Action Plan (Update #2) for Improving Rankings

This is update #2 in the series of posts that outline the plan to regain high rankings in the search engine results.

The update this week will cover the details of what was accomplished, results, what was not accomplished, some additional background information about the keyword search volume, and a few new items to the action plan.

If you are just joining the story, be sure to check out the initial post about this action plan. The initial update for the action plan to improve rankings covered the background of the website. There are a few important graphs in that post that you should take a look at if you have not already. That post really lays the framework for all the future action plan updates.

Accomplishments and Results

Looking back at the past week, I didn’t get as much done as I hoped. I sure did feel busy but when I look at the list of action items from last week…

Well, I’ll just say there is room for improvement!

Let’s review the plan to baseline  the accomplishments.

What was planned…

The plan is simple and hits the fundamentals of ranking a brand new or an established website.

  1. Add More Content
  2. Add More Links through
    • Blog Commenting
    • Private Blog Network (PBN) Links
    • HOTH Package (affiliate link)
    • Networking/Promotion/Outreach


Blog Comments: We left about 30 comments on various blogs. That’s not bad for 1 week but I am a little disappointed. I see that most of those comments were from a 3 day period. So, we started strong with the blog comments and then really tapered off.

We can improve this week! (FYI: “We” is my wife and me.)

A quick note – I really don’t check to see if the comments are approved. It usually only takes about 1 – 2 minutes to leave a comment. I don’t think that investing the time to go back to the blogs to see if they were approved is worth the time. If you disagree, let me know in the comments below. It might actually be a good idea.

PBN Links: I was able to add 2 PBN links which is great. I hope I can add more soon. As everyone says, PBNs are a lot of work!

Other: These are a few items that I did not plan but they were done last week.

Expired Domain and 301 Redirect

I found a very modest expired domain in the niche that was available for registration. I was taking a little break and checking out with some simple searches.

The backlink profile of the domain was very clean so I registered it. Next, I set up hosting on a cheap account ($1 per month) and set up a 301 redirect to point to a page on my website.

I skipped a few details there but here are two great references to help:

Words of caution – If you haven’t edited the .htaccess file or if you are just getting started with expired domains, there are many pitfalls to this task. I summarized it with a few sentences above but it’s fairly involved for the uninitiated.


I signed up for (affiliate link) to track my rankings. It’s awesome! I highly recommend it and I wish I would have signed up sooner.

You can enter a domain and a list of keywords. SerpBook will check the rankings for that domain based on the keywords for you.

SerpBook generates graphs over time which is cool to see. One of the best parts is that you can set up a email to be sent to you (and others if you want) at a set interval.

Now, I have an email sent to me each day in PDF format telling me where the website ranks. I signed up for the “Lite+” – the cheapest plan – for now. It’s $5 per month and that’s a great bargain considering what they do.


There was no change in the rankings over the last week. I did see a little shift by 1 or 2 positions over a couple days only to return to the same position. This is not unexpected. I will be continuing with the action plan and I hope that future Results updates will be more exciting. I have graphs to place here but they are just flat lines – not very interesting. 🙂

We did get a few backlinks as a result of the PBN and blog comments. Here is the new backlinks view from ahrefs…

The blue numbers are the “new backlinks” and the pink numbers are the “lost backlinks.” Some of the backlinks that are new or lost are just noise on this view. The churn is normal due to recent comments being found or disappearing in the sidebar of some websites – you know, the “recent comments” widget that some people use on their websites.

The important part is that there are some new links being added.

decline-traffic-nichesiteproject.comWhat was not accomplished…

Blog Commenting: We did get some comments out there but there is room for improvement. I can start to make an improvement today. 🙂

Content: I didn’t add anymore content last week. However, in the preceding few weeks, I was able to add 8 more product reviews. I do need to come up with a list of 10-12 more products to review. I can generate a list of products this week.

Outreach: This is a long term goal and I didn’t make any progress on this topic. I should be trying to generate a list of websites that I can target over the next month. It will most likely be 2 weeks before I can give this an effort.

More Background Information

I mentioned in the previous post that the overall search volume for the niche decreases. The graph from January 2012 – January 2013 is below. It is easy to see the upward trend in the retail season.


There was no major change in the traffic over the last week. Here is the graph for the last 30 days:

New Action Items

I will be working to get 2 new links from Link Viking (affiliate). The service from Link Viking worked so well last time that I wanted to see how they can help again. I’m checking to see if a custom package will be more economical than just a couple of one off links.


I need to keep moving forward with the plan that I outlined. Nothing interesting happened with the results so far to trigger any changes to the plan.

I know I need to find some more content ideas and have a writer help out. If I can get about 10 – 12 article ideas, that will go a long way to keep new posts coming every week.

I can improve on the blog commenting task and I will be doing that today.

It took about 60 days of attention to get positive results in the search results when the website was first launched. I expect a similar timeframe to return to the top 3. It won’t be easy and there will be weeks where my interest wanes and my motivation declines.

Those will be the most important weeks to keep going.

Do you have any suggestions on what I should be doing?

Do you have any questions about the plan?  

If so, let me know in the comments below. 

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26 comments… add one
  • Nan See

    Hi Doug. Me again. I disagree with not going back to check if the blog comments have been approved yet. It always gives me great satisfaction when I see my comment immediately and I’ve been to so many sites where most of the time, the site gives hints/patterns as to if the comment needs to go “through the wash”. Since Monday March 8th, I’ve commented on 80 blogs – the ratio to that is 48 moderated, 32 posted. Why I think its a good idea to keep track of what gets approved is that – maybe my next site will be in the same industry – if it were the car industry and i have another site car related, I have a clear list and I know exactly where I can also make comments on successfully. That’s the tactic I’m going to use, as blog commenting gets pretty time consuming over the long haul. Let me know if you think there are any drawbacks to that.

    • Hey Nancy – Good point…That is a very good reason why I should probably check on the comments to see if they are approved. Thanks!

  • John

    hi Doug,
    Good day to you, may i know if you are using Google trend ?
    may i know what settings you are using to get a graph showing the months of
    July, Jan, July, Jan ?
    Are you setting your search using
    Worldwide, Select dates (Jan 2012- Jan 2014), All categories, Web search ?

    • Yes, that is google trends.

      I believe those were the settings for the graph in this post.

      • John

        I tried the date setting Jan 2012 – Jan 2014 but the graph shows different months instead… it start with this
        Apr 2012, Jul 2012, Oct 2012, Jan 2013, Apr 2013, Jul 2013, Oct 2013, Jan 2014
        while yours is
        July 2012, Jan 2013, July 2013, Jan 2014
        its a bit different ..

  • John

    When you do blog commenting or link building in general, do you use rotating i.p. address?

    • Hi John,
      No I don’t change up IP addresses or anything.

      • John

        I read a post of alex becker that we need to use different ip address while surfing or link building, im not sure but this site he must have mentioned squidproxies dot com .. way back 2010, we also use private proxies when we do link building …

  • Winston

    Nice post.

    If you don’t mind, from your experience, what kind of breakdown in content gets a good click rate, low bounce rate, etc.

    Ballpark figures would be great, no need to be too specific. Like x% product reviews, y% how to articles, z% something else, etc.

    Would be interesting to know.

    • Hi Winston, I don’t have too many sites with a low bounce rate…but I think the click through rates are pretty good.

      It seems like product reviews do very well, as you would expect. The main page (front page) has many helpful facts as well as mini reviews for products. I think that converts very well – some great information on related topics right next to a product review.

      I hope that isn’t too vague – is that helpful?

      I am sure that it varies by niche and product lines.

  • Dave Denis

    Wow, $1 hosting??? Where’s that from?

    • Hey Dave – well, it isn’t be the best hosting. It’s good enough for a 301 redirect though. 🙂

      Here are a couple options and there are many, many more…

      I probably wouldn’t host a money site or any site that I expected to get a lot of traffic on. It would be okay for a low search volume money site. It is probably better than I think since they are most likely resellers that use good hosting companies on the backend.

      But in most cases you get what you pay for and for $1 per month, how good can it be…? 🙂

      • I feel the same way. I’ve found a few offers from web hosting forums (webhostingtalk) and have gotten deals for $10 for a year, and only use them for 301 redirects for expired domains.

  • Byron Ahn

    “It took about 60 days of attention to get positive results in the search results when the website was first launched.”

    Hey Doug, wondering with regard to the quote above (i’m still stuck on this stage, obviously..hah), what do you mean by “positive results”. Do you mean the website ranking in the top 500? 100? 1st page? Thanks!

    • Hi Byron – Good question. It took about 60 days to get to the first page. Where are you at in the process?

      • Byron Ahn

        Hey Doug,

        Thanks for the clarification. I’m still building out some more content and link building, but still not seeing any movement in the SERPs. I’m trying to find anything that could be wrong, but it’s really hard to know whether it’s a time thing or whether there is a penalty, error, that I should be aware of.

        I’m going to throw some PBN links at the site soon, so guess I’ll see if that provides a breakthrough.

  • Curt

    Thanks for the continual updates, this is a great case study. Not just a ‘build’ but a recovery. Good to see – best of luck, I’ll let you know how mine goes, too :).

    • Thanks! I hope we see a little movement soon… 🙂 or some kind of feedback in the rankings!

  • John

    Hi Doug,
    Im wondering why you only have 4 months display in your Google trends, while mine displays 8 months .. my settings is also Jan 2012 – Jan 2014 .. any settings that i did wrong ?

    • Hi John, I must have some other settings or something. I don’t remember what mine were. I wouldn’t worry about it. 🙂

      • John

        Hi Doug,
        I always get 8 months everytime i set it up for 2 years .. im thinking you must be targeting a specific country ?

  • Hi Doug,

    Wish you all the best on your path to recovering your sites man.

    Abouth the hoth, did you use their service on this money site before?

    • Hey Siya – Thanks.
      No, I didn’t use the HOTH on this site.

      I did use the HOTH elsewhere with very good results. Great question.

  • M Scott

    Hey Doug!

    Question for you on SerpBook – I signed up through you link and the service has been great! The only problem I’ve had is that it says I’m ranking 177 for my main keyword, but when I go to search for it in Google myself I don’t see it at that (or any position).

    I reached out to their customer service, and they said that the site is bouncing around, but it’s been a couple of days now that I haven’t been able to manually find my site, so I’m scratching my head a bit.

    Have you encountered that type of problem?



    • Hi M- Thanks for signing up! I appreciate it.

      I have not seen that specifically…But I know that the time of day and your location might have an impact on where your site shows up.

      So, the serpbook server might be picking up your site at 177 and it’s not showing up for your location.

      That’s the only thing I can think of…

      Did you find their customer service responsive?

      • M Scott

        Hey Doug,

        The customer service was lightening fast responding, which was awesome. I still really like the service for sure, just don’t trust it completely yet.

        I fixed the problem by deleting all my keywords and reentering them a few hours later. The rankings were much more accurate.

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