Lesson 1: Introduction to SEO
A blog is one of the easiest ways to create effective SEO content. In this course, you’ll learn how to create awesome and high ranking content in order to promote products and services. And to do that, you need to learn SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimisation.
What Is SEO?
SEO is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” search results on search engines.
With SEO technique, we aim to achieve top rankings for specific keywords. You can drive a lot of traffic to your website if you get a top ranking, which costs you nothing but make you a lot of money. It is really a sustainable traffic source. When your content is ranked on the first page of Google, it’s like renting a physical shop in the city centre for free. That’s why it’s very profitable if you get a lot of organic rankings for your website.
What is a Keyword?
A keyword is a word or phrase or a sentence that someone types into a search engine (like Google). Keywords should be your focus to capture highly relevant and engaged visitors to your website. So keywords are the basis of all your content going forward.
Nowadays, whenever people want to know something or buy something, they google it. So each post you publish on your website is going to target a specific keyword to get ranking on the search engine.
That leads to traffic and ultimately revenue for you. There are countless keywords you can target, and as people do searches every day, new keywords will be created.
Your goal is to build a list of relevant keywords for your niche, and then work to rank them in Google. With millions of keywords in every niche, the traffic potential is limitless.
Please note that while keywords are important in SEO, they aren’t the only reason why your content will rank higher on Google. There are a number of other factors that increase rankings, such as link building, site authority, the relevance of content etc, which I will talk about later.
In the next lesson, I will talk about how to do keyword research.
Lesson 2: Keyword Research
To generate traffic through SEO, you have to do keyword research before you start creating content.
Having a target keyword is the first step in creating SEO content. But how can you find those keywords and how do you know what keywords are good to target?
You need keyword research tools to help you. These tools will tell you the search volume and competition of keywords. Your goal is to find out some keywords with decent amounts of search volume but low competition. These keywords are called low-hanging fruits, which are easy to rank on Google.
Keyword Research Tool
There are many keyword and research tools on the market, but the quality ones are few because many do not give you accurate information, which will mislead you and waste your effort.
I recommend using KWFinder by Mangools. It is one of the best keyword research tools out there. It has a seamless interface, powerful features, and a beautiful design. The most important thing is that its data is very accurate that you can rely on.
If you are a member of Wealthy Affiliate, you should be using Jaaxy. While Jaaxy provides some valuable information about keywords like QSR and traffic volume, but there are many critical metrics or features that are missing, which however can be found on Mangools.
I personally use both Jaaxy and Mangools together to do research, which pays off as you get access to the most accurate data and hence won’t waste time or efforts on creating content that cannot be ranked or has no traffic.
Below, I will use Mangools’ KWFinder to demonstrate how to research keyword:
1) Brainstorm Keyword Ideas
There are two ways to brainstorm keywords for your niche. One is a search based on seed keywords. Another one is competitor-based keywords.
a) Search a Seed Keyword
A seed keyword can be any phrase that describes a topic in your niche, which will be used to generate a list of keywords ideas. For example, if your niche is about weight loss and you want to create content about aerobic exercise. You can enter the keyword “aerobic exercise” into KWFinder.
KWFinder will show you the data of the entered keyword, but also give you a lot of other relevant keywords. You can see the estimated search volume, the difficulty of ranking the keyword and the search results page (SERP).
b) Competitor-based Research
Competitor keyword research is one of the most powerful features of keyword tools like KWFinder.
If you already know who your competitors are, you can get a lot of keyword ideas by using KWFinder to identify what keywords they are ranking. If not, you can simply type a seed keyword on Google and see what websites come up. Websites that resemble yours should be your competitors.
After you have identified your competitor’s website, simply grab the URLs and enter them into the KWFinder. You’ll then see what keywords they are ranking and their estimated monthly search traffic.
Even if you’re quite familiar with your niche, you can discover plenty of unique keyword ideas by studying your competitors’ website.
2. Analyze The Keywords
In the KWFinder, you will see a lot of keyword ideas. As mentioned before, you should choose the low-hanging fruits, especially if your website is new.
There are 3 criteria in analysing a keyword: searching volume, the difficulty of ranking, and relevance. I will talk about this in detail in the next lesson.
3. Write With the Target Keyword
Once you have chosen a target keyword, you should use it as a topic idea and optimize your page for the target keyword. That way, when people search the target keyword, your content will appear on the Search Results Page.
Here’s a simple list of elements where you should include the target keyword:
- Title tag and meta description
- The first paragraph of your post
- Heading and subheadings
- Body text
- Image metadata
- Anchor text of the internal links
I will talk about how to optimise your content for SEO in detail in a later module.
Remember, while a reasonable density of target keywords is important, you should not overuse it. Keyword stuffing is an outdated technique, which will be penalised by Google.
There is no exact rule of how many times you should include the target keywords in your content. It depends on the length of your content. But the best practice is to have the target keyword in mind and write naturally.
Tools & Resources
Lesson 3: 3 Simple Rules to Identify Profitable Keywords
There are many keywords, and we need to find some keywords that are profitable. To determine whether it is profitable and worth the time to create the content, there are some criteria that you can use to evaluate and pick profitable keywords.
If you learn how to effectively choose the right keywords, you’re going to vastly improve your chances of getting ranked on Google and other search engines.
There are three key factors to consider – search volume, the difficulty of ranking and relevance of the keyword.
In order to get traffic for your website, you should target keywords with reasonable search volume, the low difficulty of ranking and relevant to your website content.
1. Search Volume
Search volume means how many people are searching for a keyword. It’s an estimated figure based on the monthly average traffic in the last 12 months.
You should not choose keywords with too high search volume. High-volume keywords are very difficult to rank, especially for new websites. So you will waste your time writing content for a high-volume keyword.
You may notice that the search volume varies in different keyword tools for the same keyword. This is because different keyword tools retrieve data from different sources. If you use KWFinder, you don’t have to worry about this as their data is very accurate.
You’re recommended to look for keywords with a monthly search volume of around 200 or below. Usually, this kind of keyword is easier to rank while giving you a decent amount of traffic.
2. Keyword Difficulty
Aside from search volume, another important factor to consider is the difficulty to rank for the keyword, i.e. keyword competition.
SEO is all about outranking your competitors. So it’s important to look at the websites competing for the target keyword.
In KWFinder, it will show you the Keyword Difficulty (“KD”) for each keyword.
There are many factors that influence the degree of keyword competition, including the quality of the competitors’ pages and the quality of your page.
SEO is all about outranking your competitors.
Backlinks are still a very important ranking factor, so they provide a good estimation of how hard it will be to rank for a keyword. The Keyword Difficulty score is calculated by taking into account the backlink profile of the competing websites on the first page of Google.
The Search Results you see in KWFinder for the target keyword will also show you the Link profile Strength metric, which measures the authority of the competing websites.
The more authority the competing websites have, the more difficult for you to outrank them for the target keyword on Google. You should look for keywords where there are many low-authority websites on the first search results page.
Therefore, if your website is new, you should avoid targeting keywords which already have many authority sites ranking on Google. I will talk about how to build your backlinks in order to increase your site authority in a later module.
In KWFinder, the keyword difficulty scores are on a scale from 0 to 100. The higher the score is, the harder it is to rank on the first page. They are also indicated in different colours to help you identify the low-hanging fruits. You should target keywords which are green in colour, which means a score of 29 or below.
The exception to the rule:
There is one exception when it comes to analysing the Keyword Difficulty score. For some keywords, although the Keyword Difficulty score might be high, it doesn’t mean you have no chance to rank. Keyword Difficulty Score only takes into account the site authority, but Google also stresses the relevance and quality of content.
If there is no relevant or high-quality content for a specific topic, Google may simply rank the semi-relevant websites with high authority.
In that case, if you can write high quality and highly relevant content for that topic, you may still be able to outrank them. Therefore, it’s important to manually analyse the content of the competing websites on the first page as well.
3. Search Intent
After analysing the search volume and keyword difficulty, you need to take a look at the search intent of the keyword.
Search intent is the goal of a person searching for this information. Google’s algorithm is smart enough to determine the search intent and show the pages that can satisfy the intent.
To understand the search intent of users, do a SERP analysis by googling the keyword and see what type of content is ranked by Google for the keyword in the first SERP. Or you can use the SERPChecker, which is offered by Mangools along with the KWFinder.
There are 4 different search intent types:
- Navigational – search for a specific website/brand
- Informational – search for general information
- Transactional – the searcher wants to buy something online
- Commercial – the searcher does the research before purchase
For example, if your niche is about weight loss, you do a search for the keyword “best home exercise tool”. You will see that all pages ranking for the keywords are reviews or recommendations, not product pages.
That means Google considers the search intent of the keyword to be “Commercial”, not a transactional keyword. This is good if your website is a blog reviewing products, but not good if your website is an eCommerce store.
SERP analysis is so important before you write the content for the target keyword. You wouldn’t be able to rank on Google if your content doesn’t match the search intent even if the keyword difficulty is low.
Tools & Resources
Lesson 4: Alphabet Soup Technique
In this lesson, I am going to talk about the power of google instant with the Alphabet Soup Technique in order to brainstorm more keywords for targeting.
Keyword tools might not give you timely keyword ideas. Usually, the data is one month behind. So to get the current search data and keyword ideas, you can use the Alphabet Soup Technique.
With this technique, there is no shortage of keywords, but only shortage of time to write content. There are millions of new search terms that arise and are derived from people’s natural search habits every day and you as a marketer just have to dig out the gold and target it.
This technique is used when you search within Google to uncover popular keyword phrases recently. Google Instant is updated live, so you can find what people are searching for recently.
1. Add a Letter Before and After a Phrase
First, let’s say you are looking for content ideas about weight loss. Type weight loss into Google and immediately you are given 10 suggestions.
Next, to get more other keyword ideas, use the “alphabet” technique. Simply add different letters like “b”, “c”, “d” and so on to the end of the phrase “weight loss”. And you are now given further 10 results for each letter. Continually doing this will give you 260 keyword ideas!
You can also add a letter at the beginning of the phrase to get a different set of keyword ideas.
2. Delete a “in between” phrase
First, type in a short sentence. In this case, I typed in “how to lose weight”.
It shows a lot of good keyword ideas naturally.
The next step is where the trick takes place. When you delete a middle word, in this case “to”, you will see that Google shows you a new set of keyword ideas!
3. Use “Local” Phrase
If you are doing local marketing and want to drive traffic to a local business, you can enter a local phrase in Google.
The first step is to type in a City, followed by a letter. Let’s try “Los Angeles” + a.
This has revealed some of the top Los Angeles related searches that people are doing. You can try the letter “b”, “c” and so on to get more keyword ideas.
The next step is to take a phrase Google has suggested to you. Let’s try “Los Angeles attractions”.
Now, Google gives you another set of keyword ideas related to “Los Angeles attractions”.
You can see the power of using Google Instant and the Alphabet Soup Technique to generate updated keyword ideas. There are lots of keyword ideas that you wouldn’t have thought of without using this technique.
After you get the keyword ideas from using the Alphabet Soup Technique, you can analyse the keywords by using the KWFinder, which I talked about in the previous lesson.
Tools & Resources
Lesson 5: Find Long-Tail Keywords
In this lesson, you will learn why Long-tail keywords are important and how to find them.
What are Long-tail Keywords?
Long-tail keywords are the search terms that are more specific and longer than standard search terms. Usually, they have a lower search volume and are less competitive.
There is no exact rule of how many words a long-tail keyword contains. But usually it consists of more than 4 words. For example, “how to lose weight fast” is a long-tail keyword.
Why Should You Target Long-tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords have a higher conversion rate because the search intent is more specific. For example, if a person searches “the best weight loss supplements for women”, she is more likely to make a purchase.
In contrast, a person searching “weight loss” has much less specific search intent and is less likely to take any action.
As an affiliate marketer, you should aim to target people who want to take action, such as making a purchase or signing up for an email list. Therefore, targeting long-tail keywords can greatly boost your conversion rate and hence more commission earned.
How to Find a Long-tail Keyword?
1. Start With a Base Term
One of the easiest ways to find long-tail keywords is to start with a base term. A base term can be something that can best describe the product or services you are promoting. For example, if your niche is about relationships, “dating advice” can be the base term.
2. Enter the Base Term into Google
After you’ve decided a base term, simply enter the base term into Google. Apply the alphabet soup technique you’ve learned in the previous lesson.
Google Instant will give you a lot of suggestions when you combine your base term with letters or WH words (e.g. what, how, why, who).
Then take note of the long-tail keywords your target audience might be searching for.
3. Take a Look at the People Also Ask Box
When you do a search on Google, did you notice the “People Also Ask” box on the search results page? Click on the box and more questions will pop up for you. These questions are the long-tail keywords you can target.
Also, scroll down to the bottom of the search results page. Google will tell you other related search terms.
4. Enter the Base Term into KWFinder
Go to KWFinder and enter your base term. KWFinder will give you a lot of related keywords.
Besides the main suggestions, you can use the “Autocomplete” or “Questions” tab to show more relevant long-tail keywords.
5. Use AnswerThePublic
AnswerThePublic is an amazing tool for generating keyword and content ideas. By entering a base term into the tool, you will see a list of popular questions people are searching.
Tools & Resources
Lesson 6: Optimise Content For SEO
In the previous lessons, I’ve talked about keyword research. You should be able to find a profitable keyword and use it as a topic for writing posts. Remember, you shouldn’t stuff the target keyword into your content. This is not how SEO works.
In this lesson, before you start writing content, you should learn some basic on-page SEO. These are basic but essential rules you should follow in order to enhance the chance of ranking for a target keyword.
1. Keyword in Title and Meta Description
Title and meta description are crucial from the SEO point of view.
The target keyword should be included in the title of your posts. The title should also be captivating to attract people to click it. Because when your post is ranked, Google will use the title tag as the first line of the listing, so make sure your title is catchy and highly relevant to the search intent.
If the click-through rate of your post is low, it gives Google a signal that your article is not relevant and Google will start to rank you lower or even remove it.
Here’s an example of a post ranked on the first page for the keyword “best exercises for weight loss”
When writing the title tag and meta description, make sure you don’t exceed the length limit. If they are too long, part of it will be cut by Google and do not look nice on the search results page. You will get the reminder from your SEO Plugin.
2. Keyword in the First Paragraph
You should include the exact keyword somewhere within the first or second paragraph of your content. That’s because Google crawls the first 100 words of your content and puts more weight on that when deciding what keywords to rank your content. That is one of the hacks you can do to rank for a certain keyword.
3. Keyword in Headings and Body Text
It is best practice to use your target keyword in the H2 or H3 headings of your posts. But make sure not to include it in every headings or subheading.
Also, your target keyword should appear in the body text a couple of times.
Always remember that there’s no such thing as the ideal number of keyword appearances on a page. It depends on the length of your post and the content itself. Keyword stuffing is not recommended.
The rule of thumb is to do it naturally.
4. Keyword in Image Metadata
Do you know that you can add metadata to an image? Here the various places to add your keyword for the post images:
- image filename
- image title
- image alt text
The alt text is the most important from the SEO point of view. It describes the image for visually impaired visitors as well as crawlers of Google. It is a piece of text in the HTML code that describes the image and shows when an image cannot be loaded by browsers.
Again, you shouldn’t stuff keywords unnaturally. Good image metadata should be descriptive to describe the image and concise.
5. Social Sharing Your Content
Sharing your content on social media networks can help to rank because social factors indicate the popularity of your post and google does take it into account.
So make sure you share every post you write on these social media at least:
Also, you should write something that is popular on social media so that readers would share it. Here’re the most popular type of content people like to share on social media:
- How to…
- X things…
- Top X…
- X ways to…
- The future of…
- X things you…
- How to get…
- How to make…
- X reasons why…
I will talk more about how to research trending content ideas in a later module.
Tools & Resources
Lesson 7: Set Up Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tool
You should now have a basic understanding of SEO and how to write content for ranking on search engines.
However, to help search engines find your website and content, you need to set up the Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tool.
Google Search Console is Google’s platform that allows you to measure the performance of your website and optimize the visibility of your websites to Google. You can also submit sitemaps to the platform for quicker indexing of content.
Bing Webmaster Tool is Bing and Yahoo’s platform for the similar function of Google Search Console.
Set Up Google Search Console
Setting up Google Search Console is very easy.
1. Log into Google Search Console
First, go to Google Search Console and log in with your Google account.
Then you will be asked to enter your website domain. Make sure you choose the left-hand box which is the Domain Property. That way, all the URLs, subdomains and web protocols of your website will be tracked.
2. Verify Domain Ownership
After that, you will be asked to verify your domain ownership. You can do this via the DNS record.
- Go to your domain’s DNS record settings
- Add a new TXT record and paste the code provided by Google Search Console.
You can read the Google guide on how to verify the domain. It might be a bit different for different domain host.
If you follow the steps in the previous lesson, you should manage your DNS via WPX Hosting.
After adding the DNS record, go back to Google Search Console and verify. It might take several hours for the DNS record to propagate. So if it fails, just wait and do it again later.
3. Submit SiteMaps
A sitemap is an XML document that lists all pages on your website available to be crawled and indexed by Google. It’s important to submit the sitemap to Google, otherwise, your content will not be found by crawlers.
You can create the sitemap with an SEO plugin like SEOPress or Yoast.
If you use SEOPress as recommended, just go to SEOPress and enable XML sitemap. You can configure what posts, pages, products, post categories or tags to be included in the sitemap.
Your sitemap URL should be like this http://example.com/sitemaps.xml/.
After that, simply go to Google Search Console > Sitemaps and paste the sitemap URL under Add a new sitemap:
Set Up Bing Webmaster Tool
1. Sign Up for an Account of Bing Webmaster Tool
First, you’ll need to create a Webmaster Tools account. To do so, head over to Bing Webmaster Tools and click “Sign Up”.
You can create an account by using a Microsoft account, google account or Facebook.
Once you’ve created an account, you’ll see an empty dashboard.
2. Verify Bing Webmaster Tools
Since you have already verified your website on Google Search Console, you can choose to import your website from Google Search Console and it will be auto-verified. That way, you don’t have to go through the manual verification process again.
You can see the option to import sites from Google Search Console on the My Sites page.
To import your sites, Bing Webmaster Tools will need permissions to access information from your Search Console account.
You can select the sites which you want to add to Bing Webmaster Tools and click Import.
After that, your website will be added and automatically verified in Bing Webmaster Tools.
3. Submit Sitemap to Bing
Same as Google Search Console, to help Bing find your website content, you need to submit your sitemap via the Bing Webmaster Tool.
Look for the Sitemaps widget and click Submit a Sitemap to show a text box in which you can enter your sitemap URL.
Tools & Resources
In the next module, I will talk about how to create content that is SEO optimised and appealing to visitors.