Safely Ranking A Website #1 with Web 2.0's and Social Media
Hi, it’s Chaz with Make My Business Boom and Web 2.0 Ranker and today we are going to take an in-depth look at one of the processes we use to rank local client sites.
Think of our ranking process as a series of steps that, as we implement them, will increase the SERPs. And while even though this case study will stop at using Web 2.0’s (because that is what ranked our case study site), our ranking process does continue beyond just web 2.0’s.
So let’s take a quick look at our entire ranking process, from start to finish, before we dive into the specifics of this case study.
Every SEO has their own ranking process that they constantly refine and perfect and if you are just starting out I encourage you to create your own process. Literally, write out and document each step of your process as this will allow you to easily train future assistants to do the tasks for your agency.
We developed our process to quickly and safely push websites into the top SERPs, build a complete digital brand and position our digital properties to become the authority in a niche. Our clients’ digital brands (not just their websites) dominate for the main keywords, for long tail keywords and for buyer intent keywords.
Step One: On-Site Optimization
Our site design/redesign method is based on keyword importance. Let me explain this point in some detail as it is really the foundation of our SEO strategy. Each page will have a topical relevance based on a group of highly related keywords or phrases and each page will silo to other pages based on a natural progression of discovery:
The chart shows a website silo that will allow you to rank for virtually all industry, niche, brand and location keyword variations. It is has specific vertical stacks, example: home page < main location page < specific location page or home page < main product page < specific product page and these stacks are important when we begin linking our blog posts to our pages.
Each page has a contextual link to the pages directly below it. So the home page links down to the main product page, main location page and main brand + industry page; the main product page links down to the specific product pages, etc.
Should the bottom pages of your silo link back to your home page? For years we always linked the bottom silo pages back to our home page under the assumption that it would pass juice through our silo structure. But some recent in-house tests are making us second guess this. There’s no conclusive evidence that linking back to the home page has any useful impact on the SERPs.
Additional keyword optimization we perform include: density analysis of the top 3 sites (we use the average of this), title, subheadings, alt tags, body text and meta (we use exact match and LSI to achieve our desired density).
Once we have the silo and keyword density optimized, we optimize for speed and user experience using Google Developers Tools and Pingdom Website Speed Test. Our goal is to make our site one of the top websites in terms of speed and user experience.
Now it’s time to optimize for geo relevancy for local businesses (we skip the first step for national SEO campaigns).
The first step is very quickly done using HTML Geo Tags. Once the tag is generated it is pasted into the head section on our webpage. The next step is to use Schema mark-up directly on the webpage itself. We use Schema Creator to quickly prepare our structured mark-up. You can read a great article on using Schema here: http://localclienttakeover.com/schema-markup-made-easy/. The final step is to embed keyword optimized Google My Maps onto the appropriate webpages.
Finally, we prepare our site for the future Content Autopilot and Google Authority Stacking phases by installing the Jetpack plugin and activating and linking the social sharing function to Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
Step Two: Create a Social Ring of Trust
So what is the Social Ring of Trust? It is a collection of authoritative and trusted web 2.0 and social profiles that you build for the brand. You should interlink these sites together and link each profile back to your website. Later on these properties will become the backbone for the Content Autopilot and Google Authority Stacking phases.
The same care and quality that was used for the company website should also be reflected in each of these web 2.0 and social profiles, add pictures, videos, call to actions and use quality seed articles. We recommend you manually create the following web 2.0’s for the business:
- Facebook Page
- Twitter Profile
- Google+ Profile
- Google Local Business Page
- Google Brand Page
- Google Sites Site
- YouTube Channel
- WordPress Blog
The next part of your Ring of Trust will be business directory profiles and citations. I won’t get into much detail here other than mention a few key points.
For national SEO campaigns only the top directory sites need built: Angie’s List, Thumbtack, Yelp, Foursquare, Manta, YP, Porch etc. For local SEO campaigns you will want many more citations built. A good rule of thumb is to simply copy and paste the information directly from your Google page. Use the exact same name, address, phone, description, and photos that appear on the Google page. Pro Tip: Drip your Citations or order small packs of citations every few weeks, the velocity of citations needs to be slow!
The final part of the Social Ring of Trust is creating brand profiles on high authority sites. These profiles should be manually created and optimized with pictures, videos, and unique descriptions.
Step Three: The Viral Effect for Fast Rankings
Our case study site is a local locksmith company who came to us after experiencing negative SEO. The site had originally ranked between 5 and 8 for the main keywords, then suffered a loss that dropped it off of page one altogether.
Additionally, there was virtually no social presence for the brand and had many on-site issues. So we began with a disavow file which helped stabilize the rankings but the site did not recover to its previous page one position. So we rolled up our sleeves and fixed the on-site issues. And we built out a complete Social Ring of Trust, interlinked and fully optimized. Still not back on page one. Google didn’t want to reward a site that had been only recently affected by negative SEO.
It was time to begin the Viral Effect, it was time to make the brand go viral and dominate page one. Before we delve into detail on each step of this viral process let’s step back and look at the overview of the Viral Effect.
That’s it. The Viral Effect. Social activity and trust signals that Google loves to reward with great rankings.
So let’s look at the details of each task:
Tiered Links – We run tiered linking to many of the digital properties used during the Viral phase, for example we will link to the YouTube video, Twitter profile, Facebook page, branded web 2.0 blog posts, niche blog posts, Tumblr reblogs (this is very powerful using GSA), LinkedIn profile, Thumbtack profile, Porch profile, the top citation pages like Yelp, Foursquare and Manta, the Vimeo video, and the Dailymotion video using FCS. We pyramid the tier 2 links with tier 3 GSA or FCS. You can safely substitute GSA instead of FCS for many of the authority business profiles and citations, including Yelp, LinkedIn, Thumbtack and Foursquare.
During week one I saw a lot of dancing. There was a lot of activity being done to the site and it was reflected in major swings in the SERPs, even so far as disappearing completely for a few days. But because we were simulating a Viral Effect, we didn’t slow down link velocity or social activity, instead we did the exact opposite. We increased the velocity.
Within the 2nd week rankings stabilized and daily we saw gains. Not only did the website make gains in the SERPs but suddenly for branded searches many citations and profiles moved to page 1 from nowhere. This was a great sign and proved the power of this method for ranking parasites and the branded digital properties that we wanted (Online Reputation Management (ORM) is combined into this SEO process because of the massive interlinking of branded properties.
Through week three and four we saw nearly daily gains in the SERPs, breaking onto page 1 for not only our main keyword but a ton of long tail and buyer intent words as well. There was no dancing as is typical of many other link building methods and that leads me to believe that the authority and trust that we built through interlinking so many of our branded properties helped to fortify against any drastic SERP movement. Here is the client's Facebook page ranking in the top 5 of page 1.
We didn’t abruptly end the Viral Effect at the end of week four, but gradually tapered the activity back to normal levels as we prepared to run another SEO process we use that I like to call Content Autopilot. The tiered link building to various parts of the Social Ring of Trust and Viral Effect was dripped over 2 weeks for continued traction and social relevance and by the end of week 6 the website was at the top of page 1 with no fluctuation since.
We took a site that was hit heavily by negative SEO and that still to this day continues to be hit by negative SEO, and ranked it number one using interlinked social media, web 2.0’s, branded citation profiles and aggressive content SEO.
Today the site is still number one, still being hit by negative SEO but is safely surrounded by a Social Ring of Trust and I am sure that our Content Autopilot helps keep the site active and relevant in the eyes of the search engine spiders guaranteeing our #1 position.