Region: Canada, Ontario.

Domain age: 3 months.

Start date: December 16, 2020.

In the first 3 months we have developed a strategy to bring the site to the top, collected all the necessary materials for the work:

  • conducted a niche analysis,
  • compiled the semantics,
  • eliminated technical and SEO errors on the site and made the necessary improvements,
  • analyzed competitors,
  • developed a content plan,
  • disavow links,
  • sourced sites for placement of trusted links and began a gradual placement.

We started by eliminating critical errors, which resulted in a positive shift after just one week.

Since the site was 3 months old at the start of the work, Google applied the so-called “Sandbox” – when the search engine deliberately lowers the results of young sites, because they are not yet very trustworthy. But we still did a lot of work, and we’d like to tell you about it.


“Sandbox” is probably not the only reason for the site’s poor search engine ranking. Another reason is the link bombing by previous SEO contractors. In one month, they placed more than 50 links. While the average monthly gain in the niche is 4-5 links. Here’s what it looked like:

70% of the links came from spammy non-thematic donors. They were mostly junk sites that had significantly more outgoing links than incoming ones. There was also a strong inconsistency of regional zones. For example, in the profile we found a lot of links from Russia, China, India – where backlinks are the easiest to get.

We disavowed most of the junk backlinks in the Google Disavow Tool. We developed a link strategy based on the competitors’ analysis and tried to overlap the bad links with normal donors.

Niche specifics

The company provides services in the province of Ontario. The main competitors are small local firms. Therefore, the main focus of the promotion was on Local SEO. As part of the local promotion we:

  • Added the company to all local directories that featured competitors (and more).
  • Optimized the company card in Google My Business – added keywords to the description, and made a recommendation to the customer to adjust the collection of reviews.
  • Displayed information about the company on a separate page – previously it wasn’t on the site at all. Added certificates, diplomas and licenses confirming the company’s expertise.
  • Created a separate contacts page – before that they were only displayed on the main page. Added an interactive map on the new page highlighting the office to make it easier for clients to find it. Added opening hours and area of service.
  • Implemented Local Business markup.
  • Worked on the portfolio page: added it to the main menu, included video testimonials from clients, and collected low-frequency queries for each completed project. Added a short text description in the following format: the task that the company had to accomplish, the work that was done, and the results that were achieved.
  • Created a separate page with testimonials. The reviews from other sites (Google My Business, Yell, BBB) were displayed on it. This solution was supposed to increase credibility and level of trust from potential clients. 

What else we did

  1. Fixed all the technical bugs – broken links, problems with loading the first content (FCP), poor adaptation to mobile devices.
  2. To reduce the level of nesting and bring the distant pages to a lower click-through depth, we created a new structure. Now each page was accessible no more than 2 clicks away from the main page. Example of implementation on one of the sections:

Set up redirects from the old pages, so as not to lose their weight and existing positions.

  1. In order not to dilute the relevance of the page, we removed from all templates headings H2-H6 and realized them through <div>. Headings were left only in the text.
  2. As part of the task of speeding up the site we introduced technology HSTS. It helps to get rid of unnecessary requests between the client and the server, therefore the site works faster. It also helps to get rid of mixed content when switching from http to https.

To implement it, we added the following code to the .htaccess file:

Header always set Strict-Transport-Security “max-age=31536000; includeSubDomains; preload”

As part of the work with the content we gathered a lot of semantics. Cleaned it from trash and empty queries, removed implicit duplicates, clustered it and distributed it to landing pages. It was on the basis of the collected keys that the decision was made to adjust the structure of the site.

With the help of key phrases for each page we worked through the meta tags – titles, descriptions, H1. While preparing the technical task for the copywriters we additionally gathered LSI-queries that improve the relevance of the text and thematicity of the page. Such phrases are a great help in promotion. 

Interim results

After completion of these works, the site will continue to show a smooth positive visibility dynamics.

Some of the monitored positions for the last 2 months:

It is important to remember when promoting a young site to start with low-frequency queries. It is worth focusing on that in the coming months.