SEO Case Study: HostNexus

This is part 4 in the Search Engine Strategy Series where I am documenting my own journey in SEO and the effects it is having on HostNexus. For a table of contents on this series please see this first post

There is too much “do what I say and not what I do” on the internet so to prove I am practising what I preach here is a little case study. I’m detailing keyword terms I’m targetting, where we stood at the beginning and will update regularly (maybe once a month) to see how we are getting on.

Few things to point out though:

1) I’m a busy business owner and my day is filled with the normal tasks that need doing in order to run the company. So I’m just like anyone that does DIY SEO – time is an issue. I try and do something SEO related everyday though, whether it be link building or content generation – but I certainly don’t do something every single day. HostNexus does well on general organic traffic and good rankings in the engines is just a bonus in my mind. 🙂

2) I’m in no rush. As I said above, HN does well without traffic from Google et al.

3) When we relaunched on March 9th any on-site optimisation was completely scrapped. For instance we used to target “Reseller Hosting” on the home page but now I’m targetting that on the /solutions/reseller-hosting.php page. On a search for that term Google is still returning a home page result even though the term doesn’t appear on that page in an optimised way. So it’s going to take some time for those types of changes to take effect.

4) I am checking the results with the SEO Book Rank Checker that is built into the SEO for FireFox toolbar.

Keyword Term Old New
Web Hosting Provider 0 0
Cheap Web Hosting 0 58
Cheap Hosting 0 44
Web Hosting Service 0 0
Web Hosting Services 0 0
Low Cost Web Hosting Services 0 116
Shared Hosting 0 0
Shared Web Hosting 0 0
Linux Hosting 0 0
Linux Web Hosting 0 0
Linux Web Site Hosting 0 0
Unix Hosting (0) 0 0
Windows Hosting 0 0
ASP Hosting 0 0
ASP Web Hosting 0 0
ASP 3.5 Hosting 0 69
Blog Hosting 0 0
WordPress Hosting 0 0
Blog Web Hosting 0 0
Reseller Hosting 51 62
Cheap Reseller Hosting 12 15
Reseller Web Hosting 35 145
Linux Reseller Hosting 0 86
Hosting Reseller 50 101
Hosting Reseller Plans 6 0
Plesk Reseller Hosting 0 35
Windows Reseller Hosting (51) 51 20
Windows Reseller Plan 0 0
Windows Reseller Plans 0 20
Windows Hosting Reseller 29 18
ColdFusion Hosting 14 71
ColdFusion Web Hosting 0 22
Coldfusion 8 Hosting 0 82
Ruby On Rails Hosting 0 44
Ruby On Rails Web Hosting 0 40
Rails Hosting 0 48
ROR Hosting 0 56
VPS Hosting 0 0
VPS Web Hosting 0 0
VPS Plans 0 0
Managed VPS /td> 0 0
Virtuozzo Hosting 0 49
Virtuozzo Web Hosting 0 62
Dedicated Managed Server (0) 0 121
Dedicated Managed Servers (0) 0 126
Cheap Dedicated Servers (0) 0 0
Dedicated Server Management (0) 0 0
Domain Services (0) 0 0
Domain Reseller (12) 12 14
Enom Reseller (4) 4 14
Domain Name Reseller 0 44
Cheap SSL Certificates (0) 0 0
RapidSSL Certificates (0) 0 0
Cheap Security Certificates (0) 0 0
Cheap Geotrust Certificates (0) 0 12

So I’m starting to see movement, some good, some not so good but all I’ve done is rearrange pages and a little bit of link building (which I doubt is having an affect yet).

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About the author


Hi, my name is Laurence and I’m a web hosting aficionado. When I'm not cracking the whip at HN I can be found at the gym where I'm chasing that 500lb deadlift and kickboxing with guys half my age and still giving as good as I get. Yep, a rare breed of tech nerd mixed in with meathead.

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  1. Mal Milligan

    That looks like a good keyword list for starters. I also add some phrases that we call “reversals” just to see if you picked any up. Just reverse the word order for those. Keyword Discovery was highly touted by a number of the top SEO’s in the world including Jill Whalen and a lot of my friends use it as one of their top keyword tools. We all used to use Wordtracker but many feel the interface and straight forward results with KD are superior to Wordtracker at the current point in time. KD has a feature where they can give you a “historical” total of clicks and another total where bots have been filtered out. I found the historical value to be a better indication of search volume… the totals are not to be believed but they give you a relative feel. KD is expensive on a subscription basis and usually only used by SEO shops or pro researchers. I think they have a short trial period where you can do a ton of quality research on the cheap. Google Sktool is also a good tool with a great price – free. Cheers –

    Mal Milligan’s last blog post..What is a SERP?

  2. Laurence (aka NexDog)
    Post author
    Laurence (aka NexDog)

    Cheers Mal. I used Keyword Discovery at first too but only the trial. The numbers for the same terms on both KD and WordTracker were alarmingly different so I took both with a pinch of salt really.

  3. David Spears (aka WaterDog)

    As a long time HN customer, I was surprised that I didn’t find “reliable web hosting” or “quality web hosting” in your keyword list, but no less than 6 references to “cheap”. I think the quality and reliability angle deserves some emphasis in your SEO strategy.

    1. Laurence (aka NexDog)
      Post author
      Laurence (aka NexDog)

      Very valid points but the stats don’t quite measure up. It’s a sad fact that it appears that not many people search for reliable web hosting or quality web hosting. We actually used to rank on page one for reliable hosting and it brought in no traffuc. 🙁

  4. Mal Milligan

    I created the mother of all keyword lists now and I’ll run it with best practices time delays between queries overnight…

    Google’s Adwords tool gives a supposed “searches per month” figure that many speculate may be a bit inflated. But in a situation where you have a major league player and intensely coveted hi traffic keywords it’s worth looking at every conceivable piece of data.

    Mal Milligan’s last blog post..What is a SERP?

  5. Harmonie Ponder

    I just have to chime on on the “cheap web hosting”. Having a strong marketing background, I was taught and never thought of ever using “cheap” to describe a product/service but rather to use “least expensive” or “lowest priced” with some other psychological triggers such as “highest quality” or “reliable”. You are right Laurence, the numbers are way too good. I optimized one of the sites on the first page of Google for both “cheap magazines” and “discount magazines” – and found “cheap magazines” to pull more traffic than “discount magazines”…it’s sad but true.

    It’s sort of like having to misspell a word to rank for the term in Google. Take for instance “medicolegal services” – Google actually suggests the wrong spelling (medico legal services) of the word. When in doubt, I would side with Google. I mean isn’t the ultimate goal to pull traffic?

    Also, just had my first guest blogger on Ponder Consulting today…check it out if you get a chance.

    Harmonie Ponder’s last blog post..Flash vs. Silverlight

  6. Kai

    Take your time with SEO. Don’t give up. Just keep building up your anchor text backlinks. Many people give up too early when in fact they just need a little bit of education on SEO.

    .-= Kai´s last blog ..SEO =-.

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