Keyword Targeting Experiment Shows Impressive SEO Results
An SEO Experiment: Targeting One Keyword
An SEO Experiment: Targeting One Keyword
by

The more I learn about search engine optimization, the more I want to experiment and play with search. I’ve begun to develop my own opinions and instincts about search as a business driver, some of which I’m sure all the SEO dorks would refute and criticize me for, but nonetheless, I’m better armed as a digital marketing strategist because I’ve taken myself to school on SEO.

When Brian Clark came out with Scribe SEO, I immediately signed up to see how this tool could help, not only my knowledge of writing for search, but for my clients and their projects. Using it helped me develop an understanding (or maybe it’s one of my theories that the SEO dorks can yell at me about) that it’s not about targeting keywords with your content. It’s about targeting a singular keyword. Scribe helps you identify a primary keyword and recommends steps to take in order to go after search results, one term at a time.

Last week, I tried a little experiment to measure the effectiveness of primary keyword targeting on a Google search. It turned out to be an interesting proof point that targeting a primary keyword works, but also an interesting read of how Google ranks a post over the course of the first few hours and days of a new piece of content’s activity.

Last Friday’s post, “Where Social Media Monitoring Services Fail,” was constructed specifically to win the search term, “Social Media Monitoring Services.” Using Scribe, I optimized the post for that primary keyword phrase, ensured the phrase was in the title, description and several times throughout the copy, tagged it and published at 7:35 a.m. ET. Look at the post image below and notice the occurrences of the keyword phrase:

SEO Experiment - Social Media Explorer - Social Media Monitoring Services - The Post

Here’s a snapshot of that search result at the moment I published (Click on any of these images to see larger versions):

SEO Experiment - Social Media Explorer - Social Media Monitoring Services - Before Results

You’ll notice the starred result is from Social Media Explorer, but this is the result of me starring that item in Google Reader for reference. It was a relevant result from my own Google information. You would not have seen that result. The search winners on that graphic are, in order, Trackur (a social media monitoring service); an article on social media monitoring from ReadWriteWeb; a post on social media monitoring services from Jeremiah Owyang’s blog; Radian6, another service; a Wikipedia entry and an article from Marketing Pilgrim on social media monitoring tools. (Note: Marketing Pilgrim is authored by Trackur CEO Andy Beal, so kudos to him for having a double entry of sorts.)

Using no promotional tactics of my own, other than an automatic Twitter and Facebook Brand Page post when there’s a new article on my blog, and the fact that Social Media Explorer is a widely read industry blog which has accumulated an organic marketing army of its own from readers who Tweet or Re-Tweet links to its posts, here’s what happened next:

At 9 a.m. ET, almost an hour and 30 minutes after the post goes live, a Google search of the term begins to show Twitter links to the article. The post is already ranked No. 5! (Keep in mind the starred item would not be there on any search but one I conducted.)

SEO Experiment - Social Media Explorer - Social Media Monitoring Services - Early Results

At 11 a.m. ET, the post still ranked No. 5, but at 12:30 p.m., it’s all of a sudden the second ranked result for the search term:

SEO Experiment - Social Media Explorer - Social Media Monitoring Services - Peak Result

Notice a previous post (actually the one starred) is showing up as a sub-set result under the result, meaning Social Media Explorer technically owns the No. 2 and No. 3 result for that term. In a weird reversal, however, a check of the search term at 1 p.m. shows the post coming at No. 5 again. How this happened, I can’t explain. Perhaps Matt Cutts can shed some light on it?

On Saturday morning, 24 hours after the post went live, I checked again and the post seems to have settled in to a solid No. 5 position in the Google rankings for the term:

SEO Test - Social Media Monitoring Services - Social Media Explorer - 24 hours

But three days later, on Monday morning and after several other blogs and websites have picked up on the post and linked to it, the entry ranks an impressive third, putting it in the sweet spot where 85-90 percent of all clicks occur on a search result page.

SEO Experiment - Social Media Explorer - Social Media Monitoring Services - Day 3 Results

As I write this, a full week later, the post has now dipped back to No. 5 in the rankings again. Still, with no link-building tactics, no post promotion other than two automated mechanisms for Twitter and Facebook and no SEO magic, my blog now ranks in the top five for a search term that might prove useful.

It’s fair to note that, according to Google’s Adwords traffic estimator, there is little competitiveness for this particular search term. Still, logic tells us that the phrase “social media monitoring services” is likely to be used by someone looking for one, or a list of them. Aaron Wall of SEO Book estimates that for long-tail keywords like this, on-page optimization accounts for 50 percent of the search algorithms. Not to mention 25 percent of all keywords entered into a search have never been entered in one before.

What this experiment leads me to believe includes:

  • Targeting a primary keyword is a smart way to rank well quickly.
  • You don’t have to promote your posts to rank well, but probably only if the content is on a well-trafficked website. (Hence the need to begin building one!)
  • Google’s algorithms are dynamic enough that your ranking can be affected by the hour, especially as the early activity builds around a post.
  • Scribe SEO really does work and is helpful.

Now it’s your turn. What did this experiment stir in your brain? If you’re an SEO expert or professional, what am I missing, what factors have I not considered? What other methods can be implemented to see that singular blog post get a win rather than a top five?

Please jump in the comments and help us all understand what good SEO copywriting can do for a blog or website. We’ll all learn something good from your thoughts.

About the Author

Jason Falls
Jason Falls is the founder of Social Media Explorer and one of the most notable and outspoken voices in the social media marketing industry. He is a noted marketing keynote speaker, author of two books and unapologetic bourbon aficionado. He can also be found at JasonFalls.com.
  • Share Filtration

    Has anyone encouertered this kind of problem? suddenly, all keyworkds listed on the google search engine gone out of thin air, i don’t know what wrong with my website, i haven’t done anything to it. Any ideas?

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  • Great post Jason. I like how you’ve not only provided content but a case study about your content as well. Win/win. 

  • painter brisbane

    gr8 post btw however just to get it simple for a newbi :D if we turn or sites to blogs and post related content to small niches ( if the blogs arnt established ) we should achieve gr8 success in the short turn for targarted key words . but this is not to say we carnt use this method of your many times for the many key words we have ?

  • Very good experiment,I do a similar experiment before,the keywords is usb 3.0 front panel,but it didn't bring me good rank.

  • Jason, in your opinion, is it important to make sure your external links are set to no-follow? and must you code your target keyword with an H1, H2 and H3 tags for optimal on-page optimization?

    • Honestly, I've never set links to no follow. In my mind, Google is better

      because links are followed. Whether it benefits me or not, I just have

      always felt like adding to its overall intelligence by allowing it to follow

      links is a best practice.

      As far as the H-tags, yes, you should optimize your page to include the

      target keyword or keywords in as many of them as you can. It's like visually

      bolding a phrase for humans … it makes the spiders say, “Oh … this page

      must be about that topic.”

  • Jason, as you said, the fact that you have an organic following, as well as great pagerank and plenty of legacy content supporting keywords like social media, which is also in your domain, must certainly contribute to your hovering in rankings there. But as you said, it is nice to think that you can twiddle around with your positioning by changing on-page seo factors.

  • Very informative post.

  • neha2bansal

    Hi there,
    this is quite convincing stuff, but you might also wana hit http://www.adwordsnemesis.com for more info on SEO..
    Cheersssssssssssssss

  • Interesting article.

  • Great explanation of long-tail keywords and the application to good SEO copywriting – thanks for sharing!

  • Great experiment!! Thanks for sharing it.

  • That's a really interesting experiment. Its nice to see step by step how effective keywords can be. Thanks for sharing

  • Thank you. It is a fairly competitive one. It should be good to see what happens though. I hope you’ll check back regularly to see how it’s going.

  • Thank you. It is a fairly competitive one. It should be good to see what happens though. I hope you’ll check back regularly to see how it’s going.

  • Thanks for sharing and putting the article together. Also, thanks for introducing Scribe. Will definitely give it a try.

  • Trs912

    Darn, I though everyone saw my starred Google results…guess not:(

  • Excellent observation. Very informative. Dude i'm really enjoying your posts.

    After a week or more, where the page will rank? Or will it vary similarly as you're explaining? Is it really possible, that by targeting a singular keyword you can achieve high ranks without any SEO?

    I still believe “Content Is King”. The more keyword generated your content, the more higher rank you'll achieve.

    Thanks.

  • Thank you for such an insightful and informative article! We completely agree with your assessment that in order to be effective, good SEO copy must be keyword focused while still compelling and interesting. Social Media has really made it possible to get good rankings quickly if used effectively, and the content is good quality.
    Looking forward to future posts.www,twitter.com/SEONOW

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  • ayurvedicmedicines

    Woa Such a very nice and informative post. your blog enjoys. Clearly, every post you publish is digested by tons of feed subscribers, alerts & SM followers. thanks for sharing with us…

  • I am not sure what this experiment proves..Google just needed some time to “realize” where the post should be ranked. That's all. Probably, it will drop more in time, once the post is buried deeper on the website, with no link from home page. Best, Lynn from wedge boots

  • I think SEO efforts sometime involve random accidents that lead to great results, and on the other hand can be subtly manipulated (or blatantly manipulated). I'm in a field where I'm up against high priced competition with large marketing budgets, yet I succeed in SEO with quality content, targeted writing and around a $500 a year marketing budget. Last year I took my company through a name change and figured it would be a good time to get a professional in on the copy/writing portions, and we decided the overall theme of the site would be a single key-phrase 'corporate elearning'.

    We're now hovering at spot # 11 and #10 on a google search, and rank higher for more specific words (adding production/solutions/development to the end). In comparison to this site (SME), we get in a whopping 30-90 visitors a day, yet blog posts about “elearning portfolio update” with a creative title have gotten us a #2 ranking for the search “elearning samples” (we've since slipped, but still float around page one). We also have high quality traffic – which has resulted in 3 Fortune 100 companies cold-calling us (those are always great days!) in the last two years.

    What's my point? Anyone can get targeted, but you need the niche market, specific keyword and focus. If teachers cover 20 different topics in a 30 minute class students would walk away with nothing from the experience – if the teacher has a set list of 2 or 3 goal topics the students are much more likely to remember what the class was about.

    The way I see it, targeted keyqords can help speed SEO popularity – pair that with high quality, valuable and unique content and you'll get the longevity that keeps you at the top spot.

    • Great stuff, Eric. Thanks for sharing all this.

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  • Agreed and disagreed…First: your post achieved high ranking so fast because of the many mentions (which shows relevance of social media sites for google algorithm), because of the already recognised high quality of this website (from a search engine point of view – you've got a good PR), because you already have high traffic to your site and yes, it ranked well on 'social media monitoring' becaused you focused on targeting this keyword throughout your post. However…as you've mentioned, the ranking went down very quickly (mentions dropped). SEO is about maintaining your rankings for a keyword more than a few days. And as you can't exactly write every day focusing on the same keyword, for real SEO you do need a lot more than focusing on a keyword and using automation for Twitter and FB. Wouldn't you agree?

    • I would certainly agree. My hope was to illustrate A) The power of
      establishing a blog/publishing platform with industry relevance and B) That
      good keyword focus and copywriting can serve the purpose without a lot of
      hard bells and whistles to what you do if you have that platform. Yes,
      there's a lot more to good SEO, but few people in my audience understand
      even the basics of it, so this probably helps a bit.

      Thanks for the extra thoughts and advice for folks, though. Appreciate the
      knowledge.

      • I appreciated, liked your experiment and actually very much enjoyed your post, as always. You did manage to prove your points, and I must say I agree with both. It was just a remark that one should not over-simplify SEO :)Type your comment here.
        Daniela

    • I do agree that on-site key-phrase targeting can be extremely effective, however it involves far more than adding it to the content, meta description and Title element. A high rank for a term such as “social media monitoring” is not a hard one to acquire looking at the competition and can be achieved with very little inbound, if you apply some clever targeting and decent on-site optimisation your away… (good little post, and does put the point across well)

  • smaclennan

    HI, Jason; Great article; I am conducting similiar experiment. Try googling “Tridel Sarah”. Glad to know I'm in the sweet spot with minimal SEO. Cheers, Sarah

  • Interesting. Thanks, so much, for adding to the experiment here,
    Suzanne. And for the chuckle. I still can't believe they think diet
    tacos are a good idea. Heh.

  • Jason

    Love this experiment. I agree with the others who have commented on the fact that your blog is a popular one (as you have even admitted to) and that it could be why the results are as favorable as they are but I am going to dispute that a bit. Back in December when taco bell came out with the drive thru diet menu I wrote an article about it. I certainly do not have the traffic that you have and when the article first went live, I was, I believe a #10 for “taco bell commercial” but for taco bell drive thru commercial, I was a #2. Interestingly enough I now am a #10 when searching “taco bell drive thru commercial” on the laptop where I am signed in with GA, but a #28 when going over to the desktop that is not signed in and has not been used in 9 months (directly above my ranking is huffington post by the way). Now search “taco bell diet commercial” and on the laptop I am #19 and on the desktop I am the same. So GA seems to not have an effect. Oh if you search taco bell commercials, rankings are ??? so a simple addition of an “s” changes it too.

    It should be noted that when the article was written I was on a different blog platform than I am now (so article is a 301 redirect) and traffic was double what it is now (sucks) and I have not searched these terms since probably the last week of Dec.

    So, while I agree that a blog that has a LOT of traffic as yours does, does affect rankings, I shrug my shoulders with the results above. It may be that the computers are off the same IP and that affects the rankings? (matt cutts comments are welcomed here). As this article was done before Scribe but I have analyzed and my primary keyword is taco bell but not diet commercial or anything of the like. At the time I wrote the article and being an agency who focuses on advertising and marketing, going after commercial was not necessarily a strategy as when helping clients create commercials, it was second nature to push the article in that direction (and I saw the commercial during a football game and nearly fell off the couch laughing so hard).

    So … not sure what this all means except that a blog that does not have high traffic like this one can rank (albeit a 19 or a 28 is certainly not something to brag about but being beneath Huffington Post is not too shabby).

    @SuzanneVara

    • Interesting. Thanks, so much, for adding to the experiment here,
      Suzanne. And for the chuckle. I still can't believe they think diet
      tacos are a good idea. Heh.

  • Jason

    Love this experiment. I agree with the others who have commented on the fact that your blog is a popular one (as you have even admitted to) and that it could be why the results are as favorable as they are but I am going to dispute that a bit. Back in December when taco bell came out with the drive thru diet menu I wrote an article about it. I certainly do not have the traffic that you have and when the article first went live, I was, I believe a #10 for “taco bell commercial” but for taco bell drive thru commercial, I was a #2. Interestingly enough I now am a #10 when searching “taco bell drive thru commercial” on the laptop where I am signed in with GA, but a #28 when going over to the desktop that is not signed in and has not been used in 9 months (directly above my ranking is huffington post by the way). Now search “taco bell diet commercial” and on the laptop I am #19 and on the desktop I am the same. So GA seems to not have an effect. Oh if you search taco bell commercials, rankings are ??? so a simple addition of an “s” changes it too.

    It should be noted that when the article was written I was on a different blog platform than I am now (so article is a 301 redirect) and traffic was double what it is now (sucks) and I have not searched these terms since probably the last week of Dec.

    So, while I agree that a blog that has a LOT of traffic as yours does, does affect rankings, I shrug my shoulders with the results above. It may be that the computers are off the same IP and that affects the rankings? (matt cutts comments are welcomed here). As this article was done before Scribe but I have analyzed and my primary keyword is taco bell but not diet commercial or anything of the like. At the time I wrote the article and being an agency who focuses on advertising and marketing, going after commercial was not necessarily a strategy as when helping clients create commercials, it was second nature to push the article in that direction (and I saw the commercial during a football game and nearly fell off the couch laughing so hard).

    So … not sure what this all means except that a blog that does not have high traffic like this one can rank (albeit a 19 or a 28 is certainly not something to brag about but being beneath Huffington Post is not too shabby).

    @SuzanneVara

  • I don't know whether to feel used or amused. Either way I learned a bit about SEO by reading the follow-up post, so thanks for the extra opportunity to expand my knowledge about SEO.

    See you in a few days!

    Katie
    Community Manager | Radian6
    @misskatiemo

  • I don't know whether to feel used or amused. Either way I learned a bit about SEO by reading the follow-up post, so thanks for the extra opportunity to expand my knowledge about SEO.

    See you in a few days!

    Katie
    Community Manager | Radian6
    @misskatiemo

  • I've seen a big increase in traffic since I started using Scribe and I'm extremely pleased with it. In fact, using Scribe I was able to tweak a guest post by another blogger from 52 – 100%. It's great for evaluating a post.

    Did you check out of Gmail before running the searches?

  • I've seen a big increase in traffic since I started using Scribe and I'm extremely pleased with it. In fact, using Scribe I was able to tweak a guest post by another blogger from 52 – 100%. It's great for evaluating a post.

    Did you check out of Gmail before running the searches?

  • I don't know why Facebook is so perfect and everybody embrace it. I understand Twitter, I agree, it is a new way to spread the news.

  • I don't know why Facebook is so perfect and everybody embrace it. I understand Twitter, I agree, it is a new way to spread the news.

  • Great feedback, Adam. Thanks for the ideas here.

  • For what's it's worth, in my results your page is #5 too with the other page indented below it. I've also got you at the bottom of my page as Google Social Search result, complete with your photo. So in my results you're getting lots-o-impressions.

    Regarding personalization, at SMX West in March Bryan Horling from Google said that changes are made to results in roughly 1 in 5 queries, and the changes are typically limited to just a few results on the page.

    Regarding the movement of the page in the results – another element is that new/fresh content sometimes gets a temporary boost in the results before settling further down after a period of time (particularly if the page hasn't accumulated many links). But in your case if the query isn't that competitive, and if you have built up some links, you could certainly stick around. Also keep in mind that you've got a strong domain which is also helpful.

  • I agree with Jason and John but appreciate the experiment. And the Batman comment below :)

  • I agree with Jason and John but appreciate the experiment. And the Batman comment below :)

  • Good thinking Batman – It's great that you tried it from several different loctions/computers too. Unless you were always logged into your Google account on each! :o)

  • Jason,

    Neat experiment. You and @jmctigue point out an important part of this: if you didn't already have an authoritative site you surely wouldn't rank so well.

    One thing you can do if you want to see non-personalized results is add &pws=0 to the end of the address line in your browser. I have to do this all the time to see non-personalized results for clients and it often changes the results by a few positions if it's a site I visit often.

    If you use Firefox Joost has a number of plugins to disable personalized search: http://yoast.com/tools/seo/disable-personalized

    Feel free to link at me anytime from your very authoritative highly trafficked site :)

  • Jason,

    Neat experiment. You and @jmctigue point out an important part of this: if you didn't already have an authoritative site you surely wouldn't rank so well.

    One thing you can do if you want to see non-personalized results is add &pws=0 to the end of the address line in your browser. I have to do this all the time to see non-personalized results for clients and it often changes the results by a few positions if it's a site I visit often.

    If you use Firefox Joost has a number of plugins to disable personalized search: http://yoast.com/tools/seo/disable-personalized

    Feel free to link at me anytime from your very authoritative highly trafficked site :)

  • jmctigue

    Absolutely. Anyone reading this post should be inspired by what can be achieved through consistent, high quality content, advice and engagement. I'm one of those inspired to get after it. Thanks.

  • Thanks, John. I don't disagree with you, as humbling as it is to hear
    someone say I've got tons of whatever. But there's a greater point in that
    qualification: If you invest the time it takes to build an audience, drive
    traffic, subscribers, etc., then you can better drive real business metrics
    like winning search terms. I don't necessarily have a reason to win search
    terms other than people looking for social media speakers, educators or
    consulting. But if I built a loyal following on a blog and my business were
    selling jewelry, then I'd be able to eventually get this kind of pickup on
    keywords that could lead directly to online sales.

    But you're right. Not everyone will be able to execute and rank high right
    off the bat. But there's incentive in building your business blog up to do
    so!

  • jmctigue

    I think we readers should temper our excitement about your results based on the readership your blog enjoys. Clearly, every post you publish is digested by tons of feed subscribers, alerts and SM followers. You're going to have an excellent chance of ranking on nearly every keyword you target, while most of us will have to work much harder. Still, it's a great strategy, one that we can all follow.

  • jmctigue

    I think we readers should temper our excitement about your results based on the readership your blog enjoys. Clearly, every post you publish is digested by tons of feed subscribers, alerts and SM followers. You're going to have an excellent chance of ranking on nearly every keyword you target, while most of us will have to work much harder. Still, it's a great strategy, one that we can all follow.

    • Thanks, John. I don't disagree with you, as humbling as it is to hear
      someone say I've got tons of whatever. But there's a greater point in that
      qualification: If you invest the time it takes to build an audience, drive
      traffic, subscribers, etc., then you can better drive real business metrics
      like winning search terms. I don't necessarily have a reason to win search
      terms other than people looking for social media speakers, educators or
      consulting. But if I built a loyal following on a blog and my business were
      selling jewelry, then I'd be able to eventually get this kind of pickup on
      keywords that could lead directly to online sales.

      But you're right. Not everyone will be able to execute and rank high right
      off the bat. But there's incentive in building your business blog up to do
      so!

      • jmctigue

        Absolutely. Anyone reading this post should be inspired by what can be achieved through consistent, high quality content, advice and engagement. I'm one of those inspired to get after it. Thanks.

  • Heh. Ain't it fun? Thanks, Andy.

  • It was an experiment? If feel so used! :-P

    There are a lot of reasons why the results would bump around. For one thing, all the comments you received may have a role to play. Your post started off keyword-rich, but unless a lot of the commenters used the same phrase, they may have diluted that.

    Also, it will be interesting to see if you rank drops now that you've published this post–replacing the other one as the primary linked-to post from your homepage. ;-)

    Now excuse me, I'm off to write about your experiment–using your keyword so I can get my rankings on Marketing Pilgrim back! :-P

  • It was an experiment? If feel so used! :-P

    There are a lot of reasons why the results would bump around. For one thing, all the comments you received may have a role to play. Your post started off keyword-rich, but unless a lot of the commenters used the same phrase, they may have diluted that.

    Also, it will be interesting to see if you rank drops now that you've published this post–replacing the other one as the primary linked-to post from your homepage. ;-)

    Now excuse me, I'm off to write about your experiment–using your keyword so I can get my rankings on Marketing Pilgrim back! :-P

  • Excellent explanation. Thanks for that, Bruce. Good to consider the various
    data centers in the scheme of things.

  • Thanks, John. I did do some spot checks of the rankings from 4-5 different
    browsers and locations to make sure my own usage wasn't skewing it, but
    that's certainly going to factor in as Google gets more social. Good point!
    Appreciate the feedback.

  • Definitely agree with this. One of the most trafficked posts on my blog is about signwriting for vans. If you search this in Google, it's currently showing at #6:
    http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=signwriting+fo

    There is no external promotion for this, and it's not a massively trafficked blog (though it does OK), and I've seen very similar results with other things so this definitely stacks up.

  • Definitely agree with this. One of the most trafficked posts on my blog is about signwriting for vans. If you search this in Google, it's currently showing at #6:
    http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=signwriting+fo

    There is no external promotion for this, and it's not a massively trafficked blog (though it does OK), and I've seen very similar results with other things so this definitely stacks up.

  • Bruce Teague

    The jumping back and forth from 3 to 5 can also be from you search results being pooled from different data centers. They aren't all synced up right away. Having your results display 3rd one hour and 5th another could be from that more so than Google changing its mind on where it should rank. Interesting read none the less. I love seeing actual tests in an industry where there is so much speculation founded on sand.

  • Bruce Teague

    The jumping back and forth from 3 to 5 can also be from you search results being pooled from different data centers. They aren't all synced up right away. Having your results display 3rd one hour and 5th another could be from that more so than Google changing its mind on where it should rank. Interesting read none the less. I love seeing actual tests in an industry where there is so much speculation founded on sand.

    • Excellent explanation. Thanks for that, Bruce. Good to consider the various
      data centers in the scheme of things.

  • Hey Jason,

    Great account of what you got up to :o)

    One thing I will say though, is Google is now showing more tailored results, so by you having visited your own site (plenty of times no doubt) – Google will show you that site in the listings as you have effectively voted with your clicks. That MIGHT (and I cannot say for sure) skew the results for you compared to someone who has never visited your/or the other sites ranking.

    I would say its a fair comment to say that the on page stuff really does help for the longer tail terms and of course still shouldn't be ignored regardless of what term you are going after.

    Another factor which could have helped boost you is the citations you would have been receiving in Tweets etc – Google are paying attention to mentions of brands etc. As to whether the more “positive” citations you get the more it helps, compared to negative one's that is anyone's guess but all the same this will help.

    Also, what I have found is due to the recent changes in Google, where they reward authority and trust more than they used to – you have a site that is linked to by other authoritative sites which again will help you rank quicker for your content.

    Hope the above may help in your findings.

    Thanks again for sharing – it's good to see you getting your teeth into it with your own testing too.

  • Hey Jason,

    Great account of what you got up to :o)

    One thing I will say though, is Google is now showing more tailored results, so by you having visited your own site (plenty of times no doubt) – Google will show you that site in the listings as you have effectively voted with your clicks. That MIGHT (and I cannot say for sure) skew the results for you compared to someone who has never visited your/or the other sites ranking.

    I would say its a fair comment to say that the on page stuff really does help for the longer tail terms and of course still shouldn't be ignored regardless of what term you are going after.

    Another factor which could have helped boost you is the citations you would have been receiving in Tweets etc – Google are paying attention to mentions of brands etc. As to whether the more “positive” citations you get the more it helps, compared to negative one's that is anyone's guess but all the same this will help.

    Also, what I have found is due to the recent changes in Google, where they reward authority and trust more than they used to – you have a site that is linked to by other authoritative sites which again will help you rank quicker for your content.

    Hope the above may help in your findings.

    Thanks again for sharing – it's good to see you getting your teeth into it with your own testing too.

    • Thanks, John. I did do some spot checks of the rankings from 4-5 different
      browsers and locations to make sure my own usage wasn't skewing it, but
      that's certainly going to factor in as Google gets more social. Good point!
      Appreciate the feedback.

      • Good thinking Batman – It's great that you tried it from several different loctions/computers too. Unless you were always logged into your Google account on each! :o)

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      • For what's it's worth, in my results your page is #5 too with the other page indented below it. I've also got you at the bottom of my page as Google Social Search result, complete with your photo. So in my results you're getting lots-o-impressions.

        Regarding personalization, at SMX West in March Bryan Horling from Google said that changes are made to results in roughly 1 in 5 queries, and the changes are typically limited to just a few results on the page.

        Regarding the movement of the page in the results – another element is that new/fresh content sometimes gets a temporary boost in the results before settling further down after a period of time (particularly if the page hasn't accumulated many links). But in your case if the query isn't that competitive, and if you have built up some links, you could certainly stick around. Also keep in mind that you've got a strong domain which is also helpful.

        • Great feedback, Adam. Thanks for the ideas here.