I've been working on a site in the online dating niche, specifically about Mexican brides. It's based on Wordpress hosted on my own VPS. I launched the site in August of last year, 2010.
I created it based on keyword research I had been doing, poking around the "relationship" and "romance" topics. What I found was a couple of keyword phrases that looked reasonably good - decent search volume, without too much stiff competition.
I did what I would normally do for this type of project. I began by researching the topic and writing some original, high-quality articles on various related subjects. I launched the site, got it indexed, and began some basic link-building activities.
After about 5-6 weeks, I was able to achieve high Page 1 rankings on the main two keyword phrases. The site is monetized with pretty specific, well-targeted affiliate dating offers, specifically the Hispanic market.
Since the site was based around dating women or finding brides in Mexico, that's what all the content was about, with a few articles on general marriage and romance.
Well, I started getting good traffic, and clicks on the dating offers. Conversions were decent, and the site was earning good revenues.
About 3 months in, I stopped most of my backlinking activities. The site held stable with it's Page 1 rankings.
Then I noticed a drop-off in commissions from the affiliate offers. Upon closer inspection, I found the site had dropped off the map. A few weeks later it was back on Page 1. Then a few more weeks and it was gone again.
Since then, I've been fighting a battle trying to regain my good rankings. I've renewed my link-building, but have only seen sporadic improvements. The site would show back up on Page 1 for a few days, then disappear again.
At this time, I have no idea why it's having such trouble holding on to it's rankings. No clue. It's particularly annoying in that the sites that outrank it and have good positions aren't strong sites. Nor are they optimized either for "Mexican brides" or "Mexican mail order brides", the two main phrases I'm targeting.
Well, the only thing I can think of doing is sticking with my renewed link building efforts. Just yesterday, I saw it finally re-emerge, albeit at the bottom of Page 2.
Hopefully this is just an anomaly and I'll re-gain m my rankings, which at one time were in the top 3 positions.
What's the moral of the story? I don't know. If I get good positioning back, I'd have to say it is maintaining consistency in building backlinks, even once you achieve your desired position.
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