Learn wow to get more free traffic to your website. This tutorial will cover from step 1 to done on everything you need to know as a beginner SEO for both on page and off page SEO.
We will cover:
- The best practices for website search engine optimization.
- How website rankings work, and what you can do as a webmaster to build high quality backlinks that matter.
- An overview of “keywords” and why you should put revenue over rankings.
- Products, tools and services that can help your website grow faster.
- How to write headlines and titles for your work (as well as how to write).
- Time management advice to help get the quite work that matters – DONE.
CONTENT CREATION VS WEBSITE PROMOTION
With running a website, your time should be divided between content creation and website promotion. Let’s call this work time and money time.
Money time simply refers to those activities that will influence the bottom line of your website. This is the time spent on product creation, on launching new features or services (like starting a podcast for example), and website promotion to draw in new traffic, potential leads, clients, and raving fans. It’s the innovative, off-your-website stuff you need to do.
Work time are those website activities you do to keep your site fresh, secure, consistent, and up-to-date. Like publishing new content, responding to emails, working with clients, website maintenance, market research, meeting your video/podcast schedule. It’s the day to day stuff that keeps the website running and people coming back.
Whats the right balance between work and money?
To grow a website on a consistent monthly aim for roughly 4 hours of content creation for every 1 hour of website promotion.
You have two options.
The first and what I personally like to do is to focus for 1-2 years 100% on content creation for websites. The bulk of the money and traffic will come from having a strong foundation of content. Link building and website promotion is like that icing on the cake.
You need to do it, but I do it on established websites to help take the traffic to that next level.
The second option is to build out your authority content. Content that is going after very competitive keywords, content that is the best in class for it’s keyword and then start building links to that. If you’re able to get a handful of links, these pages will become more authoritative and your whole website will rank much more quickly (including new content).
New webmasters often don’t get the results they want because they ignore the importance of SEO and publishing content people actually want and are looking for.
Instead, most bloggers just repeat and repeat the same steps over and over and never get anywhere, and that is to just publish content. “Good content” does market itself if your website has enough authority with Google behind it, but working on content alone will have you stuck on a treadmill.
You’re also putting yourself into the arms of lady luck by simply publishing content and hoping an praying it will do well. Instead, publish content with a purpose. In another sense, aim instead of shooting blindly.
A lot of bloggers and website builders are also pretty lazy. Which is good for you if you’re willing to do the work. Usually you’re competing against some guy who is looking for that cheat code for making money fast by creating mediocre 300 word content and blasting these pages with links.
You don’t want that if your goal is to build a high traffic website that earns a consistent, regular monthly income that you can rely on.
ON PAGE WORDPRESS SEO
For this web traffic SEO guide, it’s assumed you are:
- Using WordPress
- Using the WordPress plug-in WordPress SEO
Let’s focus on the essentials to increase website traffic. You should make it a habit to read up on a monthly basis the ever evolving best practices of SEO.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. The core concept of SEO is to help your site rank better in search engines. This is done by optimizing your sites content and organization to best and most accurately reflect what it is your content is about so search engines can properly index it and the right people can find it.
The WordPress SEO plug-in is the most feature rich and effective SEO plug-in available and is the one you should install if you’re using WordPress.
In the world of SEO there is what we call “on-page SEO” and “off page-SEO”. On page refers to the customizations to the content and structure of your website, off page refers to building links and promoting your website on other websites and platforms.
This part will help you increase website traffic by leveraging on page SEO. Also, you need to optimize your site. This is something every competent website owner does and you will be at a distinct disadvantage by ignoring the following website SEO best practices.
Permalinks refer to the URL structure of your post/page content in WordPress.
The best structures permalink structures are:
By default WordPress uses a number structure
This is a terrible structure because p=123 tells search engines like Google nothing in regards to what the content is about, so you need to change it by:
WordPress Admin Sidebar -> Settings ->Permalinks
Select Post Name for the post name permalink structure.
If you want the custom structure I use it’s /%category%/%postname%/
2) WWW vs NON WWW
http://website.com and http://www.website.com are two different URLs. You need to pick one. It does not matter which one you pick, so long as you pick one and stick with it. By default WordPress sets your site to be website.com and automatically redirects www.website.com to website.com. You can change this if you like but really it’s more headache to change it than it’s worth and it’s to no additional benefit to you.
So just focus on your website design and content and don’t fret over details like this.
3) Post/Page titles
With the WordPress by Yoast plug-in you can and should handcraft your titles and your meta descriptions. Making sure to accurately describe your content as well as to include keywords or phrases.
What you need to specifically do
Write pithy, interesting headlines that also contain search terms people are actually looking for.
The helpful thing about this is that you can have one title on your website and slightly different on that will show up in Google. Why does that matter? Because it helps with your SEO.
So for example, say you’re going after the keyword “DIY video studio.” You’re going to want to write a title that contains that keyword on your blog. Something like, the “10 Money Saving Tips for your DIY video studio.”
But for Google, you can edit the snipit preview to be slightly different:
DIY Video Studio: 10 Money Saving Tips!
Again, why is that important? Because Google puts more weight on the words that come first. So while on your site, 10 money saving tips is WAY more interesting and clickable, the DIY title is better for SEO.
It’s always a balance like that.
Last with your meta description, that’s where you should write a nice description that uses synonyms and related, less popular keywords.
4) Sitemap XML for SEO
Sitemaps help search engines index your content because they map out your content by post, page, and any categories you may be using. This is most helpful when you create new content that is then added to your sitemap which is then crawled by a search engine spider which in turn indexes your content.
With WordPress the only thing you have to do is install a sitemap plug-in. But if you’re using the WordPress SEO plug-in to help increase website traffic, then all you need to do is go to:
WordPress admin sidebar -> SEO -> XML Sitemap
1) Now check off the box enabling the sitemap feature. Find your XML sitemap by clicking the “find your sitemap here: XML Sitemap”.
2) Go back to Google Webmaster Tools and submit your sitemap under:
Optimization -> Sitemaps
5) Website Speed
Your website speed is affect by numerous variables. The quality of your web hosting, where the server is located, where you visitors are located (if your server is in England but your traffic is from Canada then your site will take some time to load), how many scripts and plug-ins you have installed, how many images are on each page.
Focus on speed, go for as minimal as possible in terms of your website. A
Also install WP-Total Cache. unless your host comes with a specific website speed optimization tool built in. To get it working properly you may have to log into your web hosting account for you website via FTP and set some file permissions to a temporary 777 so they are “writable”.
Once the plug-in writes to the file automatically, change the file permission back to what it was (meaning remember what it is before you change it).
To edit file permissions while in FTP simply right click -> FTP permissions
Also, as your website grows, get a CDN.
A CDN stands for content delivery network. No worries about this when starting out, but it’s very useful when you have a popular high traffic website. The way it works is it’s a network of computers working together to deliver your content more quickly to end users.
So in the first example we have a server in England. So anyone who access your site accesses your server in England. The farther away you are the slower the delivery time. With a CDN your server is now part of a network of servers that help to deliver your content all around the world.
The most popular CDN in use right now is Cloud Flare which is often incorporated into more expensive hosting plans. Again, it’s not something you need to give any thought too when starting out. But as your website grows, you’re making money, a CDN to enhance the performance of your website will make total sense.
6) WordPress duplicate content
When you publish content in WordPress you have the option to put it in a category as well as to give it a tag or multiple tags. The way it’s supposed to work is the category is supposed to be broad like “chocolate” where the tag could be something specific more topic specific like “white chocolate”.
What ends up happening is you have 1) a page of the content you published 2) a category archive page with the content you published 3) a tag archive page of the content you published and 4) an author page of the content you published. That’s over 4 pages with the same material.
You want to use categories and tags if it helps to organize your content for visitors and it’s also helps search engines to understand the structure of your site and to crawl it -BUT you should “nofollow” and “noindex” these archive and author pages.
What this means is search engines will not include these pages in their results.
With the WordPress SEO plug-in you have the option to do this with the click of a button.
The whole idea I’m trying to convey though is to simple do your best to prevent duplicate content. Google is smart at sorting what is what, but don’t have a bunch of tag and category pages with the same content if possible
7) Remove useless links
On many WordPress themes you will have a WP log-in link found on your website in the footer.
You don’t want to link to this page, and you don’t want anyone going to your log-in page either.
8) Link to related content on each page if possible
Many WordPress plug-ins allow you to show “related posts”. Install a plug-in that adds this feature. It’s beneficial from an SEO perspective because it builds links back to quality older content. It’s also useful from user perspective to help people find addition material that they may benefit from.
Want to nerd out even more on this stuff? Check out this guide here. I got you covered with the need-to know stuff, by Yoast get’s into the details.
9) Link out to other websites and blog posts that are relevant
It’s weird if your pages and post don’t have an external or internal links in them. To improve your SEO, it’s helpful to link out to other websites that are related to your content as well as anything you have published on your website that is relevant.
DON’T link out to random irrelevant content. Now, this is not to say it’s the end of the world if you do – but you’ll want to keep your most links relevant.
KEYWORDS, RANKING, & REVENUE
Let me tell you a story.
One of my very first websites back many years ago when I was getting started and learning myself was a dating blog called “super awesome dating”.
Instead of going after keywords with any real value. That is, people looking for an answer or a fix to a problem in their relationships – I decided to go after the keyword “awesome.” Why? Because it was (and still is) searched over HALF A MILLION times a month.
I figured ranking for this keyword would be a boon for my site, turning it into an instantly high traffic website…and I was right. That keyword did have tremendous traffic, BUT what’s the point? Where’s the value?
What a dumb idea. What a waste of time that was. Traffic is is critical, but it needs to be relevant, targeted traffic.
The take away.
Most SEOs and most webmasters for that matter focus on rankings and not revenue. I was a total novice, but even professionals make this mistake. Marketing themselves with the ability to increase your traffic. So what? If you does not increase subscribers, your email list or your bottom line then it doesn’t matter.
Let’s matter. Let’s go after those right keywords that grow our revenue, help reach our right people and grow our websites organically instead of wasting time and money by chasing “high traffic” keywords that won’t amount to anything.
What are keywords?
Keywords are words and phrases you type into search engines to find relevant content. So if you search for “Girls Generation”, THAT is a keyword. You can check keywords and see how many times they are searched for a month by using the keyword planner (free).
It has an intuitive interface so I won’t insult your intelligence by explaining it in any great detail, but one thing to keep note of is to check off “exact” in the left hand sidebar under match type.
“Exact” shows you exactly how many monthly searches occur for a particular keyword or phrase. “Broad” however combines the search volume for all the words in a phrase which may not be accurate or what you want.
Example: I want to know how many searches are for “girls generation” only. I don’t really care how many times a month “girls”, “generation” and “girls generation” are searched for a month combined (this is what “broad” would tell you and is the difference between broad and exact).
The best keywords
The best keywords are keywords where people are always people looking to have a problem solved or to spend money. So if someone is searching for “free website hosting” that person and that search query has little value because the searcher is not looking to spend money. But a guy typing in “how to attract girls” is a much more high value prospect as they are actively seeking a strategy, product, or advice to improve their romantic endeavors with women.
How can you tell if a keyword is worth it?
First, you can look at the phrase itself. Is it something someone types into a web browser to browse, OR is it someone wanting to know how to do something or to buy something? A good example is “Nike Shoes” or “smart phone” -> This type of search query is from a person who is just browsing.
Yes, these are high traffic keywords, but let’s focus on more specific, “buying” keywords like “Nike shoes size 12”. That one is much better.
All markets have these types of valuable keywords – you just need to find them. Caution though, you’re never going to be 100% right. I have web pages ranking for keywords that have good search volume and seem like buying keywords, only to rank for them and discover that this is not the case.
Also, you want to find keywords you can actually rank for over time. If you’re in it for the long haul (as you should be!) this should be no problem.
For example, MANY high value keywords like “credit cards” are impossible to rank for (and if you somehow did your website would be worth millions of dollars).
This is a funny thing with keywords. I could easily rank a website for something silly like “does an ant scratch it’s ass?” but ranking for this would be pointless.
So you have one group that’s impossible like “credit cards” and another group that’s pointless like “does an ant scratch it’s ass?” making both groups completely useless to us.
You need to take time to search for the harder, 3rd type of keyword that you can:
1) rank for by providing the search traffic visitors a content relevant, high quality site for their needs and 2) adds to revenue in some way.
The ideal keyword:
1) A keyword that you can have an opportunity to rank for over time. At least in the top 5 for pages (www.website.com/page). For your homepage (www.website.com) this should be in the top 2.
2) Has as minimal of competition as is possible. This does not always mean NO competition (that’s obviously best), it just means competition you can compete against and win.
The competition is made up of 1) the websites that already rank for the keyword you wish to rank for as well and 2) the websites on page 2 tryingto get on page 1.
To evaluate them I look at:
- How old the website is.
- How many links it has pointing to it.
- How targeted the website is for the keyword.
- Is it a page or the homepage ranking?
Yep, websites with age and posts and pages with age are simply more authoritative.
Yes, what is the link profile of the page like? You can check this using various tools like HREFs.You’re going to have to match then beat that specific link profile.
Sometimes you’ll find a search term where a website ranking is simply ranking accidentally. If you see this, then it’s wide open for you to create an awesome piece of content.
How targeted the keyword is refers to if the website is trying to rank for the keyword or not by having the keyword in the:
- Title tag (the title of the result in Google)
- Meta description
- Keyword found within the website content
- Keyword is found within the homepage URL (www.keywordwebsite.com)
- Keyword is found within the a page URL (www.website.com/keyword)
- Again, a keyword in the homepage is stronger in regards to ranking than a page.
Basically, does it appear that who ever owns the competing website is actively trying to rank for that specific keyword. If yes, then you’re going to have to work hard to win.
Homepage or page?
The homepage of a website normally gets the most links and is the most authoritative page on a website. If you see this, then it may be a no-go unless your website is targeting that keyword or phrase or you’re willing to create a page that can beat the competing websites homepage.
The homepage is typically the strongest page on a website simply because people tend to naturally link to a website homepage like “hey check out www.website.com”, NOT “hey check out www.website.com/PageTitle”.
While it’s preferable to have your keyword in your URL if possible, it’s not an absolute. If you don’t have it you simple need to do more work by going off your website to build links and brand awareness to associate your website with a keyword as is done here.
Three kinds of keywords
Not all keywords are equal. They can be:
Impossible are sites that you will never beat, useless are keywords like “awesome” or “bowling shoes” that don’t have any value because the search intent is not clear. Then the last is valuable.
Also understand that keywords can be broken up into three distinct groups depending on their size.
1) ONE word – Broad/Brand keywords: One word keywords are impossible to rank for. They are always high traffic like “loans” or “website”.
2) TWO word idea/brand keywords: Two word keywords are also difficult to rank for. Typically they’re either short simple ideas, or a brand like “Iphone 7” or “Creative MP4”.
You can and should rank for two word keywords, particularly if it’s the name of your website. Otherwise two word keywords are borderline impossible. They may be of little value as well, due to their non specific, non detailed nature. Like “hot tea” for example. Ranking for this would produce a lot of traffic, but how valuable is this traffic? Are they looking for a solution to a problem or to spend money? Who knows. Maybe they want to buy tea or learn the history of tea. It’s really unclear.
So definitely go after two word keywords with your homepage as the high traffic and broad nature is ideal for building a large regular flow of traffic to your website like “viral marketing” or “dating advice” or even “hot tea” if your website is about tea (but it would be better to find a buying keyword for tea like “Net-book Reviews” for a news site about net-books).
Make sure to pick ONE keyword for your homepage that is searched for at least 10,000 times a month if not more. Your homepage should be going after a keyword that makes sense for your website and meets the search intent of your visitors.
The structure for your homepage should be site title | keyword: Dave’s Awesome Coffee | Making Coffee Made Easy
Blog Post Keywords
For blog posts you’ll want to find various keywords that people search for. I’m all for going after big keywords that other SEO’s shy away from. Many SEO’s will say how you should only go after very long tail keywords like “how to make coffee with “name brand” french press maker. I would rather create the best guide to making coffee with a French press.
Again, it comes down to search intent. What would be best for the end user? If creating a long tail post would be better than an authority guide then do that.
The structure for blog posts should be keyword | site title: The Complete Guide TO Coffee With a French Press | Dave’s Awesome Coffee.
How to find keywords
There are so many ways to find various keywords to create content on.
My favorite way for any new website. There are various tools that let you spy on your competitors keywords. Use these tools like Ahrefs to see where similar websites are getting their traffic from.
Yes tools like this are expensive, BUT it’s not like a web host. You could pay for 1 month, use the tool everyday for a month and collect a bunch of data on your competitors. Then spend the next few months creating content.
There are numerous keyword tools out there that give you a rough estimate as to the search. One of my favorites is KWFinder.com. Keyword tools (there are plenty out there) give you a rough idea as to the search volume and competition behind various phrases.
Using a keyword tool I discovered that the phrase “how to tell if a guy likes you” was searched for 90,000 times a month. This one discovery resulted in me making thousands of dollars.
Google Search Console
Search Console is a free service offered by Google that collects data on your website and over time tells you how your content is appearing in Google. You can use this data to improve your content and to find various keywords that people are using to find your website. When you have this data you can better optimize your website.
Trends let’s you see what’s popular right now in different parts of the world. With this information you could create content that is relevant and is what people are currently searching for (but only if it makes sense). If you run a website about tourism to the US Virgin Islands, it makes little sense to write about the Winter Olympics. Sign up for trends here.
Quora is a place where people ask questions. This is simply a gold mine of various ideas to create content and videos on.
Your own analytics
Use your own data of how people are finding your site to come up with other similar keywords and phrases that may be really popular with minimal competition.
Google / YouTube suggest
Start typing in Google or YouTube, a drop down of what it thinks you’re going to type will appear. These are keywords other people are using. Take them and input them into the various tools we just mentions to get an idea of their value. Also, at the bottom of every SERP page in Google, it provides you with related results.
Join Facebook groups and forums and see what sort of questions people are asking. Often times you’ll come across some questions and keywords you would have NEVER thought of.
HOW TO ACTUALLY BUILD LINKS
Once you have optimized your website for search, it’s time to write quality content that includes your keyword:
- In the title.
- In the meta description.
- In the title on the actual page.
- Found within the content of the page.
- In the URL (so www.website.com/keyword).
The next step after that is to build links to your content so it ranks for keywords and phrases that people actually use. The end result is thousands of free monthly visitors to your website on a consistent and regular basis.
What a keyword is and what makes a good one was previously covered.
How To Use a Keyword
With rankings, there are two types of search results – organic and paid. Organic are the websites that appear because of their relevance to the keyword being searched. Paid are website advertising for that keyword by bidding on it. Meaning you can bid on a keyword, say for example “student loans USA”. Every time someone clicks your advertised website you have pay for that click.
Now keep in mind that this applies only for paid traffic. Paid results are typically shaded a different color with the disclaimer “ads related to (keyword)” and appear at the very top of the results, the very bottom, or off to the side. We want to organically rank for keywords of value and you do this by meeting numerous variables like quality of backlinks, quantity of backlinks, quality of content, social media proof, and on-page website search optimization among other things.
This section focuses on the off page promotion of building quality backlinks to your website.
First, let’s talk about why this works
Search engines use hundreds of factors when ranking websites, backlinks are simply one very important piece of this. Years and years ago however, backlinks used to be the only thing that mattered. This is what made the Google Search Engine so unique when it was created. It would index web content based on relevance, this relevance was determined in large part by how many links a website had pointing to it and in particular how many of these links were “anchor” text links.
So people would game Google. They would create websites on topics like finance and health, then used black-hat tools to build thousands of anchor text links pointing back to their website. The website would rank for high value keywords and the webmaster would make money. Eventually these sites would be de-indexed but not until the webmaster already made a substantial income.
The problem with this short term strategy is it obviously threatens Google’s dominance as a search engine. If the top results for a given phrase are low quality sites who rank only because of thousands of low quality backlinks this does not benefit the person who is using Google to search and they may stop using it.
Think about it, you use Google because it works well. Really well. Google wants keep it this way. So to be concise, don’t make Google, or any search engine for that matter look stupid.
As such, building links and what not is a constantly evolving process as Google cracks down on spam, black-hat techniques and low quality websites. The basics however always stay the same. Create a high quality website. Create keyword rich content for people, not search engines. Promote your website and build links. Then, build links back to your links.
Some definitions we need to mention:
White hat SEO – Common, controversial techniques to help increase your website traffic. Whit hat is effective for long term websites. If you’re building a brand or a website you intent to have for years use white hat. White hat SEO is networking at it’s core where you build a quality website and work with other website owners to help make your website into an authority.
Black hat SEO – Tools and strategies that go against search engines approved terms of service to increase website traffic. The penalties for being caught using black hat techniques include being banned from Google and other search engines – referred to as de-indexing or by simply having your backlinks discounted which results in a drop in rankings. Black hat is good for churn and burn websites. Website where you rank quickly, but where the rankings also won’t last for long. So your website makes a bit of money then stops work…hence churn and burn.
Anchor text – The words used within the hyperlink to another website or web page. So if you want to rank for “stupid cats” you need to have that anchor text with the words “stupid cats” found on other websites…as is done in this sentence for example.
Where to get links from?
The best places to get links from to point directly to your website are from trusted, established, high quality websites with a good page rank. These types of links are very hard to get so getting them will be worth it.
1) Get in-content links from other websites.
Meaning get an article with a link back to your website on another website. This is NOT easy to do but there are multiple ways to do this.
Guest posting is the most conventional.
You can check a site for broken links and email the site owner to replace a broken link with a new link (yours!).
You can email a site an ask them to share a piece of content you wrote. You would do this by first finding other pieces of content they shared already and create something similar.
You can do an interview. This interview can be text based or web based. Often the other person will link to the interview and share it on social media.
Create an infographic and find sites that would be a good fit to share the inforgraphic.
Basically, you need to start emailing and networking to get links to your website.
You will be ignored.
You may get 1 or 2 links per 50 people you contact. BUT these links are gold and are what will build your website traffic.
What is Anchor Text?
Anchor text simply means the hyperlinked word pointing back to your website. The anchor text matters but honestly you won’t have much control over this if you’re getting real links from site owners.
You’re going to want a a variety of anchor text links in an ideal world. But again you don’t have control over this so don’t worry. Just be happy to get a link and instead focus on exact match anchor text within your own website and on social media platforms.
Increase your social share
If you have the time for it, and want traffic a bit faster than waiting for Google to organically rank you as well as waiting on other sites to link to you – turn to social media.Facebook is a waste of time unless you’re going to run ads.Instagram can act as a second email list of sorts but it only works if you have a following. Building a following is hard.Pintrest can drive a lot of traffic, particularly if you’re after a female centric audience.Reddit is ideal for finding a male audience.YouTube – YouTube can send a lot of traffic by having by having your link in the video description as well as pinned comments.
You’re going to have two main sources of traffic typically:
Google and a social network.
Yes, you’ll have a lot of different traffic sources as your website ages, but the bulk of any popular website you find always has two main sources. It’s the Pareto Principle in action.
But think more deeply about that simple sentence.
How does Google rank your pages and posts? It does it based on backlinks. How do you get backlinks exactly? Well you can do basic stuff like commenting on other websites, forum signatures and YouTube descriptions and what not. But those links won’t help you rank. They will just let Google know your website exists.
The real key is to be on the constant lookout for networking opportunities. LAME, you want some super secret link building strategy.
Well sorry, that IS my strategy. Now there are clever things you can do like reverse engineer the links of other more popular websites in your industry or use tools to find broken links on a website and then email the webmaster and offer a replacement to the broken link – but the core remains the same.
Quality links are links that are tough to get.
How to network
James Clear of JamesClear.com and previously PassivePanda.com built a huge online presence by getting lot’s of high quality links to his website from big websites like Men’s Fitness and the Huffington Post.
Did they reach out to him?
He set out looking for places where his content would be a good fit and allowed that content to be published and shared. Not only would these websites simply publish his content they would also send out notifications to their massive email lists.
What happened is obvious. You get attention and become one of the “cool” kids everyone knows about. Your ability to attract natural links increases too and it simply gets easier once you do the really hard work of getting noticed.
He was also smart in that he focused on building his email list. A blog + email list + product = information business.
The basic idea is you need to network and get links from other websites. HOW you do that takes a bit of creativity. Create an infographic, a video, blog post.
Step 1 – Email Outreach
Nothing fancy here, bloggers all run in the same circles and if you can do a sort of blitzkrieg where you get featured on a handful of popular websites, podcasts and YouTube channel you’ll appear to be everywhere. Your first step is to simple reach out to other people. It’s called the internet for a reason:
Great content. I noticed you had a typo/error/mistake on this page. Take a look again at the page. Love your blog/website keep it up.
If there is some sort of value you can provide go for it. But the first email just keep it simple and introduce yourself and softly mention your website. I enjoy getting emails like this and almost always checkout the linked website because people who run websites are normally getting emails from spammers.
Step 2: Be Useful
Look, provide value. Sometimes that first email will start a conversation. Great, you made a friend. Other times it won’t lead anywhere and the person will stop replying. Whatever, move on to the next. It happens. But your goal with someone who has a bigger and more powerful web presence than you is to HELP THEM.
People who run big websites don’t need to help you because they don’t need you in the first place to be honest. But the law of reciprocity exists. You do something nice for me, i’ll be more inclined to help you. You don’t need to do anything crazy. Something as simple as saying “HEY I linked to your website/gave you a shout out here” is fine. You could also do a round up blog post and include them in that post too.
Step 3: Ask
At this point, we should be 2 months in or so. Now is the time to ask for an opportunity to write a guest post:
I don’t know if you publish guest posts or not, but I’ve been working on something and I think it would do well on Website Creative Pro. Is it cool if I send it over and have you take a quick look? It’s totally fine if you’re not interested or you don’t think the content is a good fit.
Keep the emails short. Notice how my emails are a few sentences. People won’t read big blocks of text typically. Don’t tell people what do to either. While obvious, I can’t tell you how many emails I get saying “check out my website.”
Most people will reply back to you once but won’t be interested in building a relationship. Meaning they will ignore you after. Don’t take it personally. You should be spending a whole day networking, expect a success ration of 20%.
Never ask for anything major. A quick question is fine, but be focused on helping the influencer.
Try to customize the guest post based on the target website.
Content comes in all forms. Audio, video and written. Be flexible.
Build your email list if you’re building a business.
Be creative and smart! Stop waiting and take what is yours!
DO YOU NEED TO BUILD LINKS?
I remember reading about the founder of UniverseToday.com and how he built his website and traffic to an astonishing 80,000 visitors per day.
His secret was really no secret at all. He just published articles people were searching for that happened to be related to space and the universe. This is known as publishing keyword focused content… or if you want a sexier term: “content marketing”.
He went after phrases like “why does the moon glow” or “how big is the sun” or “whats the biggest know star in the known universe”.
Then he built a community around his website through social media.
THAT’S IT. THAT’S ALL HE DID. RINSE AND REPEAT
Now once he had an audience he smartly expanded the reach of Universe Today into social networks. He was one of the first to showcase the power of Google Hangouts by hosting live space events with Google Plus by having people from around the world hook up their computers to telescopes for all to observe the night sky in different parts of the world.
Very cool stuff he does, and a massive website he does run. All of this of course helps to continue growth of his website (including his publishing schedule and keyword strategy).
BUT HOW DID HE GET HERE?
Do you know how long it took him to get to this point to get this level of traffic? Around 8 years.
8 YEARS IS NOT A STRATEGY, IT’S A HOBBY.
With any new website or blog or business, if you build it:
THEY WILL NOT COME
You have to hit the proverbial pavement and promote your website in forums, guest posts, writing content for other websites, interviews and so forth. You have to get over that hump so people know you exist. If know one knows you exist you’re not going to attract backlinks.
No backlinks means you have no trust and authority with the search engines. No trust and authority means you will not rank for phrases related to your websites content.
If you’re not indexed for anything people actually search for you won’t receive traffic. No traffic means you’re screwed.
HOW DO I KNOW?
When I launched a personal development website a few years ago, I did no link building and no keyword research. I just wrote on topics I wanted to. The result from having 30+ blog posts all 2000 words or more longer?
40 visitors a day.
A TOTAL WASTE OF TIME
You’ll get traffic by virtue of your content being long and detailed but gone are the days of thinking you’ll build a large audience without taking into account what search engines and people want.
IF YOU BUILD IT RIGHT, THEY WILL COME
If you do correct keyword research and build a brand on a topic, it WILL get traffic from Google if you’re creating best in class content. Most people are simply not willing to create 5000 word blog posts that take a few days to write but it’s what is required.
Links are important too, but again I like to build links after the website is built out for the most part.
THESE GUYS GET IT
Scott Dinsmore of LiveYourLegend.net wrote 20+ guest posts (see them here) that resulted in 4,000 subscribers that formed the base of his audience (which has now grown to 30,000+).
Derek over at SocialTriggers.com leveraged his contacts of A-List bloggers for free website reviews which all went live at or around the same time. This “blitz” resulted in you not being able to ignore Derek. This “off your website” strategy directly increase his subscriber base by the thousands and put Derek on the map as a go to source for online marketing.
Steve at MyWifeQuitHerJob.com launched an online store and promoted it in relevant forums as a way to make initial sales. He wrote articles on other websites for backlinks and promotion. He went and submitted his website to directories. His product description were matched with keywords that people searched for. He did not just make his online store and hope that people would just magically show up. He did what he had to in order to make things work.
David at TheRiseToTheTop.com started off with a local TV show which helped grow his interview website for what he calls “mediaprenurs”. With each interview, he grew his reputation and portfolio of interviews which allowed him to leverage his previous work to go after bigger more high profile people.
Each of these interviews helped grow his website because the interviewee would share the interview with his network of people. Oh, and he did this while also posting 5 days a week for the first 2 years. He spent as much time off his website as much as he spent on it.
THE MAIN TAKEAWAYS
Starting a new website or e-business or blog is like trying to roll a boulder up a hill. It takes a lot of creative thinking and hard work to get over that hump.
Once you have a website that is getting 400-500+ visitors a day from search, you have an email list series set up, you have return traffic of over 25% , your website has some age to it, YOU WILL BE over that hump and will begin to notice your website traffic levels start to grow organically and exponentially…
- Search engines trust you and rank you more easily
- People know you exist and share your content via social media and word of mouth
- Webmasters know you exist and are more likely to link to you
- You have an audience and an online presence and reputation.
So once you’re over this proverbial hump it makes sense to focus more specifically on your own website, but if you’re just starting out you need to get out there and push that boulder everyday to make your idea work.
GROWTH IS IN THE LONG TAIL
Build your authority content. Content that is 5,000 words or more. Promote those pages and get links to those pages. That will help your website as a whole. Then you’ll be able to go after content that focuses on smaller keywords as well as content that is shorter because your whole blog and website is simply more authoritative.
But the idea that you’re going to make content and it will just rank is like having a fancy restaurant on the 20th floor of a building; hoping that people will stumble by, be amazed and tell their friends.
What if no one stumbles by? You’re going to just wait? No. You would promote your place of business. You need to do the same for a website.
Focus on long tail keywords for the short term and high value keywords for the long term. Long tail keywords CONVERT better than short 1-3 word keywords. I know because I used to have a website that ranked for “awesome”. All that did was drive a ton of traffic to my website but not any sales or sign-ups.
Revenue over rankings is more important with an e-business and you’re going to find that it’s more profitable and helpful to your right people if your website ranks for long tail keywords like “buy Nike shoes size 12” than it is to rank for “Nike shoes”. Ranking for Nike shoes will bring you way more traffic, but if that traffic does not convert, whats the point?
Conclusion: What backlink building is not
Link building is not spamming blogs with stupid comments. It’s not joining 100 different forums so you can get a profile link. It’s not taking any shortcut meant to manipulate your rankings. What build links actually is consists of is the hard work of building relationships with people in your industry, writing content for other website with the intent to get exposure from that audience. Building yourself on other platforms that can drive back traffic to your website.
Link building is pushing that boulder up the hill so people and search engines will pay attention to you. You need to push. You need to build links. In fact, you are losing out on money and traffic to not build links and market your blog and website. In other words:
No traffic = No prospects = No sales = No business