Published:  5th Jun 2020

Ranking A New Site From Scratch

Ranking A New Site From Scratch, Day 31-60

Jason here.

In case you missed it, here are the prior articles in this series of "Ranking A New Site From Scratch"

  1. Ranking A New Site From Scratch - Day 0

  2. Ranking A New Site From Scratch - Days 1-31

So what's new?

Up to this point = the website was thrown up, hardly any content written, service tested and tweaked, and we tested all our logins/pixels/merchant account settings.

To test if my friends MVP would even be something he should go forward with, we decided to submit it to some Product Hunt style websites and communities. You know, to see if anyone would give him feedback and test everything out.

So I hunted down a list of the most common startup and SaaS directories from many lists found online and narrowed down which URLs came up the most often.

Yeah, I know that's not a perfect strategy.

But I wanted to find what people were recommending over and over and just hit those for this test really quick and get some feedback.

The site also cracked the first page of Google for one of its main terms for 2 days recently as well.

And while it did drop back down, we are still on an upward trend overall in ranking for this term. Notice the below trendline ( red line ):


As of this writing, it is sitting at an average position of 13.

And what kind of competition are we going against in the SERPs?

They're brands that a lot of people have heard of. Sorry, if I post them here it would pretty much out his site.

Just going off the Moz DA score ( not saying I recommend this, but just as an example ), the SERP looks like this:

  • Domain 1 = 69 Moz DA
  • Domain 2 = 94 Moz DA
  • Domain 3 = 90 Moz DA
  • Domain 4 = 74 Moz DA
  • Domain 5 = 90 Moz DA
  • Domain 6 = 58 Moz DA
  • Domain 7 = 92 Moz DA
  • Domain 8 = 86 Moz DA
  • Domain 9 = 90 Moz DA
  • Domain 10 = 94 Moz DA

The DA for my friends site = 10 Moz DA

While I know a Moz DA score does not correlate with first page rankings, I wanted to give you some idea of what the website is up against. 

Building Links AKA Submitting The Site

So after narrowing down a list of sites, I came up with several directories that looked legit and were recommended a lot.

I stayed away from Product Hunt though.

I wanted to keep PH for when the product was polished and tested. These similar sites would be our testing ground to kill all the bugs and get things ready for the main event.

Here is a sample list of sites we submitted to:

  • BetaList
  • HackerNews
  • BetaPage
  • 10words
  • TechPluto
  • StartupLister
  • IndieHackers
  • etc

And if I had it all over again, I would just stick with HackerNews and BetaList if I were looking for traffic and signups.


Because just about every site we submitted to sent almost ZERO traffic. Except for HackerNews and BetaList.


And while the name of the game is not traffic ( we wanted signups ), you can't get signups if you have no traffic.

Every submission that let me "pay" to jump the queue and get priority treatment, I paid. I didn't want a free submission to mess this up and leave me wondering "what if".

ZERO might be an overstatement for the sites I didn't list, but I consider those sites that have sent in less than 40 visitors pretty much ZERO. Especially if no signups happened. The majority of these sites send 1-2 visitors tops.

BetaList and HackerNews were also the only sites that sent signups as well.

HackerNews alone sent over 4,000+ visitors. Most coming within the first 2 days of submission. There were multiple HackerNews website referrals you can not see in the image above, but it mostly is from ycombinator, hckrnews, and a few others.

I don't regret submitting to the other websites though. They did help me get some legit backlinks to the website overall because of syndication and reposts from 3rd party sites. I'm counting that at around 54 root domains linking back to me from the submissions looking at Google Analytics and various other tools.

All of the links from these websites went to the homepage with our brand name as the link anchor.

How about content and keywords?

Still a nothingburger.


I added no new content to the site and we still had no focus on our keywords yet. I also did not change any of the content on the site.

We knew the theme or idea we wanted to go after when it came to keywords, but we had not really narrowed down our focus in a way that we could go after certain keywords still.

Sorry to keep you in suspense if you are waiting on that. But I hope this shows you that sometimes you don't need to stress out and mega plan far in advance to rank for terms that matter to you.

What got learned?

My friend was able to find a few small bugs and clean them up. Nothing serious.

We were also able to stress test the site and prep for more traffic.

I did start looking more heavily into keywords at the end of this 30 day period, but again I didn't take action just yet. Think of it more as loose research and trying to list them in order of importance based on metrics from SERPWoo's Keyword Finder and popular mentions from our Brand Monitoring tool.

If you want to know what was going on in my mind during this initial keyword research phase, take a look at these 2 articles I wrote recently and why I was doing things this particular way:

Remember, I was working on this part-time to help my friend. In the first 30 days, I didn't touch the site for 3 weeks.

We started out with essentially no SEO plan at all.

My friend also didn't put up a lot of money for the directory submissions. Total budget for this project ( SEO budget ) for the second 30 days: $400-ish

And while I hate to say it, most of the work for this second 30 days was all in the first 7 days again.

Mostly managing the submissions on my end to each of the directory sites. I didn't touch this project for the next 3 weeks except for a few hours here and there late at night looking over keywords in SERPWoo's Keyword Finder and our Brand Monitoring tool as I put in some of his competitors to see what words people were using to interact with them.

Next step

Stay tuned for days 61-90 where I figure out the main keywords he should go for and how I set them up on the website.

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