Preface: This post is purely about search rankings — not traffic or conversions or anything — just how Google orders her results.
When I set up this blog, I decided I would try to make it rank for the term ‘link building blog’.
It wasn’t because it had a particularly high search volume or could be described as a ‘quick-win’, it was just because it’s a blog primarily about link building, so it made sense.
I just wanted to see where it ranked and try work out what was making it rank.
By seoMOZ’s Keyword Difficulty Tool, it was a relatively competitive term to go after:
Anyway, that didn’t really matter to me, I just wanted it to rank for what it was.
I’ve been pottering around the first page for about six months now, ranking from as high as 5 to as low as 11.
Then, all of a sudden, last week I jumped to 3 in the SERPs. (Which is where I am as I write this.)
If you look at seoMOZ’s ranking analysis of the first page, things really don’t add up:
(The columns are PA, Page Linking Root Domains, DA and Root Domain Link Root Domains — left to right.)
I know links are only part of the ranking factors, but c’mon, no one would put my blog third if they were just given these stats and asked to predict the SERPs.
Except for the exact match domain stats (ahem), my blog stands out like a sore thumb.
Link building strategy — or lack of
In the beginning all I did was add ‘link building blog’ to the meta-title.
I got a link from the company I work for and asked my friends who blog to link to me. All in all that added up to about 10 links — two of which are from sites that are actually relevant.
Over the past few months I’ve picked up a couple of links relatively ‘naturally’, but it’s child’s play compared to the other sites here.
(I actually spammed a couple of forums in the outset, got my fingers burnt and learnt an important lesson.)
It is impossible to justify or explain why I’m now ranking ahead of sites like Point Blank SEO, who tirelessly creates good content, guest posts on credible sites and creates a stir on sites like Twitter.
In terms of link building, I’ve done barely any in comparison. Maybe I update my blog a bit more regularly than the other sites ranking, but there’s nothing really to signal to Google that this content is any good.
I’ve never guest posted, never done any broken link building, never created a tool or resource.
All I do is write the occasional blog post, once every 3 to 4 weeks.
They rarely get many readers or social bookmarks, or shares on Twitter. (Actually, my link building books post got a few shares, but nothing to write home about.)
Why then am I currently ranking #3 for ‘link building blog’ ahead of sites like Point Blank SEO, Ontolo and Link Spiel? I shouldn’t be anywhere near them.
Unfortunately, I can’t really conclude anything here. Would be more interested to hear other people’s thoughts.
Aside from keeping it relatively fresh and small mix of links, the rankings don’t really add up.
At the end of the day, this is just one term. It doesn’t prove anything about how anything does or doesn’t work.
I’ve certainly found it interesting to observe what’s been happening and it has made me question a lot of assumptions I took as standard in terms of what it takes to rank.
I think I read Paddy Moogan say something about the importance of testing and observing for yourself in SEO. I kinda know what he means now.
Anyway, I thought I’d put this story down in writing. It’s baffling and I hope you appreciate my honesty in this post.
To Jon from Point Blank SEO and the other link building blogs who are putting out better content than me and getting better links, I hope Google gets her act together — although it’s all in vain really, the term ‘link building blog’ sends f-all visitors.