Top Google Rankings: How I Got Google to Say Yes

Dec 6, 2011   //   by Ana | Traffic Generation Cafe   //   Google, SEO Blog  //  29 Comments
top google rankings

And this is how top SEO guns do it...

I am sure Gerald is sick and tired of hearing about this, but since it’s my post (never mind that it’s on his blog), he’ll have to bear with me one more time.

Allow me to give you some background on the issue.

One of my favorite product releases of the year was CommentLuv Premium by Andy Bailey.

The free version of the plugin has been floating around the blogosphere for years and loved by both blog owners and commentators (aka “link builders”) alike.

Don’t ask me why, but the minute I heard Andy was working on the premium version of the plugin and all the features he was adding to it, I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread.

Anyway, this post is not about how great this plugin is, but about Google rankings.

Or how I felt like I was beating against the brick wall trying to rank my CommentLuv Premium review post on the first page of Google for “CommentLuv Premium“, to be more precise.

I am pretty good with SEO. Not great, but good enough. Plus, I’d like to think of myself as a creative link builder – I have to be since I don’t have much time for it.

So I wrote the review post, optimized it to the “T”, built a few links to it, and then ran a giveaway for a free copy of the plugin in exchange for an in-content dofollow backlink with exact anchor text back to my review post.

I told you I was creative, right?

So I got about 50 links from other blogs and, considering that my competitors for “CommentLuv Premium” keyword didn’t have many backlinks to speak of, I sat back and waited for the SEO traffic to start pouring in.

Only it never happened.

My post showed up on the first page for a brisk day or two and then disappeared into the neverland of page 4.

You can imagine my frustration. Poor Gerald heard all about it…

Assumptions and Observations

1. My post was very well optimized for the keyword.

2. It had a good amount of quality in-content links coming in, as well as some low-quality links like social media, social bookmarking, etc.

3. Thus, as far as Google is concerned, it should’ve been found extremely relevant to the keyword.

Side note: the way Google determines relevancy is by the keyword usage on the page, including your title, description, etc, and the anchor text of the links pointing to the page. Of course, this is a very simplistic explanation; take a look at how Google works, if you’d like to go more in-depth on this one.

4. The posts ranked on the first page for the keyword at the time had but a handful of low-quality links.

5. On the upside, thanks to Google+ and all the connections I made there, most of my readers saw my post on the first page because of Google personalized search, even though I wasn’t technically ranking for it.

6. Then Google Fresh came out. It was about that time that I wrote yet another post, talking about CommentLuv Premium settings this time AND posting a video on YouTube on the topic.

Considering my existing domain authority and a few quick links, they both showed up on the first page that very day (I didn’t take a snapshot of the video rankings, but the post was in position 7 in 4 hours).

commentluv premium rankings

Both stayed on the first page for a while, but left without much link building, my CommentLuv Premium YouTube video eventually moved to page 2 and the post to page 3.

HOWEVER, guess which post finally showed up (and is staying there so far) on the first page position 5?

Besides being brilliant (I need to keep saying it to believe it – you should try it sometime), I am also very stubborn and never gave up on ranking that very first CommentLuv Premium post of mine.

So How Did I Do It?

I made one big change to the post, which I believe did the trick.

Of course, one could argue that Google simply came to its senses, saw all those links, and decided to give credit where credit was due (huh!)…

However, the ranking came about very shortly after I decided to turn my post into a page.

What’s the difference, you might ask?

  • Pages are static; posts are dynamic.
  • Posts are displayed in chronological order on your home page, archives, category and tag pages, etc.
  • Pages  are not sorted by date; they are not classified by categories or tags.

Don’t remember where I read it at this point, but someone somewhere once said that the way pages and posts are coded in WordPress is different enough to make the pages more SEO-friendly.

Since I don’t know much about coding, I can’t support or disprove this statement.

The following factor does seem to support it though: most of the higher PR URLs on any given blog are not posts at all – rather, they are pages.

Let’s for instance take this blog and check the PR for inner pages using SEOQuake Firefox Addon.

semgroup rankings for pages

All of those results are pages. And this tends to be true for most blogs.

To learn more about using pages to increase your rankings, take a look at my post on blog structure.

How to Turn a Post into a Page

Here are the step-by-step instructions (I’d recommend you open 2 tabs since you’ll have to go back and forth between the post and the page):

1. Create a new page.

Copy and paste the content from the post to the page; save.

2. Change post permalink.

Since you’ve already built links to the post permalink, you’d want to keep it for your page. Of course, WP won’t let you have the same permalink for more than one page, so you’ll need to change the permalink on the original post first.

Usually, I simply add something like “original” or “part-1″ or “2″ to the end of the original post permalink; that’s plenty enough for our purpose.

Save.

3. Use the original permalink for the page.

Now go back to the page and use the original permalink for the new page. Save.

4. Avoid duplicate content issue.

Now I would edit the original post SEO title, description, and change the post content – usually by simply cutting out most of the post and placing the link to the new page with “To read more, click here” type link.

Using keyword-rich anchor text is even better, of course.

5. Optional: close comments on the page.

This one is arguable; however, I’ll use any trick up my sleeve if I can.

The original post will retain all the comments that were made on the post before you “transferred” the content to the page. It’s only fair to make sure that your commentators keep their links, right?

I tend to close comments on my pages though.

As I said, this one is entirely optional.

Marketing Takeway

Was it my newly created page that did the trick and pushed me to the first page of Google?

Argumentative, but logical.

This wasn’t the first time I did this either. Each time I turned posts into pages, they tended to rank higher and have better “sticking power” – most of them are currently ranked at the top of page one, if not in position one.

Thoughts? Ideas? “I have nothing solid to support my opinion, but I’ll say you are wrong just for the heck of it”s? Comment below!

 

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Comment Policy

  • Mahmoud says:

    thanks ana..going to try it

  • Marbella says:

    Ana, you can SEO very well and you’re thinking SEO as google sees it. I will check this way and see what happens in the rankings. thanks for the idea.

  • Tory
    Twitter:
    says:

    I would personally say that it was most likely Google coming to it’s senses….it can take some time for Google to figure out where to place your site, especially after you build a bunch of links to it. I’ve even had pages completely disappear from the index for a few days after a link building campaign before settling on the first page. But, like you, I’m not 100% sure and this would be worth testing to get a more concrete answer.

    • Ana
      Twitter:
      says:

      Sure, Tory – anything is possible.

      I’ve been watching this post very closely though; it became a sore point for me. I’d say it’s a good chance that making something into a page is good for rankings.

  • Amie Marse
    Twitter:
    says:

    Interesting… though a little sad :( I’ll try that and see if it makes a different for our top posts. It makes you wonder though why discussion boards get so much juice – they are certainly more dynamic than a regular post. Also, you mentioned WP… I wonder if that same hierarchy is true on other platforms.

  • Ray says:

    Is it possible that the comment text, comment name/links diluted the seo value of what you were originally targeting?

    And the post maybe had a lot more out going links as a result of the comments, where the page much fewer out going links. These are couple of differences between the post/page thing that are visibly noticeable. If everything else were similar like title, description, keywords, h1-h3, etc. it is difficult to imaging one ranking differently from the other.

  • Gary Anderson II
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Ana! Gary here.

    I remember both of your CommentLuv Premium posts on “Traffic Generation Cafe”! I bought ComentLuv Premium from your link and then wasn’t sure how to use it in the best way, it looked like an intimidatingly powerful add-on!

    After installing it, I went back to your blog to see if I could reverse engineer the way that you use it and as luck would have it, you had that wonderful stress killing video on your blog showing exactly how you use it!!

    Thanks Ana!!

    Gary Anderson II

  • Dennis says:

    Hi Ana,
    I asked you this on G+ but anyway here it goes again:

    What happens for those of use who have a permalink structure of blogname.com/year/month/post-name ?

    Are we screwed? :P

  • Robert
    Twitter:
    says:

    On the last Google update my pages went from PR0 to PR3 but my posts only reached PR2 I could not work out why. But you answered the question in your post. I did not realise that Pages rank higher than posts. So I will definitely be Turning my categories into Resource pages instead.

    Thanks for the great article Ana

  • Gerald Weber
    Twitter:
    says:

    Ana,

    What I like about reading this post is how you troubleshoot the situation. The best way to learn SEO and ranking websites in my opinion is by doing and creative thinking.

    I really think that it just took awhile for the links to factor into the rankings.

    You have to consider when you build a link it takes some time for Google to crawl and count the link. Once they are all factored in it again takes Google some time to update it’s index.

    So there is very much a deferred effect in link transferring into rankings.

    I do think there may also possibly be something to the page vs post theory.

    • Ana
      Twitter:
      says:

      Thanks for your input, Gerald.

      I’ve tried this technique before and it worked; that page finally ranked in position #1 and has stayed there since then.

      I think I need to do more testing on this one.

  • Mitz
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Ana
    This sounds fantastic! I have some amazing posts that rank number one and make me lots of money.. The problem is google wants me to make it fresh all the time to keep the rankings up… Maybe if I made one of the posts a page google might give me a bit of a rest…

    I know the settings for your sitemap you submitted to google are looked at too.. So if you have said that a PAGE gets updated every month and a POST gets updated more often then I know Google takes notice of this as I have had trouble with it before. This info is not in the html that looks pretty but in the xml version, unseen.

    This is a great way to get around it..And I personally believe that if you make something into a page you are also saying that this is important information and worthy of a permanent spot on your blog… :)

    Amazing that you thought of doing this?? I have to try it!

  • Gerald Weber
    Twitter:
    says:

    OK I have decided in order to test the page vs post theory.

    I am turning this post into a page right now!

    #Justkidding :-p

    Then we would have no way to keep the comments going!

    • Hesham
      Twitter:
      says:

      Haha.. I am not quote sure about this, Maybe for the same reason, turning posts into page? why should I do that? I could create a bran new page and just try to rank it!

      I just don’t agree with this concept, I think a better idea is to make use of custom post types for product reviews.

      • Ana
        Twitter:
        says:

        As you know, I read your post about custom posts, Hesham.

        However, the point of my post is to rank a post on Google. Custom posts are just that, posts, and I haven’t seen any testing showing that they rank better than regular posts.

        I’ve tested my post vs page theory twice now and it worked both times.

  • Dneprolab
    Twitter:
    says:

    Really good SEO strategy without paying a penny. I have never heard about changing post to page so now I need to transfer top articles to pages.

  • Mike Stewart says:

    I’m now convinced that you don’t have to spend a dime just to increase your rankings in Google. What you need is just a proven strategy to increase traffic to your site.

  • However, the point of my post is to rank a post on Google. Custom posts are just that, posts, and I haven’t seen any testing showing that they rank better than regular posts.

  • CarmelaJones says:

    Try and try! Good to all my brother”blogger”..traffic.traffic.traffic.has no space in my vocabulary.

  • Robert
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Ana,
    My main concern is about the “content duplication” and you did address it in your point 4 above. However, I think that there should be something more that can be done about it. At this moment, I am not totally comfortable with the idea of leaving behind the original post. I understand that you indicated you wanted to make it look like an excerpt by taking off the huge chunk out of it, but hey, what if I wanted to delete that post completely? Can we work on something for that?

    I thought of doing this:
    1. Copy all post content to a new page. DON’T click save button yet.
    2. The above step will append a number to the end of the URL, so manually edit the permalink & remove that number. Click OK.
    3. Then completely delete/Trash the old post.
    4. Come back to the New Page & Publish it.
    5. That’s it!

    Don’t you think the above would work? I haven’t tried this out yet, but I see no issues with this, unless WordPress keeps a record of deleted & existing posts & keeps checking them every time you save a new page/post and compares them to already deleted posts URL (which would be weird). What say?

  • [...] don’t tell me that you will turn your posts into pages for better SEO or [...]

  • Jamy Hoster
    Twitter:
    says:

    This is great information as only now we have to be more careful from bad quality links as google is now only hit with bad quality it could be design content or bad optimization.