How It Took Me 4 Days and 1 Backlink To Rank #2 of Google SERP For a High Competition Keyword

I’ve been experimenting and playing around with my blog’s homepage recently (a lot!), from the time when I restored it after crashing my blog’s database a month ago.

As of today (March 27, 2011 – Updated), my blog’s homepage is currently ranking on position #2 for the keyword “online business SEO”, and it only took me 4 days and 2 tweaks to reach that rank – homepage’s title and 1 keyword rich inbound link directing to it.

As you can see, my homepage is not that quite relevant for the keywords, right? But why and how the hell did I rank for that keyword with just one simple adjustment – and I haven’t even modified other on-page elements yet.

Online Business SEO - Keyword Density

Note: My homepage’s meta title was modified on March 22, 2011.

About the Keyword

A few days back, I have been listing some good keywords to target for my future blog posts (I have two new big posts coming out, but I need your help to finalize it), and then I found this interesting keyword.

Online Business SEO - Keyword Tool Grabbed from Google External Keyword Tool

Online Business SEO - AllintitleAllintitle Results

Then I decided to run a test focusing on this very high competition keyword, just to challenge myself with something new.

1 Backlink!

On March 23, 2011, I’ve read Zarko’s most recent blog post and had to drop a simple comment, because I noticed that there’s one basic tip that was missing on his list. Good thing I recalled that his blog is using KeywordLuv and it just felt right to try using my homepage’s new test keyword as the link’s anchor.

online business SEO - commentComment on

Note: That’s the only link I’ve built with the keyword “online business SEO” as anchor text in the past 2 days.

The main factor that led me to the Top Page of SERPs

I have been stressing this for the past few months – search engine optimization is all about trust! And it seems that search engines already trust what my domain continuously excretes, seeing as they are retrieving many of my pages as relevant results for various search queries, even this minor change in my blog.

Developing trust in your site takes a lot of time and effort. Like what I’ve been always mentioning to those who were seeking for my advice – trust has been the most efficient and consistent core principle of any of the past, present and I also believe the future search algorithms as well as ethical search marketing standards. Essentially, it’s the new age of link building.

Result (After 3 Days)

online business seo - ranktracker

Shot taken a few minutes ago via SEOmoz RankTracker

online business seo - seocentroShot taken a few minutes ago via SEOcentro

Updated Result – After 4 Days

online business seo #2Shot taken on March 27, 2011 via SEOmoz RankTracker

online business seo #2 - seocentroShot taken on March 27, 2011 via Seocentro

Final Note

In my honest opinion, domain trust seems to be the biggest factor when it comes to search rankings. And like what I’ve said before, if search engines trust you, you can pretty much rank for any keywords you wish to rank for.

Excited for more of my experiments? I have one coming up and you can participate as well – just refer to this post if you’re interested.

Jason Acidre

Jason Acidre is the Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive - a digital marketing agency based in the Philippines. He's also the sole author of this SEO blog. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre.

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80 replies
  1. Zarko
    Zarko says:

    you are 100% right with the trust that search engines give you, as your domain is getting to be trusted by Google you also took a chance with placing a link on my website. I think that Google is giving me some authority and trust but that is my own opinion 🙂

    • Kaiserthesage
      Kaiserthesage says:

      Users trust your site Zarko (and I personally do), and there’s no reason for search engines to not love your content!

  2. Shiva @ Blogging Ideas
    Shiva @ Blogging Ideas says:

    Hi there Jason,
    Nice to know that your domain is being seen by Google as an authority domain. I really agree on you on the fact that domain trust affects a lot on the keyword ranking. I have recently started working a little more on the SEO for my blog and I hope I will be able to gain the trust of Search Engine for my domain. I have read some of your previous posts on domain trust and will certainly be implementing the same. Thanks a lot.


    • Kaiserthesage
      Kaiserthesage says:

      I’m certain that you’ll be able to do this Shiva! You have been doing great, and I personally trust your blog, so why search engines won’t 🙂

  3. Backlinking Strategy
    Backlinking Strategy says:

    It looks like Google definitely turned the corner in that direction, especially when it comes to quality content. At the same time I noticed that results don’t take days to show up in Google, in some cases it takes hours or less, depending of how long it takes for Google to spider your new article. In any event I think this is a win/win for anyone who is interested in sharing their knowledge as suppose to spamming and making money.

    • Kaiserthesage
      Kaiserthesage says:

      That was made possible by the new algorithm update with regards to social signals. However this experiment never used that factor, since it’s an old page that was just slightly modified.

  4. Jenn@mc700ll a review
    Jenn@mc700ll a review says:

    Hi there Jason,

    First of all, I would like to know, what tool did you use to check bold thing title meta tag on March this year?

    I am new to blogging and I definitely will learn a bit about SEO from this article.

    Thank you so much


  5. Dennis Edell@ Direct Sales Marketing
    Dennis Edell@ Direct Sales Marketing says:

    Impressive indeed, but if I read it right, it might set a dangerous precedent. Beginners might see this and automatically jump to the illusioned conception tat comment links are still great backlinks…this is no longer really the case; Google themselves have said this more then once of late.

    • Kaiserthesage
      Kaiserthesage says:

      Yeah, just thought of that as well. Will do update this entry.

      Thanks for the heads up Dennis 🙂 and thanks for subscribing too!

  6. Référencement web
    Référencement web says:

    Hi Jason,

    As usual, your advise are like God speech ! 🙂 I’ve try what you mention in this post using french keyword as anchor text! We will see what’s going to happen for me ! hehe

    Keep up the good work! Catch ya on twitter later !


    • Kaiserthesage
      Kaiserthesage says:

      I believe that comment served as the trigger in signaling Google that there’s a page they need to return as a result to searchers as seen through its trustworthiness.

  7. Felicia @ No Deposit Poker
    Felicia @ No Deposit Poker says:

    It’s quite impressive that it only took you a short time to rank a very competitive keyword. Perhaps you are right when you mentioned if your domain is being trusted by search engines that they will likely take in any new post as well as changes on your blog. I believe people should give your experiment a try, as soon as they’ve developed trust in their site that is.

  8. Jackson G
    Jackson G says:

    Great post.. Rather than many theoritical and latent bluff, your blog is really helpful to know the practical side of SEO..
    Thanks for sharing dude…

    • Kaiserthesage
      Kaiserthesage says:

      Thanks Jackson! You are one of those who really leave extremely interesting comments here, short but direct. Glad to have you around.

  9. Internet Marketing Specialist
    Internet Marketing Specialist says:

    Hi Jason,

    I’m stunned about the impact based on ONEbacklink. I knew domain authority and trust is a factor but this article really took me by surprise. I really enjoyed the practical approach which makes it really enjoyable to read.

    Will come back for further reading.

  10. Robert@Foster Parent Training
    Robert@Foster Parent Training says:

    Sorry, I kindof have to disagree with Jackson. I love your blog in general, but this post didn’t communicate clearly HOW you think you got “trust”… what was it about that link or your on-page content that gave it trust???


  11. Eugene @ Lifestyle Design
    Eugene @ Lifestyle Design says:

    How competitive is this keyword? I don’t think it can be extremely competitive for such a high ranking instantly from one backlink. I’ve done a lot of commenting with KeywordLuv blogs and am still not ranked anywhere near the top for these keywords. They are some pretty tough nuts to crack though 🙂

    On the other hand, it could just be the value of your site that is being ranked by Google. I’m not sure what the “Panda” changes were for sure (no one really is but Google, right?), but they may just be viewing your blog as more trustworthy than many of the competitors to begin with.

    I would think this result has to be a combination of high content value for your site and low competition.

    Also, how much SEO work did you put in on the back end?

    Great post, very intriguing.

    • Kaiserthesage
      Kaiserthesage says:

      Interesting insights Eugene. Well, Zarko and I believe that it’s because of the “trust” that search engines see in this blog, that’s why I was able to make it in a short period of time.

      The keyword has high competition (data extracted via Google Adwords and Traffic Travis).

      SEO work on the back end, not really massive, all natural.

      • Noel Addison@Web Development Ventura
        Noel Addison@Web Development Ventura says:

        Congratulations for gaining Google’s trust! You deserve it. I’ve read your posts in this blog and they are really amazing. You have inspired me to focus on writing more unique and high quality content. You have already proven that content is indeed a very important element in SEO.

  12. Nabil@förstoppning
    Nabil@förstoppning says:

    Really, really interesting post Jason!

    This really shows how important trust is in the eyes of the search engines. And I do believe this blog has lots of trust “attached” to it as it’s got no less than 12K words from about 100 root domains according to my mozBar I’ve got installed to my browser.

    I am definitely trying this minor tweak out on one of my well-trusted websites. Hopefully I won’t be erasing my current rankings forever by doing so. And yes, I may refer to this post 🙂

    /Nabil, from Sweden.

      • Markus@Badrumsrenovering
        Markus@Badrumsrenovering says:

        It seems like my co-workers have written to you. Cool! 🙂

        ” Just like Nabil’re blog carrys a lot of trust. It’s impressing that it only took four days! Awesome result for such a small effort. ” haha.

        I agree with them. This type of work is way to way with the 20/80 method. You did this type of work and get awesome result in the serp in only 4 days?

        Man, you got to tell us more!

  13. PC Support
    PC Support says:

    Quirkbiz’s SearchStatus – its a very nice tool, thanks for your information about this tool, it really helps me a lot by means of SEO aspect. Is there any other SERP tool? please let me know….waiting for your reply, by the way, thanks for your share….!!

  14. Jayson@Manila SEO Agency
    Jayson@Manila SEO Agency says:

    A wow post that made me ask myself “HOW”

    I just want to ask you Sir about how-to measure the authority level of your domain? The only tool that I know to check domain authority is through seomoz. Is that good enough?

    I know domain age plays a huge part in domain authority. Being strong on your niche is an important factor too. What more? 🙂

    BTW. I say no to commenting but I believe – Looking for fresh niche blog posts to comment via Google search advance operators is still effective.

    • Kaiserthesage
      Kaiserthesage says:

      Yes, through SEOmoz toolbar as well as open site explorer (Domain moztrust).

      I also don’t believe in comments when it comes to its link value, but it’s very important for building relationships. But I believe that search crawlers are able to distinguish link relationship history, and they give higher value on these relationships.

      I only used that comment for signal purposes, and of course, Zarko has been a good friend, so I guess the relationship factor + trust played the biggest roles.

  15. edgardo berones
    edgardo berones says:

    @Robert , I think what Jason was trying to say is that his domain , being already a trusted authority by Google, played a crucial part for such very remarkable rise in SERPs Rank. The comment was just a trigger for the search engines.

    I believe that in actuality though,the 4 days and 1 backlink, is actually a long time of dedication, hard work and quality content delivery that Jason provided over the years and that the instant rank to the top for his KW was his reaping of the rewards that he deserves.

  16. Tho Huynh from Nỗi nhớ
    Tho Huynh from Nỗi nhớ says:

    #2 in 4 days. I think that I should pay more attention to this method. Beside that, I wonder how google associate a specific keyword (taken from the field Name) to your website. I mean when I left my comment, How can Google take my-key-word from the phrase “ABC from mykeyword”

  17. Michael @ Dog Homemade Food
    Michael @ Dog Homemade Food says:

    I love your blog post.
    Trust is ultimately the biggest secret for high ranking. I have also gotten a #3 ranking for highly competitive keywords on Google in 7 days with only 3 outbound links. The only issue I face everyday is how to locate high page rank blogs with good standing with search engines. Is there any way you can help?

    • Kaiserthesage
      Kaiserthesage says:

      With Pagerank, I do it manually. But with search engine standings I use SEMrush 🙂

      But I know another way to automate the process of locating high Pagerank related pages:

      You can wait for the latest version of Traffic Travis that have a link finder feature. It will be launched this coming May 🙂

      • Damon@Settlement Company
        Damon@Settlement Company says:

        Hello Kaiser,

        That is very impressive. I see that your ranking is now on page two. Which of course is still very good for what you did to get it there. You mentioned you use Semrush to check out competitors in a niche. I recently purchased Market Samurai, are you familiar with that and if so how do you think it compares to the Semrush?

  18. Spandex Bodysuit
    Spandex Bodysuit says:

    Very powerful article I wish everyone that call themselves and internet marketer will at least give one of there so called secrets away because it is enough money in the world to go around.

    • Nabil@how to bring on labour
      Nabil@how to bring on labour says:

      You most probably will, as with all other things in life. So just don’t overdo it. It really should not be that hard. Keep leaving good comments and contribute to the discussion and you may even get a link in a future blog post.

      As for the topic of the post: I will have to try this out anytime soon 🙂

  19. Authority Tips
    Authority Tips says:

    Well, I have been trying to rank for some difficult keywords for some of my nichesites and stumbled upon this post. I’m sure affilorama has gotten tonnes of value from your expertise.

  20. xKurdi
    xKurdi says:

    Dude, this is SICK!

    I have always struggeling to get #2, or even #3 for high competive KW’s. And it always takes me like 4 months, and thats a lot of time. And you do this in no time?

    Bro, you got to sell this as a service. The tutorial gave a lot of good things to learn when I act, but sell this or seomthing. You are going to be a billionaire, YIIHA!

  21. Twitter Followers Fast
    Twitter Followers Fast says:

    It’s quite impressive that it only took you a short time to rank a very competitive keyword. Perhaps you are right when you mentioned if your domain is being trusted by search engines that they will likely take in any new post as well as changes on your blog. Trusted sites like .edu and .gov, search engine will always look up to you.

  22. Kevin Royster@Business Cash
    Kevin Royster@Business Cash says:


    This is an impressive experiment. Thanks for sharing your methods. I have a couple of questions.

    Did you have any luck duplicating the result with other terms?
    How is this method holding up in the face of the recent panda update?
    How did you build such trust with the search engines?
    Any tips and tricks for becoming an authority site?

    Thakns in advance

  23. Ferdous@Seo Professional
    Ferdous@Seo Professional says:

    This is amazing Jason, The more I am reading your blog, the more amazed I get! (Don’t Take this praise as spam!). I am following you for only 2 weeks now and have read over 15 of your post. One of the most useful place for my seo learning.

    Love this post like your other posts. hard to believe the facts you have shown, but considering the authority you have on “SEO” niche it makes you mighty.

    Looking forward to all your future posts.

  24. Jade@Lipoma Treatment
    Jade@Lipoma Treatment says:

    Hi Jason,

    First, awesome blog – just grabbed the rss so I don’t miss any of your stuff! Could you share the keyword density tool you featured in the snapshot?

    Thanks and keep up the fabulous SEO material!


  25. Christian
    Christian says:

    I was a shame to think like this about my site with so many competitors out there… but you definitely have right. In my niche I conquer a highest position first of all because TRUST and ethical standards. Not because pure seo or other extraordinaire factors…

    Happy to see my feelings in your article. Maybe I will come again, my friend.

    Thank you.


  26. Adi
    Adi says:

    Now that you mention it, I’ve noticed this on my websites too. Those that rank well for competitive keywords are really easy to make new pages to rank for new keywords. While new websites seem to be impossible to rank even for low competition keywords.

    The big question then is, how do you build trust most efficiently (beyond the obvious like making good content)?

    • Gio Lopez
      Gio Lopez says:

      You can build trust by first building your own brand. By building your own brand people will notice your website, great content = lower bounce rate. lower bounce rate = higher user based metrics. That is how Google will gauge your site. When you build your back links, target those sites with authority. Google will know that. Trust me. Websites are being gauged by Google through links, Google will look at where your links have been anchored. If your links are anchored in an authority website, Google will see that you are becoming an authority for your niche. One example is Link Baiting. Good content = Links. Plus don’t forget to include social media in your campaigns.

  27. Gio Lopez
    Gio Lopez says:

    Yes to all those who are asking about why trust is becoming more the factor for Google? Read SeoMoz’s ‘Google ranking factor of 2011’ then you will know why, since the Panda update Google has been more active against cracking down site’s with poor backlink profile, poor backlink profile = low domain trust. Why low domain trust? That is because sites with unoriginal content, duplicate content, site’s with low user based metrics, they have been pulled down the rankings by Google, so in essence it’s like a general cleaning for Google. Since many people are now joining the IM bandwagon but not really educated when it comes to Google’s behaviour. Please do your research first before you build a website that way Google’s work will be lessen and the Internet will be back to what it was 10 years ago. Build your own brand, copying from other website’s content won’t be a good idea and spammers will still be taken down.

  28. ambreen
    ambreen says:

    Hello, Thought, it does sound a very interesting point that how trust can get you rank as fast as 4 days. Can you please write something on how to work more on this trust factor?

  29. Brian R
    Brian R says:

    Really, really interesting post Jason!

    This really shows how important trust is in the eyes of the search engines. And I do believe this blog has lots of trust “attached” to it as it’s got no less than 12K words from about 100 root domains according to my mozBar I’ve got installed to my browser.

    I am definitely trying this minor tweak out on one of my well-trusted websites. Hopefully I won’t be erasing my current rankings forever by doing so. And yes, I may refer to this post

  30. James
    James says:

    Very good read, I have been trying to rank for “hcg diet” but have had no luck.

    With that said I do think most of it (70%+) has to do with trust. Kind of makes it hard for a site that is only 3 months old.

    On top of that getting good backlinks seen to be one of the harder things to do when it comes to seo.

    How old do you think a site has to be before Google will trust it?

  31. Genycis
    Genycis says:

    Interesting read! I have a question then if I may. I’ve owned and been running two of my websites since 2008 and 2009 respectively. However, I’ve paid per year for renewing my domain with them (as I didn’t know how they would start off when I first started them up).

    Would having done this already impact me negatively in terms of trying to rank for higher competitive keywords? When I mean highly competitive, I mean words that may have over 10,000 globaly monthly searches as Exact (not Broad), but that also seem to have over 500,000 or more websites when searching the term with Quotes in Google to see how competitive it is.

    Also, I recently purchased a domain name for a 5 year span that I plan to do as a blog. Would having paid for 5 years in advance automatically help be seen as more “trustworthy?” Thoughts and input are greatly appreciated. I’m sure there are others that may have similar questions as I do regarding this.

    Thanks in advance,

  32. Anders
    Anders says:

    Very interesting article. It shows me that by writing original content and building trust with Search Engines (via building trust with readers) can be very rewarding in the end. I can only hope that I can get in a similar position myself one day with my site.

    I recently purchased a collection of programming tutorials. It has quite a lot of pages with original content but also some auto-posted content. I am now in the process of updating the design and writing new articles for the site. My intention is to turn it into a real, valuable resource for programmers.

    My main worry at this point is how fast I can get new articles to rank (first one posted three days ago and not yet ranking) but also to what degree the auto-posted content is damaging the overall impression of the site in the eyes of Google.

  33. Abe@Baltimore Web Design
    Abe@Baltimore Web Design says:

    This was really informative. I have a couple of upcoming projects that i plan to test this on. I’m excited to see the results and have bookmarked your site to get future tips!

    Thanks and keep up the great work!
    Level Up Marketing

  34. Free Spirit
    Free Spirit says:

    I can’t think at all what you say. But i could know much search engines would always considers the domain for ranking the site keywords. How to check for the domain name which is really trust worthy or not.

    Also i could read in one article that Google considers more than 300 factors for ranking a single keyword in search engines. If this is the case, Google would also check for “Domain trust”.

    But still i can’t believe that with only 2 tweaks we can able to rank for a highly competitive keywords also.

  35. SEO
    SEO says:

    Domain trust is really a factor in the rankings but I would say that it is not everything. Their are a lot of things that are going on with one single link such as pagerank, follow/nofollow attribute, positioning of the links and other link data that Google measures.

    I would like to see a test on contextual links based on its positioning with regards to the post panda update. Another challenge for the SEO hero, Jason! 🙂

    I would like to invite you to use our website as well to create links to your website. It is a good PR 3 and has a good trust. For you, we will do it for free. Just let me know. – Marv of DigitalMoz

  36. N1NJA
    N1NJA says:

    No offence but that keyword was easy to rank for its got low competition and i dont get how you worked that one out ??? its only got 1.600 global searches so it would be easy as taking lolly pop from a kid to rank for online business seo ??? 🙂

  37. Victoria
    Victoria says:

    Thank you, I’m always surprised by how keywords and the famous search engine work. I rank for things that I never even thought I would and the things I expect to rank for – I never do. It is very crazy! Google on hormones, haha. Gotta love it still though. Great post!

  38. DaniZehra
    DaniZehra says:

    Cool I have came across it a year late but than also this piece is indeed quite valuable. But I am bit concered that is if I got to rank a keyword through this process will it stay there for long even without building more links for it or not ?

  39. Chantelle@SEO Saint John NB
    Chantelle@SEO Saint John NB says:

    I am really learning a lot from your blog posts Jason. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and the results of your experiments. Our website is still relatively so it’s going to take a while to gain ground in the eyes of Google. I have been implementing a lot of your SEO suggestions and it appears to be working. Each month we keep moving up in the rankings. Thanks again!

  40. King
    King says:

    This one seems interesting a follow up article on how to increase the domain authority would really help newbies in implementing the strategy on their blogs.. all I can say is you have done some simple and good work by sharing this with the community

  41. Spook SEO
    Spook SEO says:

    I find it really amazing how your trial and error or experiment with your page went. It such a blessing in disguise when you unintentionally reached your target. and yes, i couldn’t agree more on you, domain does the major role in rankings.


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