400 to 4000 Backlinks in One Year with Proactive Keyword Rank Monitoring [Case Study]

Posted by Raj Vardhman

99firms.com has become a premiere ratings and review site for top level technical service providers.  But this wasn’t always the case.

In 2018 99firms was struggling – despite an amazing team and great content strategy to generate organic links – their growth was slow.

The goal was ambitious, they were targeting 20,000+ keywords and over 300 links a month.  They pumped content at lighting pace but pages just didn’t rank.

Weekly they would punch their keywords into google to see where they stood in the rankings only to be disappointed.

Tina the Queen Bee of 99firms and I had been nerding out on SEO topics for some time. I offered her to be a beta tester for Serpwatch when it rolled out, in reciprocation she would share the issues she was running into.

With this volume of keywords and pages it was obvious a keyword rank Monitor was needed but even that required a lot of time to comb through with 1000’s of keywords.  We needed the system to tell us when things were getting weird proactively.

We dreamed up the idea of keyword anomaly detection to solve this problem.  Tina and Team worked in slack and some stake holders preffered email – so we programmed some rules to let us know when strange things happened.  Notifications were sent where people are working so they wouldn’t go missed.  What happened next unlocked 99firms success.

Tina’s team started noticing pages were randomly plummeting in the rankings than coming back.

99firms was experiencing a cocktail of technical issues that were going completely unnoticed.  As soon as we applied monitoring they started pinpointing problems and finding solutions.

  • A malicious virus was manipulating their permalinks and confusing google.
  • They were periodically de-indexing their entire site without noticing.

The conversation threading in Slack offered a great opportunity to have contextual conversation around a particular keyword fluctuation.  Emails also could be forwarded outside the organization to give a synopsis quickly to fellow technical SEO friends for analysis.

Once we realized the value of this we built out an interface to give more granular control of the notifications.

Finally to avoid any concerning events from slipping through the cracks we setup zapier to trigger 1000’s of other applications.  Tina’s team uses asana for project management so when there was a drastic drop we made sure an asana task was immediately created and assigned to her technical team for evaluation.

With a systematic way to ensure uptime their content started to rank in google and organic links rolled in.

Morale of the story: Murphy’s Law

“If something can go wrong it will” – states murphy’s law.  A proactive keyword monitoring system turned out to be an essential need to uncover issues for 99firms.com and continuously ensure no issue.

Are you actively monitoring your keywords?  Try setting up notifications with serpwatch today!

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