As brands invest in content marketing, the first most significant struggle they face is to generate enough high-quality content that is also well-optimized and relevant to their audience. Without this, there’s little chance of seeing substantial results.
The second most common challenge they’ll face is that, once they have outstanding content (thanks to hard work and major investment) it doesn’t rank in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Which is where backlinks come in.
The power of backlinks is real and substantial, and that’s what we’re going to look at in this TradeZella and uSERP case study today.
TradeZella is a new business that has only been around since June of 2022. They offer trade journaling online so you can clearly see where you’re investing your money and what it’s doing once it’s been invested.
It’s designed to give you in-depth insights into where you’re losing and gaining money (and why) so you can make improved buying and trading decisions moving forward. You can focus on the right data so you can grow your investments significantly over time.
TradeZella came out of nowhere in 2022, and were jumping into a particularly competitive space (finance and stock trading). They were writing great content, but they were too new for Google to rank them without a backlink foundation.
So they had a well-designed site that was created when their business launched and solid content, but no significant ranking positions in the SERPs.
They were caught in that vicious SEO circle: You need ranking positions and traffic to increase your organic backlink profile and drive domain authority, but you need a backlink profile and high domain authority to drive ranking positions and traffic.
So they were struggling to rank much at all and came to work with us here at uSERP from October 1st, 2022 in order to help them build the backlink foundation to start driving organic traffic and those rankings they needed in the search results pages.
The strategy: Using backlinks to increase ranking keywords & positions
As TradeZella was a new brand in a fiercely competitive industry that already had a large library of high-value content from much more established brands, it’s no surprise that they were struggling to rank for high value keywords like “trading journal”— even with great content of their own.
A large number of factors ultimately go into how well your content can rank in the search results pages. The content does need to be outstanding, but that’s not always enough. Even perfectly-optimized and well-written content is typically going to struggle against content that comes from established sites already dominating in a space, or content with a large number of backlinks.
While nothing can change the age of a site, backlinks are a surefire way to show Google that your content is valuable enough (and trusted enough) to consider your content high-authority.
Why backlinks matter
There are, as we mentioned, a large number of ranking factors that determine which sites are placed higher in the SERPs. Some are significant, and some only have a small impact, and some are confirmed while others are rumored or assumed.
Backlinks are a confirmed important ranking factor for a few reasons.
First, they show that the content is good quality and relevant to the keywords that you’ve targeted. Organic backlinking happens when other people find your post, think it’s a great resource, and link to it on their own.
Second, they build trust. If other high-authority domains are linking to your site, it’s a good indication that they trust your site and find it valuable. Trust and authoritativeness are huge factors in Google’s algorithms, because they want to link to the best content first.
Finally, they can also provide Google’s crawl bots with a little more added context. How are high-authority sites linking to you, and in what context?
And while internal linking is great to drive traffic around your site, it won’t have many SEO benefits aside from strategic contextual backlinking. What you need is external backlinks, and you need them from high-authority sites.
Why all backlinks aren’t created equal
It’s essential to address that not all backlinks are created equal.
There are a large number of self-proclaimed backlinking services that are little more than scam artists (or “spam artists,” as it were).
They’ll promise to get links to your site, but they may drop your links in comments sections of a site. Or they may use private blogging networks (PBNs), which essentially will sell you sites on a list of websites that were exclusively created for backlink purposes. Both of these are “black hat” practices that can result in penalties from Google.
Some may be more authentic, but they’re only able to get you backlinks to low-quality sites that will accept almost anyone and who may want a backlink in exchange.
What brands truly need if they want to give their ranking potential a boost, however, is a real backlinks from high-authority sites that Google already trusts and that are already ranking well.
While domain authority is not a ranking factor, it is calculated with many of the factors that Google looks at when determining ranking positions, so it’s a good indicator of the quality of the backlinks you’re getting.
Our engagement started at the end of September 2022, during which we’ve increased their Ahrefs domain rating from 0 to 25 in 6 months.
How uSERP gets results with quality backlinks
Here at uSERP, we work with our clients to increase the number of high-authority backlinks to their site, including mentions from strong and well-established publications.
With TradeZella, we started by conducting a thorough site analysis to determine the fastest way to increase organic visibility in front of their target audience, while considering factors like their existing backlink profile (which was pretty much zero) and the overall competitive landscape.
Next was placing their links. The financial space is a competitive one, but also (fortunately) one relevant to a significant number of the partners and publications we work with. As a result, we felt confident in delivering relevant and high-DR backlinks.
We identified the target keyphrase “trading journal,” and made recommendations for the target URL’s optimizations. Once live, we began driving high-DR backlinks via relevant partner publications (in blog content) to the target URL.
This is the part of backlinking which, in all honesty, is so incredibly difficult for non-agency teams to handle. We’ve spent years building the relationships we have, and have a team of a dozen people continually doing outreach to find more — enabling us to deliver relevant and high-DR backlinks to sites like TradeZella.
We learned about TradeZella’s brand image so that we could only generate backlinks that enhanced that image and their SEO presence. We were able to create a diverse and extensive backlink profile over a period of just three months, while providing KPI reports, video analysis, and strategy calls along the way.
As a quick recap, TradeZella has only been around since June of 2022, and they were up against tough competition in the SERPs.
We were able to help them go from almost no ranking positions to ranking for major, high-value keywords in their business. After uSERP’s backlinks, they rose to rank incredibly well for keywords affiliated with “trading journal.”
You can see this in the graph from Ahrefs below, which shows their progress in February of 2023 compared to August of 2022 before our engagement started.
Some of the most notable things here include:
- Many keywords moving from the second, third, or fourth page of the SERPs to the top five ranking positions
- Ranking third for “trading journal” and fourth for both “trading journals” and “trader journal”
- Increasing the “trading journal” keyword by 375 ranking positions
- DR increase from 0 to 25 in 6 months
- 12 total high-DR & high quality backlinks built
- 1407 new keywords plus another 107 already ranking that improved within 6 months
- Increasing the rank of many high-value keywords by more than ten or twenty positions consistently
These results were fast, as the first high domain authority backlink went live on October 12th. You can see how quickly their rank increased for their primary target keyphrase “trading journal” here:
Since “trading journal” is their primary service, this is a massive change in ranking that had very real and very significant results on relevant traffic coming to their site. The importance of this can’t be overstated, as it was able to drive high-intent users to their site who had a higher chance of becoming customers faster than other lower-value keywords.
Ultimately, TradeZella only worked with uSERP for a short time period and on an incredibly focused campaign. The results we were able to help them generate during that short engagement were significant and truly shows the power of authoritative, relevant backlinks— especially considering this was a brand-new brand with a brand-new site.
With a continued content and backlinking engagement, we can only imagine what the results would be like long-term.
This shows that if you have a new business and want to be competitive quickly (and of course you do!), backlinking needs to be a crucial part of that strategy. It’s the only way to gain an edge on more-established sites that already have an abundance of content, giving you a fast boost so that you can get results quickly instead of waiting a year or more to see them.
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