There’s lots written about the need for having your website up to scratch. Good coding structure, keywords and plenty of relevant content. In fact content marketing is the latest magic pill in the industry to get you ranked higher. It’s all about how good your website is and how often you upload good content, preferably daily. But it’s a lot of work and effort and can be many months before you see decent results.
I discovered the classic example this week that shows there are alternatives for some of you. The website itself isn’t always the major factor to getting ranked high and bring in loads of traffic. Take a look at the website www.beerfestival.co.nz It’s a slick looking website and someone at the design agency likely got a bonus (or award) for building it.
Analysis showed this site has a dozen keywords ranked, nearly all on page one! This likely generated loads of good organic traffic. Looking at the site itself from an SEO perspective, they’ve done almost everything wrong. The Googlebot likely hated it. It’s essentially only one long page which isn’t good SEO practice. Certainly the visual design is great, but from an on-site SEO perspective, this one fails badly. Marketing grader gave it a lowly 31/100 score, which is low for a WordPress-based website.
Why then was it so popular with Google? Why such high rankings for the key phrases?
Power of Good Beer, Good Friends and Backlinks
As mentioned in prior articles, onsite-stuff is only a quarter of the traffic formula. Backlinks and social validation is the other 75%. In this case over 150 domains linked to them and obviously, for a festival like this, got a lot of mention in Facebook, which Google obviously took notice of. Get this side right and your very average designed website can do remarkably well for ranking and traffic. In this instance, what likely made the big difference here was that many of those sites that linked to the festival themselves had very high rankings and domain authority. They also used do-follow links and appropriate tags, as seen from my quick backlinks report here. This allowed Google to better understand what the site was about and its importance, even though the site itself sucked in terms of SEO and good content.
So, we’ve proved again that it’s not just what you say about yourself that’s important, it’s what others say about you that really makes the difference when it comes to Google ranking. (A bit like real life).
By Design or by Accident?
The sad part about this story is that this amazing ‘SEO strategy’ was likely not done on purpose, but occurred by accident. It was natural that the various [high profile] suppliers to the festival would link their [high ranking] websites to the festival one, and in doing so, ensure a steady stream of website visitors coming via these links directly as well as indirectly via the Google search page. Now imagine if companies started to plan their websites and factor in the need for good backlinks.
p.s. Our SEO pyramid article outlined all this previously, but now we have a real world example. But for most companies struggling to get high profile, high ranking websites linking to them, good backlinks alone isn’t enough and you need a good site, with good content! But this example does illustrate what adding in good backlinks and social media can achieve – And why it shouldn’t be ignored as it often is…