Recently in Episode 39, I stated that most bloggers, podcasters, forum owners, videographers, etc. should spend most of their time on making great content and very little time jacking around with SEO (search engine optimization). I won’t rehash it here, if you want to know my views on this, just listen to Episode 39. I also did state though that even for bloggers and other daily content creators SEO plays a role and I promised to discuss that role further. As I thought about it, I decided that an article would be better for that then a podcast, so here we go.
First I am going to begin with from a few assumptions. One assumption is that you are using WordPress because it is flexible, has tons of plugins and is the best damn blogging platform in existence. I am also going to assume if you don’t blog and have more of a store front site you can edit your site. I am also going to assume you are running some sort of analytics on your site that will at a minimum track key words from search engines. I recommend you run three, Google Analytics, Stat Press and Woopra. If you are not running at least one of them, flatly you are wrong go get them on your site before you continue. They are all free so you have no excuse for not doing it.
Now a condition, if you don’t want to listen to me and are going to use Blogspot or Movable Type or some other such thing, it is up to you to figure out how to do the things I am going to lay out here. I will tell you what needs to be done but if you want to go off the reservation with another platform, I am leaving the how up to you. So here we go…
Phase One Standard Practice On Site SEO
- Step One – You should install the “all in one SEO pack for WordPress” NOW if you haven’t already done so.
- Step Two – Pick a few main key word phrases to target with your overall site. The Google Key Word tool can help you with this. You need to write your title and description tags like advertising copy. I fully explain that including using video and providing additional resources in Episode 6. Go watch that video now. Then come back and continue.
- Step Three- In your WordPress back end go to settings > all in one seo and make sure it is “enabled”, simply put the Title Tag and Description Tag for your over all site in the fields and scroll to the bottom and click on update options.
- Step Four – From that point on when you post a new article or notes to accompany a podcast or a video (if you are a YouTuber, you need a blog and you need to embed each video in a post and do a write up abut the content, basically a brief blog post to go with it so you can get traffic beyond the Youtube community) you are going to write a unique title tag and description tag using the guidelines that I gave you in Episode 6, you will ALWAYS USE those guidelines.
- Step Five – Install the SEO Smartlinks Plugin in Word Press. Play with it a bit and learn how it works. I will be talking about some uses for it in the section on Link Based SEO below. But for now just know this plugin can do some really cool crap that has nothing to do with SEO. Allow me to demonstrait, say I mention Gary Vaynerchuck’s book “Crush It” in a post, like I just did. So now I cart my happy ass over to Amazon.com and make an affiliate link so if you happen to click on the link and buy it I make a few bucks, hold on I will be right back. As you can see the term Crush It is now hyper linked with my amazon affiliate link. Actually I did it a year ago, then I went to settings > SEO Smartlinks in Word Press scrolled down to Custom Key Words set that up, I did it once and it is now forever. You can do this for any page on or off your site. I show you exactly how to do this in the video in Episode 21.
With that 90% of what you really need to worry about is done, the key is make sure you always craft a good title and description tag with each post.
Phase Two – Basic Link Optimization and Link Acquisition
- Step One – Go ahead and link to your site using your primary key word term from any site you control. Instead of bugging people for link exchanges make sure things like forum profiles, social media profiles, etc have links to your site. It is silly to chase links when you already own sites and “social media property” where you can do it yourself.
- Step Two – Go write a few articles (just 2-3) and put them on article directories and some micro blogs (like a free one at blogspot and may be a tumblr one) and link them to your site. I show you how to do that in Episode 19. Avoid No Follow Links I show you how to do that in my article, “Are Your Link Partners Screwing You Over“. They key is just get some links to your main site from at least 3-4 places.
- Step Three – If you have friends and associates that will give you links just by asking, don’t be a dumb ass ask for them and get the link juice. If no, rock on and DO NOT sweat it.
- Step Four – Get your ass busy making content and don’t even think abut links again for say a month or three. If you make great content links will happen.
If you will commit your ass to producing content daily instead of making some sort of bullshit excuse as to why you don’t have time, trust me that is all the link building you need to get off the ground.
Phase Three – Begin Mining for Gold
Remember how I said you had to have analytics of some kind running on your site so you could track visitors from the search engines? This is one of the many reasons why!
- Step One – Start going into your analytics every few days and determine what search engine traffic you are getting and look for a golden nugget. A golden nugget is when you see like this month you got 8 or 10 visitors for some term from say Google. You go over to google and search for this term and find you are now number 8 for it. The key is this data is private and unique your competitors have no clue, most of them are stupid and they don’t mine for gold. They don’t know a nugget when they see it. The reality is you just found a soft target something you ranked for with out trying that has some traffic with a crappy rank like #5 or #8. The top three positions get the lion’s share of clicks.
- Step Two – Go back and edit the post, article or what ever it is. Odds are you didn’t really optimize for the term. Say the term was “planting summer watermelons” but your title was “off to do some summer watermelon planting”. Well change the title to something that exactly matches the phrase and make sure to do the same with the title tag, the two are different. If the words are so clunky you can’t fit them in your title without looking stupid just change them only in the title tag.
- Step Three – Work the exact matched phrase into your description tag and make that change.
- Step Four – Then go into the body of your article and get the phrase to exactly match at least one time in the article body. If the words are clunky than just remember this, periods don’t count. So using our example, this would be good enough. This was a good day for planting. Summer watermelons are a great crop so that was what was on the agenda. The phrase is actually an easy one and my example is probably more clunky, that isn’t the point I am just showing you how to be flexible with this. The key is fit in the phrase some how.
- Step Five – Pick any existing article on your site other than the one you are working on. Go to it and try to fit that phrase into it. Then go into SEO Smart Links and set up a custom key word and link any use of that phrase to the target page. This will insure that not only the place you massaged it in is linked to it (this is internal link optimization) but should you for any reason, at any time in the future use the term, SEO Smart Links will automatically link to it. Cool Huh? Tip – If you don’t have an existing article to use for this just make a note to yourself to reference that article some how in a future post. Such as “last week I posted about planting summer watermelons and a lot of folks are commenting on it, so it got me thinking about…”
- Step Six – Wash, rinse and repeat. Try to do this about twice a month it is literally all you need. The numbers work like this a rank of 8 for a term that gets about 10 visits on Google will get more like 100-200 with a first or second place rank. Almost any post you take this approach with will move up to the top of the ranks, simply because the terms are almost always easy and not highly competitive. So twice a month nets you about 400 new visitors a month on average, 4800 a year. Trust me when you are building great content many of those will become subscribers, readers, listeners or what ever. Many will put you on FaceBook, many will cite you in their own blogs, etc. The effect is compounding, you just let it run.
- Step Seven – The coup de grâce. If with out a ton of work or begging and pleading you can get a link on any site pointing to that article using the key phrase do it. See this is why having those mico blogs and stuff with three or four articles is a great idea. Don’t always use them but from time to time they help. This step unlike every other one mentioned is optional. If you have to pick between spending your time writing another article or hunting for a link, then just get with producing content.
This technique is absolutely deadly for taking top ranks in the search engines. I know it sounds complex but once you get familiar with using the All In One Seo Pack which you will just by posting, the entire process for a page should take no more than 15 minutes and I am being conservative. That is 30 minutes a month, I can honestly do it in five, find term, go to article, put term in title, title tag, description tag and content. Go find a similar article (use search box or the post tags), work in the phrase, go to SEO Smart Links, set up custom link, done rock on.
Phase Four – Advanced Off Site Link Building
This final phase is an advanced phase, you probably should just do the three phases above for 4-6 months before you even mess around with it. This phase is also tactical rather then a step one, two, three type of affair. The reality is yes links are golden and if you are doing the above you are going to get tons of links, still a twice a year campaign for really high quality links is a great idea. So about twice a year target 10-20 sites that you want links on and see if you can get even half of them to link to you. Below are my 5 top ways to get links with out pissing off the other site owner.
1. Write a post about one of their posts. Odd are you are going to send them some traffic, they will get to know you and may very well link back to you in the future. If you readers go make comments on their blog saying “I found you on”, you can bet the relationship will grow, so encourage such behavior.
2. Approach the site owner and ask if you can interview them. Shit you need content anyway right? Do up a 4 question generic interview and plug in two questions that are very specific to the site owner, something like in your article about xyz you sated, can you clarify… Send it to them in a word document and ask if they will consider answering the questions and sending it back. When you publish the article send them a link to it, odds are they are going to link to it from their own blog. When you do this you can even pick a sub niche and call it an “interview series on the top classic car bloggers” or what ever and tell the person you are asking for an interview about the other bloggers you are approaching. As in “I am also interviewing Tom from Super Classics and Mike from Four on the Floor as a part of this series”. No one wants to be left off a list of top bloggers!
3. Do a post on your top ten favorite sites about whatever, some will link back.
4. Write an article and send it to the blogger and ask them if they would like to use it as a guest posting. Ask them to please let you know yes or no with in a week because if they don’t want to run it you are fine with that but you plant to submit it to another blog if they aren’t interested. Always write the article and put links in it as you want them to appear, don’t even say anything about wanting the links to stay in there. Don’t make it about the links, it will just piss most top bloggers off. They know you want a link, so don’t go shoving it in their faces. If a blogger can see your post and read it they will be a lot more likely to say yes, if they say no, well just do what you told them and submit it elsewhere. If you don’t find a home for it you need content anyway, so put it on your own blog and rock on. Oh keep these posts middle sized! No books and no five sentence shorties.
5. Run a contest, people submit articles to your blog and you will publish them all. Limit it to say 20 articles at most as in the first 20 submissions will be accepted and all others returned to the submitter. Readers will vote on the articles and the top three get a prize. Say you spend 100 bucks for the prizes. Well you just got 20 top quality articles written for your blog, articles you don’t have to write. Now just who the hell do you think is going to enter this contest? Bloggers of course and when you feature their article what do you think they will do next? They won’t just link to it, they will ask their readers to go to your site and vote for it.
Like I said run one of these strategic campaigns about twice a year but give the first three phases hell for 4-6 months minimum first. Here’s why, the above methods all require that other people see value in your site. Your brand new site with 5 posts doesn’t really do that now does it. The blog you haven’t posted to much so far doesn’t either even if it has been around a long time. But if you do what I am telling you to and write a post a day or do a video a day or what ever it is you do for 6 months, when you link to someone it will matter. When you ask to do an interview and they see you are a consistent blogger with a bad ass site they are going to say yes etc.
Now here is the real key as to why these techniques work, you NEVER ASK FOR A LINK in any of them. Did you notice that? These methods all bring a value add to both sides and let links just happen, of course those are exactly the types of links you are looking for.
It is important to understand that doing the things in this article actually takes less time than reading it, NONE of it is hard or difficult or beyond your ability. However, none of it will do itself for you, well some of it will AFTER you set it up and configure it. Once you get in the habit of producing daily content it gets easy, you will NEVER run out of ideas or subjects, hell your audience won’t let you. One day you feel all alone then one day you are looking at over 100 questions in your email box, and that is just from the morning email batch.
The key is doing it and not trying to make what is actually simple complicated. If we could teach a retarded chimpanzee to read and type they could probably pull off everything on this page, so I know damn well if you can read it you can do it. If you get stuck go to google and type in “how to ________” and damn it answers will appear, do it on youtube and some kid probabally has a video to show you how, that is with everything by the way not just this stuff.
In conclusion I want to speak to the other half of people out there, the ones reading this thinking, “I know all this stuff, this is very basic SEO, I want the advanced stuff”. Most of you, not all of you but most of you are full of shit. I can’t tell you how many marketers tell me this and I go to their sites and they are not doing 50% of the stuff in this one article. Let me be blunt knowing it doesn’t mean SHIT, do or do not, right? So put all these steps and procedures in place because here is the secret young padawan, “none of the more advanced stuff matters if you don’t get the fundamentals right”.