SEO Case Study: Month 5 Results

November 12, 2010 Posted by Tyler Cruz

Back in early June of this year I briefly mentioned in my post An Update on my Various Projects how I had hired a freelance SEO guy to work on a couple of sites for me. Ever since that one brief mention, a lot of you have been asking me for updates on how this was going, so here’s an update for you.

Reading this post’s title, you may be asking yourself “How did I miss months 1-4?” Well, you didn’t. Understanding that SEO is a waiting game, I didn’t bother giving any other updates as there was really not much to say. Now that’s been half a year, I believe that I have enough information to share with you.

In fact, I plan to give monthly updates on my SEO results from now on. I even created a new category on my blog called ”SEO”. I will also be posting some other SEO-related posts soon. For example, I purchased an absolutely awesome piece of SEO software a few months ago which I absolutely love (it’s one of my favourite programs now), and will be posting a screencast video of it soon.

As a recap, I decided to try hiring a freelance SEO guy after hearing about the success Becky Marie was seeing with her own SEO guy. Becky is now making an earnings of $115 a day by using SEO to promote her affiliate offers on PeerFly and AmpedMedia. Be sure to check out her blog. It’s extremely rare to see women in this industry, so it’s nice to get a different perspective on things.

The Start

So after being inspired to try hiring a SEO guy myself, I went ahead and found one on a freelancing site and had him work on 2 of my sites (Movie-Vault.com and my main affiliate site) to increase the ranking position of certain keywords. I won’t be revealing the exact keywords here, but for my movie site I picked out 2 extremely competitive keywords and for my affiliate site I picked out the top 8 converting keywords based from my past PPC keyword analysis.

After taking a look at the keywords and sites, my SEO guy estimated that it would take approximately 6 months to rank in the top 10 on Google for all or most of my targeted keywords for my affiliate site, and 12 months to rank in the top 10 on Google for my movie site’s targeted keywords.

Oh, and I’m paying him $450 a month for those wondering.

A few months ago I purchased an awesome SEO software program that tracks and graphs my SERP rankings for me, but before then I was just doing it manually and not daily so I don’t have an accurate history of my SERPs during the first few months.

However, I do have some record of history on them since I often speak to Paul Piotrowski on MSN about SEO and to compare our progress and results.

Month #1

Exactly 1 month after starting, I was excited to be ranked #147 on Google for my main keyword on my movie site. I was ranked #350 for my secondary keyword. Two weeks later I was ranked #200 for that secondary keyword.

Not very good, I know. But I wasn’t ranked for those keywords at all before that, and so to finally find myself listed gave me hope that this SEO thing might just work.

I wasn’t ranking at all for any of my keywords on my affiliate site.

Month #2

On July 9th I stayed roughly the same for my 2 keywords on my movie site, improving by only around 20-25 positions, which isn’t very much when you’re not in the top 100 yet, but it was improvement which kept me minimally satisfied.

On July 13th I was ranked #80 for my main keyword on my movie site according to a very basic SERP tool I was using at the time, and 107 according to my browser, which was a great improvement (especially over a few days)

On July 17th I was ranked #69 for my main movie keyword and #53 for my secondary keyword. I remember being very happy then, as that was really tremendous considering the competitiveness of those 2 keywords and it being only 2 months later.

However, I still wasn’t ranking at all for any of my keywords on my affiliate site.

Month #3

Early on in month #3 my rank for my main movie keyword improved to #52.

A few days later, I dropped down to a new record for my main movie keyword: #46. I was now seeing a very steady and gradual improvement on my movie keywords which made me excited and happy.

I started to see some signs of being ranked for my affiliate site, but it was #8 for a pretty easy keyword (which I think I was already ranked pretty good for in the beginning) and #194 for the next best keyword. Basically, I wasn’t in the top 100 for any of my keywords except that one easy keyword.

A week later, I dropped down to #38 for my main movie keyword. Woo hoo!

Month #4

The only details I can find in late August was that I was #50 for my main movie keyword and #30 for my secondary movie keyword.

For my affiliate site I was ranked #6 and #35 for 2 keywords but not ranked at all for the other 6. And the 2 keywords I was ranked for were not very competitive.

Late into the month, I purchased that SEO SERP ranking software I keep raving about, since it was too time consuming tracking things manually by hand and since I need to see a better history of my progress. So from month #5 and on I can give very detailed and accurate results.

Month #5

In month #5 I actually saw a gradual decrease for my main movie keyword, as you can see in the screenshot below. This was, needless to say, rather frustrating.

13

My second keyword stayed roughly the same.

This was on Google. On Bing, I started to see some good improvement:

14

In a few days I will have reached the start of the 6th month mark.

For my movie keywords, my main keyword slowly started to improve again, but it’s still not as low as it once was at #38. My secondary keyword saw a small improvement, almost making it to the second page on November 9th.

15

My movie keyword results on Google are shown above.

For my main movie keyword I jumped from #111 to #86 on Bing, and from #116 to #96 on Yahoo.

For my secondary movie keyword I jumped from #97 to #33 on Bing, and from around #200 to #86 on Yahoo.

For my affiliate site, I finally saw dramatic improvement. It took 6 months to see any real good progress, but when it rains it pours. Below are the improvements of 3 of the keywords:

16

As you can see, they pretty much went from unranked to the 3rd page within 1 month (well, it took 5 months to get there but you know what I mean).

So month #5 has been absolutely phenomenal in terms of my affiliate site. I had been waiting for half a year to see such an improvement and it has finally arrived. I can’t wait to see how month #6 performs.

Overall Results

Below is a screenshot of my overall rankings for both sites as of yesterday:

17

It took a total of 5 months and $2,250 to achieve these results. Was it worth it? Well, even at 5 months it’s too early to tell. SEO really is a very slow and long process as you can see.

My SEO guy originally estimated around 6 months to rank in the top 10 for my affiliate keywords and I’m basically there for only 2 of my 6 keywords. Then again, you saw how dramatic of an improvement I saw in this past month, and the 6-month estimation was just that: an estimation.

Also, I should point out that a couple weeks ago I received my first affiliate lead from completely organic SEO traffic on my affiliate site, which paid $60. A week later, I received my second lead. That’s around $120 I made from just my SEO costs. I didn’t have to spend $100 PPC cash to make it, and more importantly, I didn’t have to spend any time or effort. I just pay my SEO guy once a month.

Out of the past 17 clicks to my affiliate offer, I made 2 leads which is approximately a 10% conversion rate. Obviously this is an extremely low sample rate to base any data off of, but when I was running PPC traffic to this offer I had 2,201 clicks this year and 194 leads which is nearly a 9% conversion rate, so a 10% conversion rate actually is very reasonable.

If I do made it to the #1 spot for all my targeted keywords on my affiliate site, basing a 30% CTR off of Google traffic alone, using AdWords exact query traffic data, and a 80% landing site-to-offer rate, my calculations show that I would receive 30,000 clicks to my offer. With a 10% offer conversion rate that would be 3,000 leads equating to $180,000 a month.

Now, that is if I was #1 for all 8 keywords. If I was #10, using 3% as a CTR that would still work out to $18,000 a month.

Now you can see why this is exciting for me. My current rankings are still overall quite poor yet I already made 2 leads in the past 2 weeks. I wouldn’t be surprised if in 2 months from now I am averaging 1 lead per day.

Below are some graphical charts of my progress over the past 3 months for more of the dramatic keyword improvements on my affiliate site, on Google:

20 18 19

As you can see, each of them show a stair type pattern. It would be nice if SEO was more of a gradual, steady incline, but I think that in most cases it will be more of a stair pattern due to the way search engines update their indexes.

Lastly, below are the screenshots from my Google Webmaster Tools account. Unfortunately, Google limits you to viewing only the past month of data, but here it is below:

 21

My movie site hasn’t seen any increased traffic, which makes sense since my SERPs haven’t really improved much over the past month.

But my affiliate site is starting to take off. Even though I only received 2,400 impressions, you will notice that it was a 233% increase over the previous month so that is all I care about.

So there you have it. Now you’re all up-to-date with my SEO efforts. My future update posts won’t be as long. This one was extra long since I had to include all the results since the beginning.

I can’t wait to write next month’s post!

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Posted: November 12th, 2010 under SEO  

71 Responses to “SEO Case Study: Month 5 Results”

  1. That’s quite an in depth SEO study you’ve been doing here Tyler.

    Did you have a hard time finding the right SEO guy?

    /Daniel

  2. Hey Tyler, good case study, congrats on the progress.

    Do you have any tips for hiring a freelance SEO guy? I need one as well.

    Thank a lot in advance. :)

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      I’ll be doing an upcoming post about a service that I haven’t used personally but think is good for people to know about, so keep an eye out for that post for sure.

      As for hiring a freelance SEO guy, I’d just offer the same advice I’d give when hiring anyone off an outsourcing website: shortlist all applicants to those with the highest average rating/feedback with a good number of past transactions.

  3. These are promising results Tyler, I am in a same scene at the moment :) The google webmaster screen looks a lot like mine :) (the affiliate one)

  4. Wesley says:

    What exactly is the guy doing? Is he just doing link exchanges or writing new content for other sites, etc?

  5. Benny Boi aka Rude Bowi says:

    $450 a month and thats it?

    Hire a Philippine SEO who will commit 8 hours a day 5 days a week to work on your sites alone! See results after a month.

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      From what I’ve seen and heard, the price I’m paying appears to be pretty standard for what I’m getting.

      • I’d have to disagree. You are paying a freelancer company prices. Other companies deliver results much quicker and for less money.

        • James Mac says:

          People like you really frustrate me in this industry. The SEO market is a absolute cess pool at the moment due to views like you have right there. You have to think of SEO as a measure of quality not qauntity. Those relying on cheap outsourcers to do their work are like crack addicts, its fine when the links are pooring in but when you stop them your rank drops. Not to mention google will work out what your doing and penalise.

          For the services we offer we charge a minimum of $900 per month and do you know why we charge that? Because quality SEO takes time. If you think you can have a long term substainable campaign with a outsourcer in the phillipines good on you, but I warn you the results will be short term and not have the longevity that good SEO brings.

          • Well that’s great that you overcharge your clients. Personally I wouldn’t spend that kind of money on SEO. If you know what you’re doing you can use freelancers to help you out to build stable long term rankings.

          • Paul B says:

            People like you get on my tits! You’re doing exactly the same as 99% of freelancers world over. There are NO magic bullets to search ranking. People charge differently depending on their local economy. Besides, IF you’ve got the skills why the hell are you p!ssing about for $900+ a month, dealing with clients, getting grief? Get a couple of sites up and ranked and put your feet up, enjoy watching $(X)XX,XXXX+ pour into your bank account each month. Spend more time doing what you enjoy, me I like to go fishing on my boat. NO AMOUNT OF MONEY could hire me right now. I know of 3 local (to me) companies as of right now who are successfuly charging 10X what you charge a month and you know what, they are doing exactly the same stuff as you or a “cheapo” outsourced guy.

            Different countries attract different labour rates, it doesn’t mean the work is any less quality. It’s just the way the global economy works.

            ps With SEO it’s almost impossible to hire anybody top of the game, only a fool would put up with the hassles and grief of client work.

          • James Mac says:

            Wow you guys are really quite naive. There are a ton of reasons why people might charge for SEO. One of the main reason I do so is because I SEO for a lot of my sites but I have excess space for other campaigns in niches I am not to interested in. Go back to spamming directory links and forum posts and you wont get anywhere. Most cheap SEO campaigns are like a crack addict, when you stop them they start to fall. Good quality SEO (which by this conversation I can actually safely say you probably can’t comprehend) Is a wid variety of different factors that doesn’t include cheap spam links.

            Honestly I don’t have to defend my service because it speaks for itself, I have never had a client cancel a campaign with me.

    • Hi Benny, where i can hire a good seo freelancer with the price $450/month? Thanks in advance.

  6. Jeff Klein says:

    Thanks for the detailed update. Would you mind sharing the name of the SEO software you’re using to track your daily search engine ranking?

  7. browie says:

    Good stuff. I’ve been getting into SEO lately also.

  8. Those are some good results for the short amount of time. I am interested how true to his word he will be in the sixth month. hopefully spot on for your sake. But it looks like you hired a competent guy. It can be hard to find sometimes.

  9. Alan says:

    I’m always very very sceptical about SEO guys. If these people were any good, why would they work for you? If I was an SEO guy I’d be spending my time getting to number one for the keyword Viagra and living the good life for the rest of my days.

    Can you be sure that this ranking increase wasn’t natural? Did you create two sites, one for the SEO guy and one without?

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      Yes, I’m positive. My movie site is 10 years old and my affiliate site a couple years old, and neither ever ranked for those terms before. And my affiliate site is only ranking for those terms plus 1 or 2 others.

      • Sorry forgot to add this. If they were just to work on their own sites they would end up building a nation of sites, and it isn’t all that hard to get up there if you know what you are doing but where is the fun in that where is the challenge?

    • It is interesting you said Viagra, the guy who made so much money off it when it first came out had exclusive rights to sell it on the internet.

      As for SEO guys and what they do. It isn’t all about ranking, if it was yes we would all never help anyone out at all. It is an ever changing art as well, what worked last year will not work this year. There are a lot of fakes out there but if you have the right one they can really help.

      the other thing is most seo guys are working for big corporations and don’t have time to help everyone or every mom and pop person out there. I don’t think you truly understand what goes into it all.

  10. TheWiry says:

    Your movie site should have no problem stayin in the rankings but as far as your affiliate site goes you best have tons of content or have updated information at least once a week. Once you break the top 5-10 pages of google your probably gonna get kicked off and sandboxed pretty quick. Google likes to see quality content and rarely do affiliate sites stay on top unless your in a small niche and run your own product.

  11. Hey Tyler, nice case study!

    So you’ve been at this for 6 months. What kind of SEO was this guy doing? Is it a bit of everything? Seems like you could have hit page 1 with a year old site.

    What do the top 10 results look like in Google? As far as backlinks, age, optimization, and so on…

  12. Patrick says:

    Very interesting post. I’ve thought about hiring an SEO Freelancer but I’m fearful of spending the money with no good results to show for it. 6 to 12 months is a long time to wait to see if your investment was worth it.

    If you can’t get on at least the first page, then all that money is down the drain. However, it seems like you are seeing some positive signs with your affiliate site. I’ll be looking forward to your posts in the coming months to see if things improve. Keep up the good work!

  13. nice.. everyone loves numbers :) i’m curios does the sales/leads increased on your affiliate site after this seo campaign?

  14. 2 thumbs up to you ;) it is not easy to get a better rank on Google. even you not yet on the top 10 page but you already generate huge traffic and that is great. I hope I cane learn more on this from you =)

  15. That is really awesome. In just 6 months on a competitive keyword. good job.

  16. Becky Marie says:

    Hey! Wow! Thanks for Great Plug Tyler!!!! Love love love this article.

    Becky : )

  17. Hi Tyler, is it an accurate program? Does it have the same results with the Rank Checker or even more better than that?

    Thanks
    JP

  18. R4 says:

    Are there any SEO case studies about the use of a third party to host content vs. hosting it yourself?

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      Ew, I’d never do that. You mean like a free hosting site or platform? That’d be throwing your money down the tube, IMHO, since you don’t own the rights to the domain and could be banned or shut down at any time…

  19. Guts N Glam says:

    wow, that is so great! congrats on that, tyler! huhu, if only i could afford it. all i can afford now is maintain my blog.

  20. Jasmine says:

    The result looks really promising. $450 a month is not a small sum, but I am sure it will be well worth it in the long run! Good stuff!

  21. Mayur says:

    This is pretty in depth report, seo and ranking usually takes a lot of time and this looks like a pretty good improvement at a time span of 5 months.

  22. Actually 450$ is not that big for a SEO guy to take. I know people working with SEO freelancers and willing to give more than 1000$… And not even that competitive keywords.

    Hope it works for the best to you.

  23. Really great your keyword move in good direction. You got good position in all top search engines in less time. Seo always need patience, it won’t happen overnight.

  24. Brandon says:

    $2250 for that kind of performance? It’d of been cheaper most likely just to pay for a adwords campaign, even more so that there seems to be very little benefit for your SEO efforts.

  25. I also think $450 is a lot of money for 1-2 sites to promote. If you outsource in India you can find good SEO experts for less than $100 per site. Some of them use white and black hat combined, others just white. Others also agree on a small monthly fee (like $30) and when you reach top 5 you got to pay a one time fee of $1000 so at least you know you pay for results.

  26. used tires says:

    I am liking the sounds of the potential here Tyler, hopefully you are able to reach those numbers and start seeing first page results for your big keywords :D

    Till then,

    Jean

  27. Dave Starr says:

    The video was very informative. Tyler. There were couple tricks you did with the graphing that I hadn’t caught onto yet. I’ve owned the pro version for several months now and I am very impressed, it’s a good tool. Today, they announced (and downloaded, free) a really big improvement … ranking competitor’s sites alongside your own. It’s a totally different tool than Market Samurai … with this competitive sites feature it blows M.S. and other competitors I have seen out of the water. Good stuff.

  28. Alex Papa says:

    Hi Tyler

    (SEO Case Study: Month 5 Results)- It is said that patience and perseverance pays. It’s true with SEO. It is definitely not an overnight task and your analysis on the subject is thorough and professional. All the best for your continued efforts

    Regards
    Alex Papa

  29. SEO Miami says:

    Nice moves! This is a really great example of how case studies are suppose to be.

  30. Luggage Sets says:

    SEO is a long process which can take months to see any real results. The fact that your rankings are continuing to improve is a good sign. I’m sure in another few months time you will achieve those top 10 rankings for your 6 keywords. All the best.

  31. Paul says:

    After 6 months, it would seem you would have gotten much farther but with the increasing amount of competition, it takes longer to rank.

  32. Hello, Thanks for the information. Will you suggest me some more seo techniques to increase the page rank of the company website. I am much more interested to know about seo.

  33. You can learn some points from this case study, i think you have shared your all progress with us….we can see what was the strategy of the works which has been implement on your website…

    Jacob lee

  34. R4 says:

    How can i select best SEO company for my online business? I have been trying out many companies.

  35. R4 says:

    There are a lot of SEO companies with good reputation. But take care about it. I know a good SEO company from where I get good result for my online business. Try

  36. I am very impressed with this. I can’t wait to give it a shot myself. I certainly could use it.

  37. Main advantage of old domains is they are usually already crawled by all search engines. Mine even had Page Rank of 1 and 5 or so visitors daily. Small initial investment can go a long away in making your start much easier.

  38. Would you recommend getting someone over doing it yourself?

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      That mainly depends on your cashflow. If you have a few hundred bucks that you are willing to invest (with no guaranteed results) each month for at least a few months, then I would definitely recommend outsourcing the work.

      It’s far too tedious and time-consuming to be worth it to do it yourself, IMHO. I’m sure many will disagree with me though :-)

  39. Rob Docherty says:

    Tyler, I’d reached out to you many moons ago offering free SEO help, I own GoogleSEOExpert.com and teach it [and sometimes] do it for free. I make all my money strictly online through over 450 domain names. I’m willing to help out, but, that requires contacting me.

  40. I certainly appreciate that you are sharing what you are doing with us. What tool are you using to check you daily rankings with the SERPs?

  41. yeah i would like to know where I can check SERP results acurately.

  42. CD Recovery says:

    SEO is taking the world by storm now a days and such a informative article really help a lot of people

PeerFly

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