How to Get a Blog Ranked in Just 6 Weeks
This article is part 2 in an ongoing case study analyzing the impact of content on SEO. In the previous installment, we introduced our keyword and content strategy for ad cetera, inc., a client that sells promotional products for businesses. In this installment, we're going to lay out the specifics of our keyword strategy and divulge how we were able to achieve some initial rankings for important terms. If you haven't read part 1 of this series, you can click here to do so.
Chris ScaliseSupervisor of Editorial / Staff Writer
If you’re managing a blog, your keyword strategy is critical. For instance, when it comes to search engines, long-tail keywords are generally easier to rank for than broader keywords. Let’s say that your ultimate goal is to sell antique furniture. It’s much easier to rank for a term like “19th century antique furniture” or “antique Victorian furniture” than it is to rank for something broader like “antique furniture” (which receives up to 100,000 searches per month) or “furniture” (which receives up to one million searches per month). The more specific and targeted you can get, the fewer hurdles you’ll have to overcome as you rise through the ranks of your Google competition.
When we started our own blog project on behalf ad cetera, inc., we knew that the ideal strategy would be to target keywords that were popular enough to drive traffic but still targeted enough to rank quickly and reach the most relevant audience. If you visit our ad cetera blog, you’ll notice that most of the articles target keywords related to promotional pens.
This strategy wasn’t pursued by chance. Our research found that the term “promotional pens” receives over 23 million online searches per month. By combining that big-money keyword with long-tail modifiers like “custom,” “cheap,” and “imprinted,” we were able to target the broad keyword while still ranking for easier but nevertheless valuable keywords.
Our Keyword Strategy
We began with a basic idea of the types of items we wanted to promote on behalf of ad cetera, inc. We knew that pens would be a good place to start because they’re in high demand and rich with long-tail keyword opportunities. In any keyword research campaign, you must begin by getting into the mindset of potential buyers.
When it comes to SEO, it doesn’t matter what a product is called; the only thing that matters is what people are searching for. With that in mind, we started by compiling a massive list of potential search terms and then used keyword analysis software to see if those terms generated traffic and had attainable ranking potential.
There are plenty of programs you can use for keyword research, and not all of them cost money. In fact, Google’s Search Console and Keyword Planner make it easy to find valuable keywords and discover how organic web searchers are already locating your website. These tools are completely free of charge, and – along with platforms like Searchmetrics – they proved invaluable to our own SEO efforts.
In our research, we found that the following phrases generated measurable monthly traffic and had favorable competition:
Once we had our keywords narrowed down, we started populating the blog with articles that incorporated these terms. For each new article, we took the following approach:
As mentioned in our previous installment, ad cetera’s primary website was poorly optimized and difficult to modify given the constraints of the company’s e-commerce platform. By implementing our keyword strategy on the new blog, our goal was to connect with consumers using a platform where we had full control and then direct those visitors to the main site where they can make a purchase and become converting customers. This strategy is already proving successful.
Our Initial Results
We were pleased with the initial success we saw. For instance, we ranked for related keywords, such as “triple function pen,” about two months after we started posting blogs. We also saw initial rankings successes with our target keywords “best promotional pens” and “quality promotional pens.”
Some of the rankings began to slip, however, when we left the pages alone and moved on to other keywords. For example, in mid-February, we saw our ranking for “quality promotional pens” drop 36 places in the Google rankings. Shortly thereafter, we resumed our optimization efforts on the blog, taking measures such as:
Now, our rankings for “best promotional pens” and related keywords are again rising rapidly.
This is an important lesson in the world of SEO: your competitors are always at work trying to outrank you, so you can’t put your SEO campaign on autopilot. You must constantly update and improve your pages to stay ahead of the game.
What We’ve Learned
Our first ad cetera blog article was published on September 6, 2017. Since the project began, we have consistently added new content almost every week. Each post includes carefully targeted keywords and hyperlinks pointing to the ad cetera, inc. website.
Our efforts with the blog have made it clear that there’s still tremendous value in consistent, quality content creation as an SEO strategy. In only six weeks, we started to see rankings for multiple keywords in our campaign, and we’ve done especially well with terms like “best promotional pens.” There is tremendous satisfaction (and a thrill) in seeing the blog rank for a new keyword we targeted several weeks earlier, and then trying to get to the holy grail – a first page listing, or better yet, a listing high on the first page.
Some key takeaways:
In our next installments, we’ll lay out our hyperlinking and anchor text strategy and explore how we supplemented our content creation with additional SEO efforts like social media marketing and backlinking. Stay with us to discover the details of our campaign and learn about our successes and failures.
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