Sex, Speed And The SEO Migration of Romantic Depot to WordPress

Romantic Depot operates six, soon to be seven adult stores offering sex toys and lingerie, in the New York City area.  Their flagship stores are in Manhattan and the Bronx.  They’ve been around for sometime and over the years their website aged along with other businesses seeking to help drive local foot traffic.

With the move to mobile devices in full demonstration the old RomanticDepot.com site was not responsive.  This lead the owner of the chain to build a new site that was mobile friendly and it lead to Ultimate SEO‘s involvement overseeing the process of migrating to this new site without hurting the site’s strong local SEO presence.

Romantic Depot does have an impressive keyword positioning presence in the New York City area. Even nationally they are on page 2 of results for “sex shop“.  The goal was to ensure a smooth transition to the mobile site while maintaining the SEO that had been built over the years.

301 Redirects

The new site was largely a 1 to 1 ratio.  The html static page manhattan.html went now to /manhattan/ on the WordPress site.  We placed in any one off redirects, a redirect that took any url that ended in .html and would return it without the html and a redirect for the index.html homepage to come back with the WordPress homepage at /

Backlink

Backlinks are the life blood of a sit’s ranking and it was important to ensure that those would be maintained with relevant content as well.  Using SEMRush.com we collected all of the backlinks and their existing targets and ensured those had rules as well.  While the site’s backlinks were in the tens of thousands it quick came down to a few hundred target urls that needed to be accounted for to maintain SEO.

Site Speed

Most of the work involved in preparing for the migration was speed performance in nature.  The new site when tested on GTMetrix.com was loading in 12.6 seconds with over 400 http requests. We targeted a 3 second load and through Cloudflare.com we were able to utilize a CDN that brought the site closer to users as well as offered other benefits.  Cloudflare alone brough the site load time to about 7 seconds.

We further limited content that could be on other pages for those other pages such as Google maps to the location homepages. Instituting lazy load ended up being the primary aspect of speeding up the site.  Image optimization was also completed and a move to PHP7.3 from 5.6.  Merging CSS and JS files also worked to reduce the requests.

SIte Speed FOr SEO MIgration

SIte Speed FOr SEO MIgration

With our work to provide a faster site complete the migration was completed and load times on the site are under 3 seconds for mobile users.

Multi Domain Strategy Consolidation

During the migration I also mentioned the value of building one brand.  RomanticDepotSuperStore.com was the site used as the online store for the chain.

The problem that arises from multiple domain strategies is the segmentation of resources and confusion it can cause to Google Analytics.  An easy eample of this is the bounce rate and pageviews metrics are actually hurt on the primary domain.

Consider this… a person searches romantic depot on Google.  The first result is their site, likely the person is going to want to know what items might be at the store.  Once the page loads they find the link to the store, maybe even before the page loads.  Clicking that link they are now taken to a new domain.

That visitors actions would have counted as a bounced visitor.  See when someone goes to your site and immediately leaves for another site that signals to Google that what was on that original site wasn’t what the searcher wanted.  To prevent future searchers from going to a site that people leave directly after going to it they might increase the position of other sites to try and correct for this in the future.  That ultimately means the top spot position for the keyword is being hampered by the site’s structure.

Further Google sees that a person wasn’t even interested enough in the site to look at a second page, they just left.  In realty the second site is part of the same overall topic or brand its just that Google doesn’t necessarily understand that.  An artificially inflated bounce rate and lower page views are all that the first site is getting and the second site is losing out as well as most of the marketing is surrounding the first site’s address…backlinks, social mentions and such.

Lower Bounce Rate

The illustration above shows our page views of the main root domain.  Guess when on the graph the romanticdepotsuperstore.com site was rolled into the main domains … late July.  The thing is, the traffic isn’t any greater its just not split up anymore.  The homepage link to the store is now going to a subfolder of the same domain, its helping by acting as another page view rather than hurting the site as a bounce.

The keywords and authority of this additional site were better utilized under the main domain RomanticDepot.com and this site was migrated to a subfolder /store as a separate WordPress site.

Thats important the site was migrated as a separate site under the original.  This was done for multiple reason and it creates its own set of unique challenges but we’ll discuss that later in a future post.

Consolidated Backlinks

The consolidation of the sites further helps with SEO because after we migrated we put into place redirects from the store’s domain to its new home within the subfolder.  That means all the backlinks now combine to help one site.  Lets consider the following illustration…

Domain A: DA 30 Backlinks: 10,000 Referring Domains: 1,000

Domain B: DA 30 Backlinks: 9,000 Referring Domains: 900

Competitor: DA 35 Backlinks: 13,000 Referring Domains: 1,300

Lets assume everything else is the same…we’d expect then that Competitor will rank higher on Google Search.  But if we combine Domain A ad Domain B.

Domain AB: DA 40 Backlinks: 19,000 Referring Domains: 1,900

Everything else still the same….Domain AB will now rank higher than the Competitor.

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Managing And Maintaining A PBN

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Link Building: Redirecting Expired Domains Backlinks

Link building is one of the harder  aspects of SEO and because of this one of the least done. Unfortunately it is many times more powerful than anything you do to your page and content.  No level of optimization of content will trump the power of well placed relevant backlinks.

Its so hard few ever do it, and those same people probably say that “SEO is dead.”  It is if all you’re doing is keyword optimization.  75% of what decides the results for a search have nothing to do with what is on the page.

Expired Domain Backlinks

Every day thousands of domains expire.  The owner just didnt renew it, maybe they forgot it.  Whatever the reason the domain is now available to anyone for registering again.  But what happens to all those pages on the internet that linked to that expired domain?  Nothing usually….each site would have to go through and update their own conten.

As a site owner you can probably understand that means the bcklinks of an expired domain usually remain active.  This link building strategy involves you purchsing that domain, then redirecting the existing backlinks to your relevant content.  

This video series walks you through three steps.  First, finding the expired domain. Second, reviewing the domain anchor text.  Third, setting those redirects to your site.

For more info on assessing a site’s value continue reading after the videos below under the SEO Site Audit header.

Video 1 – Finding and sorting through expired domains

All links below, open in a new window.

You’ll use expireddomains.net in this video.  Other resources are available, but this is the one I use that is free.

Video 2 – Assessing the expired domains use through anchor text.

You’ll use SEMrush.com to review the anchor text of a site’s backlinks.  SEMRush does cost monthly to use but you can ret the free trial.  There are other sites available as well but for the value I prefer SEMRush for backlink auditing..

Video 3 – Setting up 301 Redirects to your site

You’ll use a cPanel hosting account provided by many hosting companies.  Ultimate SEO Hosting is our hosting solution offering these capabilities for a few dollars a month. 

301 Redirects Transfer 100% SEO

Google’s John Mueller shared how Google passes 100% of “PageRank” with 301 redirects now.  This is an update and change to the policy which used to cause a 10% penalty.

They don’t always pass PageRank though.  You can’t redirect backlinks for a bakery to your political campaign site for instance.  Redirects should also be assigned on a 1:1 ratio.  So redirecting all 404 errors to your homepage will not make your homepage any better on Google.  But redirecting a link that used to go to an article about Search Engines to an article about Search Engines should be fine.

google on 301 redirect page rank

You can read SearchEngineJournal.com’s take on this as well.

SEO Site Audit

Ultimateseo.org has a DA 19, that seems pretty low. But keep in mind it used to be a DA 40 before Moz changed it’s scoring. Keep also in mind that change in scoring showed no reflection in the site’s ranking. I recommend 301 redirecting based on anchor text not necessarily on the score a site earns.

Longer Answer: What backlinks should be 301 redirected from another domain?

While it is a Domain Authority 19 now it is a CF 34, and a TF 14. It has a DR 45, and a DS 24, TS 22, AS 36 ….. head spinning yet? As a reminder here are what those abbreviations mean … and to whom.

SEO Metrics

  • DA is Domain Authority created by Moz
  • CF is Citation Flow created by Majestic
  • TF is Trust Flow created by Majestic
  • DR is Domain Rank created by AHREFS
  • DS is Domain Score created by SEMRush
  • TS is Trust Score by SEMRush
  • AS is Authority Score by SEMRush

DA is Unreliable To Me

The DA metric lost a lot of credence in my mind when they redid their formula, it made it more obvious that it’s just a number in a vacuum. What we saw after Moz released DA2.0 was as a DA40 became a DA19 it wasn’t reflective by what Google saw.

The day before this site ranked as it did the day after DA2.0. Google doesn’t use DA and what we care about is what does Google think about a site.

So Id say if we want to redirect 301 links we can …. and I do. But I do it because the anchor text is what I want, not because a site’s DA is low.

Assessing A Site’s SEO Value

When we assess if a site is high or low we have to consider all of the SEO metrics we have available and use these numbers together. Keep in mind they are not intended to be apples to apples. For instance Citation Flow is how influential a site appears where Trust Flow and Trust Score are meant to tell us how trustworthy a site is considered. AS is Authority Score which I lump in with CF. I think of DA, DR and DS as comparable metrics.

So assessing if this site is low or high I’d say we have the following metrics:

Overall scores: DA: 19 DR: 45 DS: 24

Trustworthiness: TF: 14 TS: 22

Authority: AS: 36 CF: 34

It’s also important to look at some of the raw indicators to understand the values we are seeing above. I use Majestic, SEMRush And Moz to answer these questions, and I always expect Majestic to have higher numbers because it crawls more of the web than Moz.

Moz likely would say they crawl more of the relevant web … but who are they to decide whats relevant and I dont care what they think is relevant … just what Google crawls.

Backlinks: So how many links to my site are there?

Backlinks . Moz: 18445 Majestic: 139903 SEMRush 1000000*

Backlinks are fine and dandy but keep in mind a million from one website vs a hundred from a hundred sites says something. So what is the “Domain Pop” … how many domains link to our site?

Domain Pop: MAJ 1302 SEMRush: 4,000

Domains can be owned and operated easily from the same cheap shared host. So how many seperate IP Addresses link to our site?

IP Pop: SEMRush 885 Majestic 905

These numbers above 885 and 905 seem a lot more comparable to each other than some of the other numbers.

Now consider a site that may have a DA: 50 vs Ultimate SEO’s DA: 19. I’m willing to bet 9 times out of 10 Ultimate SEO will out rank the other site as long as the other site has 500 or less domains on different IP addresses.

Better Backlinks and Best Backlinks

Trustworthy

Now to be fair this explanation above is overly simplifying the answer. You may wonder how that could be … it seems rather complicated. Well ask yourself which site would you rank higher … a site that has a link to it from 20 research universities or a site that has 200 links to it from random weirdly named domains? Obviously the 20 research universities suggests a more authoritative and trustworthy site.

Authority On The Topic

But getting more complicated what if the page we are considering for ranking is about 2000 dance mixes. The 20 research universities are all medical schools and the anchor text reads “open heart surgery mortality rates” … do we think that the site should rank that high now…and how authoritative do we think the site is on dance remixes of 2000?

301 Backlinks Based On Backlinks Not Your Domain

So the best answer I can give for when to 301 redirect a domain or not is to ignore any one metric completely. If multiple numbers lead you to believe a site isn’t going to be good then sure consider each backlink individually. Keeping in mind what earned the site a low metric across the board IS mostly those backlinks.

If you find a .gov or .edu link using the anchor text you are after on another site then yes … thats the time to 301 redirect that backlink to the best content you have that is relevant to that anchor text. That last part is essential.

You can’t expect long term gains by redirecting a backlink to content that isn’t able to hold its own. User behavior is a big factor in Google’s ranking of a site. And it should be, you can’t prevent what you cant predict.

After all is said and done if no one stays on a site for more than 10 seconds or if they always click the result after yours in Google’s search results you must ask yourself why users hate your content.

And I mean it … people hate your content if you have 301 redirected, optimized your on page and studied your backlinks but users still go elsewhere. Google may rank you high for a time but without users liking your content and staying for awhile you will drop in rankings due to user behavior.

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Search Engine Ranking: Website Ranking Keywords Backlinks And All

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Search Engine Ranking: Website Ranking Keywords Backlinks And All

On Page SEO Just Doesn’t Rank Keywords like Backlinks

I wanna share a graphic I ran across online with you today.

According to this one if you want to impact your SEO standing all of the On Page Factors combined don’t reach even half the power of the Domains Backlinks and the Page’s Backlinks.

I often have clients who comb over their sites day after day tweaking the words on the page with bold or moving them to a header and if they spent 1/4 of that time trying to attract other sites to link to them they’d get 5 times the result.

Its one thing to say your the best, its a totally different thing if someone else says your the best. Or if someone says you’re the worst it really doesn’t matter how many times or ways you say you’re the best. It’s logical too…if you meet a person for the first time and they boldly proclaim how great they are to you, but someone else warns you that they’re full of it … what are you going to think?

We’ve discussed this a few times in other articles but when looking over the Upwork SEO projects its evident that few people understand this concept. Your page is defined by the link that lead Google to you. Sure working on the headers and img alt tags are useful, but only to support what your backlinks are saying.

Anchor text is the real keyword of search engines. This link to the best upwork SEO profile is more important than anything I put on that page.

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On Page SEO Just Doesn’t Rank Keywords like Backlinks

Creating A PBN Network Part 4: The Site Needs A Story

Creating a PBN or Private Blog Network is likely more difficult that just focusing on your content and the value it offers visitors. In this post we’ll examine what you need to have on the site and how it should be structured.

In previous posts we’ve discussed:

Creating A Private Blog Network: PBNs In 2019 For SEO

PBNs 2019 – Domain Detailing – Picking Expired Domains And 301 Redirects

Auto Posting Across Social Media Platforms – IFTTT – Buffer.com

Domain Name Register – PBNs In Mind – Namesilo.com

Every Site Needs A Backstory

Because every organic real site has one. If you decide before you create the site what it is and who made it then you’ll be able to create a site that will serve your PBN well. I’ve made site’s as if it were a school assignment in music and communication, or I’ve built a medical conference site that happened years ago but continues to update it’s site with follow up articles. I’ve built news magazine sites that promise to focus on local news that matters. Each site has an intended audience and justifies its existence.

Be creative and shake up the site’s purpose, play with the name. One site I had was aidusa.website I built a site seeking international aid for the USA because of the state of politics and our national debt. I noted our poverty levels, healthcare challenges and violence on the streets. It kinda made some sense after you look at it. That site could easily then harbor a backlink for a charity, healthcare site, legal site or a news site.

Regularly Updates

If you own one site and its this site your building you’re going to update it at least every month right? Its something you’re passionate about and you’ll find the regular updates will attract regular visits from search engines. This doesn’t scale well when we think about 10 sites or 100 sites … 1000 sites. You’ll need to read up on our Auto Blogging ideas in another article that we posted a while back.

Link Placement

Avoid … just don’t … place a link in the header or the footer or the sidebar of the site to another site. Your main “real” site doesn’t do that I bet. Why would this site? Keep money links to your target site in content. Define your site with anchor text that is relevant to the keywords you are pursuing.

Who’s Behind The Site And The Ability To Contact Them

I know what your favorite word is … or at least statistically speaking I do. It is your name. Humans love to talk about themselves and they like to take credit for something they’ve done. Websites aren’t much different.

So it looks odd when a site gives no information about the person or group behind it. The About Us section is important and just like on your money site or the important site … you need a means to contact the owner. A simple contact form or link to a twitter account is needed here. You don’t have to create email accounts on all the sites but you would be smart to create an email forwarder for the domain to one central account.

Social Media Presence

Your money site has the ability for people to share content on social media. It likely has 5, 6 maybe more social media accounts tied to it. Your PBN site likely should have something too. Use IFTTT or Buffer.com to automate the social media presence but make sure there is one.

Make a customized logo for each site.

Technical PBN Stuff Here

Dont setup a Google Analytics or Search Engine property on the same account that you use for your main account.

Have a seperate IP address or use a different host company for your various sites. Register your domain names on several registrar sites and use their nameservers or Cloudflare. It’s fine to build a template site with plugins and pages ready to be migrated onto a new domain and setup but make sure you vary them. Different themes, plugins, structure … experiment here and there, don’t install Yoast on everyone, use something different.

In the end patterns are what break us, or forgetting what we’d do if this was our only site. Be organic….and have a backstory.

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Creating A PBN Network Part 4: The Site Needs A Story

Auto Posting Across Social Media Platforms – IFTTT – Buffer.com

I hate missing out just as much as anyone else.  Its why Ultimate SEO has accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest, Flickr, Youtube, Blogger, Instagram, SnapChat and more.  But the only thing worse than not being on a platform is to not appear active on that platform. If someone’s first impression of you or your company is your activity on a forgotten profile it is more damaging than not having been there to begin with.

IFTTT And Buffer

Thats where IFTTT has stepped in and been able to save time while helping to get a message out consistently.  From WordPress IFTTT automatically shares and posts each update to a slew of other sites and until recently its been the most effective means for auto updating social media.  Now that Google+ has ended and with the loss of Gmail applets on IFTTT it may be a good time to look again at social media auto posting techniques.  Recently it appears LinkedIn may have discontinued its connection to IFTTT as well, which is a shame and hurts both LinkedIn and IFTTT.

buffer.com

buffer.com

In researching IFTTT applets Buffer.com came to light.  Its mostly a paid version of what IFTTT did for free but it also includes a free options which allows integration with 3 social media platforms.  In the use case of Ultimate SEO that meant connecting to LinkedIn.  The other two positions going to Facebook and Twitter as those are the powerhouse social media platforms.

Automated Cross Posting In Social Media

My ultimate goal is to fully automate this process and I haven’t yet seen that in Buffer.com but further testing may reveal that an action from IFTTT completes this chain.  Its not enough to be able to post an individual article from one site to all, we need something that checks all sites and then auto publishes what isnt published on others to those sites.

You might think of this daisy chain of social media as if it were a PBN.  It’s a network of separate sites but all you.

I’ll keep you updated on this case study.  At present though IFTTT still appears to be the best auto posting option for social media.  It can start from a sites RSS feed or an integrated service like WordPress then post to a central site such as Blogger which has a lot of versatility due to the number of connections available.

Connectors Applets Or Recipes

Some connections utilized for Ultimate SEO include:

(The WordPress to X recipes are available but I’d recommend making these connections through Blogger where possible for consistency)

Blogger applets

Blogger applets

  • WordPress to Blogger
  • WordPress to Photostream
  • WordPress to Tumblr
  • WordPress to Facebook
  • WordPress to Twitter
  • Blogger to Buffer – this recipe enables the auto posting into LinkedIn
  • Blogger to Flickr
  • Blogger to Pinterest
  • Blogger to Bitly
  • Blogger to Diigo
  • Blogger to Instapaper
  • Blogger to Reddit
  • Blogger to Pocket
  • Blogger to Trello
  • Blogger to Dropbox
  • Blogger to OneNote

It may appear that I love Blogger but its important to have a centralized distribution point.  Consider how easy it would be to accidentally create an auto updating loop if you didn’t have a defined start.  I accidentally created one of these months ago and it was annoying first discovering it and second reviewing where in the chain I was picking up the update I was trying to put down.  So blogger serves in that regard as a check point on redundancy.  I also prefer a secondary site from WordPress.  If after publishing something on WordPress you realized the permalink is too long or something just didn’t look right, you at least have another spot to stop that mistake from going out to everything else.

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Link Building: Guest Posts to UltimateSEO.org

Guest Posts or User Submitted Posts are content written by another author not working for the site in which the content is being displayed on.  UltimateSEO has a very easy guest post system and its free.  Content submitted to our site may be syndicated on as many as 300 other sites that we maintain or are affiliated with.  That can potential deliver you hundreds of backlinks from multiple domains.  We offer this feature free of charge at this time, but may charge in the future.  Why is it free when other sites charge?  Its because we want good content and diverse opinions.  So please ensure your post is original, timely, accurate and fresh.

Guest Posting is a win win scenario for us and you and your site.  You can write an original article and we’ll post it if it is about SEO or SEM in general.  Specific niche SEO topics are also welcome.  Writers can include backlinks of relevant in their posts.  We’d like to recommend no more than one link per 250 words.  If there is an issue we’ll let you know.  We also ask the your post include an image or an image per 500 words.  So .in a 2000 word SEO post we’d like to see no more than 8 links and we would like to see about 4 images.

Submit For Review

Ultimate SEO reserves the right to remove or edit posts on our site.  We will also provide credit to content creators who retain ownership of their content but license the display of that content to use by using this form.

Submitted Guest Posts

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Guest Posts Submitted To Ultimate SEO sites

Link Building: Submitted Guest Posts

To submit your own guest post visit our submission page.  Approved Guest Posts also appear among the site’s regular articles.

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