Action Plan (Update #3) for Improving Rankings

This is update #3 in the series of posts that outline the plan to regain high rankings in the search engine results. I thought the update this week would be very uneventful…

But there is something interesting to share!

The update this week will cover the details of what was accomplished, results, what was not accomplished, and a few other updates.

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

What was planned…

Here is the overall plan – 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

This week I wanted to focus on creating a list of products to review, blog commenting, and start on the list of websites for outreach/networking purposes.


Blog Comments: Again, we left about 30 comments on blogs. That is right where we were last week. I really wanted to make an improvement this week but as of this morning we didn’t reach the mark. There isn’t a very good excuse but I did have significantly MORE work at the day job this week. That is the main reason we don’t have more comments out there.

Link Viking (affiliate): I started last week to check on obtaining a couple new links from Link Viking. I have not followed up on the these links yet. The ball is in my court for now and I will take care of the new links next week.


There was not any significant movement in the rankings this week. If you recall in January and February, around this time of the month, there was a shift in rankings. Some people account that to a Panda Refresh but that is unconfirmed.

Here is the graph from (affiliate link) and you can see there is just a flat line in BLUE for Google.

SerpBook Report

So, I was really hoping there would be something to talk about…I was waiting to see some kind of a jump (or drop) in the rankings.

New Links

We did see a few new links this week. There are still a lot of links going away. I haven’t analyzed those links very carefully but I assume they are most likely related to blog comments and the way the comments are displayed (or not displayed) on websites.

What I did notice is a big jump in traffic. Very interesting!


I went to generate the graph for this post and I was surprised!

I think there might be a slight dip just before the spike. It is hard to tell.

Maybe there will be an update or refresh this weekend and the spike is just a precursor. We shall see!

What was not accomplished…

Blog Commenting: We didn’t get as many comments out there this week as we expected. We can make up some of the distance over the next day or so.

Content: I wanted to have a list of 10 – 12 more products to review this week. Again, I think I can catch up on this today. 🙂

Outreach: I didn’t make any progress on this point but I gave myself a month to create a list of potential websites to contact. I have more time for this task.


I said it last week. I need to keep moving ahead with the plan. It’s normal to have weeks with little feedback in the rankings.

It can be discouraging.

Then, you can get a little positive feedback unexpectedly with a nice bump in traffic.

I didn’t reach the goal for blog commenting. That’s okay. Each one of the blog comments is a minor piece of the overall link building strategy. As long as we keep up the commenting effort, it will be worth while.

I’m really excited and hopeful that there will be some kind of a algorithm refresh that will bring some positive results.

Do you have any tips or suggestions for me?

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30 comments… add one
  • John

    Best thing to do Doug is to throw a lot of naked links at old forums

    90% of your anchor text should be naked website link at very old forums
    http://www dot yourwebsite dot com

    Never comment using your exact keyword again
    Never link build even any part of your keyword not even related keyword again
    Never use outsider gigs like fiverr or other PBN (if you must instruct them to strictly use your naked website link with http://www.)

    • That’s good advice, John. Thanks.

      Why are you so down on keywords? 🙂

      • John

        Hi Doug,
        SEO and Link Builder are so aggressive on using exact match keyword and few of us use naked links as anchor text.

        If we only use the exact match anchor text like 2% or 3% or even use it on the last phase of link building, then its will all look like a NATURAL number of exact anchor text, and Natural Gap (months) of getting an exact match anchor text ..

        You are still aggressively building links but you use the exact match anchor text on the last months like 4 months later ..

        Sounds natural for Google .. stays on TOP for longer period ..

        You reverse the method – use the BLIND Archer Arrow strategy — its like not really knowing what your keyword is

        • Hey John – I agree about keeping the matching anchor text low…it’s a good idea. 🙂 I still have trouble understanding all the details you mention but I get your point.

          • John

            Hi Doug,
            may i know which part you did not fully understand in my unorganized statement haha seriously sorry about me being messy with regards to ideas… but im willing to explain…

            you anchor text profile already have the exact match keyword (10% or 20%), so all you have to do is make it 3% by using naked links … http://www

          • Hey John –
            I actually have a very good understanding of anchor text. 🙂 I understand your overall ideas. Thanks for offering.

          • John

            Hi Doug,
            Maybe its the terms i used, like i use Natural Gap while Josh said Link Velocity..
            Josh also use the term link pillowing, i call it Blind Archer Arrow, while maybe might call it Anchor text dilution or variation ..

            Anyway, sorry for my ideas are too messy but not a native English speaker…

          • No worries, John. I love the comments!

  • Doug, thank you for sharing all of this info. I’m in the middle of my first niche site (maybe 25 days in). And, I read about all these sites that rank in Google very quickly (top 200 in less than a week). I ranked at 226 for my main keyword in about a week. That lasted a day. Then, went to 500+ for a couple of days. Then, 195 for another day. Then, 500+ until now (2-3 weeks now). So, I appreciate when you talk about how discouraging it is to not see results. I use LongTailPro for my counting. I’ve done some backlinking, but, I don’t see how you do 80 (or even 30). I can’t find that many blogs related to my site.

    • Hey Susan – Thanks for the comments. Have you watched the video about finding blogs to comment on? I shared it with the Niche Pursuits Podcast listeners. You can find that podcast here:

      You’ll find the link to the video there too… Send me an email if you have any questions.

      Also, you’re very early in the process being only 25 days in…so just keep up the hard work!

      • Doug, thanks for the pointer. I hadn’t seen this podcast. Lots of great suggestions in it. I’m going to start looking into some of these. The one that I’ve tried that didn’t work out for me was Web2.0 sites. The first one I tried was creating a Squidoo lense. I spent a fair amount of time putting together my lense. When I went to submit it, it told me that their “filter” had flagged my lense as too “spammy”. I only had one link to my own site. Maybe I needed more links to other sites as well. Don’t know. But, I didn’t like spending an hour or two working on something only to have to completely flush it. There was also the learning curve to figure out how to create proper content (which I apparently failed as based on my reject). What scares me is that I really didn’t have that much “spammy” info on the lense. So, if Squidoo can “flag” my content as “spammy”, whose to say Google isn’t next on my actual money site.

        • Hey Susan – I don’t know much about Squidoo. I know some people are having a lot of success there. I have no idea about how they monitor/control the content.

          I don’t think Google can enforce those stringent standards..just my opinion.

  • Doug, I think you’re familiar with Perrin from Spencer’s Niche Pursuits site. Perrin had a similar fall in earnings as you (I think it was $40 a day to $10). His research found that a high PageAuthority backlink had scrolled off and was no longer providing it’s great backlink power. I think that was what you were thinking happened to you.

    Perrin said he threw 10 RankHero links (high PageAuthority backlinks) at his money site and his earning bounced back in a couple of days.

    Have you done anything similar (not sure if The HOTH is something like that)? If not, have you thought about doing something similar? I’m thinking about doing that for my site, but don’t have the confidence Perrin did that it would work (I still wonder if I have some Google penalty or something because of the 500+). I believe Perrin said he spent about $300. But, in the end his return was $1000. So, it was well worth the cost for him.

    Perrin’s site has like 700+ backlinks. So, I’m beginning to wonder if all of the blog comment backlinks really help. If one or a couple of high PageAuthority links dropping off a page affected Perrin that way (and maybe you), I’m questioning whether Perrin’s other 700+ links were worth very much. Especially if just adding 10 good backlinks pushed him back up.


    • Yes, I’m familiar with Perrin’s site. My site has a different issue…though I’m not sure what it is. 🙂

      I have done something similar with powerful links too.

      You probably don’t have any penalties but it is just that your site is so new…it takes some time to work your way up generally. There are cases where people do rank sooner. I have a few people that I’ve coached that have ranked really quickly due to picking low competition keywords and having very good content.

      The blog comments aren’t that powerful but they add a great diversity in the linking domains. That also helps to diversify the anchor text distribution.

      That said…some people don’t bother with the blog comments…I plan on scaling that back on my next site. I will just get a Platinum HOTH Package and use PBN links.

  • What’s your link velocity looking like? Citation flow & Trust flow? Anchor text diversity?

    If you’re throwing a lot of weaker links at the site you can use link pillowing. This is where your weaker links have diverse anchors, while all your Authority Links use exact match anchors. That way you don’t waste any of your power.

    • Hey Josh. I didn’t know that was the term but, yes, I am doing link pillowing. It’s probably not as aggressive as it should be. I’m using some naked URLs and I should be more generous with the naked URLs like John mentioned. (thanks, John!)

      Link velocity is probably about 20 links per week over the last 3 weeks. However, some are pretty weak but there are some very strong. I am also losing quite a few of the weak backlinks out there.

      The CF & TF are both in the low 30s. The values have climbed as I’ve added better links.

      Any tips?

  • John

    Perrin’s exact match anchor text is 2.5%
    Learn more is 15%
    (Learn more is what i meant about Blind Archer Arrow because the link builder uses an anchor text which is not target at the exact match anchor) – this tells Google the website owner is not the one building the links …
    Naked link 5%

  • John

    Try to check your On-page SEO

    1. Like if your website is about best electric Shaver, then you might like to have more
    ELECTRIC words on it than the word Shaver …because you are trying to rank for Electric shaver not really shaver (though Electric is not a different product by itself alone making this a bad example)

    a good example will be paper shredder where in a paper is a physical product and a shredder is a totally different looking physical product that does not look like any of a paper ..

    So if you are targeting for paper shredder make more words on shredder …
    Does this make sense? if not just ignore..

    2. Try to check if you have too many links going to amazon
    3. Try to check if there is a commentator on your homepage that is linking to his website that is related to your website, the link juice might be flowing to another related site instead of staying in your website homepage only

    • Hey John, Thanks for the tip. I have checked my site and several other niche sites for on page SEO. I should probably write a post about that.

  • Keep up the good work, Doug! I’m waiting anxiously to see about a possible algorithm update in the near future and see what that does to my rankings. I have been considering whether my site may be a little too ad-heavy above the fold and effected by the latest update, but not sure…

    I have been slacking a bit this week with link building as I’ve been working to finish an info product I will add to my monetization arsenal. At the moment it’s designing the sales page for it while I wait for the reviewers to finish up so I can add excerpts to the sales page.

    I did notice that a lot of the blog commenting and rss directory links I added the last three weeks are slowly being discovered by Majestic SEO & Ahrefs. My rankings are also climbing bit by bit, with one keyword already ranking at #10 (my first 1st page ranking!) but I can’t seem to climb any further than that. So my guess (and high hopes) are that ordering a Platinum HOTH package will give me that little extra push that I need to get within the top 3…

    I’m wondering, have you used or if not, considered using HOTH on this site you’re trying to recover perhaps?

    Then, probably a question you won’t like answering but I do need to ask it…. HOTH vs. RankHero (or any other PBN for that matter)? I don’t think you can really compare the two as they aren’t quite the same thing, I understand that. But adding the prices of each other together; it’s a hefty investment for someone just starting out like myself. So I guess I’m asking if you had to choose what to start with, which one would it be?


    • Hey Ruan – Congrats on hitting the first page! Well done!

      I actually do have a HOTH Platinum package in progress right now to help with recovery.

      I have a few questions for you…why don’t you reply by email do keep your specific information private…

      How many links and referring domains do you have pointing to your website?

      How old is the site?

      Generally, for new sites I will probably go with a HOTH Platinum and PBN type links a bit later. It sounds like you may have more specific things to consider so I look forward to your email. Cheers!

      • Hey Doug!

        Just sent you that email with detailed info regarding my site. Thanks for the offer! I look forward to hear from you and what you think…


  • Hi Doug,
    Are you using the Platinum Plus? or just the regular Platinum. I’m wondering if getting the Plus is worth the $225 or not?

    • Hey Nathan – I am just using the regular version, not the Plus. The content is good enough. If I had a better brand-able website, I think it might be worth the money. Or, if you plan on continually adding to the web 2.0s then it would make sense to have the Plus level content.

  • Winston

    Love the comments. It’s taking going interesting places.

    Have a question on some things I am not knowledgeable with.

    1. what does naked link mean? is it the site’s URL?

    2. I’m trying to understand the theory of link pillowing mentioned by Josh. Am I correct in understanding that using exact match keywords carry a heavier load in pushing your rank? Which is why you ‘save’ them for the more authoritative link? Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    3. This is in connection to #2 (also something I read over at Josh’s blog), where he mentions that he expects ranking for a certain keyword to go up soon. Does this mean that by using a specific keyword as anchor text links pointing to your money site, you can help it go up for that certain keyword’s ranking?

    • Hey Winston – Good questions.

      1. Yes, it is just the URL of the page/post you want to link to.

      2. You have the concept correct about link pillowing. Basically, you use the exact match anchor text for the authoritative links.

      3. Yes.

      It sounds like you have all the ideas right. I would say that in theory, all the ideas make good sense.

      However, I have never seen an actual real experiment with a control, real data, and results. In addition, an experiment is repeatable and would stand up to a peer review.

      So, use the information as a guideline and not as pure facts.

  • Winston

    Thanks for the reply Doug. Very informative.

    Here’s something that popped back into my radar after reading Jon Haver’s latest post.

    He mentions a new site he build ranks around 50 without links yet. I’m trying to figure out how to do this consistently. So far, when I make a new site chances of it ranking under 100 on its own before any linking has been inconsistent, some do, some don’t.

    Wonder if have any suggestions, or checklist on this. Would really like to know the difference between one that does & doesn’t (rank under 100 prior to any link building).

    • Hey Winston – I don’t have any insight on that…I would guess that the competition is not too tough. I think Jon used very high quality content for that site too.

      If you discover the secret, let me know! 🙂

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