You Got 99 Problems But SEO Ain’t One
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process to improve the visibility of either a website or webpage on various search engines to rank higher in searches. While the acronym may sound scary, after reading this guide you be fully equipped on tackling SEO yourself.
I will tell you why SEO is important, why you need to learn it and how you can use it to rank your sites in Google and Bing to make more $$$.
Why should I learn SEO?
You don’t have to learn anything you don’t want to. But if you want to make money online, it’s probably a good idea to learn the core concepts of SEO at the very least.
SEO is a free way to generate traffic for your website. Implementing SEO costs absolutely nothing and is the only method of online marketing where prospects come to you.
An example of SEO in practice
Let’s say you manage an online website that sells golf equipment, your store sells several very expensive Nike golf clubs. After doing some keyword research you find out that “Nike golf clubs” yields more than 6,600 monthly searches on Google alone in the United States.
That’s 6,600 potential leads.
Next you decide to create an article or webpage on your site that is optimized using best SEO practices (discussed later) for the keyword “Nike golf clubs”. Using the amazingly awesome tips in this guide you managed to rank #1 on Google for ‘Nike golf clubs’. Research suggests that over 45% of people will click the first result on Google.
That’s 2,970 targeted leads you’re bringing to you site from optimizing a single page on your website with SEO.
For argument sake let’s say you only convert 2% of leads , that still 60 sales per month! For free!
Now think about all the other products and services your online business offers. You create SEO content based around each keyword to bring in more prospects.
“We are going to be rich!”
But wait, it’s not as simple as that.
So how do I SEO my website?
There are two types of SEO – on-page SEO and On-site SEO. On-page SEO is the actual content you create, how it should be structured, length, writing style, images, tags and more. On-site SEO includes website URLS, sitemaps, and other things that readers won’t see but the web crawlers will.
What is a web crawler?
A web crawler is a virtual robot that searches the Internet and indexes websites in search engines. Each search engine has their own crawlers which have been programmed to index content based on a number of factors.
SEO is a way to manipulate your content so web crawlers favor your content and rank it higher. Google, Bing and Yahoo all have their own web crawlers that index content based on complicated algorithms.
Web crawlers are super advanced so don’t try to trick them (using black-hat techniques). You may outsmart them today but they are constantly being updated and if they find out you’re using black hat techniques, they will banish your website from the Internet for ever.
How To Do On-Page SEO
To optimize your on-page SEO follow the structure below to create SEO optimized content:
Source a keyword – On-page SEO starts with a keyword. Each page on your site should be optimized around a single keyword. This keyword should not be used on more than one page.
The keyword should have a density of no more than 1.5- 2% on the page. This simply means for every 1,000 words your keyword should be used no more than 20 times. Search engines will penalize your site and rank you lower if you ‘stuff-keywords’ in an attempt to rank higher by fooling the crawlers (I told you they were smart).
The keyword should be in your title, in one H2 tag, in the first paragraph and also the final paragraph.
Create high quality content – Your page needs to be highly informative. Search engines have only one objective: to rank the best content at the top. If your content stinks or isn’t worth the virtual paper it is written on, you won’t rank well.
Search engines use bounce-rate (how many people instantly leave your page after clicking) as one factor to how valuable the content is.
Create long copies – Word length is a big factor for SEO and the longer the better. In a highly competitive niche you ideally want to be aiming for at least 3,000 words or more. If creating profitable affiliate review sites in micro-niches then 1,000 words minimum per page is about right.
Some topics will be impossible to write 3,000 words on without writing a lot of fluff. If that is the case always stick to quality over quantity.
Content should pass Flesch Reading Ease test – This is a readability test that search engines use to rank content. The easier your content is to read the higher it will rank.
The formula to sentence structuring is to use as few words as possible in each sentence. Less syllables each word has the better. A bit like this paragraph. It is short and sweet.
Complicated words, long winded sentences or high syllable words will hinder your on-page optimization.
Images and videos – A picture is worth a thousands words. All content should have at least 1 image per 750 words and videos where possible.
I would always suggest using YouTube videos as they are owned by Google. YouTube make money when people view their videos and having YouTube videos on your site gives Google even more incentive to rank your content higher.
When you attach an image to your webpage it will ask for you for an alt tag, this is a tag web crawlers will look for when people search for images. Ensure at least one image has the keyword alt tag.
Internal and external linking – Internal linking is linking to other pages on your website, such as my awesome 5 Telling Signs You’re Going To Quit Your Job article. External linking is to websites within your niche that provide the reader extra value or to reference a point you’re making.
You need to be linking to sites that have a high Page Rank as these links are more trusted and respected than newer sites. You may feel that linking out is bad because people may leave your site, but external links help Google crawl the Internet and you scratch their back, they scratch yours.
Pro-tip: When creating external links always make sure they open in a new web tab so readers will continue reading your content.
Pro-Tip 2: Don’t link to direct competitors, rather link to news related websites within your niche.
Geo-targeting – Websites that are location specific should mention the city or country in their content. Best SEO practices state you should mention the place in the first and final paragraph.
You can also go one further and use Google Webmaster Tools to adjust the parameters of your site so it is ranked higher in certain cities or countries than others.
Social media sharing buttons – Everything seems to be swaying towards social media in 2015, even SEO. Allowing readers to share your content is good for your link-building strategy and is a factor search engines use to gauge how valuable your content is.
Use good grammar – Yes even grammar matters for SEO. Make sure your content is optimized for grammar. If your customer base is in England you should be using UK English (rubbish, lift, pavement). The same applies if your customer base is in the United States, you should be using American English (trash, elevator, sidewalk).
Formatting posts – Formatting content greatly affects SEO. Take this article for example. All our paragraphs are small, easy to read, highly entertaining and informative (I hope).
I’ve used sub-headings with the appropriate H2 and H3 tags, split content up into sections and if you scrolled down the article really fast you would clearly understand the message behind the article.
They may have taught you in school to write huge paragraphs that would resemble the Great Wall of China, but in 2015 – ain’t nobody got time to read that!
How to measure your on-page SEO efforts
Thankfully WordPress has a plugin for everything. To measure how good my on-page SEO content is I use Yoast WordPress SEO. It’s a free plugin that measures everything we have talked about above. It will highlight your keyword density, Flesch Reading Ease test score, and provide tips on how you can better improve your content.
This is a great tool for all beginners learning SEO.
On-site optimization is just as important as on-page. These are all the things you should be covering:
Structuring your URL – Each URL should have a keyword associated with it and kept short. For example, let’s say we create an article topic on 25 Reasons Why Nike Golf Clubs Are The Best. The URL would read:
While the keyword ‘Nike golf clubs’ is there, the URL is too long and even looks a bit spammy. You can keep the same title but adjust the URL to read:
Here is a perfect example of what I am talking about:
These kinds of URLs look much more friendly to share on social media and forums.
Create regular posts – Google and the like rank websites who produce content on a regular basis higher than those who don’t. How many times to post a week? As often as you can without comprising the quality of your content.
Meta description – Is the few lines of text describing each webpage on the Google search. You’re given a 159 characters to persuade someone to click on your link. Ensure it contains your keyword.
Using the correct anchor text – Anchor text is a word linked with a URL. Last week I talked about creating a profitable affiliate review site, see what I did? I just created an anchor text link.
When the search engines crawlers come on our site and read this mind-blowing article, they will tag last weeks blogs post with the term ‘profitable affiliate review site’. The more I use these kinds of anchor text the higher the page will rank for that specific keyword.
Sitemaps – A sitemap is a XML file that has a link of every single webpage on your site. XML files allow web crawlers to accurately index your site faster. That Yoast WordPress SEO plugin I mentioned earlier creates this for you.
Site performance – If your website takes too long to load – you will rank lower in searches. I really like using Google PageSpeed Insights to measure the performance of my sites. It will show you what areas you need to improve and how you can do it.
Mobile friendly – More than 50% of all users who access the Internet do so using a mobile device. Websites which are mobile friendly tend to rank higher for users who search on mobile and tablet devices.
Back-Linking For SEO
You can create the world’s best SEO optimized content around a specific keyword but without back-links you won’t be going anywhere. A back-link is quite simply another website linking a URL of yours on their website. Take the Google PageSpeed Insights link above, that is a back-link for Google.
In a nutshell, the more back-links you have pointing towards your site (people linking your pages on their websites) the higher your website will rank. A back-link tells search engines that websites trust your website and what you offer is valuable content – otherwise why would they share your links?
This is a positive indicator and the more positive indicators you have the better. Back-links in the online world may also be referred as bringing ‘juice’ to your site.
There are two types of back-links, they are:
Do-follow – This is a link that tells crawlers to go and index the link and that the link is trusted.
No-follow – Is a type of link that redirects people to your site but tells the crawler not to index or visit the page. While this is not good (it’s not bad either) for SEO, you can gain traffic from the link itself.
Whenever you’re affiliating a product you should label the link as no-follow else you could be in trouble. When you’re selling or prompting a product you should always ensure the link is no-follow.
Not all back-links are measured equally
There are factors that determine how valuable each back-link is to improve your SEO efforts, they include:
Global popularity – If your website can get linked on a site like Wikipedia, CNN News or other huge websites you have hit the jackpot. Sites that have a high PageRank and Trust Rank will be worth more value.
Relevance – If you run a travel site and obtain back-links from a site that reviews washing machines, the link doesn’t carry too much value. Back in the day Internet marketers would back-link all their websites together to gain higher rankings, but search engines have gotten wise to this and may even penalize you for doing so.
Anchor text – Sites that are linked using a specific anchor text keyword over and over again will rank a lot higher for that keyword.
Social media – There is much debate in the SEO world on how important social media sharing links are. People only share good content that they want others to see, and many marketers believe that search engines will factor in social sharing much more highly in the upcoming years.
What you shouldn’t do when building back-links
Google and Bing will penalize your site and even remove it off their search engines if you use black-hat tactics. These include paying for back-links, overusing anchor texts or using back-linking software builders.
Google wants all links to be ‘natural’ – meaning they shouldn’t be paid for or linked for the sake of improving your sites.
Don’t join link wheel sites where you swap links in order to bring juice back to your site or any other scheme. You may come across blogs where people leave the most pathetic of pathetic comments and place a totally irrelevant URL back to their site.
This is super spammy and puts your website in a bad light, I don’t suggest you do this.
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Is SEO dead?
Hell no! I hate it when people say that.
Let me prove to you how valuable SEO can be in 2015. I run a popular travel blog about living in Bangkok that gets on average 1,200 unique users and 2,400 page views per day. How do I get my traffic?
As you can see I get 81.59% of my traffic from search engines. I rank #1 for a lot of my main keywords some of which bring me 400+ views per day from Google. I managed to do all this from using the SEO tactics above and link-building naturally.
I never paid for any links, instead I kept churning out quality content and people started linking back to my site. I got asked to do guest posts which helped my link-building strategy and before I knew it I had more viewers than I could shake a stick at.
Many will tell you SEO is dead or no longer useful but that is a lie. The biggest problem people have is not being patient. It takes time to create useful content and build links. The more patience you have the better your efforts will be.
SEO does not work miracles overnight, it takes months or even years. Hell, even the age of your website is a SEO factor.
Marketers who can’t rank well using SEO either don’t understand how it works or don’t have the patience. My travel site made me $0 for the first year but I didn’t expect it to (nor was it my goal).
Today it nets me more than I need to live in Thailand and a little left over for ‘entertainment’ :D.
Thank you SEO!
How SEO can help you make money
So I’ve given you the basics on understanding SEO, how it works and a beginner’s guide on how you can get started. Alongside bringing you free traffic, SEO has other uses. These include:
1. Insane ROI
I rank #1 on Google for an affiliate product I sell on my site. Guess how much I paid to get my page to rank #1 in Google?
That one page alone yields me anywhere from $900-$1,025 per month. Where else are you going to get that sort of return on investment?
2. Brand awareness
If you’re thinking about starting a drop-shopping website, online marketing agency or even taking your offline business online, SEO helps brand and bring confidence to your business.
Let’s say you own an online flouriest store, when people in the local area search “dozen red roses” or “Valentine’s Day flowers’ and your website is repeatedly being shown on the first page, you’re a business to be trusted.
Even in 2015 some consumers are worried about purchasing online, but if your website continues to appear on the first page of Google, some of their worry is put at ease.
3. Lead generation
Why look for leads when the leads can come look for you? If I need my toilet unblocked after eating a spicy Indian curry or I need to fix that leak in the kitchen, where do I go? To Google of course.
Lead generation is not cheap and for new marketers it can take you a while to find out your target demographic, where they hang out and how to actually generate leads online. SEO solves that problem.
Customers will type in phrases to Google (phrases you have optimized your site for) and a large portion of them will land directly on your site.
4. SEO shows you what your ideal customer looks like
With the help of Google Analytics (GA) each time a user visits your website via the search engines, GA will collect all sorts of cool metrics from each viewer. Their age, location, gender, the keyword they searched, how long they spent on your website and much more.
This data can help you make better decisions for your business and help you develop marketing strategies around it.
I hope you don’t feel like you have just gotten clubbed over the head with a large stick with all the information I have given you. This guide is aimed at new marketers who are looking to get their teeth stuck into building their first website and getting it to rank well.
All tips and advice listed can be done yourself and should be followed as the foundation to build any future content. As you learn more about your niche and SEO, you will be able to take your website to higher levels and hopefully earn more $$$.
Ready To Take Your Traffic To A New Level?
If you have any questions or enjoyed this article, leave a comment below!