Reach the first page of Google in 24 hours using long-tail keywords [real life example]

Hi folks,

I recently created a blog on engineering management and I'm writing The Engineering Manager's Survival Guide. My blog is not well referenced at all and the space is pretty crowdy.

Here is how I get on first page of google search in 24 hours ⬇

Step 1: Find long-tail keywords 📉

I used Ahrefs to search for long-tail keywords describing well the intent of readers who could be interested by my content. I read the existing content, look how first results were referenced, the volume of search, the site authority, the number and quality of back links. It was a first excellent exercise as some keywords that looked at first view very easy to break into are in fact not at all. On the other hand, some I though pretty complex to position are in fact easy.

I finally picked "how to become a lead developer" and "how to become an engineering manager". For both of them, and following ahrefs rating, it looks like a great content and a few backlinks are enough to reach the top 10 (aka Keyword Difficulty of 1 or 2).

Step 2: Craft a great content 📝

Then I crafted a couple of nice blog posts on How to become a lead developer and How to become an engineering manager.

Each article is about 800 - 900 words. I tried to craft a content more relevant, more complete and that better answers the question that most of the other first page results. My goal is to deliver a useful and enjoyable content to the reader, SEO being a great bonus. I used the keywords as the title of the articles.

Step 3: Make it indexed by Google Search 🔍

For a new website, the indexation can take a few days or weeks, so I asked for indexation in google search console, it took about 2 hours.

I looked where my articles were on the search results, browsing in private mode, to make it less contextualized, and I guess closer of what other people see. Both articles were in the top 50 without having any back links to them.

Step 4: Share and hope for a few backlinks 🤞

I shared the first post on hacker news, I had almost no upvote but it looks like a few websites are crawling and indexing the hacker news content, so I got 3 backlinks, low quality backlinks but with "dofollow".

Step 5: Syndicate the content 📄

I decided to syndicate the first post on Medium and on Devto, means sharing the exact same content, adding my original post as a canonical url and a link at the bottom of the article. These links in post are "nofollow" but contribute a bit to rank on the chosen keywords and to contextualize your content. I used the exact same keywords in the link text.

For the second post, I will try to write a new original content on Devto and to link to the post to give more context and allow the reader to dive deeper in the topic.

Step 6: Look for results and enjoy ✨

After 24h, my first post ranks in the first page of results on Google! 🚀

Even if not having a bunch of backlinks and even if the authority of my site is very low (for now!), this was a decent content strategy.

Step 7: Key Learnings 💡

Please note I'm not a SEO expert, these are only my learnings:

  • look for keywords that describes well the reader intent, matches what you want to share, provide a bit of volume and that are not crowded
  • craft a great content (as good as you can), SEO is a long-term game
  • share and get first backlinks, eventually syndicate your content or create some side content, but do it in a way that respects google policy.

We often read that all we have to do is to create good content and readers will come. It's true at some point but you need to first work on a bit to make the content easy to find in the first place, and it's difficult with a brand new website and no established audience.

I hope this post will help you, don't hesitate if you have any questions or if you want to share tips & tricks that I could use to better reference my second post. 💡

Have a great day!

  1. 2

    Nice to read about the execution. Just last week I read about this in Traction book (by the founder of DuckDuckGo). This strategy is very clearly articulated.

    I’ve posted some notes here - https://define.run/traction-book
    Still reading the book. So the post is still work in progress.

    1. 1

      Thank you for sharing, I looove the hand-written notes! By the way, I tend to write a lot on paper too and I'm looking for a simple solution to transform them to ditigal support.

      1. 1

        Rocket book was supposed to be one such product to help with writing on paper and then making it digital. But I use some random A6 notebook to write and use the phone to take pictures of it because I prefer digital.

        I picked up the writing habit recently by accident (I was always told my handwriting is not legible, so I stayed away from writing).

        1. 2

          Didn't know rocket book, thx! Writing (sketching or drawing) on paper is a way to articulate what we have in mind, for me writing is part of the thinking process ✍ 🧠

  2. 1

    Brilliant @nidup, thanks so much for sharing your expertise here. Gonna be super handy very soon for me 💪

    1. 1

      Thank you @dte 🙏
      Don't hesitate if you need any further info when starting to work on the topic 👍

      1. 1

        Really appreciate it Nico, will remind myself that! :)

  3. 1

    Thanks for posting. I'm going to try this out!

    1. 1

      Welcome ! Let me know how it goes for you 🙏

  4. 1

    How important are backlinks? I’ve been working hard on ranking https://storycreatorapp.com and am barely even ranking for my domain keyword.

    Maybe I should focus more on long tail and get one backlink to that.

    1. 3

      I launched a lot of side projects without taking enough care of backlinks, they never get properly ranked, even with very relevant content. I think you need at least a few of them to take off. You can create a few easy one:

      • from your twitter and github profiles
      • from indiehackers by sharing your project
      • from hackernews by sharing your project
  5. 1

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I will apply your strategy to my sales web site.

    1. 1

      Welcome, glad to see this post is useful! It's a basic strategy that worked in my context it may requires a different approach or some fine tuning in your case. Don't hesitate to share your progress and results 👍

  6. 1

    This is so great Nicholas, thank you. SEO is a puzzling black box to me. It's great to read a technique that works backed up by actual evidence. What's the specific Ahrefs tool you're using? Is it a paid product?

    1. 3

      @nidup is referring to ahrefs.com - I've heard from many that it's good - however it is expensive too (so is SEMRush). You could also try other tools like

      1. 2

        Thank you for sharing alternatives! Yes ahrefs is super expensive.

        1. 1

          I've ahrefs product is top-notch. So I've been delaying signing up for the $7 trial until I am ready to spend 7 full days to make the most of it 😃

          1. 2

            Excellent, that's the approach I took, I'm on the trial mode until tomorrow, hesitating to pay a full month to continue testing and seeing the progress. Their trial mode is well crafted, on the smaller plan, your ranking on keywords is updated every 7 days, means after the end of the trial, pretty clever 😊
            For now, it has been very useful to better understand SEO and understand how to break into a crowed space. They also have great video and tutorial too.

      2. 1

        BTW, KeywordTool.io mentions this(below.) Of interest given the focus here is on long-tail...

        "But, at the same time, it(Google Keyword Planner) will hide profitable long-tail keywords with thousands of monthly searches that can be used to create content for your website. Some digital marketing professionals think that it is done on purpose and helps Google to increase the competition and cost-per-click for a limited number of keywords."

        1. 1

          Oh. Thank you for posting that. This is good to know ~!

    2. 2

      Welcome, yes I wanted to test and share a real life example, based on a not well referenced website. Yes ahrefs is a paying product, very expensive by the way (100$/mo). SEO is a black box for me too, so I picked the most well-known and recommended product in order to better understand how it works and the impact of my actions. @HashNuke shared other products in a comment (thank you!). I will try them. I think there is a space for an indiehacker to launch a simpler product, the difficulty being the amount of data to crawl, to structure and to store.

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