The real reason my site got to #1 in Google for Rhinoplasty Plano

POP blog author Kyle Roof
Kyle Roof
November 14, 2018

Today marked a pivotal moment in the life of this controversial experiment from the first Rank or Go Home Challenge by Steven Kang and the SEO Signals Lab Group. The experiment was featured in Search Engine Journal by Roger Montti yesterday and perhaps by coincidence, 4 months after our site hit page 1 for Rhinoplasty Plano and has consistently remained there, it today has finally been de-indexed by Google and received a manual penalty.

manual penalty received

Roger Montii did a solid job analysing the top 2 sites (out of 27 competitors in the challenge) and dissecting what myself and Igor Buyseech had done to get our sites beating genuine local businesses who had, until the SEO challenge, been claiming these page 1 positions presumably for many years (apologies go out to Dr Wilcox who I’m sure is a great cosmetic surgeon, you can have your #1 spot back now).

Search Engine Journal contest

Roger concluded that Igor’s site was probably in a top position due to very light code in his WP theme, site speed and backlink signals. He then moved onto my site, where he looked at the use of our structured data for reviews which we got to pop in the SERPs for our target page.

rhinoplasty plano in SERPs

He concluded that, I ‘used local citation signals to rank. The site itself features a Google map and an address. There are numerous local listings for the site sending citation signals to Google’. This is no doubt partly true, but there is a critical part missing to this picture, the latin text and how it was used. This is the reason I’ve chosen to publish this post and explain exactly what was done and why.

“It mocks everything Google says about authority and quality content. Google ranking a site written in Latin is analogous to the wheels falling off a car.”

Side-by-side metrics

You will notice a couple of obvious differences when you look at my page vs Igor’s side-by-side in Ahrefs.

side by side metrics in Ahrefs
  • Igor has much high DR & UR scores than I do
  • Igor has around 20x the amount of referring domains to his page than I do
  • Overall, my site is getting much more organic traffic of Igor’s site (according to Ahrefs)

So with what we know about backlink signals still being the #1 most powerful signal to Google for page rank my site should not be anywhere near his. But there is a logical answer to this puzzle, my secret weapon, scientific on page SEO.

Exactly what I did to rank for Rhinoplasty Plano step-by-step

A quick background in case you are not familiar with the Rank or Go Home Challenge. Any SEO from the Facebook Group could enter, we were given a keyword, Rhinoplasty Plano, and 30 days to rank it with a new site. The winner was the one who’s site ranked highest at the end of the challenge. And you couldn’t spend more than $1k.

I know from previous experience that Plastic Surgeons don’t mind dropping a dime on SEO so I wasn’t sure what the contestants would be able to achieve in the time we were given, but I entered and used my agency High Voltage SEO to implement the work. My idea was to prove a theory; that using my Scientific On Page Method with a few other basic SEO activities, would be enough to win the challenge. And to prove how powerful the method was, I wanted to use Lorem Ipsum text! I'd like to point out, that  the purpose of this experiment was not to make fun of Google or challenge Google in any way. The purpose was to challenge how SEOs think about SEO.

Checking out the SERPs

I’ll use the analogy of going for a surf, there’s a lot of weather apps out there that will tell you what the wind, waves, tides etc are doing, you can spend all morning going through the various signals to decide whether to get out of bed, and usually you’ll find one tool is saying something different to another. There’s no substitute for getting in your car and going down there to see what’s actually going on. And the same goes for the SERPs. Tools are great and I use plenty, but there’s no substitute for ‘paddling out’ into the SERP and seeing what types of sites are performing well and what signals they seem to have in common. In the case of Rhinoplasty Plano I noticed a couple of quick, obvious things:

  • The pages Google was rewarding were almost entirely inner pages
  • The sites Google was rewarding had some good reviews and GMB profiles

So from these observations I decided a few basic things would be important;

  • We’d need to have a verified GMB account for our Rhinoplasty ‘business’
  • We’d probably need some good Local Business Schema and review schema
  • We should focus on optimizing an inner page of the site, not the home page. This was important, my target page was not the home page, it was deliberately not optimised for Rhinoplasty Plano and our GMB profile linked to the inner target page of the site not the homepage

Being strict local SEO so all those local signals were going to matter.

Drafting content and ‘The rough and dirty’ optimisation

Next we drafted up the content on the site best we could with Lorem Ipsum text using what I call ‘The rough and dirty method’. This is essentially the un-scientific way of doing on page, just standard best practise things like getting the keywords in your H tags, paragraph text, LSI terms sprinkled through.

Ran PageOptimizer

This was our secret sauce. We ran our page through the PageOptimizer, an on page tool based off of my Scientific On Page Method. We used it to compare our target page against the top ranking competitors. It outputted a number of issues with the page. This may seem obvious considering the page is in latin, but we were trying to prove that Google cannot actually read so the language was actually irrelevant. By meeting the on page signals Google was measuring to rank top competitors (which are the factors measured by PageOptimizer) I believed we could outrank our competitors with latin content.

before and after POP scores

So we followed the instructions PageOptimizer gave us and got the page scoring 92% which means the on page signals on the page were optimized pretty well in line with what Google is rewarding for the term.

I like to say that the secret to ranking is hiding in plain sight. Google is showing us exactly what its rewarding for each and every keyword, PageOptimizer just helps us extract this data and turn it into actionable steps to take.


This was obviously used to get our reviews to appear in the SERPs and we used Local Business Schema and Product / Offer schema too, nothing fancy here.

Off page

The big takeaway is that I did 0 PBN, guest post, commenting, or other off page work. We did buy a few business citations through Bright Local using our verified (but actually non-existent) GMB address.

We also built a couple of link stacks using Tumblr, WordPress and Issuu and created a YouTube channel. One thing on this, we verified our domain through the channel, which I believe is an important step many people don’t do.

Silo Content

We finally wrote a few blog posts answering popular ‘People also ask’ or Related Search questions. These were also done in Lorem Ipsum and linked back into our target page.

That was it! I’m sure there’s nothing in here that blew your mind, except for our scientific optimisation of the latin text. This was the one variation to what I’m sure the other contestants were also doing.


The page didn’t immediately perform, you can see in the below image, it took about a month, but once it hit top of page 1 it was pretty well unshakeable, even after either a local business or one of our competitors got our business profile shut down on Yelp, it settled down again in top position. We also managed to take the knowledge graph for some time.

search console screenshotknowledge graph

So is Google broken?

No, I’m sure most agree it’s pretty damn good at it’s job, but sometimes we forget, it’s just an algorithm, it’s math and that means it has vulnerabilities which if you find them you can use to your advantage.

Here’s what Steven Kang had to say about it in the SEO Signals Lab group.

Steven Kang's post

Special mentions

Igor Buyseech - A top SEO and friend. SEO Signals Lab & Steven Kang - who donates his time to running one of the best SEO groups out there.

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