Oh Google and Your Games ~ Insurance Niche Update

On Christmas morning I woke up to a top 3 ranking for the Baltimore Auto Insurance Niche Site. To say I was happy was an understatement.  The website was ranking in the top 3 listings above the local component of the search results and the website was even generating some cash.  Unfortunately this visibility and cash flow was short lived.  Don’t worry, the site is still ranking on the first page but it went back to its original #8-6 spot.  I have some theories but it was really unfortunate to see this drop.

Theory #1

Since i’m using an expired domain strategy to build some quality backlinks into the website I have a feeling that my anchor text might have been a bit aggressive.  While I worked hard to avoid using too many exact match anchor texts I still hit variations of it hard.  For instance, “Baltimore car insurance” and “cheap insurance rates in Baltimore”.  While this helps decrease the percentage of links including too “exact match” anchor text it still may of been too aggressive.

What am I going to do to fix this?  Well since expired domains can be modified I have gone in and modified the anchor text to be just a little less aggressive.  This includes adding some natural anchor text such as naked urls and variations of “website here” or “click here” etc.  I’m hoping that this will help resurrect the site into the top 3 ranking.


Theory #2

My second theory kind of piggy backs off of the first one.  I recently published about 4 or 5 web2.0 properties linking out to the website.  I also published 2 article directory posts linking both to the web2.0 property and the Baltimore site directly.   I used naked URLs as I knew these domains wouldn’t be super authoritative and wanted to utilize them more as an opportunity to increase the amount of referring domains (and IPs) and as a way to further diversify the anchor text going into the website.

A thought I had was that what if I was unknowingly over optimizing for my URL that had my keywords in them?  This is something that a lot of SEOs and niche website marketers have been discussing lately.  Are exact match domains becoming more  of a liability then an asset now-a-days?  It’s generally accepted as a best practice that linking to your website with a naked URL (www.domains.com or domain.com) is an extremely safe linking strategy.  However, since my exact match domain baltimorecarinsurance.org has my primary keyword in it is that triggering some over optimization issues?  I’m not 100% sure.  So What I did is go back into the web2.0 properties and switch the anchor text from URL anchor text links to more generic anchor text such as “official website” or “over here”.  So in context it looked something like this.

Nick runs www.baltimorecarinsurance.org where Baltimore residents can get free quotes.  Get your customized rates here

Moving Forward + Income Updates

In all reality, my top 3 ranking could have very well been a temporary fluctuation in the search results.   I’m destined to get back to #3 and then move my way all the way to the top.  In addition to modifying the anchor text on existing links pointing to this website I also added a few extra pages of content.  Even though this website is focusing on Baltimore I decided to add some neighboring cities to the site as well.  I’m not convinced that the size (how many pages) of your site has an effect on your websites rankings but I thought the extra couple pages would be a good test for building additional visibility through some extra keywords.  I’m still waiting for the pages to get indexed but i’ll report on initial rankings and if these pages generate any extra income.

While on the topic of income.  I realize I haven’t done an income report in a few months now.  I have a few reasons I mean excuses.  First of all, this website in my opinion hasn’t generated enough income to justify the time to write up a post nor your time to read the post.  This has a lot to do with what I’ve said from the very beginning in that this site won’t generate much money until is secures a top 3 ranking.  So until the rankings have been achieved and the leads start generating a few bucks on a consistent basis, I’ve decided to simply update the income of the site in the upper right widget of this website.  Let me know what you think.

Finally, what kind of things do you guys want to know more about in detail about this site and its SEO strategy?  My goal is never to write posts without being able to supply something actionable or at least give some motivation to work on your own projects.  Since I’m my biggest critic i’ve started and deleted several posts which has contributed to the near one month gaps between posts.   Please let me know what you think in the comments. Would appreciate all suggestions.

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Nick LeRoy

I'm a husband, father to three, obsessed Vikings fan and SEO Manager at Ovative/group.. Learn more about me here and consider signing up for the weekly #SEOForLunch newsletter to stay up to date with SEO best practices and industry news.

6 thoughts on “Oh Google and Your Games ~ Insurance Niche Update

  1. Going down in rank is never fun, but I’d still be happy to be at least on page 1. One of my niche sites disappeared completely from the rankings altogether and I’m not too happy about that. I totally agree with taking it easy on over-optimization. I’m just about to start another new site and I’m serious considering avoiding using my full keyword in the URL.

    1. Yes. I agree. Avoiding keywords in URL is definitely something to consider these days. It’s really easy to over optimize your website now.

  2. The SERPS lately have been out of control to say the least… Testing can’t even answer some of the results I’m seeing. Your not the only one Nick haha

    Please delete first comment 🙂

    1. Absolutely Chris – its been crazy lately. One day and one hurdle at a time. 🙂

  3. Nick, it’s great to see you again in the TOP 3 for your main keyword. Are you going to do an update of the backlinks adjustments?

    I’m testing a lot with different anchor text ratios, the process it’s tedious but it’s good to have a average metric that works for you.

  4. Ranking up and down in Google is common for all pages in the search engine.

    There could be reasons it was bumped down and Google only knows this obviously.

    My SEO efforts are always going to be made of high-quality links in today’s strategy.

    Thanks for sharing some of your thoughts.

    Keep up the good work!

    – Sam

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