without sound silly.
For your main keyword – It should be Heading 1 Tag, Title of Website and Have a Variation of it in your Meta Description (The description you see in Google Search)
To further optimize you would put your brand name – after your main keyword in the title.
You can do all of this using YOAST SEO. I believe also there are quite a few videos of this on YouTube too. I’ll try make one perhaps.
For these, they are all Pages (Not Posts)
And then I put them into the main navigation and as drop down categories for each. This will ensure the “link juice” flows from your homepage to the rest of these smaller pages 🙂
Stage 3: On Page & External Linking
I always try to interlink whenever it’s helpful for the user. So, I would link a keyword to another service page. This helps the user and also shows Google you are providing good info for the user. And not just being greedy and keeping them on your site.
It’s sort of like real life, you give give give and then in return you will get everything you want.
So, make sure to provide great helpful content, I recommend just writing it yourself to start off with. Explain things. Don’t just say you offer cheap and quality services. Explain the process with images and whatever helpful information you would want to know if you were in their shoes.
Cause if they can relate – they will stay on the page longer and that’s also a ranking factor.
Stage 4: Put your keywords into a keyword tracking software & wait a week or a few.
Note: I use Serpbook to track my keywords.
- During this phase, you can link your Facebook to your website, Google pages, Other social media etc
- Also, I searched for local directories or review type of sites and signed up. Put in your info and website – nothing really fancy, but it will get some links for you and tell Google that your business is legit.
Stage 5: Analyse the results.
It’s highly likely, that if you’ve done things right – your website will naturally be within the top 100 for the main keywords which you’ve targeted. For most service + location keywords, it should be ranking but if you are targeting high competition keyword then maybe not yet. And you haven’t produced enough content or website is very new etc.
Stage 6: Linking from Private Sites.
Most of the time, these local keywords aren’t full of people doing SEO for their businesses. Unless it’s like a doctor website. So, I just need to give it a little push.
I know this isn’t 100% white hat techniques but it’s shouldn’t leave any footprint if you do it correctly. I’m sure all the top SEO guys have their own network of sites. You will hear of all these stories of websites getting slap by like google updates and lose their ranking, but for my sites they have remained steady. I didn’t buy and SEO services for this website and did it all myself.
I basically created a small network of sites which I own. So, I have total control of the content and links. I don’t want to leave any footprint, cause if you get them from private sellers – then it’s cheaper, but you share the links with other random sites. And most of the time after a while, they will either expired or de-indexed.
I buy these expired domains with good authority and quality links from searching on https://www.expireddomains.net/ and then get each site a separate host each. And sometimes I use my parents, brother and sisters name. These expired sites range from 50-200 USD each. And then I get hosting for them which is between $40-60 per year.
Note: expired sites are websites which are old and if you research correctly, they will have quality links and have good authority. Most cases, either the owners forgot to renew it or perhaps they may have moved on from that site/business. So you can snap these up, put quality content on them and link it to your site.
So, this now looks pretty much looks like other websites are linking to me.
For the anchor text, I just put the main keyword for homepage and link it to the domain URL.
And add some other random keywords like click here and also naked URL.
All in all, I spent around $1500-2000 on these and a fair amount of hours researching and setting it all up and connecting it. Its around $1000 per year to maintain. For example, renew the domains/hosting, update WordPress and plugins. This will take me around 10 hours max/year.
So, for a few thousand dollars investment, the site has been ranking well for over 2 years and generates at least an extra $5000 in sales for the business/month. And too honest, I think thats fairly conservative cause sometimes you can’t measure it since the people might just drop by or call us. And this doesn’t include all of the recurring business.
This might not be cheap for some people, but this is what I do for my own site. You could start out with say 5 private sites each their own hosting and that could help immensely. You will see your site shoot up in the rankings fairly quickly. Get some confidence first, cause I think that most people read, watch but never take any action. Either you win or you lose but you learn and figure out a better strategy. This is what it takes to build a successful business, you can dwell too much. I suffered from this in 2011-14 and the results showed (or lack of results!) should I say.
Note: An important tip is that, we try always try overdeliver on our services. So, when they are really happy – we can then easily contact them to give us a google/facebook review – which is really important. Cause after people have checked out your site, they might go and check out your reviews on Google and Facebook. So, you got to first make sure the core of your business is great then with SEO – you can really dominate.
For example: After a service, we might offer a free gift and a note. And then after a week or so contact them for a review. I recommend getting a copy of Influence by Robert B. Cialdini.
Current Results and Future Plans (October 19th 2017)
Google Analytics – as you can see in the last month, we only had only around 1K unique visitors, that’s not much at all. But if they are really targeted then it can still make you a good amount of sales. A mistake that alot of people (I’m guilty of this too!) you want to target keywords with 100K searches/month. (That’s like running 10km’s when you haven’t even ran 1km before). I plan to double this amount in the next 3 months.
What I haven’t done is guest posts on other people’s blogs. This is something I want to explore in the coming months to try increase our website authority. I will also improve the design, as it’s pretty bad since I made it 2 years ago. I want to try and get at least 3 quotes a day and double the amount of organic traffic in next 3 months. So, I’ll create more content too (actually, I have an intern who will help me create this – cause as I said, I’ll be doing Amazon FBA – which is SUPER exciting!
So, this is the basic process of how I did it. I’m not sure exactly how many people are interested and also what else you’d like to know – so leave any questions you have down below.
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