SEO Case Study: Month 6 Results

December 15, 2010 Posted by Tyler Cruz

A month ago I published a very long and detailed post titled SEO Case Study: Month 5 Results in which I gave an update on all the SEO work I’ve been doing over the past 5 months.

It proved to be quite popular, garnering a total of 65 comments.

As promised in that post, I am now going to provide monthly update reports on my SEO each month. Here is the update for month 6, even if it is a few days late Winking smile

Sianara Mr. Freelancer

I haven’t made up my mind yet for certain, but chances are I won’t be rehiring my current SEO freelancer again next month.

He originally gave me an estimation that it would take around 6-months to rank in the top-10 for my affiliate keywords and 12-months to rank in the top-10 for my movie keywords. While I am unable to analyze the latter, I can safely say that I am not in the top 10 for my affiliate keywords.

I did see somewhat satisfying improvement overall, but that isn’t the only issue. The guy I hired has the worst communication imaginable. He will respond at an acceptable rate most of the time, but if I asked him 5 questions, he will only answer 1 of them, and with only a few words.

He also did not provide verbose reports, as per my original instructions, and this month (month 6), he hasn’t even started on my movie keywords yet… I think he actually forgot and so I will have to e-mail him to remind him.

In the end, all I really care about are the results, so I haven’t quite made my decision yet, but if I don’t see any noticeable improvement over the next couple weeks, this is going to be the last time he works for me.

SEO Freelancer #2

I already have somebody from Web Chimpy lined up as substitute for my current SEO guy. This time, I asked if I could get the name of the guy my friend was using, as my friend seemed to be very satisfied with him.

I haven’t contacted him yet, but I believe he will continue with my current project for the same rate.

If I do go ahead and hire him, I am extremely interested in seeing how the results compare with the first guy.

Started 2 Keyword Campaign with SEO Firm

2-3 weeks ago I started a new SEO campaign with a Manchester SEO Company that I have recommended to some friends as it was originally recommended to me.

With this company, you only pay a monthly fee once you’re in the top 30, a fee which increases based on your rank. For example, you might pay $50/month for 28th place and $150/month for 9th place.

The 2 keywords I chose are for my movie site and are EXTREMELY competitive, with a combined total of nearly 6 million exact searches on Google each month.

Needless to say, I am not even ranked in the top 1,000 searches for the term yet, but that’s okay because it isn’t cost me anything. To be honest, I have a hard time believing that I will even make it into the top 30 for these keywords, but here’s hoping I’m wrong.

Did a 1-Keyword Test Run

One of my blog commenters has a SEO service and contacted me about it. I told him that if he did a small little package for me on a keyword and I saw half-decent results, that I would personally endorse and promote his service on my blog.

To be fair, the keyword is fairly competitive, but nothing insane or anything. However, I am not really seeing any results yet. I was originally unranked for the keyword, but once a week or so I will pop up around the 650th-850th spot on Bing.

It has been exactly 1 month since I started tracking this keyword. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear as though his service is effective; but it may still be too early to tell.

Month 6 Update

My last update gave the results up to November 11th, so in this report I will provide the stats from November 12th to December 14th.

I set up RankTracker to display a column that shows the total number of exact searches for the given keyword in Google each month so that you can get a better idea of how competitive each keyword is and this is why rank tracking is very crucial.

RankTracker is constantly getting better and coming out with more features; they added a bunch of awesome new stuff since I did my screencast review of them last month. I still highly recommend purchasing it.

I am now tracking 13 keywords across 2 search engines, so I won’t be able to display every single screenshot and detail, but will try to focus on the ones that show the most change (good or bad):










As you can see, I saw a fairly bad drop for many of my keywords last month. The ones that I didn’t include, stayed roughly the same.

The only keyword that saw noticeable improvement was oddly for my main affiliate keyword on Google. You can never predict what the search engines will do…

So you can see what the last month has been very frustrating for me SEO-wise, and why I am wanting to try a new SEO guy.

Below are 2 images, before-and-after overall summaries of my overall rankings from last month and this month. Unfortunately, when I made the first image, I didn’t keep track of how I ordered the keywords, so comparing them line by line will not match up. For this month, I ordered the keywords by descending order based on # of exact monthly searches in Google, so I’ll be able to directly compare line by line next month:

Month #5:


Month #6:


Interesting. You can see that I almost stayed exactly the same for my movie keywords (since you can compare them).

Since you can’t compare the affiliate keywords, it’s difficult to come up with a summary, but judging by the graphs above, we can see that it wasn’t a good month overall. It wasn’t horrible, but results did drop a bit instead of increasing a bit.

Income and Projections

From November 14th to December 14th I received approximately 285 unique visitors (basing that on November’s data since I am not using Analytics and therefore cannot do custom date ranges), 36 of which clicked through to my offer.

This works out to a 12% site-to-offer CTR.

Of those 36 clicks, 5 resulted in leads, each worth approximately $60, making a total of roughly $300. 5 leads out of 36 clicks works out to a 14% conversion rate.

Since I am paying $225 a month per site ($225 * 2 = $450), I am already profiting from my SEO investments. Sure, it’s only around $2 a day now, but I’m not even ranked high yet.

Using the above click-through and conversion rates, if I ever did make 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 12% landing site-to-offer rate, my calculations show that I would receive 8,000 clicks to my offer. With a 14% offer conversion rate that would be 1,144 leads equating to roughly $68,000 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 $6,800 a month.

To be even more conservative, let me knock off the top searched keyword I’m targeting – the one with 135,000 monthly unique searches. That one is the hardest to rank for anyway since it is not directly related to my niche. In that case, at 10th spot, using all the same rates as above, I would expect to make $2,800 a month. While drastically lower than $68,000 a month, $3K a month off 1 site that doesn’t take any of my time is still absolutely awesome. You just can’t beat passive recurring revenue. And if I ever do get the site up to making $3,000 a month, all I have to do is rinse and repeat this method and do it with 9 other sites to theoretically bring it up to $30K a month.

Again, this is basing everything off of Google traffic only, and to be honest, I’m not sure how accurate Webalizer is in its “unique visitor” stats. Don’t ask why I’m not using Google Analytics for this website – long story. If the actual traffic number is lower, then the potential is even greater.

One interesting thing to note though, is that my #1 trafficked keyword (according to my stats at least) is actually not one of the 8 keywords that I have my SEO guy targeting. The good news, though, is that all the rest are the targeted keywords.

Another strange thing is that according to Google Webmaster Tools, I did not receive any clicks on any of my keywords (well, not 10 or greater anyway) which doesn’t make sense. I’m going to blame it on not having enough traffic yet to be able to properly analyze the data; the traffic sample size is far too small to be doing any type of micro-analysis at this point.

In any case, I’ll be back with another SEO update report next month. Hopefully month 7 will fare better than month 6.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below, subscribing to my RSS feed, or following me on Twitter.
Posted: December 15th, 2010 under SEO  

31 Responses to “SEO Case Study: Month 6 Results”

  1. Dukeo says:

    Thanks for sharing your SEO efforts. Looking forward to see the improvements next month!
    On a sidenote, it seems pretty hard to find a decent SEO freelancer, so good luck with your new guy!

  2. The actual number is indeed lower, Webalizer also counts bots & crawlers, so the potential is even higher I guess 🙂

  3. Ouch! that’s a huge drop on your Bing keywords.. Anyways, good luck on your new guy.. Will be looking forward to the 6th month results.

  4. What is the name of the company you are working with? I thought you mentioned before that you would tell us!

  5. Becky Marie says:

    As you know the last month in the world of SEO has been pretty rough on me too… Are you google! From the roomer I have heard they updated there algorithm last month. I guess we will have to keep our eye out on other SEO folks blogs and chat rooms to see what google has changed and what they are ranking for now.

    As for your freelancer, sounds like he wasn’t very good at English. In the past that has been my biggest frustration with freelancers. I especially hate it when they call me “sir”. When they do that it’s usual a big clue to me that they are not very proficient in English.

    As for the “SEO Firm” you are talking about I have to same exact feelings for them. NONE of my keywords with them have moved at all, and they ALL have dropped a little in Bing & Yahoo. But, just like you said, I could careless because it is not costing me a dime.

    I haven’t talked to you a while! If I don’t talk to you before Christmas I hope it is wonderful for you.

    Becky : )

    • Google’s ranking for the same thing that they were before – on page seo + off page seo.

      And a lot of people from the Philippines use the word “sir” out of respect for their employer. It’s something that practically all of them do and you’ll have to tell them to stop doing it if you don’t want to hear it anymore.

      But about your comment… “I guess we will have to keep our eye out on other SEO folks blogs and chat rooms to see what google has changed and what they are ranking for now. ”

      I wouldn’t base your decisions with SEO from the assumptions of other marketers. They are often based on a “best guess” and rarely ever based on real world results from testing.

      • Becky Marie says:

        @Jason… In the Philippines they even call women “sir”? I am ok with the formality of it, but when I write at the bottom of the post “PLEASE DO NOT ADDRESS ME AS ‘SIR’ because I am a women” and they do anyways, it makes me feel they have not read the entry in detail.

      • Paul B says:

        Didn’t really notice any significant changes, still ranking 1-5 for everything that matters (to me) and secured an extra £18000 per month of recurring income in the last 2 weeks. I’m due to do my year on year traffic update next week and so far I’m looking at an increase of around 300% on the sites that matter. All my traffic comes currently comes from the organic search results.

        One small tip – checking rankings daily or even weekly is one of the very worst things you can do (with Google at least). Do people honestly think that Google is that stupid?

        • Christina says:

          I have a sitemap now but have added some pages. Do I:a. make a new sitemap and upload it inuidclng the new pages and and leave the other one in place too?b. Upload the new one and delete the old one?c. Ammend the old one to include the new pages?

  6. Becky Marie says:

    Meant to say “Darn you Google..” NOT “Are you google”! Silly me.

  7. Bidet says:

    Thanks for sharing your progress as you rankings increase, those are some great numbers if you can actually manage to rank for them. Good luck and look forward to seeing more updates.

  8. Good to hear that you are moving on from your previous SEO freelancer. While SEO is an awesome area for investment, you don’t always get what you pay for. Do watch your money with the pay per rankings seo firm though. If the keyword is too competitive, I wouldn’t be surprised if they get it to #30 and then only move a couple spots each month to milk you for more money.

  9. Dino Vedo says:

    Interesting report!

    Few questions:

    1. How much … avg.. do you pay your SEO freelancer if your able to say?

    2. For your movie site that you made, are you promoting a movie product, so CPS, or a CPA offer for a movie? I’m wondering since I havent seen a movie affiliate offer that pays 60 bucks!

  10. smemon says:

    I’d be curious to see what kind of tactics they use because in my own experience, SEO is quite simply producing good content and working on quality backlinks which imo not many freelancers can do because they don’t know the niche well enough.

    Titles, keyword density, alt tags, keywords, descriptions, tags etc… if you can hire people who can write but also know about that lot then they’re much more valuable than any freelance SEO person will be.

    Assuming the site itself / CMS is well optimised then you’re just burning money because there’s so much optimising you can do with a site that doesn’t have fresh content. In 2010, backlinks don’t cut it, you need more than backlinks to stabalize a site’s ranking in google.

  11. The information you have provided here has helped me tremendously in my own marketing efforts. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  12. luggage Sets says:

    Great to read about your latest developments Tyler. When I try and rank for difficult keywords like you are attempting I always remind myself that it may be hard to rank for them but in the end the reward (high traffic and revenue) more than make up for the effort invested in achieving those rankings. I wish you all the best and look forward to your next update.

  13. Wow that is one hell of a test man. I used a lot of different SEO services on my sites. The best results came from a ‘Mega Net SEO’ definitely a recommendation.

  14. Hope your new SEO guy is better than the previous one. He does sound like an extremely frustrating person to deal with from what you wrote.

  15. Ashfaq says:

    It’s nice to see bloggers displaying their stats and income on their blog posts. Also i wanted to know why you are not using analytics on your blog

  16. Luggage Sets says:

    I really like the way rank tracker displays how your rankings improve over time. It’s really fantastic. The amount of time it saves you checking rankings every day would justify buying it

  17. used tires says:

    Looking forward to your next report Tyler, you are more than right to move on from your first SEO guy, terrible communication can only lead to greater problems!


  18. Alex says:

    Great write up. These case studies have been real helpful since I am new to all this web development and SEO stuff.

  19. Jasmine says:

    Thank you for the sharing. I wonder what your freelancer has been doing to help you rank for the keywords. Do you have any idea about this? Certainly you will share with us in more details, right?

  20. SEO results are hard to determine, is it worth paying thousands for SEO help???

  21. Thank you for the sharing. I wonder what your freelancer has been doing to help you rank for the keywords. Do you have any idea about this? Certainly you will share with us in more details, right?

  22. This is good stuff, I think i will give it a go but with my tiny budget dont know how far its going to get me. thanks for sharing mate

  23. Kelly says:

    Can you do a case study on SerpClix? I used it to move up 5 spots to #8, but it won’t move it further. Can you test it, or link me to a study where you have tested it?


Leave a Reply