Case Study: Tatiana and Rand call


This video is part of a series of case studies featuring Tatiana Chemisov of If you’re just joining us, I recommend you start here.

When I talked with Tatiana and Peter Chemisov in our introductory call, they said they’d taken a big hit in their Google page rank recently as a result of Google’s changing algorithms. Organic search marketing is by far the biggest driver of traffic to their site, so they were looking to get that fixed – as soon as possible.

I knew Tatiana had to talk with Rand Fishkin.

Rand is the “Wizard of Moz” at, a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) consulting company he cofounded in 2004. He helps businesses navigate the murky waters of SEO and Google rank to get their brands out in front of customers.

Rand talked with Tatiana about how to raise their page rank, researching keyword search terms, and the difference between “good” links and “bad” links in terms of SEO.

Even if you’re not a tech genius, this call is for you. Implementing basic SEO tweaks can make huge differences in your online business, and often isn’t is hard as you think.

Watch the call

Google’s Manual Action

A recent change in Google’s search algorithms was meant to help consumers discover great content and businesses – but as a result was penalized for the outdated SEO tactics (like placing links on spammy sites, and stuffing pages with keywords) used by the SEO company they had hired. After a drop in search traffic, Tatiana realized that Google had performed a manual action against their site.

Watch at the 5:30 minute mark to learn why this happened, and what Tatiana can do about it.

Placing links vs. Earning links

The types of links that are pointing to your website are tremendously important. Around the 7:00 minute mark, Rand explains the difference between the old Google algorithms, which rewarded the overall number of links back to a site, with the new algorithms, which now rewards the quality of the links.

Basically, Google is trying to differentiate between links that have been bought, and those that have been earned as a result of the quality content of a particular site.

At the 8:00 minute mark, Rand brings that back to social media, and the value of earning customers engagement – and, therefore, links.

Earning links with content marketing

At the 8:50 minute mark, I ask Rand what Tatiana can specifically do to start earning those links.

His biggest concern is that Tatiana’s main content-producing tool, her blog, is on a different website. That means all the good link karma and credibility that the blog is building up won’t affect her e-commerce site. Rand recommends merging the two sites, with a 301 redirect to permanently point the blog links to the main website.

For a deeper look at how internal/external links affect your page rank, listen in at the 11:40 minute mark.

Improving your keyword ranking

At the 14:00 minute mark, Rand gives Tatiana some great, actionable advice on how to find out what your competitors are doing to rank well on certain keywords.

To do competitive analysis on a particular keyword:

  • Choose your keyword search term (for Tatiana, “dreamspun clothing”)
  • Note the sites that are ranking high on that keyword (ignoring the brand’s page, in Tatiana’s case).
  • Plug the high-ranking sites into a link research tool, which will crawl the web to find links that point to that site. Rand recommends
  • Plug the site in, and you’ll find out who’s pointing to these websites and how important those links are to improving the rankings.

This can trigger ideas on what strategies are the most important for your industry, like joining the Chamber of Commerce or contributing to a particular website’s content.

Ranking highly, and maintaining rank

Tatiana has followed several strategies for gaining links, including offering free samples to bloggers to review. She’s wondering about this strategy in light of the manual action taken against the site by Google.

At the 16:30 minute mark, Rand goes back to the importance of ensuring that sites linking back to have a high editorial bar, and discusses a variety of ways Tatiana can be sure of a site’s quality.

At the 24:00 minute mark, Rand goes into more detail on how Tatiana can maintain her page rank through quality embedded content (like photography and videos) that others can share.

Want to know more?

If you’re wanting to dive deeper into keyword research and SEO, head over to to find all the resources you could need, as well as technical tools to help you.

Your Homework:

Tweaking your website’s SEO is a long-term game, but there are some key things you can do right now to get started.

If you haven’t done any keyword research for your site, read this article on to learn how to get started. It’s time to do some competitive analysis on those keywords to find out which sites are linking to your competitors. Complete this worksheet.

Once you’ve done your competitive analysis, start brainstorming ways you can build links back to your site from these influencer sites. It could be by creating shareable content, like videos or images. It could be by soliciting editorial reviews from magazines and blogs. Get creative here!