SEO Case Study #2: Rank a Site With One Exact Match Anchor?

The question is: is it possible to rank a website in a competitive niche with only one exact match anchor?

No matter what site or competition level I’m working in, I always keep my exact match anchors below 5%. But I wanted to see if I could rank a site without ever repeating a single keyword-based anchor text.

For Example:
If my website is about puppy toys, then I would link back to my site with “puppy toys” as the anchor text (one time), and nothing but variations such as “dog toys”, “best puppy toys”, and “doggy toys”.

And just to take things up another notch, I decided to conduct this experiment in a very competitive niche.

  • Niche: Pills (Can’t reveal what type or it could compromise things)
  • URL: an exact match .com – no idea how / why this was available!

Although I have an exact match of a very valuable keyword, I’m actually not targeting it quite yet. Instead, I’m going after a product within the niche.

Target Keyword(s):
Main Keyword (product name): 12,100 searches per month
Variations of Main Keyword: 8100, 1900, 1900

There’s obviously a ton of other variations of my main keyword, but I decided to target these four, which equates to around 24,000 searches per month.

Nitty Gritty Details of the Site

I’m extremely fortunate to have found this keyword because it’s the perfect site for emphasizing a problem and offering a solid solution. When the solution is easy, it makes sales easier. So, for this reason, I created content that is not only helpful, but will (almost) solve their problems. Obviously, to completely solve their “problem”, they will need to purchase the product I’m promoting.

Details About the Content:

I haven’t physically written a single article for this site. I have outsourced everything. Each article has costs me around $37 because I want quality SEO content on the site.

  • Homepage: the homepage has a static 1,000-word article broadly talking about the problem (not the product)
  • Review: the product review is about 900 words. It’s a “first person” experience with a relatable story.
  • “Is it Safe” page: this is another page that specifically discusses the safety of the product. More of these will be added to decrease skepticism among the potential buyers. I also added a “Does Have Side Effects?” page.
  • (x6) blog posts: all five of these posts are between 500-600 words. Each article offers advice on the problem as whole, but always incorporates the target product as a solution without being overbearing.

Some Other On-Site Details:

  • I’m using a review theme from My Theme Shop
  • I have a custom logo
  • I have contact, affiliate disclaimer, privacy policy, and terms of service pages

Link Building

Now this is the fun part, but I think you’re going to be really surprised how little it took to actually rank this page.

Here’s what I used to get to the current position:

  • 15 high authority guest posts (use our guest posting service to get these)
  • 10 web 2.0s
  • 4 PDFs
  • 20 business listings
  • 1 press release distribution
  • 1 article from GoArticles.com

Here are the metrics for the links:
PA 37, DA 24, TF 26
PA 29, DA 15, TF 19
PA 19, DA 6, TF 6 (Bad metrics, but highly relevant)
PA 31, DA 19, TF 24
PA 29, DA 16, TF 17
PA 28, DA 14, TF 12
PA 35, DA 24, TF 32
PA 30, DA 17, TF 16
PA 29, DA 18, TF 6 (Bad TF, but highly relevant)
PA 28, DA 14, TF 19
PA 23, DA 10, TF 21
PA 30, DA 17, TF 3 (Bad TF, but highly relevant)
PA 21, DA 14, TF 1 (Bad TF, but highly relevant)

PR = PageRank from Google
PA = Page Authority from Moz
DA = Domain Authority from Moz
TF = Trust Flow from Majestic SEO

Every single link used 100% manually written 400 + word articles.

Anchor Text

Okay, so how did I diversify anchor text with such a small amount of links?

Here’s what I did:

(x10) or almost 50% of the links have variations of the main keyword as the anchor. I literally only used the exact match keyword one time.

All the others have slight variations such as:

  • adding a dash
  • using “pill” instead of “pills”
  • using “try ___”
  • “does ___ work”
  • “___ like __”
  • “where to buy __”

The point is, is that I included a variation of the main keyword in nearly 50% of the anchors. How can I get away with this?

Because I have only used one exact match anchor!

The other 50% or so of my anchors are generic (click here, go here, read this review, etc) and naked links: www.mywebsite.com/product-review/. Although it is about a 50/50 split, I will be diluting the keyword based anchors even more.

In the next few months, it will be more like a 90% (safe anchors) / 10% or less (keyword based anchors). This is a safety measure more than anything.

The truth is, I have been testing this technique on several of my websites and client’s websites over the past couple months and it’s producing insane results.

Not only does it keep your website safe from penalties, but you’re also increasing the amount of keywords that you’re able to rank for. So instead of only ranking for my product name, I’m ranking for almost every variation you can think of.

And the coolest part about never repeating keyword-based anchors, is that when your main keyword is “stuck” around the #2-#5 spots, you can hit it with another exact match anchor and it should shoot it to the top.

Now that you know exactly what I did with this site, what kind of results has 22 links and no repeating anchor text actually gotten me?

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SEO Case Study #3: Results (On-Going)

Rankings

April
Here are the rankings for the 12,100 searches per month keyword:

May
The product review is still ranking well and floats between positions #3-5. The other keywords in the screenshot are about the “problem”.

June
Since I’m trying to scale this site up, I decided to start targeting another potentially profitable keyword.

Traffic

April

April – May
Saw a nice bump is traffic because of the ranking increases.

April – June
Same as last month: higher rankings = more traffic.

Earnings

April

The first screen is my Adsense earnings. I used Adsense on the site while I was waiting to get accepted for the products affiliate program. In that time, I earned a little bit of money but removed all ad units once I got accepted for the program.

May
I saw a small bump in earnings because of the traffic increase, but my conversion rate was lower. So I’m adding more content to get it higher. 6% is the goal.

June
June earnings nearly doubled. This was because of increased rankings, traffic, and most importantly, my conversion rate increased.

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How Much Did This Cost?

This started out as a low-cost project because I was testing the water more than anything. But once I saw that it had huge potential, I started investing more money into it. The totals below are for everything on the site, not just the landing page that’s doing really well.

Here’s where my money went:

  • (x29) manually written 400 word articles for link building = $81.20
  • (x5) Premium articles for the website = $325.20
  • (x20) business submissions = $15
  • (x1) press release distribution = $79
  • Custom Logo = $49

$674.73 revenue
– $549.40 investment

= + $125.33 profit

Although I have spent a decent amount of money on the site, my time investment has been very small. In total, I have probably spent about 8 hours on the site. That includes on-page changes and submitting articles for links. I’m very happy with this project and I will be continually updating this case study with progress.

My goal is to get this website up to a steady $1,000 per month and then be able to sell it off for a nice sum.

To quickly conclude the results of this case study, you don’t need to go crazy with exact match anchors!

Treat every exact match anchor like a precious diamond and only use it when absolutely necessary.

I hope you enjoyed this information and please leave any questions you have below in the comment section, and if you saw even a tiny bit of value in this post, please share it 🙂

169 thoughts on “SEO Case Study #2: Rank a Site With One Exact Match Anchor?”

  1. Thanks for the article Nathan! Just found you yesterday and can’t stop reading. Do you have any articles on how to use press release? Should we use them for local seo?

    Reply
  2. Hi Nathan,
    Thank you all this information, it feels great after reading this post.
    But I have one question, can we interlink our guest blogs with internal website blogs for better and quick results?

    Reply
    • Hey Raj,

      Yes, you can link out to your other guest posts. It’s a great way to distribute link equity (if the guest posts are legit)

      Reply

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