How to Get a Blog Post to Rank (Mini Case Study)

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Amanda Gant
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Orbit recently launched a website, Illinois Innovation Network. As I do with most of our clients, I walked through their Analytics with them a few weeks after their website launched. I wanted to make sure they know where to find their website data and how to interpret it.

During my chat with the client, I noticed that most of the keyword phrases for which people were searching were combinations of words in their business name, such as “Illinois innovation council” and “Illinois technology association.”

Completely normal, but not very actionable. So, I dug deeper and found some non-branded keyword phrases that were bringing traffic to the site. One keyword phrase stuck out, “IT hiring trends 2013.”

After the call, I proceeded to get my geek on and do some more research. What I found was that this blog post was unintentionally ranking on page one of Google for IT hiring trends 2013 and on page three for IT hiring trends.

My conclusion: We can get that to rank a lot higher. IIN’s response (and I’m paraphrasing): “Let’s do it!” So, we did.

Illinois Innovation Network went from ranking #7 for IT hiring trends 2013 to #2 and from ranking #33 for IT hiring trends to #5.

Here’s how I did it:

  • Keyword Research – I wanted to see which keyword phrase was more competitive. The keyword phrase “IT hiring trends 2013” had 260 searches per month and the keyword phrase “IT hiring trends” was getting 1900 searches per month.
  • On-page SEO – The next step was to follow on-page SEO best practices and tweak the title tag, page description, and add the keyword phrase within the content three to four times.
  • Internal Linking – I reviewed past blog posts to find any internal linking opportunities and linked those pages to the page I was optimizing. For more information on internal linking, read this blog post by Andy Crestodina.
  • Make edits – Once I had all of this information, I proceeded making the following updates:

Step 1

I moved the keyphrase to the front of the header, since the placement of a keyphrase is an indication of relevance, and closer to the front is better.

  • Old: 2013 Quarter 2 Report – Hiring trends in IT-related occupations
  • New: IT Hiring Trends – 2013 Quarter 2 Report

Step 2

I updated the title tag to include the keyword phrases. Notice that I managed to include both keyword phrases: ‘IT hiring trends’ and ‘IT hiring trends 2013’.

  • IT Hiring Trends 2013

Step 3

I created a new page description to include the keyword phrase.

  • The IT hiring trends in 2013 indicate a growing demand for temporary and project-based employees, which is reshaping how companies recruit and hire IT labor.

Step 4

I modified the first sentence of the first paragraph to include the keyword phrase.

  • Old: Growing demand for temporary and project-based employees is reshaping how companies recruit and hire IT labor.
  • New: IT hiring trends in 2013 indicate a growing demand for temporary and project-based employees, which is reshaping how companies recruit and hire IT labor.

Step 5

In the last sentence of the first paragraph, I modified:

  • Old: Fieldglass’ Chief Technology Officer Sean Chou shared his insights on the company’s strategy for local IT workforce recruitment and development.
  • New: Fieldglass’ Chief Technology Officer Sean Chou shared his insights on the company’s strategy for local IT workforce recruitment, development, and the ongoing IT hiring trends.

Step 6

I added a call to action at the end of the post and included the keyword phrase.

  • These are just a few of the IT hiring trends in 2013. If you have any insights or would like to share your company’s strategy, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Step 7

I updated the PDF link at the top.

  • Old: Download the full report here.
  • New: Download the full IT hiring trends 2013 report here.

Step 8

I linked from this post to the IT hiring trends post using the keyword phrase in the link – see paragraph 4.

“11 percent of total postings (see also IT hiring trends 2013 report).”

Step 9

I waited…12 days to be exact. Here’s what happened.

Results

Keyword: IT hiring trends

Before, they ranked #32 on page three…

it-hiring-trends-before

After, they climbed to #3 on page one in Google!

it-hiring-trends-after-8-26-13

Keyword: IT hiring trends 2013

Before, they ranked #7…

it-hiring-trends-2013-before

After, they rose three spots to #3 on page one in Google.it-hiring-trends-2013-after-8.26.13

 

I love seeing that small tweaks can have such big results. If you have any tips on how to get your blog posts to rank, I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

note: rankings may have changed since this post was written.

Amanda Gant is the Marketing and Relationship Manager at Orbit Media. You can find Amanda on LinkedIn, and Twitter.

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Comments (19)
  • I really enjoyed this article. Please post more case studies like this! By optimizing for “IT hiring trends 2013” traffic likely went up for this keyphrase, but what traffic did you have to sacrifice to get it? Was it worth it?

  • ezabinski Great questions! Pageviews for that page went up 22% after we optimized it. I haven’t seen any downside or traffic that was sacrificed since they were already ranking for one keyphrase and now they rank for two. Thanks for the feedback! We’ll try to do more of these types of posts in the future.

  • Strong work, Amanda. Better get to it quick, though, before we’re all swimming in the sea of “not provided”!

  • nathan pabich thanks, Nathan! Lucky for me, I wrote this a couple of weeks ago. I think the sea of “not provided” is now our backyard.

  • I’ve been doing more and more optimizing, but this was a great step-by-step to follow.  I put it to the test today… fingers crossed!  Thanks.
    –Tony Gnau

  • T60Productions fantastic! Let me know how it goes. Sending good Google vibes your way 🙂

  • This is great! I’m revamping my IT firm’s website content and have been following most of these steps for SEO. I have a question though–should I be putting an outbound link to a page with high domain authority? Is that even effective? Major bummer about Google’s “not provided” fiasco too, good thing I finished all my keyword research a month ago!

    • Hey Tromatastic! High DA outbound links aren’t going to help you rank higher, but they won’t hurt you either. Hope that helps!

  • What if I have optimised the post (on page SEO) with the exact keywords but it still doesn’t rank (even though there are no other posts in the world with that keywords if you try searching the keywords on Google)?

    • Can you send me an example?

    • My “Dyson DC54 review” is an example, I guess: http://www.cravingtech.com/dyson-dc54-review.html I think it’s just because it doesn’t have any backlinks so it doesn’t rank well compared to the other sites/blogs

    • Yep, I think you’re right. It looks like a lot of the links to your site are no follows so you’re not getting the link juice.

  • I’m a little late to the party, but this was a great post. I am using it now to guide my writing for GetElected. Thank you!

  • No party starts until you arrive, Mr. D! Glad you liked it. If you have any questions, you know where to find me!

  • I just Love These SEO Case studies,I am Going to tell all of my business associates and friends about this post.i especially like the point about re-editing earlier post and making the new changes ….and by keeping it simple…I cant wait to try your method’s to my Blog ….Thanks and i will keep you posted as to my results.

  • […] come across another interesting case study on the ranking impact of internal links. This one, How to Get a Blog Post to Rank (Mini Case Study) is by Amanda Gant and was published late last year on Orbitmedia.com. Amanda outlines the 9 steps […]

  • Hey Amanda Gant,

    You wrote and shared a complete thinks releted “post ranking” realy this is a prefect and Awesome article.

    Recently i had started two “IndGovtJobsAlert” , “LogicalHungama” blogs so google throw me to your blog os i am thankful you for this usefull article if possible i w’ll be active on this blog.

    Regards
    Jebun Gouri

  • When I write a post I try to do on page SEO better. On page SEO is one of the most important factors to get good page rank. I also prefer to backlinks for ranking my post. Your article is awesome. Here you write step by step which help me to get high page rank.

  • what date was this done?

 
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