Top Page for a Very High Competition Keyword in 3 Months Part II

If it’s your first time here, you may want to read the first part of this series. Click here to read Top Page for a Very High Competition Keyword in 3 Months Part I. And now, the saga continues…

I carried on and worked with a more vibrant team of experts in a much diversified field. Then there I have equipped myself with way farther powerful arsenals and tactics that suit greater heights. But that doesn’t stop me from sharpening and enhancing my skills.Success

Few weeks later – when I already have moved on, as if I had broken up with someone – I checked it’s stats on Google’s SERP. You’ve guessed it right! It’s already on the top page, both of the keywords and no one was optimizing them, I think (I checked its backlinks to make sure). But I will not take the credit of it just to be fair in case someone has continued the efforts I’ve pushed through for it to stand strong (perhaps the site owner chose to continue the campaign, since it’s already on the edge in achieving victory).

On the contrary, I have managed to shape its reputation and its online presence for a short period of time, and I definitely consider that as an accomplishment, including all the things I have learnt along the process.

What I have learned from this experience

  1. A great strategy wins the game. Making great strategies in getting your links is cool, but too much planning with no equivalent actions or too much action without thinking where your links are being planted will put all of your efforts to waste. It’s best to play it slowly but surely.
  2. The age of anchored text links matters. The longer it stays on the World Wide Web is the more it gives value to your campaign efforts. I realized recently that the backlinks with the targeted keywords used as anchor text gave higher quality of vote for that certain keyword to rank on Google’s SERP.
  3. Nofollow links matters. Even though nofollow links are said to be of no value, because it doesn’t pass through PR, some studies still show that Google bots follow these links. Though it would only count those links if they are absolutely “relevant” with the main content of the page. Of course Yahoo definitely follows these links, so it’s safe to say that it’s still worth it as long as the linking page is relevant. I also have a gut feel that it has some serious effect on keyword ranking.
  4. Reversed Keyword trick. I never optimized the keyword “bingo uk”, not even once. But I managed to make both keyword rank higher on Google SERP by just optimizing one, and that’s “uk bingo”. Then there was some point that the standings of the keyword “bingo uk” was ranking higher than “uk bingo” (until now on
  5. Quality over Quantity. Very self-explanatory, but I learned this the hard way. This is a very popular tip from most experts (gunning for 1st place against “Content is King”), so take it by the heart, because when they say 10 high quality backlinks are better than 100 easy to get links, it’s true.
  6. A site that has a well-staged internal link structure is the worst kind of enemy. It really is hard to compete with these guys. I have even found some along the way that solely depended on their internal links (100% internal with absolutely zero external links!) with the targeted keyword used as anchor text and placed on the footer. What hurts the most is that they belong to the top page, top 5 to be precise. Imagine competing with those solid links contained on hundreds of their pages.

On the first week of June 2010, I checked both keywords’ stats on the SERP again, and saw them still standing strong from where I’ve last seen them. Then there I’ve decided to take a screenshot of it (courtesy of screengrab Firefox plugin) and to write about the whole experience instead. But I will not spill the name of the site to avoid being charged of defamation, since I wasn’t able to disclose this with that client.

That’s the 1st result page for the term “uk bingo”. Here’s the hint: “the only one with the thumbs up”. If anyone’s interested to know the methods I used with this campaign, I can show you how.  Just drop me an email and I’ll be happy to help you out.

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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18 replies
  1. John
    John says:

    “But I will not spill the name of the site to avoid being charged of defamation, since I wasn’t able to disclose this with that client.”

    Does your screen shot not do that though ? I mean that if you look at the one you have highlighted you can clearly see the company name and the URL – just a though 😉

  2. John
    John says:

    Ah… can’t see a thumbs up on the image on my screen but even so – are you not giving the details away ?

    Cheers though, it’s an interesting read – and like you I wonder about no-follow, we know that Google does follow and sometimes (just sometimes) I think it does make a difference – and just as importantly, if the link is on a relevant page (why would it be on a page that isn’t relevant?) you can get human visitors following it to your site anyway – and in my view they are just as important as people that visit the site from a search engine 🙂

  3. Gerardo@restaurantes monterrey
    Gerardo@restaurantes monterrey says:

    Awesome story, thanks for sharing! I personally have it easy when it comes to SEO because not many people apply it to their websites where I live in.

    What’s your view in paid link building services effectiveness? (considering the new panda algorithm and taking in account this services are the cheap and fast kind, a week for 200 links).

  4. Kerry Dye@Vertical Leap
    Kerry Dye@Vertical Leap says:

    The thing about nofollow links is interesting. Did you read the SEOMoz ranking factors post about correlation between the number of nofollow links and high rankings. They said it might not be a cause of the ranking, but high ranking sites also have a good percentage of nofollowed links.

  5. Owen@Marketing Gold Coast
    Owen@Marketing Gold Coast says:

    Sweet post Jason,

    I am currently about to take on my first SEO battle with a few keywords in the Australian SERP’s and you have given me a few pointers to use.

    Use google alerts to spy on competitors
    No follow links still matter
    Internal links matter – set up a structure

    Cheers Mate

  6. Toni Atkinson
    Toni Atkinson says:

    Congrats on this accomplishment and another insightful piece of writing! SEO for competitive keywords is fascinating as it goes way beyond understanding of SEO and the algorithms. I agree with what you have highlighted, especially #1- strategy, strategy and more strategy, and week to week too. The reversed keyword trick you describe is cool. We’ve been having a hell of a time with “popcorn” as it is used for so many different industries (video, CD, movie, snacks etc). Interestingly, we discovered that consumers seem to know what to skip over (i.e. wikipedia or a software company) as the page 2 and 3 traffic is as high as 1?! Lot’s to learn and get lots of benefit from you sharing your experience! Thanks.

  7. Neno
    Neno says:

    Hi Jason,

    I must say I loved your articles on how to rank high for high competition keywords. Many time people get obsessed with niche terms because they are ( or should be) easy, hovewer real money is where the real competition is. One thing that struck me from your research is following:A site that has a well-staged internal link structure is the worst kind of enemy

    Can you please elaborate?

    This is one of the things I suspect that many neglect while we obsess about backlinks etc.

    If somebody built a huge site with good structure and had years 5,7,9 to build massive amount of internal links and content, how do you compete with that?

    There are sites like that in almost any country going back to 90es etc.

    I would like to see this research.


  8. Taswir Haider
    Taswir Haider says:

    Interesting and Impressive, I am interested to learn the strategy which you followed to rank higher in SERP. Would be glad if you kindly share it with me through my email address or any other means. Thank you.


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