Category: Affiliate Marketing

How To Write A Niche Site Homepage Content That Converts

How To Write A Niche Site Homepage Content That Converts

One thing is true for just about every site on the internet: the homepage gets the most traffic.

That’s partially based on people’s browsing habits and site design, as anyone who lands on any page on your site can usually easily navigate back to your homepage with just one click.

Let me show you example from 3 of my Amazon niche sites for a clearer picture:

The first site is relatively older, the second one I started around 7 months ago, and the 3rd site I started a couple months ago.

All of these sites have one thing in common: Homepage gets most traffic.

Why is that?

It’s partially due to the way that search engines return results to favor home pages for big keywords. Also, when we build niche site, we target the main keyword on homepage. When building links, we priorities homepage over dozens of contents we publish on the same site.

So if your niche website’s homepage is going to be your most visited page anyhow, why not take advantage of that?

That’s where conversion optimized niche site homepage come in. With a well-designed homepage that leads to amazon sales, you will see much higher click rate from your site to Amazon and a much more conversion rate at Amazon.

How To Write A Niche Site Homepage Content

I discussed niche site contents earlier. Today, I especially want to talk about niche site homepage.

On my previous article, I focused the following points that you need to consider when writing:

Things To Consider When Writing Contents

Do you follow the same blueprint as for the general contents?

Here’s how I do it. This is the exact guideline I follow to get maximum sales with the traffic received.

1. Write High-Quality Engaging Contents

Just like on every other page on your niche site, it all starts with content. People visit your site to find information but they will convert more if you entertain them while educating the lot.

If you want your content to convert visitors into buyers, you need to write with an expert’s voice and cadence. You need to write content that’s original and high quality from a spelling and grammatical perspective.

Also, you need to put in the time to do your research, and learn enough about the material you are writing to have something interesting to say.

And you need to practice writing copy that doesn’t look like a boring copy. There’s a lot to learn about content that converts, but that’s what every aspect of your niche site will be based on, homepage included.

2. Provide Exact Information They Are Looking For

On average, a visitor to your site will remain for less than a minute on your website before moving on.

All you have is a minute to get your reader’s attention and keep them in and send them to Amazon to buy the particular product. The best way to do that is by providing genuinely helpful information.

If you don’t have the answers they are looking for, and don’t make them readily available, they will find those answers somewhere else.

As far as your niche site’s homepage is concerned, focus on creating content that provides well-rounded and helpful information that answers questions holistically. You want each reader that lands on your homepage to feel that they have found everything they need, and don’t need to bounce to another site to find the details they want.

For niche site owners, that means putting all of the relevant information about your chosen niche product or products in one place in a manner that is truly accessible and helpful for your visitors.

Sounds like an impossibly ambitious task?

Don’t worry, in the rest of this guide, I’m going to share some techniques that you can employ to do all of that and more with ease.

3. Adding Comparison Table Can Increase Conversion Up to 300%!

Niche site experts who see real commission numbers can all agree that comparison tables sell. Dom Well from HumanProofDesigns increased one of his Amazon niche site conversion rate upto 300% adding a simple comparison table.

A well-constructed comparison table will not only help you link to the products you are hoping your visitors buy, they will give your readers a graphically friendly and easy to consume content.

Once you’ve laid out all of the right information in the right way, the product will sell itself.

On your niche site’s homepage, consider including a comparison table with multiple of the best selling products in your niche (more on that later). Then, link directly to each product within your table to make it even easier to point your visitors in a direction that will lead to a commission in your pocket.

Shashank from ShashankGupta.net suggests comparing the main products in details on his step by step Amazon affiliate guide, as he said, he experienced a huge increase in conversion.

Make sure your comparison table only includes relevant information, and doesn’t take up so much space that your visitors spend more than a few moments judging your selected niche products against each other.

Here are some example comparison table you can create for you niche site:

Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 5.20.18 PM

Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 5.20.05 PM

Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 5.18.20 PM

You will find numerous comparison table creating plugin in Codecanyon. However, I personally prefer GoPricing, the best comparison table creator available on the market. The last comparison table shown above is created using this plugin.

4. Write Detailed Product Reviews On Homepage and Publish A Separate Detailed Review

For all of the top products in your niche, you should include a detailed product review directly on your homepage. When product reviews follow a well-crafted comparison table, they give visitors another way to digest even more information about your niche items.

Depending on how many top selling products you are targeting, product reviews can be anywhere from 300-500 words in homepage. Just make sure that they are detailed and provide your visitors with real value.

88% of consumers trust online product reviews as much as they trust a personal recommendation, so this is a powerful place for you to push visitors in the direction of whichever niche product you are hoping to convert for.

 

Home page niche site

5. Mention Product Pros and Cons / Feature Highlights

Within your product reviews, make sure to mention the “pros” and “cons” of each item you list. Also, mention feature highlights of the products so readers can check shortly, what they are really going to get on that particular product.

Comparing things with pros and cons is one of the first ways that many people learn to make up their mind about any decision, and listing pros and cons explicitly in your product reviews will give you the chance to afford your readers one more way to compare products directly.

Many readers will skim through a review looking for pros and cons, so if you choose to leave these out you are bound to disappoint potentially converting visitors.Make sure you have the “Much Detailed Review” of that product available in the site as a separate post.

Make sure you have the “Much Detailed Review” of that product available in the site as a separate post.

 

Feature highlights niche site

6. Add a Clear Call To Action

Call to action matters!

If you want your niche site homepage to convert, you need to make it easy for visitors to end up exactly where you want them to be, which for niche site owners means funneling readers towards the Amazon product link, where they can make the purchase.

Good home pages that lead to conversions will usually have multiple “calls to action” throughout, beckoning people to purchase the niche items you are reviewing.

If you’re not landing many conversion from your home page, experiment with the wording and format of your call to action: some case studies show that changing a single word can boost click rates on call to action buttons by 90% or more.

For me, I use call to action button in:

  • Comparison table
  • Product name subhead
  • First product name mention
  • Product image
  • Price Call To Action

Example Call To Action For Homepage

7. Recommend Only Best Products

Best product on AmazonChances are, your visitors have done some research on your niche products before viewing your site, and have already gathered some information from various means.

That means, unless you want to stand out for recommending bad products, you should only throw your weight behind niche items that you have full confidence in, and which have good reviews on Amazon and in other places.

Pushing products that most people have reviewed negatively is a risky move, and will probably serve to drive off your visitors rather than produce conversions.

Before putting any product in my best list, I always check it with related authority sites, top ranked site on Google in that particular search term, and Amazon reviews.

8. Do Proper Content Formatting and Design For Better Conversion

Depending on who you ask, the formatting of your content is either as important or more important than your content itself. If you want to see your niche site produce higher conversion rates, you will need to be sure that all of your content is optimized for web viewers to digest.

That means you content needs to be scannable, media rich, and peppered with your calls to action. If you content doesn’t look appealing within a few seconds, your readers will move somewhere.
AttentionSpan1

For a single example, putting your most important “call to action” button on its own line, rather than embedding it in your text, can immediately double your click through rates.

Case studies abound, Gael and Mark from AuthorityHacker mentioned 9275 times as much traffic on specific pages just by reformatting them.

If you want to create a niche homepage that leads to conversions, formatting your content well should be a top priority.

I use the following content formatting points before hitting the Publish button:

  • Clear Headings
  • Short Paragraphs
  • Bullet points
  • Media (Images, Graphs, Video Snippets)
  • Highlighted text (Strong, Emphatic, Anchor Text)

For better content design, I use Thrive Content Builder plugin in all of my niche sites.

How To Research Best Products

All of the information above will help you create niche site home pages that sell products, and lead to conversions which pay out in commissions.

But the question remains, “Which products should you choose to feature on your homepage?”

While a good niche site can review dozens of products, your home page should only feature 5-10 items in your niche.

Here’s how to find the best ones to feature:

1. Check Amazon Best Sellers

Begin by doing a quick keyword search on Amazon for products in your niche, and sort your results by the best selling products. Make sure that you are only looking at products in your niche by narrowing down your results by category.

Amazon best selling products

2. Select Top 5 or Top 10 Best Products

Once you’ve sorted your search by top sellers, go ahead and select the top 5-10 products that come up. Note the products selected.

3. Check Industry Authority Site For Product Recommendation

After selecting your products, do some research and see what industry experts are saying about each product. Depending on your niche, top authority sites (like home products – TheSweetHome.com, for technological products, TheWireCutter.com) can be a good place to start.

See if any of the best selling products you’ve narrowed down have been red-flagged by other authority sites.

4. Check Customer Reviews on Amazon and Highlight Product Benefits

Once you’ve found 5/10 top selling products that don’t have any negative reviews on other authority sites, dig through a few Amazon customer reviews to find out more about each product. From there, it’s easy to finalize a list of what to showcase on your homepage.

Homepage Content Format

I write my niche site contents for 3000 to 4000 words, and I build them following this content format:

1. Introduction To The Product Type (E.G –  Keyword) – 100 to 150 Words
2. How To Choose [Keyword] (400 to 500 Words In Total Under 3 To 4 Subheads)A. Things To Consider:

  • Things To Consider 1
  • Things To Consider 2
  • Things To Consider 3
  • Things To Consider 4
  • Other Considerations Long Sentenced Bullet Point

Note: Try to cover most of the considerations on these points. Implement bullet points under each consideration if possible.

3. Recommended Product Reviews (200-250 word review for each product, only unique selling propositions of each product – under several subhead. Also focus the Highlighted Features under the short review)

  • Individual product reviews 1
  • Individual product reviews 3
  • Individual product reviews 3
  • The list goes on…

4. Final Verdict (100 to 120 Words)

This is my personal content format, however, you can check the successful niche sites from Google, and make your own content format after analyzing a couple. To me, the above format is working great.

Don’t Stop There!

Of course, your homepage isn’t the only place to get conversions on your niche site, but it can be one of the most powerful when utilized correctly. Start with the tips above and experiment on your own, and watch your niche site’s home page become the best converting page on your site.

These 4 Bloggers Make $124,074 Per Month: Here Are Their Secrets

These 4 Bloggers Make $124,074 Per Month: Here Are Their Secrets

Making money online is not as easy as the title of this article makes it seem. The truth is, I first learned how to start a blog 7 years.

Since then have had years where I absolutely crushed it, and years where I straight lost money.

But in the years that I did make money, it’s because I looked at what was working in the market and replicated it the best I could.

So that’s what I did in this article.

I looked at 4 bloggers who are making a combined $124k per month, along with their exact monetization strategies, and then designed a step by step infographic that makes it easy for you (and me) to replicate their success.

I teach people how to start a blog as my full-time job, but my blog originally started out as just a hobby.

And that’s the case for the majority of people with a “blog”. They consider it as an outlet to occasionally share their thoughts, have fun and get compliments.

But when you talk about money, bloggers aren’t expected to be well-off. If you tell people that you blog full-time for a living, they might pity you.

And wish you all the best for finding a real job.

Numbers tell that those people aren’t completely wrong. In a 2015 survey of thousands of women bloggers by iBlog magazine, only 11% claimed to earn more than $30,000. 68% of bloggers said that they earned less than $5,000.

That’s sad.

The bloggers we profiled below made a collective $124,407 in a single month.

Free PDF Checklist: Download a free checklist that lists the top ways $100k bloggers are making money and how you can sign up for them. Here’s a link where you can download the PDF

This being Wise Startup Blog, we examined exactly what each of these bloggers is doing to produce this massive income and made it easy for you to replicate their results on your own.

You can do it.

The bad news is it isn’t an overnight journey. It’s a long road involving a lot of hard work, sweat and hustle.

This is the 12-Step Blueprint I’m Following to Make $124,407 Blogging #InfographicCLICK TO TWEET

Here’s how you actually make money from this article:

  • Read through all of the 12 different monetization strategies
  • Pick the one that is the best fit for your blog/personality
  • Set a goal that’s achievable for where you are: say $10 or $100 or $1000 day
  • Go back to the article and read through the “additional reading” for your section
  • Make incremental progress every day, getting you closer and close to your goal

Let’s get started with blogger number 1.

#1 Pat Flynn Makes $100,000/Month

make money blogging with pat flynn

@PatFlynn has created a passive income cult. He was among the first few bloggers that practiced transparency by sharing an income report publicly every month at Smart Passive Income (SPI).

Since Jan, 2015 he has consistently touched the $100k mark every month (not year). And he makes a major chunk of money through affiliate marketing and offering new affiliates tips & tricks.

Let’s dig into 3 specific sources from his March, 2016 Income report.

This is How @PatFlynn Promotes Bluehost and Makes $53,400/MonthCLICK TO TWEET

1. Pat Flynn Promotes Bluehost and Makes $53,400/Month

Bluehost sells web hosting and domains. It’s an inexpensive and relatively easy way to setup your website – new sign ups get a free domain as well. So it’s a good fit for beginners considering starting a blog.

Bluehost affiliate marketing is one of the most common ways of making money for bloggers – as they pay $65 per sale. And they claim to have paid $5 million in commissions last year alone.

Pat Flynn earned a massive $53,400 from Bluehost in March, 2016. Here are two rules that Pat Flynn adheres to when promoting products as an affiliate.

  • Only promote products that you’re very familiar with. Preferably you’ve used them and it helped you to achieve something.
  • Don’t tell anyone to directly buy a product. Only recommendthem in the context of how you’ve used them (maybe as a case study in a blog post).

You can sign up for the Bluehost affiliate program here and start getting paid by PayPal. Here is a quick tutorial by Harsh Agrawal (a popular make money online blogger) on how to join.

Pat once showed an insider look of how and where he placed his Bluehost affiliate links – YouTube video, getting started page and resources page among others. He also showed the exact number of commissions he derived from each location. Read the affiliate link conversions post.

affiliate-link-conversion-

Alternatively, you can also consider other Web Hosting Affiliate programs. Jon Morrow (another millionaire blogger) promotes Siteground as an affiliate. Here’s a post on the best web hosting affiliate programs that offer up to $150+ commission per sale.

Pat also earned $12,000 in March, 2016 as a LeadPages affiliate. So you can also sign up as an affiliate for products other than web hosting products as well. Here is a guide by Pat on smart affiliate marketing.

lead magnet

Pro tip: Lead magnets convert like crazy and are surprisingly easy to create. If you don’t have any ideas for a lead magnet, simple condense your post into a checklist and offer it as a download.

start a blog lead magnet

This lead magnet has a 47% opt-in rate, whereas my site-wide opt-in rate is around 5%. I use LeadPages for my lead magnet delivery, just like Pat and I highly recommend them.

This Is How @PatFlynn Makes $16,399/Month Through Podcast SponsorshipsCLICK TO TWEET

2. Pat Flynn Makes $16,399/Month Through Podcast Sponsorships

Pat started the SPI podcast back in July, 2010. Back then, podcasting wasn’t mainstream and setting up your own podcast wasn’t easy.

Fast forward to Aug, 2015 and SPI podcast has crossed 17,000,000 total downloads. Moreover, Pat has started three more podcasts including AskPat.

There are various ways of monetising a podcast, but the most common is sponsorships. 67% of podcast listeners don’t mind listening to promotional messages. They even find them useful occasionally.

In March 2016, Pat earned $16,339.89 through podcast sponsorships.

income-from-podcast-

Currently AskPat lists 3 sponsors – ZipRecruiter, Fresh Books and MileIQ. For SPI Podcast, Pat started with Audio Books as the first sponsor – they offered him $5,000 per episode. 99Designs also sponsors episodes currently.

With Apple having already crossed 1 billion subscribers for podcasts via iTunes in 2013, right now is the best time to launch your own podcast.

Pat Flynn has created a detailed step-by-step guide on how you can start your own podcast. He takes you through the entire process of naming your podcast, artwork, software, equipment, recording, setting your feed to publishing your first episode in it.

Tim Ferris also recently announced crossing 70,000,000 downloads for his business podcast. He started it as an experiment with long-form audio and testing the waters with six episodes in 2014. And he has quickly risen through the ranks interviewing likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Foxx.

As per Tim, premium, high-converting podcasts can earn $25-100 CPM. So if you can guarantee 100,000 downloads/episode within six weeks post-publication, you can earn upto $10,000 per episode per sponsor.

start a blog udemy tim ferris

Tim himself deals only with businesses ready to shell out at least $50k. You can pick some more nuggets of podcasting wisdom from Tim here.

How @PatFlynn Makes $12,307 By Building a Custom Smart Podcast PlayerCLICK TO TWEET

3. Pat Makes $12,307 By Building a Custom Smart Podcast Player

Creating a software is a great monetisation strategy if your audience demands it. But you need to have (or hire) software development skills to pull it off.

Pat saw that there were 3.5 million podcast plays directly on his blog. That’s when he thought about improving the front-end experience of the podcast.

So he built a custom player for his new show Ask Pat and it was called the Ask Pat Player. He started getting hundreds of requests from people for getting their hands on the player for using it in their own show.

So he launched the podcast in June, 2014 to a group of beta users and finally made a public release on January 12, 2015. Here’s a look at the key salient features of the player.

smart podcast player

In March 2016, Pat earned $12,307.60 through Smart Podcast Player Licenses. Read  the 7 lessons he learned from building a software product (including how he dealt with his main software developer exiting the project).

It’s not out of the ordinary to expect bloggers to launch their own software products. But besides tackling your personal challenges, you should consider validating their demand to your audience and making the software public.

Spencer Haws also launched Long Tail Pro as a result of his own needs. And he ended up building it to $100,000 software business within a couple of years. He shares his Long Tail Pro story here.

#2 Regina Makes $16,392/Month

make money blogging with regina

@byReginaTV calls herself a sidekick to infopreneurs. She is committed to helping freelancers, coaches and teachers profit from their knowledge.

In her own words, “I want your readers to love you, your new customers to go crazy over you, and your fans to create #hashtags in your honor. That is all.”

In her January, 2015 income report she revealed that she made $16,382.91.

She made a couple thousand chunk of affiliate income from Bluehost. But we’ll look at her 3 other different approaches that helped her make money.

Here’s How @byReginaTV Sells Her Class 50 Workdays – Zero to blog and Makes $5,475/MonthCLICK TO TWEET

4. She Sells Her Class 50 Workdays – Zero to blog and Makes $5,475/Month

Regina achieves her brand’s mission of helping people sell their knowledge with her premium information products.

And Zero to Blog is one such self-guided class with added incentives in community, checklists and more. In Jan, 2015 Regina earned $5475.00 with this class.

She later relaunched the class as Epic Blog Crew in 2016.

Information courses are very hot right now. Ramit Sethi from I Will Teach You To Be Rich recently shared how he sold $5 million worth of courses in a week in April 2014.

start a blog graphs

Here’s the basic process – create a blog, write value-adding posts and build about 1000 email subscribers (should take you under 3 months if you do it right). While building your audience, it’s advisable to use a tool that allows segmentation.

Next, you find out your most popular blog posts (driving maximum email subscriber conversions). And validate the demand for a course around one of these most popular posts.

Guess what?

The validation involves earning some pre-launch revenue – which might be the best indication of demand.

This saves wasted effort and time. You don’t want to build a product that everyone labels awesome, but no one wants to buy.

how to make more money online

Bryan Harris elucidates this process in detail and how it helped him make $10,000 within 24 hours.

Later on, Bryan launched his flagship course on getting 10,000 email subscribers and ended up making $220,750 in 10 days. He writes about it here.

bryan-220750

Here’s How @byReginaTV Makes $3,224/Month Selling her Epic Blog: One year editorial plannerCLICK TO TWEET

5. Regina Makes $3,224/Month Selling her Epic Blog: One year editorial planner

This is a physical blog calendar that helped Regina make $3,224.22. She also offered this in her physical welcome kit to her Zero to blog students.

Listed at $18.5, the planner helps bloggers for one-year worth of content planning. And it has received 56 positive reviews.

sell an epic blog

Once you build an audience, it’s also possible to make good money off selling workbooks, checklists and the like. On her blog’s right sidebar, Regina also sells these workbooks and resources.

start a blog resources

If a workbook doesn’t fit your niche, then you can also sell physical products. Neil Patel in his $100,000/month blog challenge at NutritionSecrets.com sells Fish Oil supplements on Amazon.

And he sold $76,326.90 worth of supplements in Jan, 2016 (although he also had $56,401.91 worth of expenses). In this post, Neil mentions that he didn’t create the product himself. Rather his friend, Mike found a company ready to white-label their product.

start selling a blog

6. Zach Garry Makes $8/k Month Selling Products via Amazon Associates

Regina only made $273.49 off this source. But Amazon Associates is an incredible way to earn money for niche websites – they pay upto 8.5% commission on sales through your advertising efforts.

commission-list-amazon

Many websites listed at Empire flippers pull huge incomes from Amazon. A great example is Zach Garry. He bought a website from Flippa and after building good traffic, he now makes a living from the Amazon Affiliates program. He made over $8k in July, 2015.

Amazon-affiliate-sites-8k-month-payment

Again, key to making money through Amazon is not being too pushy and writing posts relevant to the products you promote. Jon Haver has written a brilliant post on setting up Amazon Affiliate websites on WordPress.

Spencer Haws has also built many websites earning through Amazon Affiliates. He shares how targeting long-tail keywords and 8 other strategies can help you increase your Amazon Affiliate earnings in this post.

Once you’ve built an Amazon Affiliate website to a stage where it makes a couple thousand dollars in profits:

You can sell the website for about 2.5x – 3x its annual income. 

Pat Flynn was offered $10k when his website was making merely $700-$800 in monthly profits. Here’s a 4-step guide to sell your website.

#3 Johnny FD Makes $18,391/Month

make money blogging with johnnyFD

@JohnnyFDK has a fascinating life story of how the 4-hour work week inspired him to quit his corporate job and follow his passion of becoming a scuba diving instructor. And later a Muay Thai kickboxer.

But as he turned 30, he was short of cash and that’s when he started his blog JohnnyFD.com.

Since starting the blog he has been featured on various media outlets including Entrepreneur and Business Insider.

In March, 2016 Johnny made $18,391.06.

He has experimented with various revenue streams and here’s a look at 4 of them.

Here’s How @JohnnyJDK Makes $99/Hour with Phone CoachingCLICK TO TWEET

7. Johnny Makes $99/Hour with Phone Coaching

make money phone coachingMentors can shorten your learning curve and sail you through many business struggles, right?

After rejecting a couple of people, Johnny thought that he could help the people just starting out or those struggling to achieve their goals.

So he started offering phone coaching services in areas off niche selection, drop shipping, affiliate marketing, lifestyle and more.

He hasn’t shared his earnings from the phone coaching in his March, 2016 income report (maybe he’s currently discontinued the services). But he offers 4 kinds of coaching plans in the range of $175-$800.

Even Jon Morrow loves offering coaching services. As per his estimates, even a beginner blogger can charge $99/hour for telephone coaching. And the learning experience is priceless.

In his flagship course, Guest Blogging, Jon has added one-on-one phone coaching to the mix.

Ramit Sethi shows you how to get your first 3 paying clients.

8. Johnny Makes $264/Month Selling His eBook in Spanish

Once you’ve built your list, it’s easier to get book deals and get more sales. Johnny made $264.89 from the Spanish version of his book ‘Life Changes Quick’.

If you’re interested in becoming an author, Tim Ferris has compiled an awesome resource on how to write a bestselling book.

Gaining early momentum is extremely important when you sell a book. That’s why many modern authors focus on building a robust book marketing team for ensuring a successful launch.

Jeff Goins recently pulled a successful book launch with over 14,000 pre-orders, hitting three bestseller lists – USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly, and the Washington Post. He shares his launch experience in this article.

art-of-work-best-seller

Pat Flynn also self-published his book ‘Will it Fly?’ and managed to hit the Wall Street Journal’s best seller list. He shares his detailed journey of writing the post in two parts – one and two.

9. Johnny Makes $551/Month By Creating Udemy Courses

Remember how I told you informational products sell like hotcakes right now?

Udemy takes courses to the next level. It has adopted a marketplace model pooling students and instructors under one platform. Look at its massive numbers.

how to make more money online udemy

With millions of students scouting the platform for education on a plethora of subjects, you’re virtually guaranteed to make some sales – you can keep 70% of the revenue from your courses.

The only drawback is Udemy controls the pricing and runs discounts that might lead your course to sell under $20.

Indeed in April 2015, Udemy announced pricing changes for all courses, streamlining them in the range of $20 – $50.

Johnny made $551.20 through Udemy in March, 2016 from his two courses – Small Talk Networking and Relationship Ready.

start a blog udemy

It’s possible to earn a full-time income on Udemy. But you need to create multiple courses that have demand and run regular discounts/ promotions.

Udemy instructor Alun Hill made $30,000/month from selling his courses on YouTube marketing, graphic design and the like at Udemy (though he’s no longer on the platform).

To get started, you can watch John Colley’s 25 tips for creating great Udemy courses below.

How @JohnnyFDK Makes $5,324/Month from Drop ShippingCLICK TO TWEET

 10. Johnny Makes $5,324/Month from Drop Shipping

If you’ve always wanted to open your own eCommerce store, but were short of capital and didn’t want to maintain inventory, then the drop shipping model is for you.

Johnny has been running drop shipping stores since 2013 – working about an hour a day. And it has played a huge role in replacing his 9-5 job. In March 2016, Johnny made a net profit of $5,324.24 from his two drop shipping stores.

If you want to get started with drop shipping, here’s a quick video tutorial from Shopify. You can also read their 11-chapter guide here.

Johnny recommends using this pdf with discounts on resources you’ll need for starting your drop shipping business.

Once you get profitable, you can also sell your drop shipping website upwards of 6 figures. In this podcast episode with Spencer Haws, Andrew Youderian shares how he sold his website eCommercefuel.com for $170,000.

#4 Abby Makes $36,234/Month

start a blog abby

@JustAGirlAbby started her blog in 2013 to share her passion for building a beautiful, thriving home, life and business. It was supposed to be a hobby blog.

Fast forward 3 years and now the blog has become her family’s full-time endeavour – Abby works on it along with her husband Donnie. She shares her journey from being a hobby blog to a thriving business in this post.

In Feb, 2016 Abby earned $36,234. Let us look at two income sources used by Just a Girl and a Blog during their journey to $30k+/month.

How @JustAGirlAbby Makes $10,668 Selling Her EbooksCLICK TO TWEET

11. Abby Makes $10,668 Selling Her Ebooks

While Abby writes high-quality content on her blog, she has gone into a greater depth on certain subjects in her eBooks.

ebooks-abby

Let us look at the subjects of her 3 eBooks.

‘Building a framework’ deals with building a successful blog. Which she later bundled into a course with more lessons and value-packed interviews with experts.

‘Paperless Home’ deals with organising your life through Evernote. Again, the eBook is also available with video tutorials.

‘Simplify’ is a resource containing “35+ Printables to Help You Organize Your Life.”

Whoever said you can’t make money by selling eBooks was lying:

In Feb, 2016 Abby managed to make $10,668 from the Framework eBook and course, $1,956 from the Simplify eBook and $814 from Paperless home eBook.

The price point of eBooks is generally in the $10-$20 range. But you can make a living from selling eBooks.

Ryan Buckley from Scripted shows real-world case studies of how you can make $1,000,000 selling ebooks.

If you don’t have an audience yet, you can also consider self-publishing and selling eBooks on Kindle. Here’s a guide to help you get started.

Mike Shreeve sold $746,256.61 worth of fiction ebooks via Kindle, Kobo, B&N and more. Here’s a look at the royalties he earned from various pen names in November, 2014.

start a blog earnings

He breaks down the process on how to sell 978 fiction eBooks every day in this post.

Even if you’re not a prolific writer you can build a six-figure annual business with Kindle eBooks.

How?

By hiring ghostwriters and publishing a high-quantity of eBooks.

Dave Koziel’s free 9-part video series on building a six-figure Kindle publishing business is a great place to start.

How @JustAGirlAbby Makes $5,070/Month Selling Her Intentional Life Planner on AmazonCLICK TO TWEET

12. Abby Makes $5,070/Month Selling Her Intentional Life Planner on Amazon

This next income source is seasonal, but it’s a nice addition that can help in building your brand offline.

The international life planner was announced by Abby in November, 2015 and it focused on helping her audience achieve their goals while keeping them productive.

sell life planners

Mind you, it’s a printable digital product (not physical) – you’ll receive PDF files in two different sizes. And the product was priced at $10.

The response to the planner was positive – Abby managed to make $2,240 in Jan 2016, $2,100 in December 2015 and $5,070 in November 2015.

You can also consider selling a physical life resource that adds value to your audience, like the five minute gratitude journal. And later bundle it with iPhone and Android apps.

John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneur on Fire (EOF) launched a kickstarter project for a resource to help his audience achieve their #1 goal in 100 days – The Freedom Journal.

start writing

The journal’s personal pack was priced at $35, but the mastermind pack went all the way to $295.

Can you guess the amount of capital EOF managed to raise through Kickstarter?

$453k in 33 days.

That’s the 6th most funded Kickstarter publishing campaign of all time. John elucidates the 4 phases of creating the freedom journal in this post.

$100k isn’t usual income for bloggers… But the actionable strategies and resources in this article will help you get on the right path.

Hopefully you’ve got inspired by at least one of the 12 monetisation strategies I’ve shared in the article. And are ready to kick start your journey to $100k.

This post was originally published on howtostartablogonline.co

13 Advanced Link Building Strategies You (Probably) Haven’t Used

13 Advanced Link Building Strategies You (Probably) Haven’t Used

Copyblogger has long been one of the most authoritative blogs on copywriting and content marketing. While they used to reveal their most popular blog posts in their sidebar (sorted by most comments) it seems that is no longer the case. But what if it was? What if you could analyse any blog and see which of their articles have the most comments, in order.

If you could rank them by how many backlinks those articles have, you’re left with foolproof solution for finding content ideas that attract links and comments. Fortunately, with the technology available today this is totally achievable in minutes and doesn’t require you to fork out for a virtual assistant to do all of the grunt work. In today’s post, I’ll show you exactly how it’s done, and a whole lot more.

While a lot of the ‘whitehat’ link building web is focused on “writing great content” that sole focus could mean you miss out on some great opportunities to improve your standing in Google.

Jon Cooper has one of the best link building minds on the planet, and here’s what he tweeted just a few days ago:

links-dead

While you can shout “Just write quality content” all day long, those of us who rank in Google are more often than not actively trying to do so. You can still focus on writing great content and add smart link building to your mix.

A Unique Formula for Finding Popular, Linked-to Content You Can Replicate in Any Niche

When it comes to analysing content to see what people are interested in reading about, we already have the likes of BuzzSumo to analyse how popular something was socially, but social shares don’t always correspond to links. What does correspond to links? Getting people talking.

If something is worth commenting on in 2016, it’s far more likely to attract a link. And if you want to attract links to your articles, then write something worth commenting on. Just like you can learn from articles which received thousands of Pins on Pinterest or Likes on Facebook, you can also learn from the success of others in attracting comments and apply that to your own endeavours.

I’m going to dive right into this first tactic and use Copyblogger.com as my example site to work with.

What I first need to do is find a list of the blog posts on Copyblogger. You could wait around for a virtual assistant to collect all of the links manually but thankfully we have tools like Screaming Frog (free for analysing up to 500 URL’s) which can automate the process for us.

If I just open up Screaming Frog as-is and run Copyblogger through the tool, I start seeing results like the following.

copy

The problem is that most of these results are useless unless I’m analysing their on-site SEO.

They aren’t actual posts from Copyblogger and if you’re using the free version of Screaming Frog, you’ll use up your 500 URL limit very quickly.

Fortunately Screaming Frog does have an Exclude setting, allowing you to pull back only the types of results you’re looking for. Here are some of the terms I have blocked to get a better picture of Copyblogger articles.

exclude

In other words, if these words are present in a URL, then Screaming Frog will not list them.

To find this box simply go to Configuration > Exclude and then add the terms you wish to exclude. Think “dot star [word] dot star” if you’re looking to write a list of terms quickly.

Another option to help remove irrelevant results is to go to Configuration > Spider and uncheck most of the options, as shown below.

uncheck

Now if I run the tool again, I should get some ‘cleaner’ results.

copy

As you can see, I’m finding the actual blog posts that I was looking for with little ‘fluff’.

Once you have your list, use the Save option so you have your list of URL’s.

“This is just a list of pages from Copyblogger. How does that help?”

As you probably guessed, there’s a bit more to this tactic than simply finding all posts on the Copyblogger blog.

The next tool I want to use in my arsenal is URLProfiler which you can find here (not an affiliate link, there are none on this blog). While this is a paid tool you have the ability to scan up to 50,000 URL’s with their 14-day free trial as many times as you want.

I use URLProfiler when I want to extract something from a page and have it linked to a specific URL. In this case, I’ll be extracting the comment counts from each blog post on Copyblogger.

(Note: Screaming Frog does have a similar feature to what I’m about to discuss but I could never get it to work. Also, URLProfiler allows backlink count analysis which you’ll find useful in a moment).

Once you open URL Profiler you want to either copy and paste in your URL’s from Screaming Frog or right click and select ‘Import from Screaming Frog SEO Spider.’ Usually I do the latter. That should look something like this.

url-copy
There are only 32 links because I don’t want to scrape their entire website. I have data about Copyblogger already.

What we want to do next is head on over to the website in question, Copyblogger.com, and select the data you want to copy. This is slightly easier to do in Chrome than it is Firefox, but both are suitable. I don’t think Safari, IE or Opera will work.

What I want to copy from Copyblogger, are their comment counts.

Articles that receive a lot of comments are usually great to model in terms of content to write for your own website, and typically receive more links from articles that wouldn’t invoke readers to leave a comment. There’s a lot to learn from articles that get people to actually write feedback on a specific site, rather than social media, and especially so in 2016.

So I head on over to the Copyblogger website and click on an individual blog post. From there I right click on the data I want to copy and click Inspect (I’m using Google Chrome) like so.

inspect-blogger

Then I need to right click on the element again in the Console window and click Copy XPath, as shown below.

If you’re familiar with Regex and so on then you can use those skills, but XPath has been the simplest one for me to get and it has worked 95% of the time.

xpath

Then we want to head back to URL Profiler and follow the steps in the image below.

x-path

Now click Apply and let URLProfiler do its thing. Depending on how many URL’s you import the job could take anywhere from a few minutes (less than 500 URL’s) to a few hours (50,000 URL’s).

I then get back an Excel file and with a little cleaning (i.e. removing irrelevant columns from Screaming Frog) I get some very interesting data.

results

I pulled back 392 articles with at least 10 comments, 221 with at least 50 comments and 81 with at least 100 comments.

Once you’ve done this process once you can be getting new data on any website in a matter of minutes.

Please note: For most websites and web hosts this kind of scraping is likely against their Terms of Service. I don’t accept any responsibility for what may happen if you take this too far (hence this post is titled ‘Advanced’). Please be responsible if implementing this kind of tactic by running the tools during low-traffic hours of the day, not pulling more pages than you need and so on.

Now I know the most commented articles ever written on Copyblogger I can analyse them to work out why they received so many comments. You can also take this further and use URLProfilers option of accessing the Moz or Majestic API (both free) to get backlink data on every single post.

In other words you can see the most commented on and linked to articles on any blog on the planet. For me this has been an absolute goldmine of information for new industries I want to enter and far better than just checking social shares with the likes of BuzzSumo.

I use this process for so many things that I actually rent a server from Amazon so I can run these tools at max speed. When you’re collecting data on over 400,000 URL’s (which was one of my recent crawls) then you can get the data back in a few hours rather than a few days.

If you get creative you’ll find there’s a lot more valuable information you can use this tool-combination on than just analysing link and comment counts.

Thanks to Joshua for his help with the tools needed for this.

Find Private Networks and Link Opportunities (Without Analysing Backlinks)

It’s a well-known tactic in the SEO world to check the backlinks of your competitors so that you can find any possible link opportunities that you can duplicate yourself.

What isn’t so common is to find out where your competitors are being mentioned without links, which may still pose some opportunities.

One such tactic I like to employ is to search for a phone number or email address associated with my competitor.

I’ve actually use the first option to find companies who are relying on other’s to rank sites that they then rent out to that specific business. Then you can delve into that site and see how they’re building links which help them rank.

For example, here’s a website which is ranking for a search term which receives more than 10,000 exact searches per month.

branding

The website is featuring a real brand with a logo, Twitter account and Facebook page which has nothing to do with the domain name of the site I see ranking.

If I search for their phone number instead of just looking at backlink analysis tools then I find another part of their network, here:

puppies

This is a totally different site they’re using which also appears to rank well for their chosen keywords.

Another result leads me to a Twitter account with their phone number, and once again I find another website this webmaster is operating.

myhoney

The keyword tools I use did not find this mini network they’re operating in order to dominate a sector of the pet niche in a certain state of the US.

However, when searching for a phone number (or other key details like the first line of an address, or their email address) you can generally uncover a lot more with your analysis.

AROUND(Number) is a Google Search Operator Which Improves Upon Regular Link-Finding Queries

One query I haven’t seen any other SEO blog touch upon is the AROUND(?) search operator. It has been useful in a number of situations for me in recent months when trying to find specific strings of text in search results.

It has been so useful that I’m surprised I haven’t read about it in the marketing world before — I found it when looking through some programming discussions on Reddit.

What this query allows you to do is essentially find words that are within a certain proximity to each other.

For example, you already know that if you search for niche “submit article” you’ll find sites in a particular niche which accept guest posts. This is a common search query shared on blogs about finding posting opportunities along with “write an article”, “submit your post” and so on.

However, if we search for something like niche “submit” AROUND(4) “article” we can see pages for a specific niche or from a specific website which reveal a sentence where submit and article are not together, but still in close proximity.

Not more than four words apart, in this example.

submit-a-tip

So what I’ve done here is try to find websites which say submit and guest post within four words of each other and also have the world gold in their URL.

Searching for “submit tip” or “submit guest post” would not have revealed this result.

Look how much more natural that search query is. It’s something you clearly wouldn’t find from a typical “submit article” search and opens up a lot of other link opportunities that SEO’s aren’t finding with commonly shared queries.

For example a sentence could have been “If you would like to submit your article” which a simple “submit article” search prior would not have found.

If you change the number after AROUND (the one in brackets) you increase the allowed space you can have between two words.

Let me give another example of how this query is useful. I recently noticed that some WordPress websites publicly show how much traffic their pages are receiving. This seems to be some kind of option in WordPress – I’m not sure where – but the WordPress forums are full of people wishing to turn it off.

Here’s one such website which reveal their daily pageviews for each article.

next-shark

My first idea was to simply scrape their website (using the tools in the first tactic) and see which were the most popular articles they’ve ever written. That being said, I no longer run any viral pages on Facebook so I wouldn’t really have anything to do with the information.

I instead decided to check was which other websites reveal this information publicly.

Thanks to the AROUND search operator, I can do exactly that.

usa
(I went to page two for this screenshot since the first page is just people asking how to remove it from their sites)

As we can see, even the USA government are in on the action to help out us marketers.

Now to be totally honest I didn’t find anything too interesting from sites that publicly share their pageviews. I was actually hoping to make a tool out of it but not many big sites share their stats. I found some interesting article ideas on a few sites, but nothing that was really worth the hour or so of trawling through the results.

Just think of all the standard search queries that you can now expand upon and find more natural results. Things like:

  • niche “top tools”
  • niche “recommended websites”
  • Niche “submit a post”
  • Niche “favourite links”

No longer do you need the words to be ‘touching’. You can specify how far apart they can be and broaden your link building horizons.

I’m hoping this query gives you some ideas of custom things you can search for you may not have been able to find previously. As I said, I use it far more than I ever expected it would and now that it’s in your arsenal, I hope you find places it can come into play.

Reverse-Analyse The Links of Successful Flippa Listings

When I used to write articles for SEOmoz (now Moz) back in the day, I wrote an article about four ways of building links that are currently working well for me. While the article was written in 2010, one of the tactics I shared there is still relevant today: Finding sites on Flippa with a lot of search traffic and analysing their backlink sources.

The reason you want to do this is because it’s interesting to see how some websites are ranking quickly, receiving a lot of traffic from search and are able to sustain that traffic. It’s essentially an open diary of what is working in SEO if you focus on the right listings.

For example, here’s a listing that’s live on the website right now.

wall

I have blurred out the name but they’re completely open about these stats (I don’t have to be logged-in to see them) so while I’m not sharing anything others can’t find, I’ll at least protect the URL.

As you can see, their traffic has grown fairly rapidly.

This is only interesting to me if most of it is coming from search, which in this case, it is.

organic

While the numbers aren’t huge, search still makes up most than half of the traffic to the site, and at least 33% of that is coming from the United States (meaning there are more lucrative opportunities for monetising that traffic).

If someone has built a site worth a few thousand dollars in less than a year which relies on search traffic, I’m always curious to know how they got there.

If we analyse their backlinks, it’s an interesting, albeit familiar story:

links

As you can guess the links they’ve built are pretty awful and almost entirely consist of comment spam.

However, their anchor text is very diverse so I think this is what has helped them stay under the radar and still benefit from these types of links.

Of course, as I often say, it depends what niche you’re in as well. Trying to do this for ‘Gold IRA’ is just incredibly unlikely to work, but an image-based site can certainly benefit from automated and fast link building.

Build a Private Database of Proven Promoters

I first heard about this tactic from Brian Dean on a podcast with Eric Siu a few months ago. The idea is simply to create your own private database of real people who have already shared your content or content that is very similar to what you write about or plan to write about.

You can then use that database to let people know when you publish new content that they may be interested in.

For instance, here are two women who have tweeted content I’ve wrote in the past few days.

kellie

If we click on Heidi’s profile (thanks for the tweet, Heidi!) we can see she has a very impressive number of followers and a genuine blog in the internet marketing space.

In other words, she’s the perfect type of person to strike up a relationship with if I want more shares (and potential links) on future content.

heidi

Please note that I will not be contacting Heidi or Kellie and request that others don’t either. They just recently tweeted my articles and therefore ended up in this example.

Heidi, like many website owners, does not seem to publicly display her email address. Instead she has a contact form if you wish to get in touch with her. If this is the case with someone you wish to add to your ‘list’ then simply send a friendly thank you email to establish some sort of connection. You’ll also receive that persons email address when they reply to your email.

Kellie on the other hand does show her email address prominently, so while I should still send her a thank you email, I could also add her to a ‘list’ very quickly.

I typically just make a simple spreadsheet in Excel which looks like the following.

example

I don’t write down any full names as I’ll generally never use them.

You may be curious why I use ‘Company’ as the column heading for the tweet where they wrote about me. This is just a preference based on the email messaging platform I use. When I import the email addresses later, it will ask me what variable I wish to assign tweets to, and I choose Company.

I personally use Reply for my email outreach but there are literally dozens out there so do your research first. I honestly just used the first option that looked good enough for what I needed, but it can get quite pricey.

Once I’ve imported the list, I’ll set-up a campaign to send a message like the following.

thanks

Note that I’m using the Company variable for where the link to the tweet they wrote about me will go.

While this is quite a slow process (it can take a minute per email and many people don’t share them publicly) I actually think that adds to its charm. There are less people who are willing to take the time to do it and therefore you’re going to get a better response on your emails.

I haven’t really utilised this much for ViperChill – though I may in future – but have for other sites.

Of course, if the site that you’re trying to promote is new (like mine have been), then you can’t say things like “You previously tweeted an article of mine.”

In that case you need to find similar articles to the one you are looking to promote, and then find the people who shared them on Twitter via their search engine.

You certainly aren’t guaranteed any links with this method, but if you could get an extra 100 Twitter shares on your next article from real people with real followers, you greatly increase your chance of finding the ‘linkerati’ who actually have the power to link to your content.

I did this for my article on ’16 Companies Dominating Google’ a few months back. Someone recommended an influencer who might like the article – they had no idea who I was nor had they ever read ViperChill to my knowledge – and I sent them a quick tweet about the post.

Then this happened.

I’ve never had more than 40 likes on a single tweet so it just goes to show what the right people can do for your promotion efforts.

Sharing good content is often good for the person sharing it, as it shows them as being an authority in their particular field.

Reverse-Analyse Scholarship Link Builders

When I talked about scholarship link building in my state of link building report, I received more hate emails and publicly negativity than I ever have. So much so that one Reddit sub-Reddit went crazy about what a terrible person I was and how I was giving away advice to people who don’t deserve it.

Normally negative feedback really gets me down, but in this case, I totally accepted it.

If you don’t see any moral issue with students taking the time to fill out forms in the hopes of winning a scholarship – when there’s likely 99.9% zero chance you’re even giving away a scholarship – then we couldn’t be any more different.

The example I shared in my last post was a brand new coupons website suddenly deciding to give away a scholarship in the first month of their opening and just got “lucky enough” to pick up dozens of .edu backlinks.

I can not be convinced they weren’t doing it just for links, and more than likely have no scholarship to offer.

I won’t be covering the tactic again, but I will state what there is to learn from the people who do this: What other types of links they build.

People who use scholarship links often:

  • Use donation links
  • Guest post
  • Participate in PIN’s
  • Buy links on websites
  • ‘Sponsor’ software in return for a link

If you want to know what works in the world of SEO, you should be following the people taking the time out to create these scholarship pages and then contacting the universities for a link.

While I don’t agree with their methods, they’re on the pulse of what works.

Here’s the example I shared in the past, and some of the other links that they’ve picked up.

one-minute

In one minute I’ve found an absolute goldmine of SEO knowledge by just checking one website. I can also replicate every single one of these links if I wished to do so.

I’ve found one site I can donate to (it’s cheap) and two directories which accept links from anyone, as long as you get in touch with them. If I ever went the scholarship link building route (I wouldn’t), there’s two additional places I can get links from as well.

The site was only started in 2016 so those links that shouldn’t really work are starting to pay off for them.

traffic

This site is actually small in comparison to another webmaster who is building thousands of donation, scholarship and paid directory links.

Just look at their traffic stats to see what I mean.

john

They’re around 4x bigger than the first example but following the exact same method of link building.

paid

Start from one source, like websites listed as offering scholarships, and then work your way backwards through other links they’ve built.

This tactic alone will give you more insights into SEO than the Google Webmaster blog.

A Little-Known Reddit URL for Finding Promotion Opportunities

If you’ve been following my journey on my personal blog at Glen Allsopp.com you’ll have seen that I shared exactly how I planned to write this article. In one update I wrote,

What I tend to do with articles like this is totally ignore what’s out there on the web until I’m finished my own post. Then I’ll search for something like “Advanced link building tactics” (the topic I’m writing about) and see if there are any great ideas I can include. I’ll try to add something the original author hasn’t covered but will always link back where it is necessary.

In other words, I never read articles on the subject I’m writing about until I’ve actually finished my own article. I want it to be original and don’t want to be swayed by the ideas of others.

The following tactic is something I actually found on Reddit just as this post was about to go live, and thought was an excellent tip to add.

Reddit has a little-known feature that allows you to see where a domain was shared anywhere on their website. So you could not only check your own website, but the performance of your competitors as well.

For instance, if I use the following query – http://reddit.com/domain/viperchill.com – I can see these were the most recently shared stories from ViperChill on Reddit:

reddit

What you can see in this highlighted box is that someone submitted my article to a sub-Reddit I didn’t even know existed and was actually able to send me thousands of visitors to my site in a 24 hour period.

Now, granted, those visitors did not stay on the site very long (with seems to be a common theme with ‘Redditors’) but I can take some things away from this:

  • I found a Redditor who reads ViperChill and has a bit of ‘authority’ there
  • I learned about a new sub-Reddit I could possibly promote to in the future
  • I received a lesson in writing Reddit titles for different audiences

If your site is new or you have yet to really write any content worth sharing then looking up your own domain will likely pull back few results, if any at all.

However, there’s no reason you can’t run your ‘competitors’ through the same query and get insights on sub-Reddit’s to use, Redditor’s who read content in your niche and content ideas you could cover yourself.

I decided to look up my friend Pat Flynn’s blog, Smart Passive Income, to see the results for his website.

I actually didn’t get the best of results back, so I modified the search URL a little, to this:

https://www.reddit.com/domain/smartpassiveincome.com/top/?sort=top&t=all

This will show me, from highest to lowest, the posts from Pat’s site which received the most upvotes in the history of Reddit. You simply need to click on ‘Top’ then ‘All Time’ if you want to do it manually, or you can just use the query above and swap out the domain name.

With that query I get the following result:

productivity

Now I’ve learned that I could potentially angle some of my future content towards the /r/productivity crowd and even though I’m in the internet marketing / make money industry, they could still respond favorably to the content.

Reddit links themselves aren’t really worth anything but if your post does go viral, you have an opportunity to reach the type of people who could link to you.

Rank for Terms the Linkerati Are Searching For

The term Linkerati, coined by Moz.com’s Rand Fishkin, refers to people who have the ability to link. Meaning they have some place on the web that they could actually link from, whether it’s a forum, blog, online store or similar.

If you don’t get the attention of people who can actually send links your way, then you aren’t going to pick up any links.

This gem comes from Ken Lyons, who shared the tip back in 2013 on a creative link building post by PointBlankSEO. Before I add my own ideas to the original concept, here’s what Ken had to say a few years ago,

We optimize and link to the “become an author” pages on each site we run this on so the doc will rank for search operators in specific keyword verticals. This gets us a steady flow of guest posting inquiries. We offer to “swap content” with bloggers that want to guest post on our sites. If you’re unwilling to or can’t swap, we won’t publish your article.

With the number of sites we run, we swap an average of about 100 articles per month. What I love about this tactic is the efficiency: link opportunities come to us versus us having to prospect for them. This really puts us in the driver’s seat and means:

– We can insist on only swapping with sites that meet or exceed specific quality thresholds.

– We have total control over link placement within the article and aren’t restricted to a single author bio link.

– We’ve been able to build ongoing relationships with others who run portfolios of sites and swap with them on a pretty regular basis.

How smart is that?

Rank for terms that link builders are using to find link opportunities in Google, then offer to work with them to help both of your sites. Similar to what I recommended with PIN’s, but actually having people come to you to pitch content.

So you could set-up a dummy website like “Real estate backlinks” or “real estate guest posting” and try to rank for relevant terms to each of those. Then make it very open on your website that you offer link opportunities, and people should get in touch with you if they want them.

Only once they get in touch do you start negotiations that are beneficial for both of you, rather than just plainly accepting their guest post on one of your websites.

As Ken says, it’s likely that not everyone will be a perfect fit, but just like my success with outreach for paid links (see below), you’ll find the right person to work with now and then who makes it all worth it.

Why Maps are the new Infographics When it Comes to Link Building

When infographics became all the rage a few years ago it seems like every other article I was reading had them embedded. People saw them as a way to “ethically” build quality links to their website, and get a few extra pins on Pinterest.

Infographic creation companies sprouted up across the web and some startups dedicated to their creation received millions of dollars in funding.

While infographics are no doubt useful and visually appealing, I would argue their massive success is due to the SEO’s of the world creating them for links.

This could well mean that maps, or more specifically interactive maps are going to be the new infographic when it comes to link building.

After all, the biggest publications in the world are sharing them on a constant basis.

map-shows

I took this screenshot on the same day this article is going live.

David McSweeney gets the credit for noticing this trend and doing a huge write-up on the topic a few months ago. Since his article I’ve certainly seemed to be noticing this more, and no doubt your average webmaster will be picking up on the idea soon enough.

It’s Working for Insurance Companies

I don’t really want to link to this one as it’s clearly just some SEO agency having created this for their client, but if anything it shows that even obvious implementations of this strategy can attract links.

GoCompare, a UK-founded financial comparison site created an interactive map on the topic of ‘What Powers the World’ which you can find here.

While it no doubt took technical skill to put together, it’s incredibly simple and doesn’t really reveal much at all.

world-power

The map, while seemingly irrelevant for what GoCompare was founded to produce, has been able to pick up links from over 100 different domains.

go-links

The obvious ‘problem’ of course is that for most people, these maps aren’t going to be easy to create out of the box. Keep in mind for however that for many people the same was true for creating infographics and still is today. I couldn’t design a beautiful infographic without help from others even though I’ve used Photoshop for years.

I think we can expect to see more ‘map creation services’ popping up as people look to capitalise on this opportunity while it’s seen as a more ethical (and perhaps easier) way to build links.

Do note that maps don’t have to be interactive to be shared. This following one was featured on Business Insider recently and is nothing more than a static image.

value-of-100

As long as the angle you’re taking for promotion is interesting then maps offer a nice visual which could attract views and social shares for whoever publishes (or republishes) the information.

If you’re interested in this tactic the first thing I would do is spend a few hours going through other examples of maps and simply noting which ones received a lot of social shares. Then try to find ways to make popular angle’s relevant to your own industry.

The Report That Earned Me Hundreds of Links (And Still Works in 2016)

At 18 years old, not long after I have just moved to South Africa, I started a personal development blog called PluginID (no link as it’s no longer online).

I was trying to grow my reach with the site as much as possible and basically wanted to track my own progress compared to other bloggers in the space. I decided to create something which showed me exactly that.

If I recall correctly the following script cost me around $150 to put together, but thanks to the links and attention it received, it was more than worth it.

pluginid

There were 71 sites on the list from the last count I can find so while the sites at the top weren’t interested in promoting it, those who were lower down the list definitely came back now and then to check how they’re doing.

It’s funny to see the metrics I used to track back then and the ones we track today. It’s almost a history of the internet.

Google Pagerank is dead.

Alexa barely gets talked about anymore.

Technorati is dead, too.

These days the reports that I put together look something a little more like this:

report

Note that this is not my own website but is a design I helped to advise on. I talk more about it near the end of this video.

As a bit of an internet time-capsule, I wonder if we’ll still be counting links, likes and Twitter followers five years from now.

I absolutely love the twist that Nathan Gotch has put on this idea (and not just because he has been far too kind in ranking me). His stats are not based on any particular scores like share metrics but his personal opinions of each article.

Showing he reads and rates so much content in the SEO world instantly makes him appear to be an expert on the topic.

And of course, everyone who is mentioned there wants to share it as well. While Nathan doesn’t seem to have picked up links, keep in mind that they’re generally much harder to get in the IM space because everyone is more likely to Tweet something than link to it. And people are definitely tweeting.

gotch
I’ve seen dozens of tweets (and made some myself) but I’m unsure how to find them all directly due to Twitter shortening the URL’s.

The great thing about this idea is:

  • Every month, some of the 10 people who are featured will share the page
  • It’s fairly easy for Nathan to put together since he reads the blogs anyway
  • It’s useful for his audience (I’ve found a few cool new blogs via his list)

As long as he can share 10 links for his audience each month it’s really a win-win for everyone.

How could you do that in your industry?

Could you curate a list of the top 10 articles about cooking, health and fitness, vegan recipes or anything else?

Notify those who get featured and start becoming the standard ‘go-to’ resource in your niche for the top content found on that topic. If you’re passionate about the industry you’re in the articles should be easy to find.

And don’t worry about “giving away” authority. I linked to 71+ blogs back in the PluginID days but people kept coming back to my site because I had the list and must have known a lot about the topic if I knew all of these sites.

Reverse-Analyse the Link Building Efforts of Wikihow Link Builders

Wikihow is a website which receives an estimated 86% of it’s traffic from search engines, according to SimilarWeb.

While their external links are no-followed, once again the webmasters who are taking advantage of their resource have built a lot of other links you can duplicate as well.

Whenever Wikihow pages link to external sources they use the heading text “Sources and Citations”. Therefore with a custom Google query you can pull back relevant pages from their site.

wikihow

If you edit the query to include a word relevant to industries you operate in, you can find active webmasters building links in your space.

Similar to previous reverse-analysis ideas I’ve shared, you would then go and analyse other backlinks these sites have picked up and find some great link opportunities.

Literally Just Ask Websites If They Sell Links

I’ve put this towards the bottom of the article as it’s probably the least advanced tactic here due to how simple it really is.

That being said, it’s rare that you’ll find bloggers talking about buying links these days, especially when it’s frowned upon.

Then again, there have been some big brands who have experimented with it for SEO reasons, even if they don’t endorse the tactic directly.

I’ve bought so many links over the last year that I almost wish I could offer link buying as a service (it wouldn’t be fair to the sites I’m buying them from if I was “caught”).

As I said, this is a very simple process. I simply give a list of 1,000 or so domains (gathered from lists of top blogs in various industries) to an assistant who then log’s into a email platform I set-up and then simply asks them if they have links for sale.

While the success rate is fairly low – many webmasters are scared of selling links – you do find people who have huge networks of links for sale, with fair pricing.

[EDIT: The people who sent me this example email asked for the graphic to be removed from the post. I do want to make clear that there was zero identifying information on the sites selling links, nor who sent the email. They simply recognised their own email they sent to my assistant. However, out of respect I removed the image.]

Most people you come across have websites they’re passionate about but they just don’t receive that much traffic and therefore aren’t making money. If they can get an extra $50-$100 per month for essentially doing nothing then many of them will jump on that.

Just make sure when you’re sending emails you’re not using a domain or email address that you care about.

For less than $3 per month you can use a private email option with Namecheap (found here) and then you don’t have to worry about setting up new hosting and so on.

How to Consistently Pick Up Targeted Backlinks from the Top Sites in Your Niche

While Dale Carnegie left many nuggets of wisdom during his time with us, the following quote is undoubtedly the truest.

“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” – Dale Carnegie

People can be talking metres from you without you hearing a single word they say, until your name pop’s up, and suddenly your brain is able to tune in on that discussion.

I would argue that the second sweetest sound to a webmaster or product owner is a favourable review of something they’ve created

Trust me, the best way to get anyone in the world talking about you is to have success with something they sell.

I have an entire page dedicated to people who have success with my Marketing program and if anyone else sends me a video testimonial, you can be sure I’ll be quick to put it up there as well.

One obvious place to start is somewhere like Clickbank and go through their marketplace to find products relevant to your niche. This is a bit of a tedious approach though because most of the reviews and testimonials that are found on sales pages, if they exist at all, rarely contain any links to the authors website.

Instead, I would head on over to iTunes and find the top podcasts in your niche, and then see if those podcast hosts have any products or services you would personally be interested in.

For instance, let’s say you’re a golf coach, run a golf course or sell golf equipment online. If you head on over to iTunes the first or second result you’ll find under a podcast search for ‘golf’ will be the Golf Smarter show, which has over 500 episodes.

golf-smarter

While there are no site names in the description, if I Google the name of the podcast I quickly find Fred’s website. I also find that he has a product for sale, for a very reasonable price.

8dollah

When you find something like this there are two approaches you can take:

  • Reach out and ask Fred if he would be interested in featuring your review of his show on the website
  • Reach out and ask Fred for a preview and in return you will review the show for him

The review would then link back to your website and Fred would have a chance at getting more sales by actually having reviews on his site (he doesn’t have any yet, which is surprising).

Please note that this is just an example: Please don’t flood poor Fred with dozens of review requests.

Another example is the podcast IMTalk, designated for those in the middle of training for an Ironman. It’s surprisingly popular:

ironman

If we head on over to their website we can see not one but three opportunities to get a link from them.

store

You could:

  • Purchase and review their products (ask if they’re interested in featuring testimonials upfront)
  • Sponsor their show
  • Submit content for their audience

Using Copyblogger as an example once again, you can see that the reviewers of their ‘Authority’ program get a nice backlink from a great domain.

weight-loss

While these links take a bit of effort, it’s probably one of the best links you could get if you also run a fitness website or more specifically one catered to those training for an Ironman competition.

This post was originally featured on viperchill.com

New Whitehat Link Building Tactic: The Grapevine Protocol

New Whitehat Link Building Tactic: The Grapevine Protocol

I’ve been keeping this tactic a secret for a while now.

And honestly, I couldn’t decide if I should write about it or not.

I could be wrong, but as far as I know, I’m the only one doing it (or at least writing about it).

And here’s what happens when we write about a new link building tactic on a blog: a small percentage of the people reading it–the black hats looking for shortcuts–immediately start cooking up schemes to abuse the living sh*t out of it.

One of the only reasons I’m doing it is because I don’t think it’s remotely scalable. I also don’t really think there’s a black-hat way to do it (although, if history tells me anything, I’ll be eating my words later).

But it is dead simple.

It’s also probably the most white-hat method I can think of, and it can get you some very powerful links.

I used it to get links on two DA51 and DA54 sites (I’ll show you these links below) that were also major national organizations in my market. In other words, they were hyper-relevant and very authoritative. If you think relevance is as important as metrics (like I do), they were among the best link I’ve ever gotten.

I call it The Grapevine Protocol.

The Idea

Bigger companies and organizations like to keep track of (and sometimes brag about) their publicity. It’s good for branding, and it provides social proof on the corporate level.

They do it with what I call media pages.

Like this one. In essence, every time a media outlet (or blog) mentions them, they put them on a list to brag about it.

These are pages with one purpose: to compile every time they were mentioned in the media. We want to get on those pages by simply mentioning these companies in our blog posts.

Did I tell you it was dead simple?

Most of the time, these will be a list of links very similar to a resource page.

Here are a few more examples from various niches:

In other words, these kinds of pages appear everywhere and in virtually every industry.

Also, take a second to check some of the metrics on that pages above; you can see that some of them are pretty ridiculous.

This is anecdotal, but I’ve found that these pages almost always show up on “real” company websites, and those sites, on average, tend to be much more authoritative than sites build solely for the web.

Of course, there’s a bit more to the process than that. But the basic idea is super, super simple.

But it works wonderfully. Check out some of the links I got on HerePup using this technique.

Here’s a link I got from PAWS (which is actually where I got my dog):

That’s an extremely reputable organization and a DA54 domain.

Here’s one I got from another shelter: 4PawsforAbility:

This is another nationally recognized organization in the dog space (i.e. hyper-relevant) and that also has a great link profile.

Of all the links I built for HerePup, I’d say these are the #2 and #3 links. More importantly, though, because of the nature of this kind of outreach (I’ll elaborate here in a second), I built some great relationships with these folks and even gave some organizations I believed in some free publicity, which was a nice bonus.

Prerequisites

There’s really just one prerequisite here: a well-designed site with lots of non-affiliate content.

We’ll be communicating with big organizations with dedicated media personnel. They want to share good press.

They don’t want to share the time bestwatermelonsfordiabeticdadshq.info mentioned them. In fact, they’d probably be embarrassed by it. If you’re not sure if your site is up to par, listen to this podcast.

In short, your site has to:

  • Look good
  • Be branded
  • Have good, highly visible, non-affiliate content

How to Execute the Grapevine Protocol

There are actually a few different ways I like to approach media pages to get links. We’ll go through each of them in detail below.

First, of course, we’ve got to do a bit of prep, so we actually have people to email…

Prep: Build a list of media pages in your niche.

We’re looking for pages that meet the following requirements:

  • They’re lists that actually compile media mentions
  • They link to external sites
  • Their links are dofollow
  • They’ve been updated recently (at least in the last year)

To find those, I like to use good old fashioned Google queries. Because no one’s doing this method of link building (that I know of), I had to experiment with a lot of queries to find ones that work consistently. These seem to be most effective.

  • [keyword] inurl:”in the news”
  • [keyword] intitle:”in the news”
  • [keyword] inurl:”in the media”
  • [keyword] intitle:”in the media”
  • [keyword] inurl:”media mentions”
  • [keyword] intitle:”media mentions”
  • [keyword] inurl:”press mentions”
  • [keyword] intitle:”press mentions”
  • [keyword] inurl:”in the press”
  • [keyword] intitle:”in the press”

In the [keyword] portion of these queries, try lots of different keywords in your market. Go broad, and then go specific. See what comes up. I usually have better luck with broad keywords, but I’ve found some gems with specific ones as well.

Let’s look for some for a hypothetical climbing site.

First, I’d load up Google and type in an advanced query.

It’s easier to look for these pages if we have more than 10 results on a page, so I also like to expand the results to 100 by typing “&num=100” at the end of the URL.

You’ll then have 100 pages to go through for each query.

Some are going to be misses (see notes on false positives below), but lots are going to be exactly what we’re looking for.

The good ones will look like this:

Here are a few more I found in the climbing niche:

Of course, there were many more. These were just a couple I found in the first 20 results or so.

Then, plop them in a spreadsheet.

Here’s the important bit though (you’ll see why in a second when we start deciding how to approach these folks). As I’m recording them, I’ll also note the category of the organization.

You don’t need to be specific; just record broad types. For climbing, there seems to be just a couple categories:

  • Organizations/associations
  • Clubs/gyms
  • Adventure

As always, my spreadsheets aren’t fancy. It looks like this:

I usually don’t bother recording metrics for these, since the insane relevance is more than enough to make securing these links worth the effort.

But I know you guys love metrics, so you can certainly check the DA/DR of each of these and plop it in the spreadsheet as well. It could certainly help you prioritize your outreach efforts.

Note on False Positives

Some of these pages will trick you. Almost all the time, this will be because they’re only linking to their own articles and press releases.

A slight variation of this to be on the lookout for is heavily orphaned pages. For example, this page from PlanetFitness looks awesome right?

Almost!

If you click through the links, you do end up with external links, but they’re on heavily orphaned pages that almost certainly get no real link juice from the rest of the site.

Would I still take a link from a site like PlanetFitness? Of course. But if it was something less than a major national brand, I’d probably pass it up, since, on a per-link basis, these links take more effort than average.

The point is to just be on the lookout for false positives as you do your prospecting, since these pages are far from uniform.

Now that you’ve got a list of good media pages in your niche, how do you actually go about reaching out to them?

I like to do it three ways…

Method #1: Mention as you blog.

This is the easiest by far, and it’s an amazing solution to take a very “blogger” approach to authority sites: that is to say they enjoy writing one article at a time and don’t spend much time on promotion.

In this case, for every article you write, simply mention one of the companies whose media page you found in your prospecting.

Of course, it has to make sense. Don’t crowbar it in.

What this usually means is you’ll have to look for stuff on their site relevant to whatever article you’re writing.

It also means it doesn’t really work with affiliate content.

Here are the kinds of mentions that are most likely to get listed on media pages:

  • Mentioning stuff they’ve done recently
  • Mentioning new products or services
  • Mentioning a specific person (the higher up the better)
  • Mentioning how they’re leading the industry somehow
  • Flattery (just don’t bulls*t)

Aside from that there’s no real formula for how you mention them. You can link to them, but you usually don’t have to.

Then, you just reach out. The good thing about this tactic is that you can be very soft with your pitches, and the conversions will still be high. Mine usually look like this:

You might also direct them to the specific paragraph in which they are mentioned, so it’s easier for them to find.

By the way, nerds, there’s no Glenn at USA Climbing, so don’t go spamming them asking for Glenn 😛

As always, you’ll have much better conversion rates if you write your own scripts (scripts that show up on blogs like this one get abused to hell).

Method #2: Conduct interviews.

This is the tactic I save for the really good sites. That, or the ones that I really think are cool and I think an interview would be fun.

The idea here is to find someone important at the company and ask for an interview. It can be skype. It can be email. It doesn’t matter.

Then you simply interview them and post the interview on your website. Here’s one I did on HerePup:

This takes a bit more work, but it’s also very enticing for your target site. Usually, whicher important person you interviewed will be requesting the link themselves.

Aside from the link, though, this is a really good way to make friends in your niche. Karen, for example, was an incredible person, and I had a ton of fun interviewing her.

Usually, you can just ask the person you’re interviewing if the interview will be posted on their news page, letting them know it’d be super exciting for you.

Method #3: Do a big roundup post.

This is where you can finally harness a bit of efficiency.

What we’re looking to do here is create a roundup post that compiles a bunch of cool companies in your market in addition to the companies with media pages.

You don’t only want to write about the companies with media pages, since that’s a bit weird. Instead, you want to put the ones that make sense into a list with other cool companies doing cool stuff.

This is where categorizing the media pages comes in handy.

Just sort by type…

…and write a nice, juicy roundup post about cool companies of that type.

For our hypothetical climbing site, my roundup might be titled: 35 Climbing Adventure Trips You Didn’t Know Existed.

Or whatever. Just make it fun and cohesive.

Here’s the one I did on HerePup.

After it’s published, just send everyone an email letting them know you gave them a shoutout.

Why The Grapevine Protocol is Good

The Grapevine Protocol is not my bread and butter.

It’s simply too difficult to scale. However… it is one of the ways I like to accumulate easy links over time as well as one of the ways I like to go after the truly amazing links. Here are a few other reasons it’s so good.

It’s one of the most white-hat tactics I can think of.

Outside of simply publishing content and hoping for links to occur naturally, The Grapevine Protocol is probably the single “whitest” hat tactic I’ve used (perhaps neck-and-neck with broken link building).

Because think about it…

All you’re doing is mentioning major companies and organizations in your space as you blog and then letting them know.

I usually don’t even ask for a link. They’re already on the lookout for this kind of thing.

There’s no weird “ask.” It’s not sketchy. It’s not spammy. You’ve already done them a favor, and you’re simply letting them know.

The conversion rate is really high.

These kinds of media pages exist for one reason only: to link to new media mentions. Literally the entire purpose of the page is to be on the lookout for new sh*t to link to.

Most of the time, you’ll find that bigger companies will often have a dedicated media person (or team) whose job it is to keep this page updated. Think about that: there’s someone sitting at a desk, and their job is to link to people.

I wish I could find the data, but on the last campaign I ran, I believe I sent 25 emails and got 4 links. That’s a 16% conversion rate.

Aside from being a really high conversion, all the links were extremely high quality, making that 16% exponentially more powerful.

It’s great for people who hate link building.

This tactic is not scalable. You’re not going to be emailing thousands of people and building hundreds of links.

But it’s fantastic for building links naturally as you blog. Here’s what I mean.

If you compile a list of companies with media pages in your niche, all you have to do is mention one or two in each blog post and let them know about it.

The links can be really good.

I mentioned this above, but it’s worth mentioning again.

The types of sites who keep these kinds of pages up to date are typically sites that get a lot of pres. And sites that get a lot of press are usually very relevant and have very good link profiles.

Limitations of the Grapevine Protocol

Despite all the awesome pros of the Grapevine Protocol, there are, of course, a few drawbacks.

It’s not remotely scalable.

The first thing you’ll notice here is that you just won’t be able to find that many media pages out there in most niches. I mean, there are quite a few, but in my experience, you’d be pushing it if you found over, say, 300.

If you were really exhausting all keyword possibilities for all sub-niches and tangential niches, I imagine you could find 500 or 600 pages.

In other words, the prospecting is limited, so the total links will be limited, and it’s not going to replace guest posting or skyscraper as your bread and butter anytime soon.

It requires more effort per link.

Pretty much every link you get this way will require both research and writing.

You’ll need to do research so you can actually talk about these companies when you’re mentioning them in your articles. And you’ll need to do some writing as well; at the very least, you’ll have to write the blurbs in each article, and if you do a bigger piece, like an interview or a roundup, you’ll have to devote time to a full-blown custom piece of content.

Now, that shouldn’t be a huge deal to most of us. We’re used to creating linkable assets. We do it for skyscraper, for example. The main difference here is that you have to do at least a little bit of writing for every single link.

Moreover, it’s usually not the kind of writing I outsource. Why? Mostly because it has to be written in the context of my entire outreach system. I need to know the target, who I’m trying to talk to, and what I need to say about them. It’s just easier to do yourself.

You can end up with a lot of reciprocal links.

You don’t have to link to people.

But it might look like a more legitimate mention if you do. And if you link to them, and then they link to you, those links count as reciprocal links, and Google doesn’t like those.

More accurately, Google doesn’t like too many of those.

For the most part, I don’t worry about it too much, and I link to people where it makes sense. I’d say about half of these end up as reciprocal links, and if it’s a small part of your total link profile, it’s not a huge deal, and the links will absolutely still move the needle.

How to Use It

I recommend using the Grapevine Protocol to supplement your other link building efforts. It’s a way to get extremely high quality links on extremely relevant sites.

Often times, these sites won’t be accepting guest posts. They won’t have blogs. They won’t have resources pages. And because of all that, they won’t be linking out to hardly anyone.

So when they link out to you, it really says something.

I’d recommend the following:

  • Pull a list of media mentions as you plan a new site and plug them into non-affiliate content as you go; or
  • Do a couple big roundups; or
  • Interview a few people at the really big companies.

It’s not going to get you hundreds of links.

But it should get you some of your best ones.

Over to you…

What do you think? How would you use this? What other ideas do you have? Drop me a note in the comments!

This article was originally published on authorityhacker.com

27 SEO Essentials for Every Long-Form Blog Post

27 SEO Essentials for Every Long-Form Blog Post

I love long-form content.

Want proof? Take a look at this.

That article is just a sample of an article I recently wrote. It’s over 4k words.

Sometimes, I write articles that are 10k words. I’ve even written super long guides that are over 20k words!

Why?

As I’ve learned from years of blogging, long-form content is one of the best methods of making your site stand out from everyone else’s.

Of course, your content can’t just be long. It also has to be deep.

If you can nail it, you’ll drive a ton of traffic and gain thousands of followers.

A lot of people think the formula is simple.

Step 1:  Write a really long article.

Step 2:  Get thousands of followers.

But here’s the thing. A long-form blog post isn’t enough on its own.

Yes, the formula is simple, but it doesn’t work automatically just because you have a long article.

I’ve seen lots of people write super long, in-depth articles, but they’re not getting the kind of traffic they want.

That’s because they’re not thinking about some of the fundamental elements of SEO — things that your long-form blog post needs.

If you have detailed long-form content, that’s awesome. But you need to doctor it up with SEO in mind if you want the content to be effective.

Trust me, I know this can be difficult. You’re already putting a lot of effort into the content, and it’s hard to remember all of the SEO involved.

So I compiled this list to help you out. These are 27 SEO must-haves for every long-form article.

They’ll help your content rank better, get more visibility, and drive traffic to your site.

Best of all, these steps aren’t hard to use at all. Even if you don’t know anything about SEO, you can use every single one of these tips.

Open your latest blog post, grab a coffee, and get ready to transform your content.

Learn how I used SEO to generate 100,000 visitors a month.

1. Keyword research

Take the time to find the best focus keyword for your post. Make sure it’s specific to your topic, and consider going for a lower competition keyword.

Google Keyword Planner and SEMrush are both great for this. Here’s how you can use Keyword Planner to its fullest.

2. Use long-tail keywords

Everyone knows that an article should include a focus keyword.

But not enough sites are using long-tail keywords.

Long-tail keywords are––you guessed it––long keywords that get super specific. They’re often easier to rank for, and they bring you targeted traffic.

Here’s an example from HubSpot:

Having trouble finding the right long-tail keywords? Try using Google’s “searches related to” section.

3. Create the perfect h1 tag

In most cases, your title (or h1) tag is going to be the first thing someone sees when they start reading your blog post.

For blog posts, the h1 is the title of your blog post.

The right h1 tag can make one heck of a difference.

Don’t believe me? When I changed the h1 of one of my articles, I got 85% more organic traffic in just 3 days.

Now I know what you’re thinking. If the h1 tag is just the title of the post, then isn’t writing the actual title more important?

That’s a pretty common thought. But focusing on the h1 tag is actually more important.

That’s because your h1 tag will help search engines identify and index your content better, which will help human users find your content easily.

Your h1 tag should have the following:

  • Include a long-tail keyword
  • Be short (20-70 characters)
  • Give the user a clear idea of what the article is about

Here’s an example:

If you want to make the best h1 for your content, here’s an article on how to do that.

4. Use helpful subheadings

Before I go any further, I need to say something.

Do not go keyword crazy with your subheadings!

If search engines see your focus keyword plastered in every spot available, they’ll classify it as keyword stuffing.

Instead, your subheadings should help readers navigate the content.

Use subheadings to break up your article into easy-to-understand chunks.

Look at this article from Convince and Convert:

That’s the h1. Now let’s look at the subheadings (usually h2 or h3):

See how these break up the article? You can get a good idea of the entire article just by reading the subheadings. (But you don’t get the whole picture.)

Brian Dean recommends including benefits in your subheadings. Here’s an example from Copyblogger:

To sum it up, make subheadings that help users move through the content, and make sure some subheadings include benefits.

5. Implement schema markup

Schema markup is a type of code that helps search engines analyze your content.

Specifically, it breaks down each part of your content and tells search engines what those parts mean.

For example, if you use schema markup on your title, search engines will know that’s your title.

There’s even a free tool you can use to easily add markup to your article.

First, go to Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper.

Since we’re marking up articles, choose the Articles option.

Copy and paste the URL of your blog post. (You can also use HTML instead.)

Click “Start Tagging.”

On the next page, you’ll see two panes like this:

The left pane is your article, and the right pane is the markup tool.

To mark something up, highlight it in the left pane and select the correct type of markup from the tool tip.

Once you’re done marking everything up, click “Create HTML” in the upper-right corner. Copy and paste this HTML and replace your original post source code with this.

NB: By default, this tool gives you microdata. If you want to use JSON-LD (which I recommend), click on the box that says “microdata” at the top of the right pane and choose the JSON-LD option.

6. Share your content with influencers to get backlinks

If you can grab the attention of influencers, you’ll likely get a nice backlink from them, which will, in turn, drive a ton more traffic to your site.This is an awesome strategy that I’ve written about before.

The most important part is getting your pitch right. You can’t be too pushy, but you want to get your foot in the door.

Here’s a template you can use for this:

Source: Quicksprout.com

The goal is to get backlinks, whether that’s a share on social media networks or a link in a blog post.

But don’t come right out and ask for a backlink. If the influencer likes your content, he or she will give you the backlink you want.

7. Optimize your URL

Shorter and cleaner URLs provide a better user experience and help search engines too.

This is the kind of URL I’m talking about:

Compare that to this messier URL:

You also want to make sure your URL contains your keyword (focus or long-tail). Here are some other tips for URL structure.

8. Include outbound links

One of the simplest ways of enhancing your post’s SEO: outbound links.

Brian Dean recommends 2-4 outbound links for every 1,000 words:

If your topic is super in-depth, you can use even more links, but do so wisely. Don’t go crazy and include a link in every paragraph.

9. Include internal links

Internal links are just as important as outbound links. You might be surprised to hear it’s one of the most overlooked parts of on-page SEO.

Again, don’t overdo it. You should link to your own site much less than you link to other sites.

Aim for about 2-4 internal links in every post.

10. Use LSI keywords

For example, if your focus keyword is “car stereo system,” some LSI keywords would be “car stereo speakers” and “best car audio speakers.”Latent semantic indexing (LSI) is a fancy term, but it just refers to keywords that are similar to your focus keyword.

Remember in point #1 when I mentioned Google’s “searches related to” section? Those keywords are often both long-tail and LSI.

But there’s an even easier way to find these: LSIGraph.com.

Enter your focus keyword, solve the Captcha, and you’ll see a list of LSI keywords:

11. Get the title tag right

Title tags are incredibly important. Why? They’re often the first thing someone will see if they find you on a search engine.

A title tag is simply the title of each result in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Here’s what I’m talking about:

Source: Ripplelinks.com

Even though this picture labels title tags as page titles, title tags will often be different from your actual page or blog post title.

You need to make sure your title tag describes a benefit and contain your focus keyword. Consult my article on this topic for more information.

12. Create an SEO-friendly meta description

Together with the title tag, the meta description helps your page stand out in the SERPs.

An optimized meta description should:

  • Be short, about 135-160 characters
  • Include the focus keyword
  • Be clear and descriptive
  • Stay truthful and convince the reader to check out the page

Here’s a fantastic meta description courtesy of HubSpot:

This tells you what the article is about in plain language. That’s exactly what your meta description should do.

13. Make it mobile friendly

Making a blog post mobile friendly isn’t just about using responsive design. That’s a good start, but it isn’t enough.

You also have to think about how your article itself will display on mobile.

First, make sure your content uses short sentences and paragraphs. (Aim for paragraphs of no more than 3-4 sentences.)

This will give your article the best readability on mobile:

Next, use media and white space to break up the article.

And don’t forget your h2 (or h3) subheadings.

Here’s a full list of what you can to make your content mobile-friendly.

14. Analyze your site speed

Here’s a statistic you need to know:

That means your site speed has to be pretty darn fast. If it’s not, you could lose some serious traffic.

Simplifying your design, reducing server response time, and enabling compression are all good methods of increasing your site speed. Here are 10 methods to get you started.

Once you’ve done the work, test your site speed. Here’s a speed test you can use for your desktop site, and here’s one for mobile.

15. Optimize body text for your keyword

Of course, you can’t forget to include your focus keyword in the body of your article. Don’t use it every chance you get, and be sure to mix in your long-tail and LSI keywords.

I usually use my focus keyword at the beginning and end of posts. I also typically use it in at least one h2 subheading.

16. Use your focus keyword early on

First, Brian Dean says your keyword should appear in the first 100-150 words. In my experience, this is absolutely necessary.

This will help Google crawl your content and understand that your focus keyword is important.

17. Think about keyword frequency

Keyword frequency is the number of times your keyword appears in your content.

There are several different opinions on keyword frequency. Rand Fishkin from Moz says you should use your keyword 2-3 times in a blog post. Other SEOs will think differently.

Source: Hermish.com

Here’s what I recommend: For long-form blog posts, use your keyword about 4-6 times. But also use your long-tail keywords and LSI keywords. You can use these every few paragraphs.

But if it seems weird, don’t force it. When in doubt, read it aloud and ask yourself if it seems natural.

18. Consider user intent

There are three types of user intent.User intent is what makes keywords effective. If you know about the different kinds of user intent, you can better optimize your keywords for that intent.

If a user has navigational intent, he or she is trying to get to a certain site or page.

If a user has informational intent, he or she is looking for information.

If a user has transactional intent, he or she wants to buy something.

Here’s some more detailed information on those intent types:

Think about user intent when settling on your keywords (focus, long-tail, and LSI).

For example, if your focus keyword is “handbags” but you’re creating a product page, you could change it to “buy handbags” to bring in users who have transactional intent.

19. Include LSI keywords in your h2 subheadings

This is a simple way to enhance your SEO by making one small change.

Again, if it feels forced, don’t do it. Use your h2 subheadings to break up the content. If you can naturally use an LSI keyword, do it.

20. Make social buttons easy to find

Social shares = free links. Make the most of this opportunity by using extremely visible social sharing buttons.

I use buttons that follow the page as it moves:

21. Increase your chances of getting a featured snippet

The featured snippet is arguably one of the best places to be on page 1 of Google.

Featured snippets are those handy boxes that show you a preview of the content and often answer a question:

Getting a featured snippet of your own can be super helpful for your site. Here’s how you can increase the odds of getting one.

22. Don’t overuse anchor text

If you like using exact match anchor text, be careful. Google now looks out for this and will often penalize sites that overuse it.

23. Syndicate your content

Most people don’t syndicate their content because they’re worried about duplicate content.

Thankfully, you can safely syndicate content without getting penalized. Don’t syndicate every single post you publish, but syndicate posts that you feel would be of interest to certain audiences.

Medium and LinkedIn are two great places to go to for syndication.

24. Use title modifiers

Adding an extra word to your title can drive more traffic and give you an organic long-tail/LSI keyword at the same time.

Words like “best” or “easy” are often searched, so it makes sense to add them to your title.

Here’s a list to get you started:

25. Use different titles for your title tag and h1

Your title tag and h1 don’t have to be identical. Your focus keyword should be in both, but you can use a long-tail keyword or phrase match keyword for one or the other.

This is a great way to naturally rank better for long-tail keywords.

26. Make sure your content is actually long form

When I say long-form content, I’m talking about 2,000+ words. That’s an optimal length.

However, I regularly recommend writing posts with 3,000+ words.

Obviously, length alone doesn’t always guarantee great ranking, which brings me to the final point.

27. Make sure your content goes deep

Your content needs to be comprehensive. It can’t just address a ton of surface issues. Focus on a few important points and go into extreme detail.

A few months back, I worked with my researchers on a massive study of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm.

We performed a deep dive into 9.93 million words of content to figure out exactly what kind of content Google elevated in the search results.

The subjects for our study were four personal finance blogs.

We analyzed each site according to a variety of metrics.

The most important part of the study was how deeply each site treated a specific topic.

This analysis was reflected in the “topical depth coverage” number.

As it turned out, websites that had deep content ranked better, even though they may have had less robust link profiles.

Deep content had higher search results, even if the website lacked high authority or powerful backlinks!

That’s exactly the kind of content you should be writing.

And that’s exactly the kind of results you can expect — top-ranked results!

Conclusion

If you’ve been pushing out long-form content without the kind of results you want, I believe this checklist will help a lot.

Long-form content does work. But it works when coupled with solid SEO, as these 27 points show.

SEO doesn’t have to be a headache. I know there can be a lot to keep track of, and I hope this list helps.

Keep in mind that this isn’t a comprehensive list of everything you need to do to have great SEO. It’s simply a handy checklist to use when you’re writing and editing your blog posts.

Like I say all the time, SEO is a long-term strategy. Don’t expect super quick wins with SEO. (Those happen, but your focus should be on the long term.)

This list will get you started, but I also recommend looking more into optimizing your content for SEO.

After a few posts, you’ll be doing a lot of this stuff without even thinking about it, and you’ll see the results as your page gets better ranking and more traffic.

Which of these techniques are you going to use?

This post was originally posted on neilpatel.com