SEO Case Study: The Rise and Fall of a Keyword

Jacob Redmond
March 30, 2017

Marketers hear about the importance of content to search engine optimization (SEO) about every day, but just how important is it? We have a clear answer for you: it’s the single most important aspect of SEO. We at fjorge were shown its importance first-hand when we saw our Website Maintenance Plan page go from ranking #10 to #1 to #8 for the keyword “website maintenance plan”, all in the span of nine months.

The fjorge website maintenance plan became a major focus for us near the end of 2015. At this point, we were writing occasional blog posts about website maintenance, but were not following a strict content strategy tied to a measurable goal. After some competitive research, we determined that we could see great success in ranking highly for “website maintenance plan” if we developed, and stuck to, an aggressive content strategy.

 

The Rise

What we did

Our quest to rank #1 for “website maintenance plan” started with a competitive audit centered on figuring out how we were currently performing, competitors that were in our way, and developing a plan and timeline for accomplishing our goal. Starting with a ranking of #10, we predicted that we would rank #1 for “website maintenance plan” in five months if we followed a strict content plan. This content plan involved the publishing of five keyword-targeted blog posts and four keyword targeted landing pages over a six month period.

Results

Months 1-2:

Months 3-4:

Month 5:

  • We published one blog post: The Ultimate Guide to Maintaining Your Website
  • In the week after publishing this blog post, we secured the #1 ranking for “website maintenance plan”. Publishing this lengthy and in-depth blog post during the final month of our goal timeline was an integral part of our strategy and plan, and it ended up being what pushed us “over the top” to achieve our goal.

The Fall 

What we did

Simply put, we stopped creating content about website maintenance plans. In the four months since achieving the #1 ranking for “website maintenance plan”, we published only one blog post targeting the keyword as our marketing and digital strategy focuses shifted.

Results

Months 6-7:

  • Our ranking hovered around #3-4 during the two months after achieving the #1 ranking

Months 8-9:

  • We published one blog post: Why Website Maintenance is Critical to SEO
  • This blog post was published as a response to our drop in search rankings, and it gave us a short boost (for a week or two). By the end of month nine, however, we had dropped to #8 in the search rankings.

 ranking over time

Conclusion

Ranking highly for targeted keywords is not an overly difficult thing that only technology and web experts are capable of. Depending on opportunity and competition, SEO almost always comes down to developing a strict content plan and sticking to it. This is what we did for “website maintenance plan” and we ended up on top of search rankings for the keyword (but not for long). After shifting focuses to ranking highly for other keywords, our rankings decreased. We saw first-hand how important ongoing, keyword-targeted content creation is to SEO. If you publish ongoing, keyword-targeted content, you’ll rise in the rankings for the search queries you’re going after. If you don’t, you’ll fall, and it could happen fast.

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