Monday, July 25, 2011

How to Use SEO Wisely for Long-term Profits

By now, we have all read about the basics of search engine optimization.  But despite knowing all the best practices, only a very few of us practice them.  I know this because shamefully, it was only recently I realized that most of my content isn’t search engine optimized.

This doesn’t make sense: you work hard using social media to get the word out about your glorious new post and are dying to see your Twitter stream blow up with your content.  That’s great and all, but why not optimize your work for the search engines and receive consistent, targeted traffic every day?

See, it’s the year 2011 and having grown up in an age where the Internet has morphed into a powerful tool, we use it for far more than stalking people on Facebook; I personally use the Internet for online shopping, restaurant reviews, dentist reviews (not kidding!), product reviews, checking out bands, downloading music… I could go on forever.  Whoever has their sites ranking in the top few related results is (potentially) raking in a lot of targeted traffic and money. This could be you.

If you have a blog online, the bottom line is you need to reach targeted audience.  You need to draw in new visitors on a constant basis to expand your online domain.

Shucks, Pa! How can I reach my target audience?!

With a few more simple but smart moves, you can really get a nice amount of new visitors on a monthly basis.

Hopefully, you know what type of audience you are trying to reach.  To reach your audience, a big part of what we, SEO practitioners, do is called keyword research.  You can use a free tool like the Google Keyword Tool to decide what keywords are worth your time.

For a solid year, I have been relying a little bit on keyword research and more so on social media (thanks to Twitter and my fellow network) to drive traffic to my site.

The main keyword that I have been trying to rank my blog for receives a nice 9000-10,000 hits a month.  Nice big fish, right?  Only problem is, it can take a while to rank for competitive keyphrases.  However, something pretty cool happened in the process of trying to aim for the main keyphrase: I now rank for another keyphrase that receives about 2000 searches a month globally.

Thanks to ranking for this “smallish” keyphrase, I get new visitors consistently every day.  Without having to do any extra work!

What does an extra 50-100 visitors a day mean for you?  Could this result in extra subscribers to your email list, affiliate sales down the line, new loyal readers?

Start with your blog posts

Even though you have a main keyword you want your blog to rank for, you should take a look at your past posts. Do you have any posts that review a product or shed light on a sub-topic?

For product keywords, you can easily optimize your post to rank for “product name”, “product review” type of keywords.  Even if these terms receive a low number of searches a month, you can earn a few affiliate sales because these are known as buyer keywords. People use such keywords to make up their minds about purchasing the products by looking up reviews; if everything checks out, they are ready to buy the product or service.  You want your link to be the one they click through to make that product or service purchase!

Move onto sub-topics

As for a sub-topic, again conduct some research using the Google Keyword Tool.  Just because you want your blog to rank for “vegetable gardening” [5400 searches globally] doesn’t mean you can’t have a post that ranks for “grow tomatoes” [1300 searches globally].  You can surely see that people who are interested in growing their own tomatoes would most likely also be interested in vegetable gardening.

Better yet, if you do proper keyword research, you can end up with a keyword pyramid which can help you dominate your competitive keyphrases a lot easier.

Since my blog is well over the year mark, I have made a list of five posts (and keyphrases) that I’d like to rank.  This may take me a couple of months but it ensures the survival of my blog.  I have already begun my SEO efforts on this post: Why Blog Blueprint Rocks For Your Backlinking Campaign—The Most Important Words You’ll Read Today.

About a month ago, this blog post didn’t rank in the top 1000 search results in Google.  Thanks to an awesome gig on Fiverr, it ranks #23 in Google now and I will keep up my backlinking efforts until I see it ranking in top three in Google search results.

If we take a look at my keyword research, you may think that ranking for this post isn’t even worth my efforts:

But that’s where you’re wrong! Not only is the competition for these keywords low but ranking this post in conjunction with a few other posts for the appropriate keywords will result in new, steady traffic.

Take action NOW

Which two or three posts can you rank with some on-page and off-page optimization?  Doing keyword research for these posts and hiring someone on Fiverr should take less than an hour.  The purpose here is to leverage your existing content using search engine optimization to get new visitors.

Ranking your post or website can take a nice amount of work and time.  It takes patience and endurance, kind of like a ninja. Seriously!

The first step in getting your site to rank is to conduct search engine optimization on the post.  If you are using WordPress for your blog, then hopefully you are using the All-In-One-SEO Pack for on-page optimization.  If you’re not, then you have some work to do.  This plug-in makes it super easy to fill in tags, description and title of your post (as in filling in the meta tags specifically for the post) for the search engines:

Next, you need your post to receive some backlinks.  If you have a powerful network, you can ask your friends to link to you (yeah right!)  For blogs with a small readership, this won’t come so easily.
If not, you can take matters into your own hands.  You can create social bookmarking links, article links, web 2.0 links or a nice link wheel.  You can take it a step further and use Fiverr to get your backlinking done.

However, don’t expect results overnight.  Rarely does this happen.
By ranking three of your posts for search terms that receive 1000 searches each, you have potentially added 1500-2500 new visitors every month.  For small blogs, this number of visitors a month is a lifeline.  Once the work is done, you will reap the benefits for months and years to come.  Even Darren dedicates time to search engine optimizing his posts once a month, only on a much bigger scale.  But you can start small and build your way up.

Why SEO is your friend

Most people new to search engine optimization give up before they see any results which is a shame because it can sustain your blog and your business.

Advertising takes money.  Search engine rankings can take time.  However, I’m a fan of SEO and ranking your website because it’s a low cost solution as long as you don’t mind putting in consistent effort and have time.

Within one month’s time, I’d love to share with you how my blog post is faring in the search engines.  Why not throw in the gauntlet?  What post(s) will you be working on ranking in Google?  Please let me know in the comments section.

Moon Hussain loves utilizing search engine optimization to fuel her so-called passive income experiments blog.  Check out her free report, To the Moon & Back: Honest Guide to Building Successful Passive Income Businesses Online in which she discusses all that she’s learned in a year.

Source: Problogger

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