I am the Digital Marketing Manager for Source Group and I was hired to come in and set Source Group on a digital path.

This is something I have been hired to do before, so I knew that I had an idea of how to get where I needed to be from a marketing, product and revenue stand point. I knew that starting out I wanted to have a very SEO driven strategy. I wanted this for three reason.

  1. I will end up spending less on marketing once I rank for the terms I want to rank for.
  2. I wanted to rank where my competitors rank.
  3. We will drive more revenue from non-branded keywords. This is because all of the keywords we ranked for that are branded, are for our print publications.

The 5 Part SEO Strategy for Safe & Fast Rankings

  1. Understand what I’m currently ranking for. (I ranked on page one in the top 3 for over 70 keywords, all branded to our print publications)
  2. Build brand trust with Google as fast as I could
  3. Create Strong SEO Pages
  4. Guest Post high domain authority pages to rank for my main keywords
  5. Make sure most if not all of what I do is content based

I have been in the SEO world for 17 years and I have seen it change from something as easy as a list of keywords to something much more complicated. So, I knew that the fastest way to the top of Google these days was using this strategy.

So here is how I actually did it.

Step 1: Understand What I’m Currently Ranking For

Now, there are a lot of keyword ranking trackers out there. Personally, I use two. I use two because I usually get different answers from every ranking tracker. So, by using two the truth will land somewhere in between them. That being said, two of the most accurate are AHREFS and MOZ.

At the time I took over I was ranking for more than 70 keywords in the top three positions. All of the keywords where branded to the industry news magazines we produce for our clients. This was fantastic and it was driving most of our traffic, which is good. However, it was also bad as that is all I ranked for. I did not rank for any trade show keywords or products.

Let me explain why non branded search would drive more business. Branded searches are great because you are being reached by people who know who you are. It can drive revenue and is great for branding and loyalty. However, these are people who already know who we are, so the potential for revenue is limited. By continuing to rank for those keywords and then starting to rank for non-branded keywords, I would increase website traffic and expand the possible revenue that would come from the website.

Step 2: Build Brand Trust with Google

One of the most misunderstood principles of SEO is the importance of building trust with Google. If you skip this step or don’t take it seriously, none of your other SEO efforts will amount to much. Building a bunch of links all at one time makes you seem like you are spamming and buying your way to the top. Google loves brands because brands are able to get links naturally. Whether it be through PR efforts, online advertising or just fans showing their loyalty, well-known brands have no trouble getting links. So creating links on a steady and consistent basis looks natural and gives you better results. Mainly because it looks like it does when a brand builds its links.

Well-known brands very rarely get hit by Google updates, and they rank all over the SERPs. Also, here’s the thing about brands, they never target key phrases on their home page in their link building. Don’t believe me? Go look at Amazon’s homepage backlinks. 90% of the anchors are either “Amazon” or “Amazon.com” (or some other form of the URL).

A trusted brand only gets these kinds of non-keyword backlinks to their homepage, and they get a lot of them.

So my first strategy with Source Group was to mimic what big brands do. The good news was that I already had that Because Google looks at our publications as brands because of the way they are setup. The second step was to build a foundation of links to our homepage using content based anchor links from domain authority site. These Site would have a DA of 20 to 80, that way the links would appear natural.

Step 3: Create Strong SEO Pages to Rank for Key Phrases

A Strong SEO page is a page in your site that has enough quality and engaging content to support a lot of links naturally pointing to it.

In other words, it’s the type of content that when people want to read and are compelled to leave a comment or even link too naturally. It also, creates great content for Google to look at and helps pages to rank naturally on their own.

Now, good content doesn’t exactly have a length associated with it. A well worded, 500 word post or page can rank for a number of keywords. That being said, a well worded, 1000 word post or page on the same topic will out rank the 500 words just about every time. So quality over quantity works, but quality and quantity together works best.

Either way, you strategically use these pages for two purposes:

  • First, you choose one or two of your most important keywords and heavily target those keywords on the page.
  • Second, through link building, you build up the SEO of the page and then pass that power to smaller pages through internal links.

This is how Google generally wants to see SEO happen from an on-page content stand point.

Based on the backlink research we have done and the thousands of campaigns we have worked on, non-homepage optimized pages typically have 55%-75% of their backlinks with some keyword reference in the anchor text.

Step 4: Guest Post on High Domain Authority Sites to Rank for My Main keywords

As I have mentioned before, Google likes things to look natural and Guest Posting is a great way to accomplish this. So, I started creating guest posts that talked about the non-branded keywords I wanted to rank for. Posts that are written with the good quality, the right density of keywords and links using diversified anchor text.

Guest posting is one of the best strategies to earn high quality links. By only targeting high quality websites that are interested in publishing new content and by creating valuable content with an anchored link included, everyone wins: The publisher gets a free piece of quality content to add to their site, and I get a high quality, in-content link back to my site!

Research & Outreach

We research & identify high-quality websites and manually outreach to them to pitch a topic they may be interested in publishing.

Content Development

We craft a piece of high-quality content tailored to the audience of the publisher’s site. Your link is included in the content in a relevant way.


The publisher accepts & publishes the content and your link goes live!

Step 4: Make Sure Everything I Do Is Content Based

Long gone are the days of keyword lists and simple linking tactics. Things need to look natural, be content based and have consistency. So everything I do has a content purpose, even my images. Links have anchors, content is checked by editors, images have alt tags and I link to sites that have quality content. By maintaining this content strategy I can ensure that I will continue to build links naturally and have content for guest posting.

If you would like to discuss this strategy more or how we can help you, contact us.