How I Revived An Affiliate Page From The Google Graveyard

By Eric Lancheres | October 21st 2021

From position #11 to #4 without any links

SEOs will know, if your site is on Page 2 of Google, commonly known as the "Google Graveyard", you'll see next to no organic traffic. While Google's new continuous scroll update might improve on this metric, it only applies to mobile browsers.

Fortunately, results ranking at the top of page 2 are ideally suited for a quick round of optimization as they'll see the biggest gains. I located an affiliate page currently ranking in position #11 for a profitable keyword and optimized the content for Google rankings using On-Page.ai's main feature, the On-Page tool.

Here are the results:

case study result

This affiliate page started on page 2 (the Google graveyard), ranking in position #11 on Google USA search.

On-page optimizations consisting of adding content & rewriting sub-headlines were performed on Oct 18th and then re-submitted to index via Google search console.

Phase 1: Freshness

The initial increase in rankings, likely due to freshness, occurred a few days after the page had been updated. While near-instant results are interesting, it's the long term results I care more about.

The page continued to increase in rankings over a period of 8 weeks, this time likely due to the on-page optimization performed.

Phase 2: Relevance

After 8 weeks, the page was ranking in position #5, a significant jump from the previous position #11. Traffic saw a significant increase (from an average of 0 searches per day to approximately 23 searches per day. While this might not sound like much, this was enough to produce a trickle of sales.)

Phase 3: Final Results

The page remained stable and slowly increased to rank #4 (sometimes hovering in position #3) after 6 months. Traffic varies significantly, ranging from a low of 12 searches per day to a high 78, with an average of 54 daily searches during a month period. Affiliate sales increased proportionally, with this term producing daily affiliate clicks and a sale every 2-3 days.

No links were built to the page throughout this period.

Methodology

Using On-page.ai, I searched for the target keyword and entered the target URL for comparison. This returned a list of word recommendations aimed at increasing the relevance of the page for it's main keyword.

Step 1. Enter the primary keyword
Step 2. Enter the URL of the site in the compare URL
Step 3. Click "submit"   (With the region set to USA)

before-optimization
after optimization

Relevance Score

The blue bar tracks the relevance of the page, with the idea that the more relevant your page is for a specific Google query, the higher it will rank.

Initially, the page contained 104 related entities which was well below the average.

By adding the word recommendations at the bottom (You can see the red turning to green), the article increased in relevance significantly, to 346.

Relevance Before: 104
Relevance After: 346

This was now well above the page 1 average of 192.

Further Improvements

In order to add the recommended words, 2934 words were added to the page which resulted in a significantly larger page. I also added an 3 extra images to split up the text and make it easier to consume. These changes may have also contributed to ranking increases.

While it would have been made for a better case study if I didn't add so many words, I wanted to completely revitalize this specific page and didn't hold back.

Final Thoughts

case study result

Since this case study was performed, no other changes were made to the page. I suspect that if I would have built a few links to support the page, it would have ranked even higher (perhaps even reaching the #1 spot for this competitive term. I might do this in a follow-up case study).

It took approximately 2 hours of work from start to finish which is more than I usually spend on renovating pages however this one needed a lot work. Fortunately, the increased ranking, traffic and affiliate sales made it worth it.

I believe that a higher overall domain authority could have helped me rank but this is beyond the scope of this case study.

I'm fairly happy with the results and look forward to revitalizing other old affiliate pages using On-page.ai. I believe it's the most simple and straightforward way to increase rankings without additional links.

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