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How to Use SEO Wisely for Long-term Profits

This guest post is by Moon Hussain of Experiments in Passive Income.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Start with your blog posts

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

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

Move onto sub-topics

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take action NOW

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

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

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

Next, you need your post to receive some backlinks.  If you have a powerful network, you can ask your friends to link to you (yeah right!)  For blogs with a small readership, this won’t come so easily.

If not, you can take matters into your own hands.  You can create social bookmarking links, article links, web 2.0 links or a nice link wheel.  You can take it a step further and use Fiverr to get your backlinking done.

However, don’t expect results overnight.  Rarely does this happen.

By ranking three of your posts for search terms that receive 1000 searches each, you have potentially added 1500-2500 new visitors every month.  For small blogs, this number of visitors a month is a lifeline.  Once the work is done, you will reap the benefits for months and years to come.  Even Darren dedicates time to search engine optimizing his posts once a month, only on a much bigger scale.  But you can start small and build your way up.

Why SEO is your friend

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

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

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

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

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Comments

  1. A link wheel? are you sure, I thought Google had the sum of these unless you were very, very, clever?

    • Shuck says:

      You don’t need a link wheel to rank for keywords – just links to your site – not spammy links like forum profiles and blog comments, but real contextual links through guest posting and article submission….forget link wheels, imo, it’s overkill.

      • Sebastian says:

        Shuck,

        I think you offer some great insight. It’s kind of annoying when people stuff their keywords box with keywords they think will get hits as opposed to including relevant, useful links. I think link wheels work great in many instances but can be counterproductive in others.

        Sebastian

    • Hey Matt,

      Link wheels still work fine…just don’t connect every site to every other site. Call it a “broken” link wheel if you will.

      @Moon – great post mate. This is a strategy that I am already following. Consider this..if you could get an extra 20 visitors a day for each keyword phrase you wrote a post for and you wrote just two posts a week for a year, that would give you 2000 visitors a day just from all the long tail phrases after only a year. Want to do it in less time? Write more posts :)

      Trent

      • Moon Hussain says:

        Thanks Trent!

        Link wheels, pyramids, even broken ones have worked really well for me. That’s not to say I don’t create direct backlinks to my sites. It does come down to the quality and power that the link holds. With link wheels, (I don’t go for closed ones), as long as they’re done well, they can really help. Depends on if you need them to begin with…

        Thanks for commenting, Shuck.

  2. Monja Wessel says:

    Absolutely agree with you – seo helps Long Term success. I have optimized all posts for my new blog and visitors are coming in :-)

  3. SEO Ultimate and SEO Smart Links Plugins have been awesome for SEO.

    SEOMoz has a cool video on the new panda update that is awesome.

    • Moon Hussain says:

      I’ll definitely have to check out SEO Ultimate and SEO Smart Links Plugins. I’m down for to catch up on the new Panda update soon ;)

  4. Scott says:

    Wonderful article! I use fiverr as well. Gotten some great results!

    • Moon Hussain says:

      Hi Scott,

      It’s great to hear someone who uses Fiverr and has had good results with it! A lot of people that I come in touch with seem to haven’t been as lucky as us.

      • Tom says:

        Who do you use on Fiverr to get backlinks?

      • Saimurr says:

        I was just wondering what sort of services you use on fiverr and if there is anyone you would recommend? Its hard to know where to get started with sites like that.

        Great post btw, I’ve been impementing this kind of strategy on a site I work on for a while now, and it’s really starting to pay off. Once you get to the front page, and especially once you reach number on you get a huge traffic bump.

        Thanks for the post.

  5. Vago Damitio says:

    Great post Moon. You really delve into it and seem to hit the nail on the head. The only problem with all of this is that in the process of using SEO, making sure to tag my posts, creating great keywords, working hard to rank for keywords, and filling all those extra fields in (not to mention alt tagging my photos), resizing them to fit, thinking up clever titles, and doing all the back end stuff that one has to do to be a pro blogger…we all seem to have forgotten what we were writing about, why we were writing, and who we were writing for….

    Okay, not really, but I think it’s a danger. It’s pretty easy to lose track of what it’s all about in the world of SEO fogginess and that’s a shame. Even more of a shame is when keeping up with the SEO, social media, and everything else becomes so much of a burden that great bloggers end up throwing in the towel when they could have just been enjoying themselves writing things that people enjoyed reading.

    SEO is constantly evolving and about as exact as astrology. One of these days, someone is going to figure out it no longer matters and at that point, great content is all that will save us.

    • I agree. I like to write great content, which takes a while to create. But I would also like people to read what I write. Balancing the time spent creating content and trying to get that content seen by people is very difficult – especially if you have other things in your life (jobs, family…)

      • Moon Hussain says:

        Vago, I think Neil put it really well. I understand what you’re saying but you do want your content to “get out there”. With so much competition out there, it is a good idea to optimize (seo) your content. Doing things like keyword stuffing is a bit lame.

        For me, it’s coming down to creating longer, helpful (hopefully) posts once a week or so. It has helped me maximize seo efforts without feeling too tired.

        Perhaps cutting down on posting frequency may help.

  6. Great write up, SEO is becoming more interesting and complicated…However, with the right tools and approach as outlined above, the result turns out to be amazing… Will take on board this one!

  7. Rodrigo says:

    It’s funny how this things are… We are always trying to complicate, chasing after the next big thing and we forget that simple SEO is an effort that pays off for years to come.

  8. Awesome work!,

    Links are always going to be a strategy to build a solid online business…

    Good luck on your future projects!,

    David Edwards

  9. Navin says:

    I do these types works but still im not getting traffics.

    • Moon Hussain says:

      Navin, how well do you rank for your keywords? It’s important that you land in the top 5 (I’d argue top 3 depending on exact searches a month) of Google…

  10. Kartar Singh says:

    thanks for helping me to use seo wisely

  11. Sadly I’m still using Blogger as my domain and free hosting. But perhaps Blogger hosting still got some advantegous on SEO considered that Google own Blogger ;P

  12. Great advice on targeting smaller keywords and ranking posts. Also appreciate the tip for the SEO plug in.

  13. Rita says:

    Thanks for the helpful article.

    Rita blogging at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide

  14. Firstly Thanks for sharing this Topic. The main thing here is backlinks and that too high PR Backlinks to rank higher in Search Engines like Google for the Newbies is a very difficult task because of the competition here. Once if we have a Good Pagerank we can easily bring our posts to googles 1st or second page by doing some on page SEO.

  15. Interesting. I did a few keyword experiments with the Google Keyword Tool and found a very unlikely phrase that throws up 30 000 000 global hits, with very little competition. Though it seems innocuous enough – I can easily fit that phrase into a blog title.

  16. jezza101 says:

    I don’t mean to be rude, but this smacks of the advice that was given out about five years ago. Things are moving on fast! As search engines move towards semantic understanding I would concentrate on writing content for readers and not for search engines.

    I actually visited a site last week whilst looking for driving lessons (in my 30s and no license!) and saw that someone had taken the above advise very literally – they had stuffed every combination of every phrase into a piece of text that was written to get me onto the site. Well I guess that worked, but did they convert me? Of course not, a keyword stuffed page provides a terrible user experience – I moved on to something that looked more professional.

    Sure, by all means make sure you use header tags corerctly, set a good title and headline, make sure your URL is sensible. But write content for your users. Your users are the ones who will go out and talk about your site on the social networks and create natural back links for you, this is the real traffic win!

    If search engines do their job properly onsite SEO should be limited to basic layout, if you do your job properly and create a great site then offsite SEO is done by your readers the good old fashioned natural way! Now that’s what I call long term thinking.

    • Moon Hussain says:

      Jezza, you are absolutely right. Once you are ranking for a keyword, it’s very important that you have content that the reader came looking for.

      If you can’t get content right, then don’t bother. My seo advice, however basic, is for those people who don’t take simple action to help their rankings.

      Let me ask you this: Let’s say you’ve done your job. You’ve created some awesome content but you can’t seem to get any readers. Would it not be a good idea to have it search engine optimized so people looking for that content (very targeted) can find your awesome content and hopefully “stick around”?

      I think creating great content and search engine optimizing it (combo) are the best way to go.

  17. Hi Moon,
    I build my main blog with 90% SEO and it’s the best decision I ever made. I have posts that consistently bring in over 1000+ visitors weekly thanks to ranking on Google.. Though I’ve been a bit relaxed lately, your post has just reminded me of what I’m missing.
    Thanks for sharing

    • Moon Hussain says:

      Ikenna, that’s awesome. However, take time to make sure your content is so good that the readers want to stick around to see what else you’ve got ;)

      Stats like that are cool but money is in conversions. Good luck!

  18. peter davies says:

    Good post – SEO is simple if you stick to the basics but like many things is not easy.

    I am finding that I am having to optimise pages for some KWs with deliberate spelling mistakes cos it is so competitive based on what the Google KW tool is telling me.

    Also a message for all – beware of overkill on the backlinking if you have a brand new site, I like to leave them for 6 months before going to town on that aspect.

  19. Paul says:

    Good Post Moon…But let’s not forget why we are blogging in the first place. We want our readers to exclaim “This is what I am Looking for”. Everything should else be secondary. It takes some brain power to make these work together. Paul

  20. Marie Noelle says:

    That’s a really great article with some good tips I can actually follow!!! Yeah!!! I was already using the all in one seo pack but I don’t think I focus enough on my choice of keyword… Anyways, thank you for this great post! Now, I have to work on my blog ;)

    • Moon Hussain says:

      Cool Marie! It was my intent to show some basic examples of how you can target for less competitive keywords and some targeted traffic.

      It does take time to do this all properly but it’s absolutely time well spent. Thanks for commenting Marie!

  21. It’s true that SEO is still your best option for getting your great content out there in front of a potential audience without an initial following. One thing though is that with the Google Keywords tool the “Competition” reading actually means how competitive the bidding is for a particular keyword when it comes to paid advertising – not search engine competition. You can get a sense of that from the number of competing pages, or from looking at who ranks on the first page individually and judging what sort of backlinking they’ve done.

    But more importantly, if you optimize a site for a keyword with low AdWords competition then all your AdSense clicks will be worth a measly 5 cents or so. Higher competition means you earn much more per click, not uncommonly around the $2 or $3 mark. It certainly makes it easier to earn decent money if you optimize your site for more competitive terms! And it doesn’t necessarily make it harder to rank – for me about 5 million competing pages for a keyword or less are an indicator for low competition, but of course further research is always required to determine the likelihood of outranking the guys already on the first page.

    Best wishes,
    Brent

    • Moon Hussain says:

      Brent, my focus was more on building targeted traffic for an e-mail list or affiliate sales but certainly one can focus on Google Adsense as well.

      Either way, you need the traffic (& converting traffic that is) to make any of what I just mentioned happen. Thanks for the comment sir!

      • That’s true. I only mentioned AdSense because that’s what most people choose to monetize their sites with. Plus optimizing for a more competitive keyword does give me more long-term options knowing that I’m ranking for a term that people are willing to pay good money on AdWords for – so it wouldn’t be too difficult to sell ads directly either.

  22. Great post. I would like to add the importance of back links for SEO. You can only optimize your blog so much. Back links or in other words another websites cosign that your blog relates to your keywords is an important factor. I’m not talking about just directory dumping. I’m talking about either paying other blogs for one way links or doing reciprocal linking (which is not as good as the former). This links will raise your site page rank and over all value in the eyes of the search engines.

  23. I feel better after reading this post. I see that there are many things I can do to get more traffic, without wasting too much time or spending money. I’m going to seriously pay attention to the keywords I use in my blog posts. Thank you for this lesson!

  24. Harrison Li says:

    oh and just saying, Google doesn’t crawl the keywords tags anymore

  25. Dippin Slash says:

    SEO is really a big help in gaining profits from blogging. With the proper use of SEO, your blogs will become more visible in the search engine. If this thing happens, you’ll get a bigger traffic of your targeted market and later on be converted into good profit.

  26. Great tips! Very valuable for me, thank you.

  27. Freebies says:

    Also, if you are on wordpress you don’t even need to name your blog posts with the most optimal keywords you just need to name your Title Tag with your them. This way your post title is more reader friendly- but google will still see your keywords.

    jenetta

  28. Moon,

    I really like your targeted idea about focusing on 5 post/keyword phrases for your blog. Very manageable and the search engines will notice a continuity within your site. Which will help you even more.

    The hardest part for most is the patience part of the whole process. However, with Google making more and more changes that are weeding out the junk sites, focusing on targeted quality content could pay off a lot quicker – and definitely in the long run.

    Thank you – Theresa

  29. Rick Pinson says:

    Thank you for the most informative article. As I’m sure you know SEO is a constantly evolving creature and jumping to the top of the search engine tree is fraught with peril. If you fall you will generally hit most branches on the way down. It is true…content is king. Keyword quality and quantity will still get you a long way but I appreciate some of the finer points you mentioned.

  30. seo is required if you want your website visable. but be very careful were your backlinks come from as there are a lot of companies submitting automated listings to blogs which could ban or kill your website . these blogs are po rn related or gaming websites. thank you for letting me comment. jawshosts.com

  31. Arjun Singh says:

    It is hard to believe that the global searches for keywords like “Vegetable Gardening” has soar up to 201,000 in less than a year!

    Thanks to Problogger.. ;)

    Nice post… i hope to work hard with my blog and compete you.. :D

  32. Vin Jackson says:

    Thanks for nice post on the topic of SEO, which is more demandable for website and also business promotion.

  33. langlang33 says:

    Appreciating the dedication you put into your website and in depth info you offer. Its good to come across a blog every once in a while that isnt the same outdated rehashed info. Outstanding read! Ive saved your website and Im adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.