Search engines is by far one of the best blog traffic source that you could get online. I always say that a blogger must learn SEO to build a successful blog. but of course, I’m not saying that you should become an “SEO expert” – Understanding how they work and how you could Improve your search rankings is more than enough. But before you could learn how to get traffic from them, it’s essential that you learn how they work.
(this post is very long. it’s more than 2000 words! if you’re a beginner in SEO and want to learn how to get to the #1 rankings on any search engines, this might be the only SEO guide you’ll ever need.)
How Search engine Works
Everyday, billions of people from all over the world would visit the web to find information. 99% of the time, they will go to their favorite search engines. (google, yahoo, bing) and type in “keywords/phrases” search engines would then show them a list of websites related to the phrases that they are looking for. Which is known as – “search results”
the searcher will then Pick a site from the search results and get the information he/she is looking for. Which on the other hand gives the website/blog owner traffic and sales. (based on how he/she monetizes the site) and That’s how search engines (and getting traffic from them) basically works. pretty simple. But, have you ever wondered why some sites rank higher than others on the SERP (search engine results page)???
why when I search google for the keyword “dog training”, one site is higher and the others who are also talking about “dog training” but they are no where to be found on the SERP???
The answer behind this is SEO (search engine optimization). Whenever you see website ranking better or higher than the others for a certain keyword, That only means one thing. – that website is search engine Optimized.
How to Rank High on search engines
there are three things that you need to look at (search engines looks at) in order to get your blog/blog post rank higher on the search engines and these are the
- Keyword Factor
- On-page Factor
- Off-page factor
The on-page factor relates to the SEO activity that’s happening Inside a website. While the off-page factor relates to the SEO activity happening Outside a website. To get your site ranking in a particular term, your website must posses these two qualities.
Another Factor to look at with regards to SEO is the Keyword Competition. When you go for the keyword “make money online” it’s unlikely you’ll get to the first page Because the competition is too high. What I recommend Instead is look for a Good traffic and profitable keyword (that’s related to what you are blogging about) with less competition. This way, you’ll get traffic from search engines Quickly and easily.
But now you’re probably asking… how the heck do I do that? The answer is Keyword research.
Keyword Research: How to do it!
The ‘traditional’ way to do keyword research is by using google’s keyword tool. What this tool does is it gives information of how many Searches a given keyword receives every month. this is a great news for us since we can use this to analyze how much traffic that we could get for that keyword. If this is the first time you’ve ever heard about the tool, I recommend you check it out first and mess around with it.
after you’ve finished messing around with the tool, The next thing you want to do is edit the settings. on the upper left corner of the page, click on “advanced option” then select “all countries and territories” like shown on the image below. this way, we will know how many searches a certain keyword gets worldwide.
after you’ve done that, hover down and look for “match type” below that, you will see check boxes. set the match type to “exact match”. some people prefers to do keyword research and get the settings in “broad” instead of “exact” you can do the same but I like to set it to “exact, that way I would get a more clear idea about how much potential traffic I could receive from the keyword I’m researching.
Once everything is setup, enter in a keyword Related to what you’re blogging about. if you’re blogging about Dog training, then it’s a good idea to enter a keyword that’s related to dogs or training animals. For this example, I’m going to enter in the keyword “celebrity scandal” and see how many searches it gets every month. again, this is just an example. the last thing you want to do is target a keyword that’s not even related to your niche! but of course, if you’re a guerilla blogger, then it’s a different story. :-)
(right click then hit “view image” to view the whole image)
The term “celebrity scandal” gets 40,500 searches each month! this meas if we manage to get our website to the top 5 rankings, this keyword would generate around 600-1500 visitors per day. (based on my estimation)
of course there are certain keywords out there that receives more than 40,000 searches per month like the keyword “celebrity gossip” or “make money online” that gets 200,000 exact searches each month. you could also target those keywords but you should keep in mind that it’s going to be hard to rank for those terms like that. if you found high traffic keywords, most likely many websites are targeting those terms already which means The competition is too high. that’s when Analyzing your competition takes place.
How to analyze your keyword Competition
one of the golden rules of SEO (as I’ve learned from Market samurai) is to fight ONLY the battles that you can win. if the competition is too tough, then it’s either you’ll never get your website on top of the search engines, Work for 5 years just to get rank for a keyword or spend thousand of dollars outsourcing. that’s why it’s important to analyze the competition first before you even target a certain keyword. if the competition is too tough, then go find another keyword. There’s billions of them undiscovered! :-)
1. Check how many websites are targeting your keyword
this one is important. one of the main step of analyzing your competition is to check whether there are too many people targetting our keywords already! to do this, go to google.com and type in your keyword with “quotes” for this example, we are still goind to use “celebrity scandal” (do this with Quotes on!)
if you search google your keywords with “quotes” and you receive 2 million search results and below, that’s a very good sign that there are only a few websites targeting that keyterm. our example, “celebrity scandal” (with quotes) generates 506,000 search results. This means, it’s a good sign that it’s easy to rank for that keyword! :-)
but of course, we’re not finished yet. What you want to do next is analyze the Top 3-10 website ranking for those keywords and see what they’re doing.
2. Find out what your Competitors are doing
what you want to do is go to google.com and then search for the keyword you are targeting. for this example, we are still going to research the keyword “celebrity scandal”
when we search the keyword “celebrity scandal” we will find the site celebrityscandal.com on the #1 position. that website is on the #1 position on google for the keywords “celebrity scandal” because:
- they used the keywords “celebrity scandal” on their domain/url ( the keywords are included on their site’s url)
- the keywords are included in their website’s title: “celebrity scandal – free pictures of nude celebrities”
- The keywords “celebrity scandal” could also be found in the Description
- the content of their site is mostly related to celebrity scandals which means, google (search engines) considers that website as an authority when it comes to the “celebrity scandal” topic
- They have a good foundation of backlinks pointing to their site
1-4 Relates more to the on-page factor which he could do inside his website to rank well for the given term. but what about the Outside factor??? that’s when backlinks analysis comes in place.
3. Analyze the competition’s Backlinks
before you could even understand why we are doing this, you must first learn what backlinks are and how can it improve your website’s ranking on google and any other search engines.
What are backlinks and how could it help my site rank on the front page of search engines?
Backlinks are links who are pointing pointing from one site to another. to give you a more clearer view, here’s an example: (this is a backlink pointing to market samurai’s website)
backlinks is by far the most important factor that your website should have. it’s the main reason why websites rank higher than the others. the more backlinks you have, the more likely that you’ll get on the front page of search engines.
Would you believe me if I tell you that your site could rank #1 in google and any other search engines without even doing any “on-site optimization”? if you don’t, then that’s Great! here’s an interesting case study for you.
Google-ing The infamous internet word – “click here”
what I want you to do now is to google the keyword “click here” and see who’s on the #1 position. :-)
that’s right. Adobe is on the number one position for the keywords “click here” what’s interesting here is the fact that they don’t even have the keywords “click here” on their url, site title, or even on their Description! they even topped the site “clickhere.com” who on the other hand is targeting that term. the big question now is -
How did adobe get to the google’s #1 position even if they don’t optimize for the keyword – “click here”???
the answer is the website’s Backlinks. Adobe got ranked for the keyword “click here” because there are many websites pointing to them with the anchor text “click here” like this: “click here to download adobe reader” (notice that the keyword “click here” is included on the anchor text)
to make this short, if we want to get ranked higher on the SERP for our example keyword “celebrity scandal” what we should do is to get other sites linking back to us together with the anchor text – “Celebrity scandal”
like this: <a href="http://www.yOurwebsite.com">Celebrity scandal</a>
I hope I have made everything clear here for you about backlinks. if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask by commenting below or contacting me.
with that, let’s go back to our example keyword “celebrity scandal” and analyzing our competition’s (celebrityscandal.com’s) backlinks.
How to analyze the competition’s backlinks
what you want to do next is to research how many backlinks our competitor (celebrityscandal.com) has. this time, we are going to use yahoo.com’s site explorer. to do that, go to yahoo.com and do a search like this on the search box: “link:http://www.celebrityscandal.com”
after that, you should be redirected to yahoo site explorer in that page, you will learn a lot about your competition’s number of backlinks and much better – you will see where he is getting his backlinks! this is a good news for us since you can copy exactly what he’s doing.
(right click then click on “view image” to see full size image)
the site “celebrityscadal.com” has more than 13,000 links pointing back to his site. no wonder why he is ranked very well for that keyword! now that you know how many backlinks he gets, it’s pretty clear what you should do next. that’s right. What you should do is Beat his record! you must acquire more than 13,000 links to rank higher than him on the SERPS. and that’s how we analyze our SEO competitors. :-)
Here’s a tip: we’ve analyzed the #1 website ranked for the keyword “celebrity scandal” it turned out, he’s a little too hard to beat! if you’re in this situation, What you should do is “analyze THE #2, #3, #4, #5 up to #10 website ranking for the term “celebrity scandal”. and see if they are easy to be out-ranked. Remember: our goal (for now) is to get ATLEAST on the front page of google for our keywords.(btw, I’ve analyzed the other sites that are on the front page, it turned out they’re easy to beat!)
signs that your competition’s backlinks is easy to beat
- he has 3,000 (and below) backlinks
- the sites that are pointing to him doesn’t use the keywords (for this example “celebrity scandal”) as an anchor text
How To build Backlinks for your site
There are Already lots of link building related information which you could find online just by searching on Google so I decided to Share with you Some of my Favorites. These Link Building Strategies not only works Great in terms of Getting you ranked higher on search engines but They are also Good Traffic Generators As well.
1. Article Marketing – Write an Article and submit it to an article directory site. some of my favorite directories are ezinearticles, goarticles and articlesbase. you get links and edit the anchor text at the bottom of each articles you submit which is also known as the author box. What I like about Submitting articles on this kind of site is not only does google loves to crawl their pages but also, you could get dozens of links automatically by submitting on these sites because of those “content Scrapers” or mostly known as Auto blogging sites.
2. Guest Posting – Find a blog that’s related to your niche and see if the owner is accepting Guest post. if he does, then submit a blog post for him. you can choose to get a linkback from that article you’ve just written. when done correctly, Guest posting could be the most powerful tool that you could use for SEO and for your site’s Marketing.
3. Blog Commenting - Blog commenting is in my opinion, the most easiest way that you could get backlinks Mannually. the only downside of getting links this way is for the reason that most blogs have their comment links “no-followed”. this means, Search engines would not crawl links coming from links like these. an easy way to find “do-follow” blogs is by searching on google.
4. Write Valuable Content – According to Matt cuts (head of Google’s Webspam team) “The best links are not paid, or exchanged after out-of-the-blue emails–the best links are earned and given by choice.” if you Get people link to you NATURALLY, then that’s a good chance that you’ll get ranked highly on the SERP. One way to do that is by creating a valuable content which in return people would link back to your site.
I found my Golden keyword! what should I do now?
Ideally what you should do once you found a good keyword to target is to either
- Make or add it to your blog’s title
- Create a blog post about it
- Build Links to it
I hope I had help you out and give you a more clearer picture about search engine optimization. as always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask me. if you enjoyed learning about SEO, then I recommend you to checkout this SEO book by Brad callen and this SEO tool (market samurai) which helped me and my sites a lot in terms of search engine optimization.