Search Marketing

Should your “optimized” site from 2011 still rank in Google

Building rock-solid SEO that stands the test of time.

2011 was was two years ago and in the digital world that is an eternity, in two years time the technology inside your phone, computer, TV, website and just about every other electronic device will be eclipsed by newer, faster, smarter, “better” hardware, software and systems. We are always in a constant state of upgrades, updates, versions and anything “new” is rapidly out dated. In this state of exponential digital growth it seems like complete nonsense that anything two years old in the tech spectrum would still be relevant in our ultramodern-iPhone 5 slinging world of the future.

When we dig further into the digital world and look at Google a lot has happened to search since 2011. With major algorithm changes like the Panda and Penguin updates the search industry definitely falls under one of those constant updates, upgrades and “what’s next” facets of technology. With all of this in mind, and Google constantly tweaking it’s algorithm, could a site that was created and optimized in 2011 still rank strongly in Google today?

In early 2011 we wanted to get one of our client’s site ranking better in Google so we went through our standard SEO process and did some thorough keyword research, content creation and on-site optimization. The optimized site was launched in March of 2011 and we haven’t looked back or touched the site from a SEO standpoint in 2 years. Yes, that’s incredibly risky but all that “old” tech is still working for us and year over year the site’s traffic from Google continues to grow.

In general, when talking SEO I always recommend maintenance, re-alignments and updates however with our particular client we didn’t have budget to do so after site launch so we simply had to ride the wave of the initial site optimization and develop a site that could hopefully stand the test of time.

With all of this on the table, here’s how we made a rock solid site that was meant to stand the test of time and remain on Google’s good side.

Solid SEO Tactics

  • Don’t try to trick the search engine. We played by the rules and kept the site super legit and didn’t try any tactics that would get flagged by Google (buying links, hidden text, etc.). This site’s traffic and rankings were not affected by the Panda or Penguin algorithm updates.
  • Focused on low-competition keywords. Knowing that we wouldn’t be intentionally link building for our keywords or maintaining the site we decided to go after lower competiton keywords. Targeting keywords with higher competition would mean more diverse content and stronger links built to the page.
  • Develop a 1:1 ratio. To be super clear to the search engine and to signal relevancy we made sure that each selected keyword was represented on it’s own page without any other keywords we were trying to rank for.
  • Let PR build the links. We didn’t have budget to develop any specific link building strategies but with our site being an extension of the PR campaign it was easy to acquire links through our general PR and media relations as both site and PR were synced in message and content.
  • Set soft goals. Our goals for this site were to simply drive traffic to it and be visible in Google. Knowing that we had limited “hands-on” time we didn’t want to promise any goals that focused around an “action item” (download, sale, sign up etc) or firm goal or conversion.

And the Results?

Organic Traffic from Google Traffic Increase %
(compared to previous year)
Traffic Increase %
(since optimized site launch)
(non-optimized site)
Mar 1, 2010 – Feb 28, 2011
3,743 N/A N/A
Year One (optimized site launch)
Mar 1, 2011 – Feb 28, 2012
21,928 485% 485%
Year Two
Mar 1, 2012 – Feb 28, 2013
49,425 125.40% 1,220.46%
Year Three Projection
Mar 1, 2013 – Feb 28, 2014
54,367 10% 1,465%

So when it comes time to talk ROI of SEO and bang for the buck these are some solid results to share. Not every site will have this type of success and I’m not suggesting that SEO is a “set it and forget it” tactic but with the right strategy and planning building a solid SEO site can stand the test of time.

Photo Credit: Janet Ramsden

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About Jason Poulos:

With a degree in communication design from VCU as well as experience in web development and digital marketing, Jason brings a unique blend of assets to PadillaCRT. In 2012 Jason helped win 4 awards for his SEO work on Outside of his digital work, Jason enjoys brewing his own beer and restoring his1970 Chevrolet Nova. Jason is a new father and enjoys spending time with his family and his 150-pound English Mastiff.

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