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!