Mission: Get to the top of the Google organic rankings for the term ‘Alan Donegan’
Purpose: demystify search engine optimisation (SEO), test theories and give you practical steps to follow that will help with your website

Where is Alan Donegan on Google?

Alan Donegan googling himself! SEO Test
Have we moved up the rankings?  Last month we were at position 45 in the search engine!  Where are we this month?

SEO Baseline: Alan Donegan

The experiment I am performing is to see if I can get my website to the top of the Google search engine results pages for the keyword ‘Alan Donegan’.  The experiment started last month (Want to catch up on part 1?) and I am going to track where I am in the Google results each month to see if what I am doing has any effect on where I am positioned in the Google rankings.  Last month we were at position 45; where are we this month? 

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We have made it up to page 2 of the rankings and the second result on page 2!  This is HUGE progress, which I am very excited by!  Only 2 positions off making it onto the first page of Google!  COME ON!  Yay.  

This brings us to several questions:

  1. What did I do to move up the search engine listings 33 places in one month?
  2. What am I going to do next?
  3. Does commenting on blogs actually help your SEO results?
  4. What are we going to do this month to actually make it to page 1 of the results? 
  5. Is this test too easy?  Where will we go next with the SEO experiment?

What did Alan do?

I have not actually spent much time on it this month at all!  I was in Poland for the annual Rebel Business School team retreat and then as soon as I got back to England I went into running the Rebel event in Slough!  So much fun!  This has meant I have only probably put an hour of my time into SEO in the last month!
What have I done?

  • I linked up a Google search console (I’ll show you how to do this and what it looks like shortly)
  • I commented on three other blogs that had already mentioned my name, which gave me a backlink to my website
  • I went through each page’s SEO settings on the site and individually optimised them for the keywords I want to show up for
  • I continued to create content on my website and use the keywords throughout the website and in all different locations

Google Search Console

I didn’t even know what this was until a month ago when I installed Google Analytics on my website and Google asked me if I wanted to attach one!  It is sometimes tough to keep up with all the latest changes when you are busy actually running a business!  This is why I have done this experiment because I want to actually be able to say categorically for the people that I help to launch businesses that I have done it and if it works or not!  Don’t take business advice from someone who has never done what you want to achieve!  

​This is what Google says about Google Search Console

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Google Analytics helps you to see what traffic you have to your site, where it is coming from, what pages people are looking at and so on, and then Google Search Console allows you to see what search results your site is showing up for, and work on its optimisation. 

I have linked up Google Search Console and just checked the stats, and there is nothing there!  NADA!

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Now this is marginally embarrassing!  What is this telling me?  Either I have messed up the Google Search Console intergration or no one has searched for my name in the last month at all (which might be true although I have at least twice!) 

So I have some work to do to make this work.  Why am I including this in my blog post to you?  I want you to see that I am human too, I don’t always get things right, I don’t always have huge successes every time!  I have to learn just like everyone else and work on fixing it and getting it working!

So my actions this month are to work on the Search Console and see if I can figure out what is going on, and then come back to you in a month’s time and see the results.  If you could help me in the meantime I would really appreciate it.  Can you google Alan Donegan for me so that we have a few people doing it?  Can you leave me a comment to tell me you have?  Then I know and we can look at the results together next month?!?

Commenting on other blogs

One of my SEO strategies was to go and find sites/blogs that use my keywords (Alan Donegan) and then leave a comment on their site, which puts a backlink to my site.  One of the metrics Google uses to asses your position in the Google rankings is how many (high quality) backlinks you have to your site.  

When you comment on another person’s blog (depending on the commenting system), it can create a backlink to your site.

So I searched for blogs that mentioned my keywords, and commented.  I only did this in a couple, but here is how it works.   I Googled Alan Donegan and found other articles mentioning me, and then looked for ones I could comment on that allowed me to link to my website.

The first one I found was a podcast I did for the Mad Fientist but when I looked at leaving a comment there was no field to put my website address so that didn’t help me at all (other than being nice and leaving a comment).

The second one I visited was on the ChooseFI podcast and there you can leave a link to your website.  You can see on the right there is a space to add the address to my website.  So I did this and left a comment.

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You will see that my name at the top in blue, and when you click on my name it links back to my website!  So I haven’t been spammy and gone around saying “visit alandonegan.com for the best content!”  I have gone along and joined in the conversation with my comment and that then links back to my website, and gives me another relevant backlink. 

In the comments on the first SEO article I wrote here, Dean said that commenting on other people’s blogs doesn’t help your SEO and I am going to agree and disagree.  Just the act of commenting on other people’s blogs doesn’t help unless it links back to your site like I showed you above.  I also did some Googling after reading Dean’s comment and this is one of the things I found:

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So for the moment, blog commenting is going to remain in my SEO strategy to get to the top of the Google results!  I just need to make sure that the blogs I go to and comment on allow me to link back to my website. 

This month I created 3 of these backlinks and I am going to do a little bit more this month too, to keep the test going.

Website SEO Settings

On each website page there are things you can do for SEO “on page” and “off page”.  On page is the titles you write, the text and the pictures you use.  Off page is the meta-tags, page description, page title and even page name!  I have been going through my site on every page and adding in individual details to each page!
For example, for this page and blog post I have gone into the advanced settings and edited the SEO page title and SEO post description, and I have made sure that both include my keywords that I am working on at the moment, which are Alan Donegan.   I have been through every page on my site doing this. 

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On Weebly (which is the site builder I use for all our sites) you click on the Pages tab at the top, which brings up a list on the left of the screen of all your pages.  Click on each page in turn, click on SEO settings and fill out each box.  This is the ‘off page’ work you need to do for each page on your website.  

Continued to write content

I continued to write content that naturally uses my keywords lots of times, such as this one!  I can legitimately write “Alan Donegan” lots of times in a post about getting Alan Donegan to the top of the Google rankings!  When you work on your website each month, focus on writing content that has your keywords in it many times.  Here is where you can put your keywords on your web pages:

  • In the article title
  • In the main body text
  • In the alt text for each photo
  • In the captions for the photos
  • In the file name for each photo
  • In the SEO settings (which I showed you above)

What next?

The purpose of this blog post was to help you to do SEO on your own site whilst I am working on mine, and to inspire you to put the energy and effort into your business and website.  

In two months I have gone from not being listed on Google, to position #45, then up to position 12 at the end of the second month!  I am feeling like this is huge progress.

My plan is to make this series as useful as possible for you so I am going to maintain this experiment and then report back again at the end of February 2019 with what has happened to my rankings for Alan Donegan, and I am going to start work on a second keyword at that point to show that it can be done for a term that isn’t even in the title of your website.

Thanks for tuning in and playing along.  I would LOVE it if you left me a comment with where the baseline for your website is at the moment and what you are up to!  Maybe even leave a comment with a link to your website below?!?

Thanks for reading my blog.  I write it to test ideas, get them out of my head and to help you lead a happy and successful life!

Next month I will:

  • Explore how you measure traffic with Google Analytics
  • Revisit Google Search Console and see if I have fixed it! 
  • Report back on progress on the experiment and focus more on how to apply this to your business


Or at least move towards that!  Speak to you soon

Alan

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