Scientific On-Page and Local Search [Case Study]


Andrew Steven
December 4, 2019


A Case Study Using Page Optimizer Pro - guest author Blake Akers from 

There’s a lot of buzz around the term ‘scientific SEO’ lately and a whole list of tools available to savvy marketers who understand the value of competitor analysis.

I was first introduced to one of these newer tools a few months back when I stumbled on Kyle Roof’s now-infamous win in the ‘Rhinoplasty Plano SEO’ contest.

Kyle went head-to-head against several SEO teams trying to rank a page for ‘Rhinoplasty Plano’ with only a $1,000 budget. Many veterans to local search would probably be shocked to learn that he won the contest with on-page SEO!

In fact, he only had about 21 backlinks and 1 referring domain registered in AHREFS total.

Ranking Lorem Ipsum???

Kyle was able to use his own tool, Page Optimizer Pro, to outrank competitors with 3x more backlinks. What’s even more crazy is that the page he ranked was full of mostly Lorem Ipsum text! It took a top 3 spot in Google for about 6 months with dummy content, believe it or not.

When I saw that, I had to give it a try...with real content of course!

"When I saw that, I had to give it a try...with real content of course!"

Adding POP to our existing Local Search Strategy

At Webology, we mostly deal with local business clients, so I had to try this tool out for possible use on client sites.

We started with our own website though and quickly realized this tool lives up to the hype for local SEO.

We’re about 3 months into testing and the following is both what we’ve observed and some specifics on how we use the tool internally to rank local business websites. 

First though, let’s take a quick look at what POP is and how it works.

Using POP for Scientific Analysis

POP works by compiling competitor averages. It’s basically an algorithm that studies the SERP for you by analyzing competitor site code.

Once you put in a list of competitors and keywords, it crawls Google search results and presents you with a report similar to this one:

There’s nothing really revolutionary about the data sets this tool makes recommendations on. It goes over things like heading tags, ordered lists, italic text tags and many other variables. If you’re an experienced SEO, try not to yawn too loudly out of boredom at this point. 

What’s revolutionary about the tool is that it does all the heavy lifting for you, and Kyle has apparently included some variables based on years of SEO testing. Instead of having to view source code on high-ranking competitor sites manually, POP gives you recommended averages based on data from all your competition in one easy to read report.

It combines page structure recommendations like ‘Add X many H2 tags to your page’ with recommendations on how many times your keywords and/or related terms should appear within each HTML tag type.

For example - The report is telling us to add 10 new H2 tags to our page...

While also adding 5 variations of our primary keyword somewhere within an H2 tag on the page:

It’s important to note that you use POP on a single page targeting a single keyword. It uses that information that you provide to generate both keyword variations and LSI terms for you.

If your primary keyword is something like ‘SEO Birmingham’ you might have the following as keyword variations:

  • SEO company Birmingham

  • Digital Marketing Birmingham

  • SEO agency Birmingham

While your LSI terms might look something like this:

  • Search engine

  • Cookies

  • Business strategies

Once you’ve ran the tool on your page, you’re left with a puzzle to put together. Let’s take a look at that real quick…

Putting the pieces together - How we use POP internally

You have to follow a set process to use this tool, otherwise you’ll find yourself making changes in one area that hurt another. The H2 changes above are a perfect example. It’s telling us we have three extra H1 tags on the page and that we need to add five new H2s.

It’s tempting to just change those 3 H1 tags to H2, but then you’ll probably be relocating keywords, related phrases, or LSI terms that need to be contained somewhere within an H1 tag. You’ll be adding those words to your H2s as well, so your averages there for keywords may or may not be right.

Try doing that while keeping your content readable to humans, and you’ll understand the headaches that PoP up from time to time doing on-page SEO!

To avoid too much confusion, we start with page structure recommendations and list all the recommendations for each particular HTML tag out like this:

H1 - Remove 3 | Leave Primary Keyword as-is | Remove 2 Variations | Remove 1 LSI term

H2 - Add 5 | Add 1 Primary Keyword | Add 3 Variations | Remove 2 LSI terms

I know all that info is in the report, but I like to have it in one place so I can read through my existing content and make changes that both match competitor averages while still reading well. Then we put together a list of developer changes similar to this:

That’s how we put all the pieces together from these reports and go...

From this:

To this:

That’s the tool’s internal calculation on how optimized you are against top-ranking competitors. But what does that translate to as far as SERP gains?

Measuring the Results of Scientific SEO with PageOptimizer Pro

Here’s what the traffic numbers look like for the same site:

Plus we’re seeing a lot of these when we research the local competition:

Reality Check

It would be wrong of me to not point out that the site did pick up some new referring domains over the same period, but it was in line with historical averages. I think the bulk of our traffic gain came from working so extensively with POP over the summer. We were not actively trying to attract new links at all and only adding new content to the site 1-2 times per month.

Thoughts on using POP in the future

Overall, this has been a success for our agency. We’re even seeing gains on pages we previously optimized based on ‘best practices’ and it’s obvious to me that POP gives you an edge in local search.

It will give you recommendations that may seem counterintuitive at times like adding multiple H1 tags to a page, but I’d advise you to at least test those recommendations because they tend to work well based on what we’ve seen.

"We’re even seeing gains on pages we previously optimized based on ‘best practices’ and it’s obvious to me that POP gives you an edge in local search."

It may seem spammy to add a 2nd H1, but it’s important to remember that with RankBrain and other recent developments, Google has started being more niche specific with on-page ranking signals. In other words, there is no across the board ‘best practice’ anymore and your niche/keyword selection may require a single H1 tag whereas other niches may require two or even three of these same tags.

Plus, Google doesn’t get upset if you use multiple H1s, so why should you?

If you want to try out POP for your SEO project, they have an option to do a 7-day trial for only a few dollars. So, head on over to their site and find out if PoP works well with your strategy.

About the author 

Andrew Steven

Andrew has been building and managing SEO teams since 2008 where he led the largest SEO firm in Australia. Since meeting Kyle and partnering to form High Voltage SEO Andrew has been Kyle Roof’s man behind the scenes and together with Maria Dubretic have since co-founded the SEO tool PageOptimizer Pro. Andrew wishes he could stop dreaming about digital marketing in his sleep and would love to hear from anyone who has a cure for this.

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