Providing SEO services can easily enable you to make money online. One of the easiest ways to make money on the internet is to leverage the skills that you already have. Most individuals who have been into internet marketing for one or two years have a lot of SEO knowledge.
This knowledge usually comes frohttps://www.amazon.com/SEO-Entrepreneur-Successful-Business-Entrepreneurial/dp/B0Chttps://www.amazon.com/SEO-Entrepreneur-Successful-Business-Entrepreneurial/dp/B0CKLZ3DJGKLZ3DJGm their website building and traffic generating efforts. If the search engine optimization techniques that you know have worked for your websites, they will also work for other sites.
If you fall into this category of people mentioned above, this article is for you. We are going to discuss on the many opportunities that are available for you to make money from SEO services, as well as how to start an SEO business of your own.
Let’s get into it.
- How can I Earn Money as an SEO Professional?
- How can I Start SEO and Make Money?
- Is SEO a Good Side Hustle?
- Is SEO Passive Income?
- Can I do SEO by Myself?
- Can SEO Make you Rich?
- How Much a SEO can Earn?
- What can I do With SEO?
- What can SEO do for Your Business?
- Can you do Google Ads as a Side Hustle?
- Does SEO Require Coding?
- How do I Start SEO?
How can I Earn Money as an SEO Professional?
The internet has become the central point for transacting different types of businesses. Hundreds of thousands of daily transactions pass through the internet. Banking, shopping and several other services are now predominantly based on the internet.
Professional search engine optimization services can enable a business website to gain more prominence on the internet. A business can easily gain more targeted customers by hiring expert SEO service providers.
If you are looking for other ways to make money online, providing SEO services to business websites is a very good option. The same skills that you have been using to maintain your websites can now start to generate more income for you. You have already gotten a lot of experience in this field that is now widely sought after by several businesses.
Your job will be to ensure that your clients’ websites are optimized for maximum exposure. You will work on the onsite as well as the offsite SEO needs of the sites that are given to you. Nowadays, most website owners put aside some money to pay for SEO services. This is your opportunity to make more money on the internet from the comfort of your home.
What will you do as a SEO professional?
As a professional SEO service provider, you will be responsible for editing existing content or creating new ones. You will also have to ensure that your clients’ sites are listed on the first pages of search results. Some clients may want their websites to rank for several competitive keywords. This is usually based on the agreement that you have with them and the amount of money that is paid.
Every site owner wants to maximize his site’s profitability and one of the best ways to do this is to implement an effective SEO strategy. Websites that are on top of the search engine ranked pages for their main keywords make more money than the competition. This is your opportunity to make more money online by doing what you already know.
Starting your own online SEO company is easy. You can easily get a number of local business websites to subscribe to your services. You can start by searching for professionals and business owners in your locality who have websites.
Make a list of these companies and contact them one by one with a proposal about what your services can do for their business. You should also put up a site where the details of your services are also provided for easy access.
How can I Start SEO and Make Money?
Nowadays, there are a lot of ways to make money online: from building an e-commerce website to creating a blog to promote products and services. But none of that will actually work unless you’re able to drive traffic to your site. This is where SEO proves to be particularly helpful.
Here are five ways you can start making money with SEO services now.
1. Work in an SEO agency
By working in an SEO agency, you’ll not only learn technical skills such as website analytics, but will also be exposed to the management side of things by creating presentations and pitching to new clients.
Additionally, you get an opportunity to grow in the company, the chance to learn new skills from peers, job stability and a steady source of income, the opportunity to work with multiple clients and other growth opportunities within the organization.
But there are also some cons, including the inability to choose clients and brands to work with and the need to work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. without much flexibility.
2. Create an e-commerce website and sell products
If you have deep knowledge of e-commerce SEO, you can use search-engine optimization to sell physical products through an e-commerce website.
Start by picking your niche and finalizing the product you’ll be selling. You can do that by doing keyword and audience research to understand which keywords your potential customers are using to find this particular product.
For instance, if you find a keyword such as “stainless steel pasta maker” that gets a lot of traction but there aren’t enough companies selling this product, you can figure out the demand for a particular product and then plan to sell these products on your e-commerce website.
Before you decide, make sure you also perform an in-depth SEO competitor analysis; that’s the only way to figure out how much it will take to rank in the first positions for your target keywords.
E-commerce sites allow full control over branding and messaging. Moreover, the e-commerce market is booming, and it’s a lucrative choice to invest in it. Of course, it also provides a good source of income.
But there’s also an element of unpredictability, as you may have difficulty finding customers for your product, and scaling may prove to be a challenge.
3. Dropshipping other products on your website
Let’s say you’ve set up an e-commerce website and it’s doing splendidly, but now your customers are seeking new products or maybe you are having a hard time managing inventory.
Dropshipping is the answer!
With dropshipping, you can sell a product through your website without worrying about shipping and fulfillment. It’s a great way to sell products without worrying about manufacturing, inventory or even risking buying products that may not sell.
This model works because it allows anyone to set up an e-commerce business and focus on marketing and scaling instead of worrying about pre-ordering products and shipping.
Here’s how it works: An individual places an order from your website. You then share the order information with your drop shipper. Once the order information is received, the drop shipper sends you an invoice for the product sold. The drop shipper mails the package to the customer, and you don’t have to deal with the hassle of keeping inventory or worry about shipping.
It’s important to use appropriate SEO-friendly content, depending on the products you’re planning to sell through your website. For instance, if your niche is “vintage furniture” make sure that you include all the appropriate keywords (three to four search terms) so that your target audience can find your website easily.
Create original and unique product descriptions (instead of copying the same text from the manufacturer’s website) to make the content stand out and make sure you have the right keywords and a personalized tone and voice that your customers are familiar with.
With drop shipping, you can start selling unique products without worrying about shipping and handling, have the freedom to choose products that align with your values and ideals (for instance, if you’re vegan, you can create a niche by selling vegan beauty and skincare products) and diversify your brand by giving your customers something new and unique every other month.
But there are also some things to watch out for: not enough control as shipping and production are handled by a third-party vendor, a lot of competition, not much control over supply-chain, and you may have to deal with legal liability issues.
4. Offer SEO consulting services
With SEO consulting services, you can help clients meet their business goals by increasing traffic to their website and boosting sales.
An SEO consultant provides valuable search insight to their clients to help improve their SEO ranking and increase organic traffic. They help clients with keyword research, website auditing, technical SEO and developing effective SEO strategies that can be implemented on various platforms, among other things.
SEO consultants also perform competitor SEO analysis and share detailed plans on how to leverage this data, whether that applies to the content strategy, backlink strategy or particular keywords that they are using. An SEO consultant is also good at changing plans by taking into account new SEO trends and Google algorithm updates.
While this sounds intimidating, it can be a very lucrative and enjoyable career, especially for someone with a fair chunk of experience in an SEO agency.
The pros of SEO consulting include an opportunity to work with new clients, flexibility to work with clients and brands of your choice and an opportunity to expand and grow your consulting business.
The cons of SEO consulting include the stress of managing clients, difficulty in getting new leads and clients, and it requires extensive experience.
5. Start a blog and monetize through ads and affiliates
So, how long does it take to make money from SEO? If you have a well-established blog with a good amount of traffic, then you can make money with SEO fairly soon by creating sponsored content and posting banner ads on your blog.
Paid ads allow you to get paid via the number of clicks and traffic on your blog while sponsored content means that you’ll talk about a particular brand or service on your blog.
Starting a blog gives you the freedom to choose your niche, whether it’s technology, beauty, fashion or travel, and you get to infuse the content with your brand while building an online community of like-minded individuals. It also provides flexibility, as you can choose your hours to work, and gives you a lot of creative freedom and space to experiment with new forms of content.
But starting a blog also requires a lot of time to write good content, and it may be difficult to create interesting, topical and evergreen content regularly. You may also have to deal with technical issues and need help resolving those issues.
Is SEO a Good Side Hustle?
SEO can be a great way to make a decent living, and provided you have the skills to scale an SEO practice, the sky’s the limit.
Most SEO experts can earn between $113,518 and $131,590.
Salaries depend on many factors including education, certifications, work experience and additional skills. While the handsome figure you’ve seen above is certainly worth the effort, it does take a fair amount of experience to reach that level.
Is SEO Passive Income?
Yes, with SEO you can earn a quality passive income. However, you still need to put in the time to water and trim your passive money tree. If you don’t – your passive income will disappear taking your financial freedom along with it.
By using SEO, it’s possible to rank on page #1 in Google for whatever keywords you’re targeting. This opens the door to a virtual flood of “targeted traffic,” which also opens the door to passive income.
Think about it: you’re sitting on page #1 of Google for your keyword. Whenever anyone searches your keyword, they’ll see your website first.
For example, if your website is sitting at rank #2 on page #1 and your keyword gets 1,000 searches per day, you’ll likely get close to 400 of those searches landing on your website each and every day.
And Google doesn’t sleep.
People will be searching your keywords 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They’ll be searching your keywords on holidays when you’re sick and during your child’s piano recital. As long as your website continues to rank on page #1, you’ll get a steady flow of targeted traffic from Google.
Of course, traffic doesn’t equal passive income. Without a system to convert traffic into sales and repeat business, you have a tree that yields less than a bountiful harvest. However, the best marketing funnel ever created is completely useless without a steady flow of traffic pouring into it.
Your website must load quickly and the design must be user-friendly and inviting. Your email courses and newsletters must be filled with value. Your products must be high-quality and worth what the customer is paying for them – which will bring in positive testimonials.
Can I do SEO by Myself?
You can absolutely do SEO yourself or DIY SEO (Do It Yourself SEO). With some research and lots of practice, anyone can learn how to do SEO for their business. The easiest way to keep track of your efforts when you’re still getting the SEO fundamentals under your belt is to take it step-by-step. You might even want to write a checklist, so you know you’re not missing anything.
Before you actually do anything, start with an audit of your site. This will help you understand what you’ve been doing right, and what you need to focus on when making changes.
There are different areas of SEO you should know about. To keep it simple, we’ll go over some on-page and off-page SEO basics in this do it yourself SEO guide.
On-page SEO involves elements on your site you can control, like the title tag and meta description that show up in the search results and the text and multimedia content throughout your site.
Keywords are important! Whenever you write content for your site, whether it’s on your blog or on your homepage, you should be using keywords naturally throughout that content. This also includes any title tags or meta descriptions you create.
Keywords help tell search engines what your page is about. Say you run a luxury spa, and you have a blog on your site where you discuss different treatments, products, and common questions.
If you’re writing a piece about how often people should get facials, and you want to show up in the search results for that topic, you should use “how often you should get facials” and any related keywords throughout the content and in any major headings where it fits naturally.
Researching keywords isn’t as hard as it may seem! There are a lot of SEO software options out there that offer keyword suggestions for your content and information about how hard it is to rank for those keywords.
You can even look at related keyword searches on Google, or pay attention to what Google suggests as you type.
The next piece of the puzzle is getting people to link to your content. Links from reputable sites…other than your own…make your site look wonderful to search engines, giving you a much-needed boost in the rankings. But earning links isn’t easy.
However, please note, Don’t. Buy. Links.
That’ll get you penalized in the SERPs, basically negating any of the hard work you’ve put into your site’s SEO. Getting people to link to your site requires time and dedication.
First, you need to make great content that people will want to share. If you write educational blog posts or make some really cool videos, you’re on the right path. If you’re in need of content ideas that people want, take some time to scour the internet.
Read some of your competitors’ content if they have any, see what people are talking about on social media and in forums like Quora and Reddit, and try our content idea generator, FAQFox.
Promoting your content on social media is also a good start. The more people are exposed to your site, the greater chance you have of getting them to link to it.
Earning links for your site also includes email outreach. Look up professionals in your industry. Maybe there’s a trade publication that would benefit from an article you wrote, or a blogger who might share your infographic in their related content.
Google it! That’s the best way to discover places to get links.
4. Local SEO
And don’t forget about local SEO.
If you have a physical location for your business or want people in your service area to find you, you’ll definitely want to use local SEO, so people from immediate surroundings can find you when they’re looking for something you offer. If you’ve ever searched for something like “restaurants near me,” then you’ve certainly seen the results of other businesses’ local efforts.
The box you see with all the business information is called the local SEO 3-pack.
When you click on the results, you see even more business information, as well as other businesses that match your search.
To get started with local SEO, you’ll want to create a Google My Business profile for your business and keep it updated with your contact information, hours, location, and anything else people need to know.
Taking this first step can make a big difference in your business’s local presence.
5. Technical SEO
Another aspect is technical SEO. This entails responsive web design, internal links, site security, duplicate content, and a whole other host of issues — which is why it’s useful to have an SEO web design company on your side.
Can SEO Make you Rich?
Learning to make money with an SEO business isn’t a fast path to online riches, but it can be an incredible way to make money online. Plus, there’s no limit on how much money you can make if you use your SEO skills to build, rank, and monetize websites.
There are all kinds of ways to make money online, like building an eCommerce store, growing a popular blog, selling services and affiliate products, eBooks, selling online courses, and more. However, you won’t make any money with these methods if you don’t have traffic.
One of the best ways to get quality traffic to your site is through SEO. Search engine optimization is a foundational skill that can help to unlock your success online.
Knowing how SEO works and how to create and implement an SEO strategy can make you invaluable to business owners and any personal websites you launch.
Here’s a quick look at the path you can follow to learn SEO:
- Understand how the search engines work and how they index content
- Learn basic search engine marketing concepts and ideas
- Understand what the search engines are looking for (i.e. quality content that searchers love)
- Learn how to optimize content the right way
- Learn what offsite SEO factors are important and how to achieve these metrics
- Choose the right SEO tools to help you make data-based decisions
- Put what you learned to work with websites and other projects
How Much a SEO can Earn?
Salaries in SEO vary significantly—a result of the fact that it’s possible to perform SEO at both very large and very small scales. Part-time freelance SEO Specialists, for example, may take home $20,000 a year working only a few hours a week, while someone at the head of a large SEO firm can expect to earn a six-figure salary.
People falling under the catch-all title SEO Specialist can earn between $55,000 to $80,000. For more junior positions, like SEO Researchers, the salary ranges from $30,000 to $60,000 and $35,000 to $75,000 for Content Writers. Link Builders also exhibit a wide range of salaries, from $35,000 on the low end to $100,000 on the high end.
At the median, an SEO Specialist earns $49,000 a year, with SEO Managers’ median salaries sitting significantly higher, at around $63,000.
At the high end are SEO Directors—who typically earn between $70,000 and $120,000—and SEO Team Managers and Campaign Managers, in the $50,000 to $100,000 range.
What can I do With SEO?
SEO has everything to do with quantity and quality. The better your website is on both the back and front ends, the better traffic you will get, and the more search engines will increase your search rankings. Building SEO works by combining SEO elements using a data-driven approach. These factors include:
Words are powerful, and certain words have the power to control your rankings online. Keywords can be single words or phrases that people frequently use to find what they are looking for. Keywords need to be researched and strategically placed in your content so that the quality of your content is high while still utilizing frequently searched words.
Keywords are one of the reasons why you need SEO for your business. Prospective customers will use certain words or phrases to search for a product or service. If your content contains those words and phrases used by customers, you will increase your visibility because you are providing the answers by specifically utilizing the appropriate keywords. The most effective SEO keywords will be those that are carefully researched and analyzed.
Backlinks are elements on your website that link back to other credible, high-quality websites. Building backlinks improve your credibility because you are citing sources that are relevant to your area of expertise. For example, including current, trending events straight from their source can increase your credibility.
Backlink building should be done strategically so that your content does not get lost in a sea of other sources, which can be problematic. For example, plagiarism is taken very seriously and you do not want to present other people’s content as your own. Metric Marketing performs backlink cleanup if that is necessary for your site. Backlink building can absolutely enhance your SEO but it needs to be done carefully and ethically.
Content is where your SEO really comes to fruition. Your content allows you to communicate directly with your audience of existing and prospective customers. This is where your keywords help you build authority, trust, consistency, and engagement. Strong content can balance the human side of your customer-driven business with the data-driven analytics necessary to optimize your digital presence.
Content is anything that your audience views or hears, including:
- Webpage text
- Social media posts
Your content drives SEO by directly engaging with current and potential customers, thus driving traffic. Your content tells your audience who you are and what you offer.
What can SEO do for Your Business?
Build Trust With Your Customers
SEO and user experience (UX) work hand in hand with each other. Building trust organically is how SEO helps your business. User experience is how your audience interacts with your website. When your customers have a positive experience with your business, you get more web clicks, increasing traffic and ultimately increasing your SEO.
As this happens organically over time, your rank on a search engine results page (SERP) will get closer and closer to those top 10 spots.
User experience includes how well your customers can navigate through your site. Your website’s foundation must be solid and sturdy. UX is a mix of how web design, tone, and branding come together to make the user’s experience the best it can be.
Good SEO and UX mean that your business will build trust organically. Organic searches are the search results that appear on the SERP strictly via a user’s search. This means that you did not pay to be at the top of the SERP. Building trust organically builds SEO, and over time you will continue to grow and optimize your digital marketing and your business as a whole.
If you deliver what the customers are looking for, you become a trusted source they can depend on. Users know what they want. So if you do not meet user standards, your SEO will suffer.
If your platform provides what your users are looking for—whether that be in the form of information, answers to questions, products, or services—then you begin to establish trust with your customers. The more trust gained, the better the SEO and UX of your digital marketing.
Visibility Attracts Clientele
Attracting visibility in an organic way means that your website is appearing because of what your customers searched. Customers can seek you out based on their needs, which is where keywords really come into play. When customers see you as someone who can meet their needs, you spur engagement.
Engagement cannot begin, though, until they are aware of you. The importance of SEO is that it allows potential leads to see you, meaning that process of engagement can begin.
SEO is a pathway for visibility, which, depending on your purpose, can impact the buying cycle. Knowing what people are looking for by conducting thorough SEO research is key. This is where Local SEO becomes crucial in knowing your audience and their needs and wants. So, what is SEO in business when it comes to Local SEO?
Local SEO uses the geographical location of your business in search results. Your location can contribute to your online visibility. When a potential customer searches for a question followed by “near me” or within your geographical proximity, you want to be the business that comes up first. Increasing Local SEO will increase your online visibility, leading to growth in your customer base.
Can you do Google Ads as a Side Hustle?
Google has created an education platform where you can learn the foundation of online advertising. If you’re looking for a free way to take courses and make money online, then Google Ads certification might be for you.
Google Ads certification is Google’s professional accreditation. They offer this to the public to show their proficiency in basic and advanced Google Ads skills.
Six different certifications are offered: Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, Google Ads Video, Shopping ads, Google Ads Apps, and Google Ads Measurement. A Google Ads certification allows someone to show that Google recognizes them as an expert in online advertising.
These certifications show your current and future clients that you’re a certified expert by Google in the professional advertising space. With the certification, Google gives you a certificate that you can print.
Since your certification shows that you are an online advertising professional, you will use this to show your expertise.
To explain your certification to current and prospective clients, you can give them information based on the following statements.
- Your Google Ads certification recognizes that you’re a certified online advertising professional
- You received this accreditation after successfully passing the Google Ads certification assessment administered by Skillshop
Here is an example of a statement given to a client:
“Google has recognized me as a Google Ads certified professional, meaning that I’ve passed multiple assessments that assess my product expertise. I’m qualified to help you grow your business on the web using Google Ads.”
These are additional guidelines given by Google about communication and your certification:
- You may only refer to yourself as certified if you, personally, have passed the certification assessments. It’s not enough for a co-worker to be certified or for your agency to be badged.
- You can refer to yourself as “certified” as long as your certification remains in effect. After the expiration date, you won’t be able to refer to yourself as “certified” until you pass the assessments again.
- You’re allowed to mention your certification on your resume, business cards, LinkedIn profile, and other social media profiles. Note that Google Partners logos can only be used in accordance with Google’s usage guidelines.
You can make money with Google Ads certifications because you have demonstrated you have a highly valuable skill. The budgets for online marketing are typically large, so you can make anywhere from $60-$300 an hour as a freelance ads manager.
You can sign up for freelance websites such as Fiverr, Upwork, and other websites in this category and market your Google expertise to business owners. You can search for other freelancers on these websites and see their hourly rates and expertise to get an idea.
Does SEO Require Coding?
The short answer is: no, SEO typically doesn’t require much (or any) hands-on coding. You can absolutely do a fine job of SEO without touching code. But the longer answer is that yes, a good sense of how programming works, or even an ability to do a bit of coding yourself, is always a useful skill to have.
The extent to which SEO Specialists work with code will depend to some extent on the nature of their workplace—each one is different, and each comes with a different set of expectations. If you’re working for a large company with a dedicated development team or IT department working under you, for instance, the digital tools already at your disposal will likely be enough.
That said, the more effectively you can communicate your needs to that team—whose members may speak the language of Developers but not of SEO—the better. If nothing else, you’ll have a sense of just how big an ask you’re making when you turn to a Developer with a request.
Technical SEO refers to technical aspects of a website that can be optimized to improve its ranking and visibility on search engine results pages. Technical SEO tactics can include indexing, rendering, and website architecture with the goal of making a website faster and easier for web crawlers to find and understand.
If you’re working at a smaller company or on a consulting basis, it’s more likely that you’ll be required to make technical adjustments to your web pages yourself. While keywords and content are often the biggest piece of the SEO puzzle, there are other factors—like page loading times, lazy loading comments sections, HTML tags, metadata and microdata, and so forth—that also have an impact on SEO. In situations where you don’t have a webmaster to rely on, you may be required to go in and make these changes yourself.
But whether you’re fussing around with code or simply communicating directions to others, as an SEO Specialist, you should have some basic familiarity with HTML and even CSS—again, not necessarily at the high level of a Developer, but enough to understand the factors involved in your SEO strategy.
How do I Start SEO?
SEO is a way to build brand awareness, relationships with customers and increase your authority in your industry. It’s a great way to accomplish a number of goals including brand awareness, conversions, traffic, customer experience, and more. SEO has become increasingly important and we’re seeing more and more of a want and need for it.
Step 1: Set KPIs & Goals
Before you begin implementing any SEO strategy, it is important to define your goals and how to track them. If you do not figure out what success looks like for your company, then you have no way of telling whether or not that strategy you put together has worked or not.
Your first thought is that this is an easy answer, just track keyword rankings. Although this does work it’s flawed and should not be your main measurement for success. Every single search result on every single user’s browser is different. This is because each person is searching different on a daily basis. Google keeps track of the person’s search history and then gives them the best results based on what their searches tell them.
The best types of KPIs to measure are what people are doing once they reach your website. Tracking user behavior will tell you whether or not people are visiting your website and whether or not they enjoy your content. You will interpret this by looking at sessions, users, landing pages, clicks, impressions, and engagement levels.
A tracking tool like Google Analytics and Google Search Console will help you understand what all of this means. If you want to create more complicated goals to track you can also use Google Tag Manager. You also have the ability to use Google Data Studio or HubSpot to create a dashboard for your information to be displayed.
In addition to Google Analytics data, the HubSpot Marketing Platform now gives you an opportunity to track analytics for an entire topic cluster. You can see how your pillar strategy is performing once you start to implement it.
Some good examples of KPIs and goals include:
- Increase organic sessions by 100% YoY
- Increase organic homepage sessions by 25% PoP
- Create 10 MQLs through organic
Another to mention if you’re a local business Google also bases each person’s results on their location and other factors. Search results can differ from block to block in a city. You can optimize your Google My Business, further discussed later, account to create a high chance of ranking in a local pack. You can also use a tool such as SEMRush or BrightLocal to track how you’re ranking for local keywords and within the local pack.
Step 2: Analyze Your Current Website Setup
Now that we have the KPIs and goals created, you need to know basic information about your website. Here are the things you need to look for when analyzing your setup:
- What is your website platform?
You need to know if your site is based on a modern or outdated platform. A modern platform, such as HubSpot, is fast, secure, and much easier to optimize. It’s also more flexible when it comes to design and making small changes to your website.
If your platform is outdated, we would strongly suggest switching over to HubSpot, or another more modern platform like WordPress or Marketo. It is sometimes cheaper to migrate platforms than to pay someone to optimize an outdated, confusing platform. In the end, the decision is up to you but often times in the long run the migration is worth it.
- Do you need to change your current design?
It can be a tough decision deciding whether or not you need to change your website design. You may be totally attached to your current design, but it may not be the most user-friendly, well-designed website for SEO purposes, mobile-friendly, or more.
There are so many reasons that a website might need a new design and it’s important to not get too attached to your current design. If you are changing to a new platform, this can be an easy process because you can usually change your website to a new theme and customize it how you want it.
- What to do?
If your website is poor, out-of-date, or not user-friendly, it’s imperative that they’re taken care of before the optimization stage. An SEO campaign is going to have little effect with these problems present. You need much more than a good keyword and optimization strategy to succeed with SEO.
Step 3: Topic Creation & Keyword Research
As stated earlier, it is very important that we are optimizing around topics rather than singular keywords. However, we still need to do keyword research to see what types of keywords within a particular topic we want to optimize for.
First things first, we need to come up with the topics we want to focus on for the campaign. We do this during a brainstorming session. There are no wrong answers here, the use of a brainstorming session is to get everything out there. Write down as many topics as you can think of. It can be something short such as “Digital Marketing” or “About Us.” or it could be a longtail “What is digital marketing?” or “Where is Revenue River located?”
Ask yourself the following to get you started:
- What are your customers looking for?
- What products/services do you offer?
- What message do you want to get across?
- What topics do you want to write about?
- What topics do you currently write about?
Once you have brainstormed the list, narrow down the list as much as possible. Combine duplicates, remove any that are irrelevant/not necessary, only choose what you feel is most important. Keep in mind that you can always revisit this later down the road.
After the topics have been decided, it is time to do research into what you want to optimize your website around. We use SEMRush for this, but there are plenty of other tools, like Moz or Rank Tracker that can give you the same or similar results.
To begin this process, keep track of all of your work and separate all of your researched keywords by topics.
Start by taking a look at what keywords you’re already ranking for. Then look into what your competitors are ranking for that you aren’t, a keyword gap analysis. Once this information is taken into account, you can use the tool of your choosing to research additional ideas.
Once the research has been done i’s good to narrow down the list a little so that each topic is associated with a handful of target keywords. It is a good rule of thumb to choose keywords with higher search volume, that you are already ranking well for or within striking distance (positions 11-20), and that are going to be attainable.
The length of the keyword itself doesn’t necessarily matter but the general theme you’ll see is that long-tail keywords have a lower search volume and are easier to rank for. As opposed to short-tail keywords with high search volume and keyword difficulty.
We now have the topics that we are going to base all of our content around, as well as the keywords we want to optimize the website around.
Step 4: Establish a Pillar Content Strategy
Content is the core of a website and if you do not execute a content strategy correctly, you could be missing out on some serious search engine rankings. Much like Google’s Algorithm, the way we create content for SEO is different than it was before.
Once you have your topics and keywords chosen, it is important to perform long-tail keyword research in order to form the content strategy. These types of keywords are going to be used as either blog article titles or for what we call pillar content pieces. Both of these pieces of content are going to work hand-in-hand to achieve higher traffic and keyword rankings.
Pillar content, also known as 10x content, is a long-form piece of content around each of our specified topics. These pages can be ungated eBooks or guides and can be created from the already-existing content or newly created content pieces all to help us rank higher.
The purpose of this kind of content is to create a long-form piece of content that keeps users engaged. Keeping the user engaged will make them stay on the website longer and will receive more of what they are looking for.
By linking back to the content, we’re telling Google that the pillar page, and the articles surrounding it, are vital to our website. We demonstrate that they explain exactly what we do for our users and what we are offering them. This will ultimately help the website rank higher and get more organic traffic.
Step 5: Perform an SEO Audit
An SEO audit is the start of the campaign, it is important to understand how to perform an SEO audit. A site audit will help to identify areas that need improvement regarding on-page SEO, but can also help determine to strengths and weaknesses of your off-page SEO. With SEMRush, we have all we need to perform an SEO audit. However, you can also use tools like Moz or Ahrefs.
Everyone does an SEO audit differently, but at Revenue River we combine a mixture of on-site optimization and a technical evaluation.
- Audit Step 1 – Get Page Inventory
You can get an inventory of all of everything you need through a tool like ScreamingFrog. Which will pull URLs, MetaData, status codes, redirects, etc. This allows us to see what we need to work on from an initial optimization standpoint.
We need to see whether or not the URLs will make sense when Google crawls through the site, and if they hold up to the ever-changing best practices. Additionally, we want to see what Meta Titles and Descriptions we need to optimize right off the bat to get the optimization started.
- Audit Step 2 – Look at Accessibility Issues
It’s crucial to take a look at the accessibility issues that exist and whether or not they need to be addressed. For this portion of the audit, Google Search Console is used. This tool is free and makes a list of ongoing technical errors that exist on your website.
The first thing we look at is the Robots.txt file. It is important to have this file in case you ever want to have something on your site, but want to avoid search engines from finding it. This can avoid duplicate content and can also be used to tag, folder, or author pages.
The main purpose of a robots.txt file is to keep your website from bloating. On the other hand, you need to check it to make sure it is not blocking any important pages from being seen. Google Search Console will tell you if there are any errors and how to fix them.
Additionally, we look at the Sitemap. This is a file attached to the root of your website (www.example.com/sitemap.xml) that is a roadmap for search engines to follow and crawl your site. It also helps speed up the process of your website being crawled so you don’t create a lag or waste the time allotted for your crawl. We use these sitemaps to submit them to Google Search Console to let Google know how to crawl your website.
It is your job to make sure to find your sitemap and submit it to Google. Once it is submitted, it will continually monitor it and let you know if there are any issues and how to fix them.
Lastly, we look at 404 errors that exist on a website. If search engines and users are unable to access your site’s content, then the browser will return a 404 error. Users will encounter this error for a handful of different reasons.
A user could have a page bookmarked that is no longer live, or they have input the wrong URL into the search bar. These errors are stored in Google Search Console and the URL will need to be redirected to the correct page for a better user experience.
If you have recently set up your Search Console, the data will not come in instantaneously, so you may have to wait. It takes time for Search Console to collect 404 errors.
Additionally, how you create the redirects depends on the type of website you have. In step 1, you figured out where your website was. Now, you will need to do some research on how to implement a 301 redirect to fix these 404 errors. As well as implementing the sitemap and robots.txt files.
- Audit Step 3 – On-site Optimization Overview
To evaluate on-site optimization, you will run your website through one of the all-in-one SEO tools that I mentioned previously. Some of the many tools include:
- Netpeak Spider
These tools will help you determine any optimization errors that exist on a website; including missing alt-text, Meta Title issues, Meta Description issues, URL structure problems, etc. Make sure to take inventory of all of the issues that you have determined during this audit to ensure they get fixed throughout the on-site optimization process.
One thing to note about these tools is to make sure the site audit is set up properly. Meaning allotting the correct number of URLs, the correct crawler, if you want subdomains crawled or not, etc. If it’s set up improperly then you’re setting yourself up for failure. You can also set a schedule for the crawl so you have weekly historical data available.
Step 6: Work on Audit Findings
Once a strategy has been created, and your goals have been set and are being tracked. It’s time to begin the implementation process.
- Start by taking a look at the initial audit that was done on the website. Figure out what the high impact and top priority items are. This can differ and there are no wrong answers but is a crucial step to follow to create a plan and a successful campaign.
- Your next step should include looking into any accessibility issues. These action items should include fixing the Robots.txt and Sitemap files. As well as redirecting any 404 errors that Google Search Console finds.
- Once you’ve figured out where you’re top action items are, create a timeline and a plan for implementation. The goal is to clean up and optimize your website.
- After this is done you can look back into the all-in-one SEO tool you used previously and see if it offers any optimization edits that can be made based on your target keywords. It will give you some optimization ideas for better ranking opportunities.
Now that your site is error-free and optimized, the focus is switched to optimizing your on-site content for our topic clusters. Once you have your pillar pages chosen and created, you will want to go back to old blog articles and optimize them for your pillar strategy. This may sound intimidating but it’s actually quite straightforward, all you have to do is follow these instructions:
- Link back to the pillar pages that are most closely related to the article
- There should only be one internal link (the one to the pillar page)
- Optimize the article for the target keyword within the corresponding topic
By following these optimization techniques, you will have a fully rounded on-site strategy in place.
Step 7: Work on Local SEO
Local SEO allows local businesses to promote their services to local customers at the exact time they are looking for your type of business. Local SEO uses search engines like Google and Bing and business directories like Yelp to help your site’s local presence rise.
The first step in local SEO is to make sure that your Bing and Google My Business Listing are set up properly. The most important thing about these listings is that the address must match exactly how it is on your website. You will then make sure to optimize the listings with images, a description, profile photo, services, products, and more.
Once all of this is completed, it is vital that you claim and verify your listings. This means that you have sole ownership over them and no one else can edit it unless you give them permission. If you have a large number of locations this step can be annoying but it is a crucial step to take. When your locations are verified Google places a heavier weight on them and they’re likely to rank higher in the local packs.
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Once the Bing and Google Local Listings are completely optimized, it’s time to begin to create additional business citations, such as Yelp and Yellow Pages. You can do this through a citations creator such as BrightLocal or Citation Builder Pro or you can create them yourself. These listings will help promote your Google and Bing listings and in turn, will get you more traffic to your website.
Step 8: Work on Back Links
A backlink is when someone else is linking back to your website. The more authoritative and relevant backlinks you have the higher your domain rating is. It is extremely important that you are focusing on the quality of these links rather than the quantity. If you have a lot of poor-quality backlinks in your profile, you could get penalized, if this happens your rankings are likely to plummet. It is very important to watch who is linking to you and making sure it is relevant.
Before you begin building links, take a look at who is currently linking to you and make sure they are not toxic and are not going to hurt you in the long run. You can do this by running a backlink report in any of the all-in-one tools I mentioned to show the links that should be removed.
Once you have removed any toxic links through disavowing either at the URL or domain else through Google Search Console, it is time to create more to build up your website’s authority. There are several ways you can create backlinks. Some quick wins that you can use are as follows:
- Unlinked Mentions
Create a Google Alert for your brand name, CEO, and any other important people or products that you have. Google will then send you an email however often you set the frequency to be of all the times your keyword or phrase was mentioned. All you have to do is either reach out to the author or someone associated with the business and ask to be linked to.
- Competitive Link Building
Many tools like SEMRush will help you look into your competitors’ backlink profiles. By taking a look at what they are doing, you can try and get links on the same websites to try and compete for that top spot on Google. When using this tactic, you must be careful to choose the most powerful and authoritative links to obtain. You can also use the skyscraper technique.
- Skyscraper Technique
Put simply the skyscraper technique consists of finding a relevant piece of content with a lot of backlinks that is very present in your industry. Then all you have to do is create something way better. For example, if you find an article with four recipes you can create an article with forty recipes.
Once you’ve created the superior piece of content ask all of those linking to the original piece of content to link to yours instead. Make sure you word it to seem like it’s more of a benefit for them and their readers than it is for you. Although it is a benefit for both, a solid win/win situation.
- Industry Related Directory Link Building
Finding industry-specific directories that have high trust and authority can be difficult. However, through this process, you can find a backlink that is extremely relevant to your space, it will be a great addition to your profile.
There are plenty of other ways you can build links, especially when you think creatively. One thing I will tell you is that if you can leverage the relationships you have with other businesses and other websites, you can get some good quality link exchanges very easily.
Building backlinks can be extremely time-consuming, it’s important to make sure you’re spending your time wisely. If you’re not seeing good results from your backlink campaign either try something new or address more pressing matters.