USING FIVERR FOR SEO IN 2017
A lot of the times clients that approach our agency for a website require SEO services, since it is not our specialty or expertise we usually end up referring them elsewhere. This does not mean we are not interested in the money or are not able to do it, but because of the number of variables involved we just think it is best for us to avoid it.
One of our client's website that has been around for a number of years ( www.ielwatchshop.com) does very well in google. Receives over 1,000 visitors monthly and has grown its online sales significantly over time. We did the website and basic optimization like page titles, meta tags, meta descriptions, alt tags for images, optimizing page speed and a few other basic stuff makes them rank 1 for "watch shop in Kenya" and many other related keywords. The client has never done any other SEO.
For our website www.iwebdesigns.net we have been trying to rank for "web design in Kenya" since our client IEL Watch Shop was already ranking very well, we decided to use the exact same techniques for our own agency website. The result? For a long time we sat buried in a graveyard on page 5 of google. As most of our clients are through referrals from old clients we never really thought of optimizing and ranking in Google.
Anyway with the rising competition and our expansion to selling web hosting as well meant we now needed to start ranking. This is an account of our Journey to move from the graveyard to page 1 of google, the challenges we faced and the lessons we learnt.
The first step we took was to up our social game. We created Facebook, twitter and linked in pages for our company and posted quality posts on all our social channels. The result? Well absolutely nothing since we did not have enough followers. We then tried paid advertising on all 3 channels, here's what we think of each:
1. Linked in: absolute waste of our money. Although we got a $50 credit from linked in to test it out we spend an extra $50 of our own money in testing. There were impressions but very little traffic to our website. Average cost per click being $2.
2. Twitter: More effective than Linked in but still expensive
3. Facebook: Cheap, effective, drives lots of traffic, with visitors actually interested in your products and followers gained are permanent. We spent about $200 over 2 months and got about 1000 visitors per month from Facebook. Our page likes also increased significantly.
In summary of social media for business you will have to spend initially to gain followers, carefully pick where you put your money and target the right people. With Facebook once you have enough followers posting high quality content will gain you more followers through likes and shares of your posts. The result of all this on our ranking? We moved from the bottom half of the 5th page to the top half of the same page.
Moving on after a lot of research we did on page SEO and nailed it to the bottom. To start with we optimized each and every page for speed, reduced the image sizes, optimized css and js, moved to a faster server, leveraged browser caching, put in all meta tags and descriptions, carefully chose heading tags for each page, optimized content on each page for keywords that we were trying to rank for, used seo friendly urls, carefully put in title tags and everything else that falls under in page seo. The effect on our rankings? From 5th page to top of 4th page.
So far so good. Ever heard content is the king? Well I am not 100% about this. While it is important it is not exactly king. After social media and on page seo we then decided to start a blog on our website and wrote about 20 posts. High quality, original, at least 500 words, most of them being 1000 words. We produced the content in house rather than outsourcing. Each time we made a post we posted it to our social media. By now we thought this was the final magic trick and would get us ranking within no time. Everywhere we read we came across "content is king." Monitoring our rankings over time there was no change, none of the posts ranked well in google and sometimes even searching for the exact title would not show our post. So is content really king? Well it is important to engage your visitors and retain them but it is not exactly king. Remember we are trying to rank for a low competition keyword like: "web design in Kenya." We produced a lot of content rotating around those keywords but it seems it was a waste of time and resources.
Next we decided it was now time to build backlinks. From hours and hours of tireless research and varying opinions on how to get to the first page of google, our next move was backlinks. We took 2 different approaches to backlinks. First we decided to create web 2.0 blogs and write posts on each blog linking back to our website. We started with medium, blogspot, bloggher, tumblr, kinja, quora, wordpress.com. Since this are all high DA and PR websites the result was astonishingly positive. The links were crawled fast by google, and our rankings improved a lot. Going back to is content really the king? I think backlinks are the kind and will always be. I am not dismissing content all together as you can see from the web 2.0 blogs we created we had to post content. Some blogs have up to 5 really high quality posts and only 2 or 3 links back to our website. Within 1 month of doing this we moved from 4th page of google to position 11. Still not on the first page but remarkably close to where we want to be. This was then our stagnating point. We stayed at position 11 for about 3 months.
A friend introduced me to Fiverr and told me it was the best way to build backlinks and he had himself tried it and within a week he was on the 1 st page. Thinking about all the effort we put in and looking at the gigs on Fiverr, it thought to myself what a waste of time we have incurred. Painful amount of research we have put in to SEO and still sit at 11th! Now time to buy gigs on Fiverr and relax while waiting for google to magically put your website on number 1.
The gigs on Fiverr are very convincing. "I will catapult your google rankings with 25, PR 9 permanent backlinks" was the 1st gig we bought. I mean a PR9 backlink even 1 should be enough. So on we went and blew our first $5. The seller delivered the order in 24hours. Not sure what I had expected but the guy had simply gone to various websites with high Page Rank and made profiles with a backlink to our website. Shocked at how easy it was to get backlinks from high PR websites I expected my $5 that I had just spent to be the best investment I had ever made. I immediately gave the seller a 5 star review. Monitoring my rankings over time within 1 week we were at number 1 in google. Our traffic jumped from 150 visitors a month to 500 visitors that 1 week. Well it didn't last long and all of a sudden we were back to page 5 after the 1 week boost.
Back to the drawing board, we knew exactly the change we had made and the result it produces. Luckily the seller on Fiverr provided login details for each of the profiles he had created. I had to manually login in to each website and remove the link. In the next 2 months we got back to position 11 on google. That is still second page and the best place to hide a dead body is the second page of google.
Moving on I thought maybe the gig I bought was the wrong one. So I contacted my friend again and asked him to send me links to gigs he had used for ranking. One of the gigs he had bought was to create 50 permanent PBN posts on high authority domain. I thought to myself, wasn't this our initial approach that landed us from the 4th page of google to the top of 2nd page. On I went and shelved out my next $5. The seller delivered within no time and happily I went on to give a 5 start rating to the seller. Unfortunately I did not visit the links provided by the seller before reviewing. Upon visiting the links I found the content was spun, poorly done and most of the links were probably done by a bot. The PBN had thousands of links out and hence all the links I got were of low quality. They never got indexed and my ranking never changed.
With 2 bad experiences under my belt I then decided to filter out any gig that would provide more than 1 link or blogpost at $5. I mean it is just not practical for anyone with a high authority website to give you a blogpost and a link at $5. It's just not worth the effort.
Another gig my friend had used was to provide a high quality, well written blog post on a high DA and PA website. This time I contacted the seller first and asked for a sample of work previously done. He sent me 2 links to different websites. They were basically blogs that he was running and would write content on different topics. I tried out his 1st website by ordering the gig. The seller wrote a high quality post and put it on his website in the technology category with a link back to my website within the post. The link got indexed after a few weeks and my ranking improved 1 position. 10th! And on the first page! It also seemed to be permanent as with the other gig I did not loose it after a week. I contacted the seller again and asked him to create another post on his second website. He did and again after a few weeks we moved 1 position up to 9th! I decided to order another post and he did not have any other website so he posted again on his 1st website. Google indexed the link but no change in ranking.
In this entire lengthy tutorial if you have noticed we have not really used any online tools like MOZ or Ahrefs or openlink profiler, simply because they are expensive and we just don't have the budget for them. Does that mean you don't need them too? While they are useful they are not as important as building backlinks. Tools we used along the way, Google analytics and Google web master tools. We occasionally did search for long tail keywords to get content ideas.
In conclusion here is what works and what you must do.
1. On page seo
2. Build a social presence
3. Web 2.0 manually created blogs with quality content linking back to your website
4. Backlinks from niche relevant blogs
5. Fiverr is best to avoid in 2017
6. Content is important but not king
Currently we fall back and forth between position 9 and 12 on google. We have significantly improved our search rankings and it has meant more traffic to our website. This has translated to more business.