SEO Case Study: How SEOJet Resurrected A Dying Exact Match Domain

When HCGDiet.com started using SEOJet, it was a last ditch effort to resurrect a once powerful exact match domain that had dropped in the rankings with certain Google updates.

It had once enjoyed #1 rankings for its most coveted key phrase, “hcg diet”.

Even with such a powerful domain name, the site had dropped to the bottom of page 1 of Google for their exact match name and even some of their affiliates were ranking higher than they were.

Homepage SEO strategy

They had built over 900 backlinks to their homepage and far too many of those links contained key phrases in the anchor text.

Cleaning up their homepage backlink profile was their top priority.

When they entered all of their homepage links into SEOJet they quickly realized how far off they were from what SEOJet was suggesting their homepage should look like.

So the process was simple, follow the homepage link map and start fixing the keyword heavy anchor text profile.

At first they had a link building budget of about $500-$1000/mo. They decided not to crank up the link acquisition too quickly because they didn’t want to raise any red flags.

They hadn’t been link building at all for over a year and a big jump in links seemed too risky.

The majority of their focus was building links to the homepage but they also built a few to some long-form content pieces they had on the site.

After a month or two of building links this way they ramped up the budget to $2000-$3500/mo and really started hitting their pages hard with quality links.

Inner Page SEO Strategy

If you’ve read any of our blog posts you know how much we preach brand building on the homepage and then building SEO power pages to really target key phrases.

The next step in the SEO strategy for HCGDiet.com (while they were fixing the homepage link profile) was to build out 4 or 5 power pages that they could also build links for to help make their site a more entrenched topical authority.

This allowed them to build links to other pages besides the homepage, thus giving them a more natural link profile.

They still built the majority of the links to the homepage, but a consistent number of links were hitting these power pages consistently building their rankings.

One of the major pieces was a post of over 150 HCG diet recipes.

They chose this strategy because they wanted some high content pieces that didn’t have any backlink profile at all.

They wanted to start fresh.

They put the recipes page into SEOJet and started building links according to the link map.

After acquiring about 5 or 6 primary links and a few tiered links the recipes page ranked in the top 3 for “hcg diet recipes”.

They knew they were on the right track and so they continued on, building relevant guest post links.

By the time they had done about 20 primary links to their homepage in SEOJet, their homepage was back in the top 3 again for their most important key phrase.

And here is the backlink profile for the homepage since they started using SEOJet:

Revenue Is The True Measuring Stick

Rankings are nice and all but really matters is revenue. Here is a snapshot of their revenue analytics for the previous ten months:

HCGDiet.com started using SEOJet in January but in all fairness January is a huge month for the diet industry with new years resolutions and all. But you can see the sustained and continued growth as their rankings climbed in Google.

One interesting thing to note because this is an exact match domain, is that on the homepage links they actively avoided using “HCG Diet” as the anchor text.

Even though this technically could be considered the brand name, they had already built a ton of links with this anchor text and so they decided to use “HCGDiet.com” as the anchor anytime it asked for Brand as the anchor.

Without revealing any actual revenue numbers you can see from the graph above (yes this is the actual graph from their analytics software) that their revenue has made some siginificant gains.

 

 

Did I leave out anything important? Ask me in the comments below.

23 Comments

  1. Pooja

    Thanks for sharing, loved the article

    Reply
    • Adam White

      Pooja, yeah these case studies are fun to see from our users.

      Reply
  2. Toby Balsiger

    Nice case study. That’s an interesting implementation using domain.com as anchors for the brand.

    Reply
    • Adam White

      Toby, yeah if you look at the big brands out there, they have the domain.com anchor text as one of their most common anchors.

      Reply
  3. Shaun

    Hi Adam, I run a top 10 type site, I dont suppose you can share any ideas for power pages? I currently have a very basic plain looking home page showing a serach bar and latest articles (I know I need to work on it big time).. but I also have 16 review(top 10) type pages each one over 2000-8000 words in length. My backlink propfile for each of these (when viewed in seojet) is terrible.

    So far the income is a nice high 3 to 4 figure amount but Im keen to see with some linking how this can pan out ….

    Second question (sorry!)

    When inside seojet and building out links… do you suggest I should always seek out the highest PA links I can or should all primary links be high PA and secondary links less so…
    What would the effect be like if I only found low PA links to all pages.
    Sorry for the questions

    Reply
  4. Carlos A

    So for EMD’s naked urls links are suggested? Where is the line between exact match anchors and brand for emd’s?

    Reply
    • Adam White

      Carlos, the good thing about exact match domains is that you can get away with using the brand name (keyword anchor) many times without penalty. Just to be safe I will typically do a WebsiteName.com anchor about 60% of the time just in case.

      Reply
      • Gary

        Hi, you mean about using exactmatchdomain.com 60%? instead of exactmatchdomain (keyword)?

        Reply
        • Adam White

          Yes Gary, that is what I meant. They will both count as the brand name but adding the domain extension helps protect you.

          Reply
  5. Murrough Foley

    Interesting case study. Do you also mixup the URL anchors to include www or HTTP(s)?

    And do you worry about the anchors you use on tier 2?

    Reply
    • Adam White

      Murrough, good question. Yes I do mix up the url anchors (SEOJet does it for you when it builds out a link map). And I try to stick to the correct anchor percentages when building out tiered links.

      Reply
  6. damal

    Hi,
    I have a query. do you mean that they built more keyword-rich exact match backlinks which resulted in fall?

    and you corrected it by removing those exact match with other text or else just a blank url? or you built new links without keyword-rich?

    Reply
    • Adam White

      Damal, we didn’t do any removing of links. We just helped them build the right links moving forward. There is a value to link recency or in other words the latest links your page acquired. So we focused on that.

      Reply
  7. damal

    Sorry, I forget to ask this as well, how much time it took to return rankings after you corrected this?

    Reply
    • Adam White

      Hey Damal, it probably took a few months.

      Reply
  8. Hunter

    Hey Adam, Does your SEOJet service automatically make this adjustment in recommended link profile for an EMD?

    Reply
    • Adam White

      Hey Hunter, the software looks at your backlink profile and then makes recommendations based on what you need to do.

      Reply
  9. thomas

    Hi Adam,

    It seems they are 11th now for ‘HCG Diet’. What would you recommend they do now?

    Reply
    • Adam White

      Hey Thomas, yeah they stopped using SEOJet over a year ago. If I were them I would sign back up and follow a homepage link map to get back to the top of page 1.

      Reply
      • John

        I like reading case studies, often times, you never get to look at the main source because they want to hide the URL for obvious reasons. Just out of curiosity, I also searched for HCG Diet, and they are currently on 5th page of google, and that just goes to show, if you are in a competitive niche such as “diet” then you will quickly slide off the chart if you don’t stay ahead of the game, and it does make you wonder, they were clearly making money when they were ranking near the top, so I can’t really imagine what is going on now that they would drop the ball now; I have never heard anyone say, I was making too much money, so I don’t care if I slip in the SERPs now, ROFL, so the question is: If their home is on page 5, could other pages be ranking high enough in order to continue the flow of traffic?

        Reply
        • Adam White

          Hey John, yeah their head of internet marketing left the company a while back and it wasn’t soon after that they stopped using SEOJet. I dont know their whole story but I do know that the drop off of revenue from top 3 to bottom of page one is huge in that niche. I think that was the biggest factor. There are a ton of regulations on them so if SEO isn’t working they lose motivation really quick.

          Reply
  10. David Scurlock

    I have a two-word exact match domain, easy to remember, for the affiliate niche. For a while, I did not know how google would accept the domain since these type of domains got smashed with penalties in the past, for obvious reasons; Now I feel pretty confident that I can use exact anchor text along with other types of anchors such as exactmatch.com, and other branded variations that would allow the brand to look more natural in google; Good information for sure.

    Reply
    • Adam White

      David, yeah as long as you make the backlink profile look natural, exact match domains can be successful.

      Reply

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