Search Engine Optimization Study –
I recently conducted a test here on taylorholmes.com. I was noticing that a lot of my posts were rocketing to the number one slots in their categories on Google but I didn’t know how or why it was happening. For example, search for “Memento Explained”, “Best Mind Job Movies”, “Best Guy Movies”, “Prestige Explained”, etc etc. So I thought – I’m going to do something well outside my comfort zone… something outside of this blogs realm of “Normal” and then track the search results rankings until it peaks. Right? Simple enough. I wanted to know how best to optimize my content for google.
So what do I use as a topic? Bunny Rabbits. Seriously. You can see my post here: https://taylorholmes.com/2012/07/30/best-rabbit-hutch-plans/ – basically I had built a rabbit hutch for my girls and then I blogged about it. I had created the plans on a lark already and I figured I could throw them online as a simple test – CHUM if you will to see how the results progressed over time.
The first thing I did to figure out how to pull together a competitive entry was to see who I was competing against. To do that I had to determine what my key search phrases would be. I came up with the following list:
- Rabbit Hutch Plans
- Best Rabbit Hutch Plans
- Greatest Rabbit Hutch Plans
- Plans for a Rabbit Hutch
- Rabbit Hutch Designs
- Rabbit hutch design download
You get the idea. And once I had my list I began investigating my soon to be competitors. I quickly realized that much of the competition in this space were just redirecting out to e-stores and weren’t really even providing information. And the ones that did provide information only did so as an upsell to buy their plans, or other hutches online. So I figured I had a pretty good chance of providing information that would make me more relevant than most people out there in this space. So our first maxim is to understand what success even means. Determine what searches you want to succeed with and hunt them down individually, one at a time.
Writing the Content
If you go through that blog you will notice that I religiously made use of many of the search key terms I was trying to place high for. I included the terms in the title, in the section headings, in the actual body content and also throughout the metadata of the post itself. Obviously this item alone isn’t enough to carry you to the top – but it is important. I also use SEO plugins on my WordPress blog that helps to automate quite a bit of this effort without my having to think about it. It checks the URL to make sure it is well positioned, it checks the body content and makes sure its long enough, it checks for key word relevance. Etc etc. I highly recommend using some form of SEO plugin for whatever CMS solution you use.
As I am typing this out right now I’m thinking about how to best posture this content to be easily findable by search engines. Not to go too meta on you, but even while I am writing this post I am considering who will find this information interesting and how they will look for it. The day of browsing a single site for all its contents are over. People shotgun their way to their content one at a time. Search, read, Search, read, cycle and repeat. For this particular post the keywords I’m targeting are as follows:
- Search Engine Optimization
- Search Engine Optimization Study
- SEO Study
- Search Engine Optimization results
- SEO Optimization Test results
- Optimize Content for Google
So in a couple months, we should be able to go back and track these keywords and see where this post comes up in the list. Here’s another secret. I already know that this post will NEVER break the first page. It just won’t. Because the competition has makes its living staying on the first page of Google. I partially chose Rabbit Hutches as a topic because I knew I could break through the competition. I found a topic that was thin on content and then I blew the competition away with images, content, lists of info in order to outdo them. Right?
We have our second maxim – find areas that need more information and then provide quality posts that do a better job presenting info on the topic than everyone else.
SEO Study Testing Results
what happened with our Rabbit Hutch Experiment? What was the data and how long did it take to have an effect? Well, let’s look at the Bunny Rabbit Hutch Blog’s visits since the creation until today. (Obviously these results will change over time but this is what it did up until today.)
For the first month the blog post was nowhere to be seen on Google. It probably was listed in the first week or two. But I couldn’t find it. Not with the search phrases I’d determined would define success. I searched for Best Rabbit Hutch Ever – and then scrolled and scrolled and scrolled through page after page. Nothing. I searched for Rabbit Hutch Plans Download – nothing. But after about a month my Search Engine Optimization Study (see what I did right there?) began to bear fruit. I noticed the blog on the third page of results. So the blog had landed within the first 30 results. Woo-hoo! That was a step. But notice that the impact of being listed in the top 200 verses the top 30 results didn’t really matter – it didn’t make much of a difference. It doubled the traffic. Which is good – I guess. But that wasn’t the goal.
The Search Engine Study goal was to get my Rabbit Hutch post into the first page. But then, two weeks later, out of nowhere the post popped into the first page of results. And that was when the page hits really begin to improve. They multiply by seven even. The post was squarely within the top ten – I believe it was ninth when I noticed it. And then voila – we hit pay dirt when a week later the page catapults to number one in most of those key search phrases. What about more data?
This is a graph of the number of downloads for the plans themselves each day. This is basically the equivalent of a graph of the conversions for this page. The conversions from reading to acting. The download was the definition of real success here. And I was seeing a 40% conversion rate on this page. Obviously it was this high because the download was free. I plan to start making people pay for the plans, but just so I can track what that does to the conversion percentage. I am way too curious NOT to charge to see what will happen. Not only to the conversion rate, but also to the number 1 ranking on Google. If the click throughs go down because I’m charging will the ranking go down commensurately?
But that is a topic for another day. Right now the key detail is that we can see an enormous increase in downloads as the site continued to increase its Google SEO ranking. Alright, but what are the readers searching on? Does it compare to what I targeted for?
The not set results are the individuals that keyed the url in directly – and didn’t come via a search engine. The rest of the searches though match up perfectly with what I had aimed for. The Search Engine Optimization Test was right on target. The SEO test results showed that people were searching for exactly what I had aimed for. But what about next steps?
Tools For Taking It To The Next Level
Alright, so the rabbit hutch blog is doing well for what I intended it for. I guessed at some keywords, I nailed those keywords perfectly. But what about thinking outside the box? What are other searches looking for in this area that I could be capitalizing on? Well, there are tools for that. Lots of them. But I will review one specifically. Since I am such a big Google Fanboy, I will show you how Google Trends can help you think outside the box.
The way Google Trends works is that you key in the search term that you are interested in learning more about and then it will show you the trending for those keywords over time. Its brilliant. Take a look:
I keyed in “Rabbit Hutch” and Google Trends spat out the related terms and their percentage increases. It also shows the geographical location these terms are taking off in. Obviously rabbits trend better in the UK, the United States and Australia. But notice the search terms I haven’t been focusing on: “Rabbit Hutch Ebay”, “The Rabbit Hutch”, “Rabbit Hutch Sale”, etc etc. I am nowhere to be found on any of those search terms if you look. But a few quick tweaks on the blog and the metadata and I’m sure to expand the net significantly. You see? Sometimes you can’t anticipate what users will be looking for or how they may come your direction. Google Trends helps with this sort of a problem. Right?
SEO Optimization Test Conclusions
What have we learned here? When writing your next blog post it pays to be intentional about it. Think ahead about how you think people will search for your content and frame the conversation in those terms. Write amazing content. This is probably the most significant item I will cover here. Just write well – and Google will notice. Utilize SEO plugins for your blog. And tag the heck out of all your images throughout your blog post. And finally use tools to think outside the box and find how others will be searching for you. Right? SEO Testing is a constant process. It requires you to always be tweaking your posts and modifying them regularly as you see new trends developing. Right? Right. And with that our little Rabbit Hutch Test is concluded for now anyway. I will post new results once I start selling the plans just to see how things change. Until then!