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SEO 19 min read

How To Push A Website To Top 10 Without SEO Knowledge: Ratatype Experience

How To Push A Website To Top 10 Without SEO Knowledge: Ratatype Experience
Дарья Пивень
Daria Piven
Product manager at
In mid-2019, our team faced a difficult task: to promote two new Ratatype sites to a foreign market - France and Spain - with a minimal budget. We must say right away that we don't know the languages of the market, and even the sites themselves were less than a year old when we started the work.
In this article, we will tell you how we approached the solution of the problem, what we did, and how we achieved our goals.
Setting goals and developing an action plan
Before starting work on a project, it is necessary to determine the main KPIs of the project and set achievable goals. The correct goal setting is already half the result.

At the beginning of 2019, we released two new versions of the site: Ratatype.fr and Ratatype.es. And in the second half of the year, we began their active promotion. We did not have experience in this matter, and Serpstat helped us figure everything out.
How to determine project goals
First of all, it is vital to study the niche and determine the region where you want to promote your business. For example, you want to sell vinyl records. Answer these questions:
Which region will you work for: only yours or you'll go to the foreign one?
Are there any potential customers in the region? Estimate the size of your target audience in this region.
Who are your competitors in the niche? What are their pros? Analyze your main competitors: this will help to understand the niche and its rules better.
Based on the data collected and the analysis of competitors, you can set goals. In our case, we set a goal of 10000 users per week on both projects.
How to make up a project promotion plan
When you've set goals, you need a plan to achieve them. Otherwise, there is a risk that things will not bring results. When you need to control a lot of issues, you can't go without planning. For achieving the goal, it is essential to work out not only the main tasks but also set mini-goals that need to be completed at each stage.

It also requires answers to a number of important questions:
What? What tasks must be completed to achieve the goal?
Who? Which employees will be responsible for these tasks, will additional resources and help be needed?
When? What time frame should be achieved?
How much? What budget is needed to achieve the objectives?
The main task of the project was to increase the link mass to new sites to get more visitors to the site.
Why we chose Serpstat to solve our tasks
To complete the planned tasks, we chose Serpstat. The service allowed us to perform:
Search for competitors in the niche.
Analysis of the competitors' link profiles.
Analysis of our link profile.
Selection of keywords that were missing on our website.
How we promoted projects
Since we put the main focus of promotion on building a link profile, the main part of our strategy is dedicated to this.
How to find competitors in search results
We used two methods to find our competitors: manual and automatic using Serpstat.

Both methods are suitable; however, manual search for competitors has some disadvantages: duration and inaccurate results. Therefore, we have given preference to automatic search. Serpstat shows all relevant site competitors based on similar semantics. To find them, enter the domain in the search bar, select the search base and region and click Search. In the report Website Analysis → Domain Analysis → SEO Analysis → Competitors, you will see all competing sites:
You can also check the competitors' graph in the Overview Report, which shows the relevance of competitors based on metrics, accuracy, and completeness of semantics. The closer the site on the graph to you, the more relevant competitor it is.
You can additionally check the sites found in Similarweb to assess the amount and distribution of traffic to their website and geography.

Next, add competitors to a table with all the necessary metrics:
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How to analyze competitors
We take each competitor from the table and check it with Serpstat, see all the main metrics of the site. First of all, we pay attention to the key SEO indicators, you will find them in the Overview Report:
Further, since we are implementing a link strategy, we analyze the competitor's backlinks. To do this, go to the Backlink Analysis module. By the way, Serpstat has its own link index, so the data on backlinks in the service is always new.

Analyzing a competitor, we try to understand its link strategy. Let's say competitors have a lot of links from forums - that means they use crowd marketing. Links from blogpost and similar sites indicate they use web 2.0 or even PBN (Private Blog Network). Many backlinks from site and directory analyzers mean that a competitor is likely to use a cheap way of link promotion.

An example of a competitor analysis from the list. We go to the report Backlink Analysis → Referring Domains and see who refers to it:
Next, go to the Anchors report to see the anchor of the competitor's backlinks. This will help in compiling your own anchor list.
Then, go to Top pages report to see the pages of competitors with the most significant number of links. So you can understand what they focus on in promotion:
The analysis will help to understand what methods your competitors use to promote. You can also find ideas for improving your link mass. Moreover, competitors can help you find suitable sites for linkbuilding.

How to get easy links
Easy links are the cheapest link building method, which, however, is time consuming.
Directory sites are lists of other websites. It is quite easy to find them by querying directory submission, directory, directory list. We managed to find more than 100. We check each site and remove directories with poor performance since a link from a wrong website can only worsen your position. Also, go through the list and refuse the paid link placement.
Websites for employment - create a company profile there and put a link. Such resources can be found by query: list of job site, job site, work site. We saw around 50.
Analyzers are resources that host data about other sites. You can find such link sources by analyzing the site. Check their quality and post links; they may bring good results.
Presentation sharing. You can get a link to your resource from sites where people share presentations. We searched for such resources by googling slideshare, pdf share. To get a link, you need to make a presentation on topics relevant to your site, add a link to your site there or in the description, upload it to the service and make it public.
Social networks. Everything is clear here, we find social networks like Facebook or Linkedin and create our company account there. Make the profile natural, add photos, contacts, etc. It is easy to find such sites, for example, at the request of a social network. It is also worth choosing the most suitable sites and regularly making posts there.
Video hosting is a resource for downloading and watching videos. It would help if you searched: video hosting, video sharing. Add your videos to the sites, which, however, can be made from presentations. Next, we use crowd marketing.
All this will help you build link mass and boost your brand.

How to use outreach
Outreach is a linkbuilding method, the essence of which is to establish communication, connections with editors, site administrators, bloggers, and journalists. We implemented it like this:
We selected 10 quality sites for each version of our website and sorted them by traffic.
We prepared an email template for each type of site and began to contact the editors to agree on the conditions.
For each site with which it was possible to establish an agreement, we prepared (or rewrote the existing) material with our reference.
How to write letter templates
Following the list of sites that you have compiled, determine the type of request: for example, you want to add a link to your website in an existing article, or publish new material. Your letter must be written in the regional language; otherwise, there is a risk of not receiving a response.
What a letter should include
Clear topic.
Content on the topic. Your main request should be in the first two or three sentences, followed by an explanation of other conditions. The golden rule is that the central message of your letter should fit on the smartphone screen so that the reader doesn't have to scroll the text to understand what you want from him.
The main components of the letter:
  • greeting;
  • appreciation of the site, product or article where you want to place link;
  • the main proposal - briefly explain the essence of your request;
  • the question to prompt the recipient for feedback.
These were the main link building methods we used to build the link mass. Now let's move on.

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Internal website optimization
We faced the main task of internal site optimization: expanding the semantic core and searching for keywords by which our competitors are ranked, but our site is not shown in the search.

Since we already have a list of competitors, we need to find their keywords. To do this, use the report Website Analysis → Domain Analysis → SEO Analysis → Keywords.
Serpstat also makes it possible to compare up to 3 domain semantics and find missing keywords. This can be done using the report Site Analysis → Domain Analysis → SEO Analysis → Domain vs Domain:
In the report, we see the intersection of site semantics. Keywords that both competitors use (except you) are likely to be suitable for your site. For further analysis, you can export data:
Using the Keyword Analysis module, you can quickly collect the semantic core of the site. Enter the query in the search bar and see what keywords you lost.
After collecting the semantics and clustering it, add the missing keywords to meta tags, alt tags, and texts. Done! All this helped us fill the sites with more frequent requests.

What else helped us in promoting
Writing technical materials and articles about working on a project. Alternatively, you can create a separate section for publications on Facebook, Medium and other platforms of this kind, and write (translate) the articles.
Outreach is not just for getting links. With the correct implementation and good selection of sites, using outreach allows you to bring a lot of targeted traffic to the site and get conversions.
Outreach benefits. We received publications on two perfect sites with the traffic of about 1 million/month each. After the placement, we received a lot of bonuses: additional free traffic, a boost of the brand request, a new level of site traffic in general.

You can see the results yourself:
And, of course, an accident. For example, in February, we found a sharp rise in traffic on the es-site. At first, we decided that we had a new publication with us; however, digging through the analytics, we realized that it was organic search! We found that this growth happened due to an increase in user interest in one of the promoted queries, which lasted about three days. Of course, traffic decreased, but the situation contributed to the growth of positions!
The mistakes we made
Setting the wrong goals. Before starting work on the project, we decided that it would be right to focus on our 6-year-old experience of entering the English-speaking market.

Therefore, essential factors, such as the population of countries, or the frequency of promoted requests, were neglected. As a result, our goals were overestimated - 10K on two sites. Therefore, it is crucial to study the market and the experience of competitors. Since unattainable goals negatively affect the business and demotivate the team.
Link exchange. At first, it was not possible to find suitable sites since there were few of them, and links were expensive. However, after 4 months, we decided to try and selected 2 sites, focusing on indicators of attendance, prices, and announcements on the main page. The sites had traffic of 0.5 and 9 million per month, and the placement price was $ 100 and $ 300, respectively. In general, we didn't get any profit from them.

And here were our mistakes:

  • we didn't take into account the distribution of traffic between desktop and mobile (our primary traffic is desktop, and mobile prevailed at the site);
  • we didn't analyze where users came from to these sites: it turned out that visitors came to the millionaire site using highly targeted keywords, rather than going to the main site.
The moral is this: you can use exchanges and it can be very effective, however, you should carefully analyze the sites before giving them money for the link.
What result we got
We got excellent results, even though we set high goals. So, the initial goal was 10K per week on both projects, and after implementing the strategy, we got 9K, which is very good, given that we knew little about promotion and made many mistakes. But you learn from mistakes ;) On the graphs you can see how much we have grown over this period:
Conclusion: we wanted to promote our sites - we did it and are doing it, plus we developed a mechanism by which we can promote new language versions. I think now it will be much faster. This result was due to hard work, faith in the product, and result.

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