This is a case study of work we’ve done for AbsoluteReg, a UK company specialising in selling private car number plates to customers nationwide. It’s a very lucrative, popular and competitive market, people pay huge sums to show off a private registration on their vehicle…
They approached us after seeing a notable decline in rankings for 8-9 months, which they believed was due to links being built by their previous SEO agency. They engaged our link building company in order to rectify the issues and get their search performance back on track.
We analysed the website and found a number of issues:
- Despite gaining some amazing PR coverage and links from well before our time (which led the the website ranking well after it first launched), the site dropped off after the SEO company created internal pages to rank for all of their target keywords, and started throwing low quality links at those pages.
- The previous SEO company set up a ton of Web 2.0 websites with extremely thin content, which only linked backed to the client’s website. Some examples are: numberplates1.snack.ws and numberplatebuilder.blinkweb.com. Many others have since been removed manually.
- The anchor text ratio to all of the internal pages (and to some extent the homepage) was dangerously unsafe – Everything was exact match, with no new branded links being built. So we had a big job on our hands to get the link profile back to a natural, healthy state.
Our Link Building Plan
- Competitor Analysis – As with any client, we analysed the highly ranking competitors to see what they were doing well and aimed to surpass it. So we cherry picked link-opportunities and made suggestions to surpass them for on-page SEO. Those are simply, quick wins to get things started.
- Guest Posts – this was a clear and simple strategy for us to build targeted homepage links with anchor text chosen by us in topically relevant article from high quality websites. Again we cherry picked some competitor opportunities, and used our own targets.
- Content Outreach – this was something not being done too often by competitors, but we saw a couple of the heavy hitters had done this type of thing in the past, and we always love to do this for our clients since we’re building links to relevant content pages. Our client commissioned a writer to create some amazing articles with our guidance, and we’ve built a ton of links to that content through. Exceptional content is key here.
- Forum Posts – some people automatically dismiss this is spam, but if done correctly it’s far from it. A natural backlink profile of a popular website that people love is bound to be made up of forum links. We saw many of the top competitors had these in abundance (the UK has a huge volume of car blogs where men and women naturally are interested in where everyone else is buying their private number plates) and so it was easy to find opportunities. We found a mixture of follow and do-follow links, and still get referral traffic from them to this day.
The road was fairly rocky as it often is. Google like to move you up and down, especially when you’re doing SEO. Thankfully, the client kept headstrong and believed in our process, and after 8 months of link-building and continual adjustments and improvements we achieved page 1 results for all of our target high-volume keyword.
Keyword Ranking Improvements
Note: This doesn’t even include the huge increase in search traffic from long-tail keywords and alternative keywords.
Here’s the analytics graph below charting organic search traffic – We began work at the low point – September 2017.
- September to November saw nice initial growth of 20% organic traffic, as we focused primarily on outreach links coming in to blog content on the website, something that had never really been a focus before. We also cleaned up a ton of toxic links built by the previous agency and set up a disavow file.
- November to January saw organic growth pretty much at a standstill. We continued building outreach links and started sprinkling in some more branded homepage links along with high quality outreach links. This kind of thing can happen all the time – The only way out of it is to keep creating content and building quality links. The client fortunately kept head strong with our process.
- Key change in January: We shifted from a structure where internal pages were trying to rank for all of the key terms to making the homepage the main ranking page. So before we came onboard, the website had a separate internal page to cover all of the main keywords listed above. We felt that focusing on the homepage, improving it from an on-page side of things and doubling-down link building efforts to the homepage would improve results. It would also give Google no doubt as to what page to rank!
- February to May saw consistent month on month growth, again building a mixture of homepage links and outreach links to internal content. We pushed the client hard on the content side of things, as creating content relevant to the keywords you want to rank for is an overlooked (snobby SEO’s might call it simple) but always essential part of SEO. How else could Google possibly determine that you’re site is the most topically relevant for the keywords you’re trying to rank?