2018 SEO Case Study

2018 Ongoing SEO Case Study | How We’re Growing Linkio into An Authority Site

The journey to a goal is where all the learning happens and by sharing it with you, we all grow together. Let’s get started.

Month 1 – September 2017

It’s almost September 1st, 2017. Linkio is a a brand new site. It does not have one single backlink and this happens to be the very first article being written.

Here is the current backlink profile:

Our goal is to turn linkio.com into a mega SEO authority site.

We have a game plan ready to go and Linkio just happens to be a SEO management software, so not only will we show you how we turn Linkio into a SEO authority site in less than a year, but we’ll do it while using our software for support.

Here’s the 4 week game plan:

Normal Stuff

  1. Work on branding (logo and design)
  2. Homepage copy
  3. Publish five 1000 word articles to the blog just to get the ball rolling
  4. Build 30 manual outreach backlinks in the next 30 days.

Ninja Stuff To Develop for Growth Hacking SEO and Branding

  1. Create “Linkio’s Top 500 Agencies”
  2. Create “Linkio’s Top 50 SEOs”
  3. 500 SEO Agency Survey About Link Building
  4. Free Anchor Text Suggestion Tool

SEO Strategy

Since this is a brand new site, I’d like to plan out 12 months worth of link building, based on the success achieved from our other site, OutreachMama.

There are three types of key pages on the site:

Homepage: Needs to be the most powerful page on the site (by backlinks)
Commercial Pages: In our case, that will be software feature pages
Marketing Assets: Long form blog content/free tools/marketing assets

Backlinking Plan

We’ll be building backlinks every month, splitting up the links according to the below monthly percentages.

Months 1-3:

  1. Homepage: 100% of links
  2. Commercial pages: 0%
  3. Marketing assets: 0%

Months 4-6:

  1. Homepage: 50% of links
  2. Commercial pages: 0%
  3. Marketing assets: 50%

Months 7-12:

  1. Homepage: 30% of links
  2. Commercial pages: 10%
  3. Marketing assets: 60%

Month 2: October 2017

One month has passed and we worked hard getting our marketing materials ready and getting backlinks.

  1. Redesign status

Currently, the homepage redesign is 75% complete. It’s a full overhaul but now that we have a great logo, color scheme and copy, it’s just about coding the design we created and finalizing the images, which will be screenshots of the app.

Estimated publish date: Month 3

2. Link 500

We finished identifying the top 500 SEO agencies in the US and are currently having the landing page designed. We’ll use this asset to give back to the community with recognition while helping to improve our own brand awareness.

Estimated publish date: Month 4

3. Linkfluencers

We just started gathering up the list of the top 100 individual SEO influencers.  The list should feature big names like Neil Patel, but also try to feature up and coming micro-influencers.

Estimated publish date: Month 4

4. Anchor Text Generator

This was the first piece we were able to launch in month 2. You can find the anchor text generator here. The keyword is already ranking on page 1 of Google and we’ve been experimenting with Facebook ads as well, getting a couple signups a day. The plan is to optimize the tool for email capture and start sending even more traffic.

5. New Initiative: 2018 SEO Summit

One of our goals for 2018 is to be connectors in the SEO industry. We want to pair experts with an audience that would appreciate their knowledge. That goal will be accomplished in the form of a virtual 5 day summit is Q1 of 2018.

I’ve done an initial call for speakers to my email list with lots of interest. We’ve currently ramping up plans for further outreach, starting with the designs for the landing page, which is soon to be underway.

Estimated timeline: TBD

6. SEO Tools Article

On the content marketing front, I’m aiming to create a definitive list of SEO tools that cover all-in-ones, onsite auditors, link building managers, blogger outreach tools, link monitoring tools, penalty recovery tools, competitive analytics, website analytics, rank monitoring, and reporting.

Estimated publish date: Month 4

7.  Publish five 1000 word articles to the blog just to get the ball rolling (as discussed in Month 1)

I decided not to publish these “fluff” articles. With content marketing/blogging being so saturated, I’m no longer convinced low cost articles like these that regurgitate topics are effective or worthwhile.

Estimated publish date: Never

That’s a summary of our onsite initiative. Let’s switch gears to our offsite authority building.

Last month, our metrics were zero’s across the board. Here’s how they looks now:

The new backlinks are 100% the product of continued blogger outreach. We’ve been reaching out to marketing sites, mostly agencies, and asking for links previously published article. The tactic has been working well, because we try to provide them value as well, instead of just asking for the link.

We continued focusing on homepage branded links, and will continue doing so for the foreseeable future. This strategy is inline with our brand-first SEO methodology, where we but branding above all else in the first 3 months (and maybe even 6 months) of a new SEO campaign.

Until next month, cheers.

Month 3

The third month of our marketing campaign continues seeing quick execution towards our goals.

Here’s a snappy on the key activities:

  1. Redesign status

The updated homepage design is complete, although we already did another redesign – which has yet to be pushed into development.

Estimated publish date: Done

2. Link 500

Our list of the top 500 SEO agencies in the country has been completed and published. You can find it here: Link 500

We have not started using this as a marketing asset yet, and still need to add an award embed code to the page.

Estimated publish date: Refinements pending

4. Anchor Text Generator

We’ve been working on a redesign of the generator to force an email capture before initial results to boost conversion rates. This is slated for publish Month 4.

5. New Initiative: 2018 SEO Summit

We made a ton of progress here. The page is ready and live here.

We’ve already got a handful of speakers signed up and my marketing assistant is reaching out to more and more people. We have yet to start marketing for audience members.

6. Anchor Text Categorizer

We started development for our second free tool – the anchor text categorizer. This, combined with the generator, will provide SEOs a solid tool set for their link building.

On the software front, we’re looking to roll both of these into the actual software with a lot more automation.

Estimated publish date: Month 4

Next, here’s a review of the link building progress.

We continue delivering links via blogger outreach on niche relevant sites. We’re getting lots of links from SEO blogs thus far.

Here’s how the Ahrefs metrics have evolved over the 3 months:

Next, let’s have a look at ranking positions.

Keyword Rankings

This is what is so powerful about understanding SEO. You don’t panic when you’re rankings haven’t shot up within 3 months. It doesn’t work that way with a new site and competitive keyword.

Here’s what we’ve got so far:

I believe we are months (and probably over a year away) from ranking for a significant keyword like SEO tool.  Regardless, the activities we’re doing now are essential towards building a sustainable online business.

As we add content and uncover new keywords, we’ll keep growing this tracking list.

Until next time, cheers.

Month 4

In month 4, we hit a huge milestone. The rebrand and redesign of our software app was completed and because of that, we were able to redirect our original site, managebacklinks.io, to Linkio.

ManageBacklinks has been live for 7 months and we had built about 90 branded homepage links to the site. I decided to redirect that entire site to https://www.linkio.com/manage-backlinks/ and not the homepage because I wanted to keep Linkio’s homepage branded anchor text profile clean.

By redirecting the site to https://www.linkio.com/manage-backlinks/, I was able to keep the original domains name in the URL, thus making it a more natural-looking redirect.

Just as awesome, this redirect effectively increases the number of our referring domains by 150%, which Ahrefs will eventually be able to pick up.

Here’s how the progress looks right now.

Ahrefs is picking up the increase in authority, rankings and traffic. There are currently two factors that will continue hindering the growth in traffic over the next several months.

  1. It’s a brand new site and new sites just don’t rank for valuable keywords for about a year unless you get lucky.
  2. There isn’t much content on the site. As of now, the only rankable pages are the homepage, a features page, this case study, and a couple of free tools.

We’re focused on base building (branded SEO), and making the app as valuable as possible so that means adding lots of content takes a back seat.

Regardless, let’s have a look at our current rankings.

The “backlink management software” keyword went from Not Top 100 to #2 because of the direct we did.

The ranking should stick because the page managebacklinks.io redirects to includes /manage-backlinks/ in the URL.

The focus on branding is helping with the ranking for “Linkio”, as it moved from #4 to #2.

Our link building strategy hasn’t changed. Focusing on branded homepage links.

It’ s a simple game plan and we’re delivering on it with consistency. There’s no need to over-complicate SEO. As we continue running this campaign, the SEO for the site will inevitably improve.

Marketing Plan Update

We refreshed the design of the anchor text generator and published our newly minted anchor text categorizer.

Both now require an email in order to generate the results. This should help improve the conversion rate of the site.

In addition, I finally created an automated email marketing sequence for Linkio that currently lasts about 20 days.

I can talk more about it next month and how it fits into the SEO picture.