An Interesting SEO Experience

Unexpected experienceA while ago I wrote about hitting Google page 1 out of 192,000,000 results for the search term ‘online home business tips’.

Having hit that target I confidently waited for my traffic to start kicking up. But it remained pretty much unchanged.

Digging a bit further revealed that although there were around 200,000,000 results for the search term ‘online home business tips’, there were relatively few searches.

The term ‘Internet marketing tips’ has a much better supply/demand ratio, with more searches but only 60,000,000 results.

So about a month ago I decided to re-optimise this site for the term ‘Internet Marketing tips’, fully expecting to lose my first page position for ‘online home business tips’ in the process.

Since the term ‘online home business tips’ was not bringing in the visitors, I figured dropping off the front page wasn’t going to have any impact anyway.

So I set about re-optimising everything, expecting to drop off the first page for ‘online home business tips’ and start climbing up the order for ‘Internet Marketing tips’.

And the opposite has happened.

I’m still on the first page for ‘online home business tips’ (number 4 out of 203,000,000 today) and I’m still way down (unchanged) for ‘Internet Marketing tips’.

And my traffic has been completely unaffected. (More than 38% of my traffic comes from Google search results – all of it direct to individual articles).

I have to say I’m surprised and puzzled.

I’ve been in this business long enough to know how to optimize sites and pages – the amount of traffic I get from the natural search results to individual articles is testament to that.

But it’s clear that the process of re-optimising a site is a lot less sensitive than re-optimising an individual article. Something I’d not appreciated before.

Anyway, since the changes I made have had no impact on my traffic I’m going to leave them in place.

The supply/demand ratio on the term ‘Internet marketing tips’ is so much better than it is on ‘online home business tips’ that I will eventually get a benefit when the re-optimisation of the site starts to take effect.

If not, it’s back to the drawing board again! 🙂


Martin Malden

What do you think?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jennifer @ vergent t1 service Jul 29, 2010 @ 1:01

    That’s interesting that your site didn’t drop at all for your first optimization phrase. Did you rely on only on-page factors to get onto the first page, or did you use off-page optimization like backlinking also?

    I have found that Google really looks at the theme of your site when determining where to rank it, so if I can organize a lot of content around a single keyword, it will do pretty well with on-page optimization only. But there are just some key prhases I can’t seem to get into first page results with on-page optimization only.

    • Martin Jul 29, 2010 @ 7:06

      Hi Jennifer.

      No – not just on-page optimisation. I’ve built links through all the usual channels (commenting, article marketing, forum marketing, social marketing, etc).

      Interestingly, this site has now started to climb up the rankings for ‘Internet Marketing Tips’, but I’m still on the first page (at #5 this morning) for ‘online home business tips’ (out of 496,000,000, believe it or not!).



  • Colin Jul 30, 2010 @ 20:14

    A very interesting article and I’ve suffered the same thing myself. I agree that the real “trick” is to make your website as useful and relevant as possible to human readers, then the seo takes care of itself!

    • Martin Jul 31, 2010 @ 12:29

      Hi Colin,

      Yes – and the best part is that if you make your site as intuitive as possible to readers (clear navigation, good tagging, good categorisation) you’re making it easy for the search engines at the same time.

      The only difference is needing to avoid Flash and scripts as far as possible – these can be great for people but stop the search engines dead in their tracks!



      • alex johnson Nov 1, 2010 @ 21:29

        What I often try to do is research topics that make sense to discuss from an SEO point of view, but I always then try to think how I can integrate that content into my site in a way that actually makes sense for my users.

        Users first every time, SEO comes a close second though…

        • Martin Nov 2, 2010 @ 6:57

          And the more time goes on, the smarter the search engines become, the easier SEO becomes.

          Get the SEO basics right (properly set up pages) and then focus on content.



  • Inexpensive Hosts Oct 18, 2010 @ 21:04

    I noticed in Google keywords phrase match zero searches in the US for online home business tips. Internet marketing tips produces 4,400 searches per month in the US on phrase match. So that is much better although the competition is very heavy: 54,200,000! Did not check the UK, but probably not much better. How about the term search engine positioning?

    • Martin Oct 18, 2010 @ 21:15

      I haven’t checked the term search engine positioning, but Online Home Business tips has over 200,000,000 results – so more competitive than Internet Marketing Tips. 🙂