Watch Us Rank A Website #1 In Google: A Live Case Study

Michael Costin

We took a brand new website and ranked it #1 in Google for our target keyword and can prove it... we recorded a live video case study as we did it 🚀

Because anyone can make big claims in the SEO world. But building a real campaign to take a website from a blank canvas to a #1 ranking and showing the process as a live case study is another thing all together.

It took us about a month to go from nothing to hitting #1 for our target keyword (quite a bit faster than expected) but we have condensed that into a video that runs about 30 minutes.

The video is below, and below that a bit more context about the campaign.

The Goal

We wanted to show an SEO campaign in action.

Our goal was to take a website and rank it in the top 3 for its target keyword. We wanted to be in and out of the campaign in between 3 to 6 months ideally.

Why do this?

Well, it shows we know what we're doing, and that's always nice. It also helps business owners to understand what goes into an SEO campaign. It is also just interesting (at least we think so as digital marketing nerds anyway 🤓).

The problem is, SEO can take a long time. Sometimes a few months, sometimes a couple of years depending on the niche and sophistication of the competition. When working on existing websites we're also inheriting their setup and any previous SEO done to it, good or bad.

So we decided we would rank a brand new website #1 in Google and record it all as we did it.

We'd pick a niche, a target keyword and then build a brand new site, push it to #1 and record the process. We wanted to cover the following:

  •  Website design and development
  •  Technical set-up and optimisation
  •  Content creation and optimisation
  •  Link building campaign

The Niche

We picked the niche of tuckpointing and repointing.

Now... what on earth is that? Let's turn to our trusty friend Google:

It's all about those bricks baby 🧱

Because we're based in Sydney and because tuckpointing is quite prominent as a service in Sydney, we decided to focus on that location.

So why did we pick that niche?

A few reasons:

  • We already owned the domain name - it had been registered a couple of years ago but just sat in our domain registrar and was not used for anything. It was a good chance to use the domain.

  • Tuckpointing as a service is expensive. Projects can run into many tens of thousands of dollars. This means that ranking in the #1 spot for the target keyword would be valuable to a business in this space. We wanted the keyword we were targeting for this live case study to have strong commercial value to it, and not just be a useless keyword that would not generate any leads.

  • The competitors in this space from an SEO point of view are not super sophisticated. We felt we had a good chance of ranking this site. This was important, as we didn't want to be shooting this case study for 12 months or more, which would be the case in a super competitive niche.

Based on our research and the points above we believed we had a good chance of ranking the site in the top 3 in about three months or so.

The Strategy

At Local Digital we have a very tried and tested approach to SEO that has achieved results in a wide range of industries.

This approach will generate results very consistently, and doesn't need to be adapted or changed from industry to industry - SEO generally works the same irrespective of what the business is selling or offering.

With this live case study we would simply focus on the three pillars of SEO which are essentially the areas Google looks at when deciding how to rank a website. These pillars are a strong technical foundation, well optimised content and building authority via a backlink profile.

These are the three areas that influence Google rankings time and time again.

The general roadmap we put together for the live case study was:

  • Month One - website build, technical optimisation, main page content creation and optimisation, pillow/foundation link building

  • Month Two - authority link building, internal/supporting page content creation

  • Month Three - authority link building

Did You Know?

We can estimate a competitor’s ad spend & SEO investment using a range of powerful software tools, so you can get a good idea of your probability of success BEFORE investing money! Find out what’s possible to grow your business online by claiming a free proposal now.

The Results

As mentioned above, we got the #1 ranking we were looking for by the end of month one... how good is SEO!? 🏆

Because of this, we didn't get around to implementing month two and three of the campaign, and we won't be now.

To show the results, here's a screenshot of a Google search for the keyword tuckpointing sydney as of the 9th March 2021.

You can see that our case study site is in #1 position in the organic results. The only things above it are the Maps & People Also Ask sections of the search results page:

We got there about two months ahead of schedule.

Why did it happen so quickly in this case?

Well, our onsite optimisation (or content pillar of SEO 📝) was on point. We wrote good copy and then optimised it further to give Google what it needed to see.

The set-up for our WordPress site was strong. The way the site was built was measured and considered. We used a fast local VPS for hosting. This was all handling the technical pillar of SEO 💻

On the link building front (the authority pillar of SEO 🔗) we focused exclusively on branded or URL anchor text terms for the foundation links in month one.

Most of these links were on directory sites and large web profile sites. There were also some lower quality comment type links. The thinking was that we were using purely URL based anchor text on these links, and it wouldn't really move the needle much, but it wouldn't do much harm either.

The idea was we were setting the site up with a foundation or URL and branded anchor text, so we could then build a sprinkling of high quality authority links in future. These would power top rankings with minimum risk of Google penalisation due to the brand heavy backlink profile.

Turns out we didn't need to go that far in the end.

The results came quickly for a couple of other reasons:

  • Exact Match Domain - the domain we had is a match for the keyword we want to rank for. These means the brand name is also the target keyword. This can make ranking easier.

  • Competitor Sophistication - we had worked with one business in this space, and they ranked #1 before we did the live case study. However, we had not done any work on their SEO campaign for a couple of years. Their competitors apparently hadn't done anything either, so it was easy to come in with a proper SEO strategy and outrank them all quickly.

So there you have it.

We took a site from not existing to ranking #1 for the target keyword in about a month.

This site might bounce around in the rankings from here, or it might be attacked by negative SEO once people see this case study... who knows 🤷‍♂️

But as it stands as of the 8th/9th of March 2021 we had hit our target keyword ranking of #1 and the goal was achieved.

As we hit our goal we won't build out the rest of the site or continue with the link building campaign.

Hope you enjoyed the live case study and if you'd like to chat about your own SEO campaign you know where to find us!

Did You Know?

We can estimate a competitor’s ad spend & SEO investment using a range of powerful software tools, so you can get a good idea of your probability of success BEFORE investing money! Find out what’s possible to grow your business online by claiming a free proposal now.

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Michael Costin
Michael is the co-founder at Local Digital. He has a decade of experience in the digital marketing space, and is a big enough nerd that he's well practised in all the common digital marketing channels, from SEO to copywriting, paid social to analytics and tracking.

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