Published:  13th Jul 2020

Ranking A New Site From Scratch

Ranking A New Site From Scratch, Day 121-150

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
  3. Ranking A New Site From Scratch - Days 31-60
  4. Ranking A New Site From Scratch - Days 61-90
  5. Ranking A New Site From Scratch - Days 91-120

So what's new?

We ranking front page, 5th position now baby. Here is the latest ranking screenshot of it below.

I started ranking the front page of Google for our major B2B SaaS term in May. Less than 6 months into the project getting online.

And I cracked the top 5 in late June, just a month after hitting the front page.

And in-case you missed our prior articles in this series, it was done on a brand new domain with less than 1,000 words of total content ( across 7 pages total ), a very slow theme, and almost no backlinks or SEO game plan that also included a keyword focus pivot late in the build.

The rankings have stayed at 5th, so pretty much this series is pretty much done with.

But before we wrap up, let me dig into what we did in days 121-150.

In our prior article, I talked about how I changed focus on 1 out of our 3 keywords.

That was pretty important because once I made that change, I had to rewrite a few sections of content on the homepage. Namely the title and a few other tags.

I also added the Yoast SEO plugin.

I know, I know, I know. They have had some issues in the past.

But that doesn't mean I'm going to run out and change plugins. Shit happens. Things got fixed. Back to our regularly scheduled program folks.

Once installed, I paid attention to:

  • Description
  • OG tags
  • Twitter card info
  • ld+json

And that was it.

For the term that I am ranking 5th for, I used the keyword 9 times in the source of the HTML page. Here is how it broke down:

  • Twice in the Title ( once in the normal Title tag, and once in the OG title tag )
  • Twice in the Description ( once in the normal Description tag, and once in the OG description tag )
  • Once in the H2 of the page
  • Once in a Paragraph tag
  • Three times in the ld+json

I was already ranking the front page for this term, so I decided to answer a few Quora questions about the B2B SaaS term and point those answers to our website.

Could that have helped me stay on the front page? Possibly.

But every guru says nofollows don't help you rank. Except us.... We blew the door off that with our Quora article back in 2018 here and also with our study in 2019 where we showed nofollows helped you rank with science-backed data.

But I only answered maybe 4 questions total and I was already ranking. I'll leave it up to you to decide if it helped in some way, like with staying power.

Of note, none of the anchors back to the site contained the keyword we are ranking for.

One thing I do want to stress is, keep pushing to learn more about "what's working now". Meaning, look at data that is helping not only sites in your niche, but websites in other niches in general.

Look at what tags hold importance for ranking. Look at how the intent of the content is written. Does the title contain sales terms or terms that cause an emotion? What about emojis or symbols in the page?

Don't underestimate anything. What you do find, use in your website and see if it pushes you higher in rankings.

Finding these nuggets can be hard, but I did look over much of the data I collected from:

  1. The 2019 Analysis of SEO for Attorneys and Lawyers
  2. The 2019 Analysis of SEO for Local Search Engine Marketing
  3. The 2019 Analysis of SEO for the Ecommerce Industry
  4. The 2019 Analysis of SEO for Higher Education Marketing
  5. The 2020 Analysis of Higher Education SEO
  6. And several SERPWoo Zora audits on various random other keywords

I used that data above for what to tweak on my content. But it wasn't like I did a bunch of changes.

I still ended up with 7 pages of content on the entire website, less than 1k words total for the site, and my focus keywords only on the homepage.

However, how you arrange that content and what you say ( intent ) is just as important as the content itself.

Also, my page speed stayed dismal.

All this chatter about having to have a super fast TTFB or paint or just a speedy website in general seems like fluff to me. At least in this niche.

That doesn't mean I am just going to leave things as-is and wait for the day the site falls off the ranking train and have to save my ass by improving the speeds either.

However, I feel it would be foolish to revamp the site now and "chance" falling off the front page when the change is detected by Google.

Sometimes, you have to look forward and weigh the risks. Don't just fix something that ain't broke because some guru told you.

Plus, I would lose a lot of data falling off the front page right now. Maybe I want to see how CTR ( Google Search Console ) improves from being 5th.

Maybe I want to see if this keyword actually converts just on being on the front page.

All data that could be lost if I tweak stuff just to tweak it and then possibly lose rankings later.

Next Steps

None coming up.

This article represents the 5th month of progress on this website I helped my friend with. Going into the 6th month I did no changes or SEO work and I did none in the 7th month (the current month we are in now in real-life as I type this) either.

The website climbed to the front page after the 5th month ( consistently ), and then broke into the top 5 during the end of the 6th month with no extra push or work from my end.

And this series was all about "Ranking A New Site From Scratch". Meaning a new domain, new website, new content, etc. We hit our goal in less than a year's time for a major B2B SaaS term ( within its niche ), so what more could I potentially do other than try to break the top 3?

My whole goal was to show you that sometimes "just showing up" can accomplish more than you ever think.

That sometimes what works in your niche, smacks the face of what is considered "good SEO strategies".

And that, sometimes, is all that is needed to "Rank A New Site From Scratch".

So, has this series changed your mind about what's possible in SEO at all? Good or bad, I'd like to hear your feedback.

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