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: 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.

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Submitted Guest Posts

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Creating A Private Blog Network: PBNs In 2019 For SEO

Typical Parts Of A PBNEach PBN site will include registering the domain, setting the name servers and hosting the site.

First and foremost the most important aspect of your Private Blog Network is randomness.  Consider what pattern or foot print your PBN might have and avoid that commonality.

patterns that give away a PBNPatterns and commonality to avoid in building a Private Blog Network

Good PBNs Are Random, Start With Different Name Registrars

First off you need private domain registration, if not private then you’ll need people and addresses from all over.  If you always use Godaddy you’re going to have to try out others to avoid a pattern.  Incidentally if you always use Godaddy you’re getting ripped off as they will charge you for privacy and many others don’t.  Some popular Name Registrars are 1and1.com namesilo.com namecheap.com cosmotown.com each of these can save you a considerable amount over Godaddy considering they offer free private registration and using more than one breaks a pattern.

Each time you add a new site to your PBN you need to approach it from the beginning as if you’re playing a character in a story who has never made a website before, when I say that I mean if you know you have a site on Host A and you like that host you’re making decisions based on previous sites and are more likely to create a pattern.  Forget Host A how would you find a host for the first time?  Google popular web hosts and pick a cheap new partner.

One thing that’s really beneficial about building PBNs that is more helpful to you in the long run is the forced exploration.  After you’ve built ten sites on ten hosts using ten registrars and ten WordPress themes you’ll be able to write three top ten lists and rank the best of the 720 combinations that were available to you.  It’s a lot of practice and as you’re avoiding patterns and repetition you’ll find yourself stepping out of your norm.

Vary Your Web Hosts

Speed of a web host is important normally but not necessarily when your building a PBN.  While you want your primary or money site to load in under 3 seconds its perfectly fine if your PBN site loads in 7 seconds and that opens the door to all manner of generic no name web hosts.   Your primary goal with multiple web hosts is to utilize a different IP address.

Organizating A PBN Gets ComplexConsidering the complexity that can quickly arise when seeking randomness of your sites.

The only two big issues with this model …

Organization OF PBN Resources

What site is down?  Oh….well which domain registrar did I use?  Am I using their nameservers, someone else’s?  Where did I point that to be hosted?  Sure these aren’t that annoying to answer with a 10 site network, but try answering it when you’ve built and scaled up to 200 sites using 7 registrars, 20 name servers, 150 different IPs … it becomes unmanageable as you find yourself searching for your site more than you are building new sites, and why are you having to search?  Maintaining a site is essential, as updates roll out to WordPress, plugins get updated and hackers exploit new vulnerabilities.  If you log into every site you own and spend 5 minutes on each site your 200 domain name network will take 16 hours … or two days a week and consider that you only spend 5 minutes on a site, you likely didn’t fix any issues and took no breaks!  It’s time to consider an apprentice or spreadsheets that fully document every aspect of your network, or both.

Uptime Monitoring

Somewhere around 100 domains I figured out I needed to approach this like an enterprise would and have actual uptime monitoring allowing me to see the state of the network easily.  UptimeRobot allows you to set up 50 monitors on a free account.

Uptime Monitoring Your PBN

In the real world 94% Uptime is horrible.  Consider that in the last 30 days I had a recorded 104765 minutes sites were down in this sample of sites.  I had issues with a server getting attacked by someone using 1700 servers causing a DOS attack.  Why?  Anyone’s guess … usually its a game to them and they aren’t paying for those 1700 servers but they’re other people’s hacked resources being used to grow their network.

You may be interested in MainWP or InfiniteWP … Godaddy provides Godaddy Pro.  You need to be mindful that these only work when they work and will they give away a signature pattern?  Likely they can create an easier management solution but easier is dangerous.

Costs Ballon And Randomness Prevents Savings

As you scale up from 10 to 20 to 50 sites your going to wake up one day and realize youre spending hundreds of dollars a month on infrastructure and all of your time will now be consumed with maintaining your network.  Adding someone to help you is going to increase costs and take your time to train them in being effective at maintaining the network.  Be careful who you bring in to help you, friends are obvious choices but when they get upset about something unrelated to the network they could leave you high and dry.  Worse yet, they are the most likely to teach you a lesson by bailing on you for a couple weeks.  Trust the people who are in it for the money … pay them more than they can get at a retail job to build loyalty to your mission. They need not be technical people but they need to understand that if a site is down, Google can’t index it and that backlink is missing now.  They need to be able to follow a logical progression and understand the parts that are in play to help you maintain the site.

The obvious answer to addressing costs is to bundle services and make sure you’re utilizing resources in the most effective manner but that is accomplished by making patterns.  You can’t find cost savings by giving away your sites.

Cloudflare Allows Consolidation And The Pattern Is Indistinguishable

Cloudflare Use For PBNsCloudflare allows some consolidation while masking the pattern

12,000,000 sites utilize Cloudflare’s free services which include masking your host servers IP, CDN services and security.

Cloudflare offers the ability to hide among the masses.  Who is Cloudflare?  They stand in front of your server and take the brunt of the internets crap.  Upwork.com, Medium.com, Themeforest.net, Chaturbate.com are among the names using Cloudflare.com services.  Some estimates suggest that Cloudflare is about 8% of the entire internet.  Thats huge!  At one point they found themselves protecting the Israeli government’s network as well as the PLOs.Cyber Warfare: Cloudflare In The Middle

Using Cloudflare is hiding in plain sight and free.  I recommend it but in a mixture capacity still have some sites out side of their network just to avoid any one bottleneck, it would seem odd if 100& of the sites linking to a domain are using Cloudflare….remember they are 8% and while the largest chunk of the internet they aren’t the internet.

This article has focused mainly on external and infrastructure concerns of building a PBN.  This is really a third of topic and in the coming weeks I’ll include two more posts that address on site content issues of building a PBN and site design considerations for a network of sites.

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