Lesson 1: Optimize Page Speed
Do you know page speed is one of the most important factors for SEO? Google aims to deliver a great user experience and hence expects your website to load fast.
You will see a high bounce rate if your site loads too slow and Google will know it and rank your site lower.
You should make your website load in 2 seconds or less. Nobody is willing to wait for more than a couple of seconds for a page to load.
In this lesson, I’m going to talk about how to optimise your website speed.
Measure the Website Speed
To begin with, you should measure your website speed and see how it performs. Here are the free tools which can be used to measure your site speed.
You will be able to identify the factors that slow down your website. Don’t worry if you don’t understand some of them. At the moment, just focus on the loading time of your website.
Ways to Improve Website Speed
1. Use a Quality Web Hosting
Your web hosting is the number one factor that affects your website speed. There’s little you can do if your hosting has a slow response time and is not optimised for WordPress.
If you are using some cheap shared hosting that costs $3-4/month, don’t expect to see great website performance.
To build a serious online business, I don’t recommend saving money on web hosting. No matter how great your content or marketing strategy is, if visitors have a bad user experience on your website, you’re not going to convert them into customers.
If you’re a member of Wealthy Affiliate, you don’t have to worry about the quality of web hosting. Wealthy Affiliate provides Managed WordPress Hosting service. Their web hosting is highly optimised for WordPress websites. I personally host several websites on Wealthy Affiliate, and all load pretty fast.
If you are not a member of Wealthy Affiliate, I recommend using WPX Hosting, which is one of the best Managed WordPress hosting providers in terms of price and performance. Your website should load much faster if you use WPX hosting.
2. Use a Lightweight WordPress theme
Every WordPress website needs a theme. The theme is the foundation of your website design and has a big impact on website performance.
I always recommend using lightweight themes like GeneratePress. It is the fastest WordPress theme I have tried.
Make sure you stay away from themes that are bloated with complicated features or functions. If you need certain functions for your website, you should not rely on a theme itself, but install a plugin instead.
3. Use Caching
Caching is a process in which the static HTML pages of your website are stored by your server or the visitor’s browser, which makes the next loading much faster.
If you are a member of Wealthy Affiliate, you have access to the proprietary technology called SiteSpeed. Make sure you turn it on in the Site Manager and choose “Extreme” mode. You will notice a faster loading time instantly.
One important thing to note is that you should not install more than one cache plugin, otherwise it will cause conflict and break your website. So if you use Wealthy Affiliate’s SiteSpeed, you shouldn’t install WP Rocket at the same time.
4. Limit Third-party Scripts
It takes time to load third-party scripts on your website. The third-party scripts are usually caused by WordPress plugins, analytics for remarketing scripts, chat widgets etc.
To limit the third-party scripts, you should not install too many plugins on your website. While installing plugins are convenient, you shouldn’t install a plugin just for adding a very small or unnecessary feature to your website.
As your website grows, it may become necessary to install a lot of plugins. By then, I recommend installing a plugin called “Plugin Organizer”, which enables you to control what plugins to run on specific web pages. That way, you can exclude unnecessary scripts to be run on some web pages.
5. Optimize Your Images
Image files are the most common factor that slows down your website, especially if your website has a lot of images.
It’s important to optimise the images by reducing their size.
Here are three aspects you should take note of:
a) Image file type
There are several types of image format. Each type is used for a specific purpose. For most photos on the internet, you should use JPEG, which is smaller in size and can load faster.
However, if your photo contains line drawing or text, you should use PNG, otherwise the text might be blurred. However, PNG is generally bigger than JPEG, so you should avoid using PNG for all images.
For logos, icons, you should use SVG, which is small in size but can display great image quality.
b) Resize your images
Many people upload images to the website without considering the image size. They tend to upload images that are way too big. If your blog content area width is just 1000px, you shouldn’t upload an image with 3000px width.
Measure the size of the content area and resize the image using an image editor to fit it before you upload it to your website.
c) Compress Your Images
This is the most important step you need to do for every image you upload to your website. Compressing an image can effectively reduce the size while preserving the image quality.
You can do this easily by using a plugin. I personally recommend using ShortPixel, which works pretty well in compressing images.
6. Disable Pingbacks
A pingback is an automated comment created when another blog links to you. I recommend disabling it as it will generate worthless queries.
In your WordPress dashboard, click on “Settings -> Discussion”. Under the Discussion settings, uncheck the option “Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new articles”.
Tools & Resources
- Google PageSpeed Insights
- Plugin Organizer
- WP Rocket
- WPX Hosting
- Wealthy Affiliate
Lesson 2: Link Building (Part 1)
In this lesson, I’m going to talk about link building. Getting quality backlinks is useful for building your website authority and Google tends to favor the websites with higher domain authority. So backlinks are very important if you want to rank for some competitive keywords.
What is a Backlink?
A backlink is a link from one page to another. If page A links to page B, page B has a backlink from page A. It has been proved that having a number of quality backlinks can effectively boost your ranking on Google.
Why Are Backlinks So Important?
Backlinks have been an important factor of search engine algorithms. It is like academic citations. When there are many websites linking to a certain article, it gives a signal to Google that the article has valuable information and is trustworthy.
However, to earn quality backlinks, it’s not easy. Writing great content is just the first step. You also have to promote your content and persuade others to link to you.
Link building is a bit controversial because Google doesn’t like people manipulating it. You may violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines if you use illegitimate ways to get backlinks.
That’s why some people don’t encourage link building and believe that people would link to you naturally if your content is great. This theory is partly correct and I do see some websites got a lot of traffic without link building. To do this, you have to put in more efforts in the keyword research stage to dig out some very low competition keywords.
Actually, while link building is not encouraged by Google, you can gain faster results with it. There are some techniques of link building that are not spammy and won’t be punished by Google. I will talk about the white-hat techniques in the later lessons.
Before that, let’s learn some important terms related to link building:
PageRank is an algorithm created by Google to incorporate the quality and quantity of backlinks in ranking content. Google uses this algorithm to decide which web page to rank higher. The more quality backlinks, the better your score for the PageRank.
Link equity is also called link juice. It’s a term to describe the authority transferred from a page to another page through a backlink.
A nofollow link is a link that contains a rel”nofollow” attribute in the HTML code. It tells Google not to pass link equity to the linked pages.
You should add nofollow attribute for the affiliate links. This can be done easily by adding the nofollow tag like this in the HTML code: <a href=”https://highincomesource.com” rel=”nofollow”>tmrboss</a>
Or you can install a plugin called Title and Nofollow For Links if you don’t want to edit the HTML code.
Although nofollow links don’t pass link equity, there are some other benefits for your website. Nofollow links can bring more traffic to your website such as the links on social media platforms. It can also help Google to better understand your web pages.
Link profile basically means all the links that point to your website. A great link profile means higher domain authority and ranking on Google.
You should aim to build a link profile with various types of links, including dofollow and nofollow links from relevant websites. If you have many links from spammy or irrelevant websites, that might hurt your website.
Domain Authority is not created by Google. It’s actually a score developed by Moz to predict how likely a website can rank on Google. It ranges from one to 100. The higher the score, the more likely a website can rank on Google.
This score is calculated by multiple factors such as the linking root domains and number of backlinks which are considered by Google. You can increase your domain authority by getting more backlinks.
Anchor text is the words you display for a hyperlink. It indicates what the linked page is about.
For example, for the link <a href=”https://highincomesource.com”>tmrBoss</a>, tmrboss is the anchor text. You should use relevant terms for the anchor texts.
Usually, the terms are the keywords relevant to your content. If many backlinks with relevant anchor text are linking to your webpage, it will help you rank for those relevant keywords.
Nevertheless, please be careful. Do not do keyword stuffing for the anchor text. If you manipulate the anchor text of your links, it might be detected and penalised by Google.
Now you know all the key terms of link building, let’s move on to the next lesson to learn how to get backlinks.
Tools & Resources
- Title and Nofollow For Links
- Everything You Need to Know about Google PageRank (& Why it Still Matters in 2021)
Lesson 3: Link Building (Part 2)
While building backlinks can help boost your website authority and trust, not every backlink is good for your website.
In this lesson, I’m going to talk about what kind of backlinks are beneficial to your website. I will also tell you if you should buy backlinks.
A good backlink should meet the following criteria:
A good backlink should be from a linking page that has relevant content to the linked page. For example, if your post is about affiliate marketing, you should aim to get a backlink from a webpage that is also related to affiliate marketing.
2. Authority of the Linking Website
A good backlink should be able to pass link equity to your website. If the linking page has high domain authority, it means it can pass more link equity to your website.
3. Unique Backlinks
You should aim to get backlinks from different websites. 10 backlinks from 10 websites are better than 20 backlinks from the same website.
4. Link Placement
A backlink placed in a prominent part of an article can pass more link juice to your website. So you should get backlinks placed on the top of an article. The lower the position of the backlink, the less valuable it is.
A backlink placed at the footer of a website is generally not useful because it has much fewer link clicks. Google tends to put more weight on the backlinks that have a higher click-through rate.
5. Relevant Anchor Text
Anchor text that is relevant to the content of a linked page carries more weight than the ones with irrelevant anchor text. The text surrounding the link also plays a role for Google to understand the context.
Should you buy links?
So we know backlinks can help boost your Google ranking, does it mean you can pay for others to link to you to get faster results?
There are many people selling backlinks, which is not legitimate in the eyes of Google.
I don’t recommend buying links because it is risky and expensive. Google’s algorithm is getting smarter and can identify if your link is bought or not. If they find it out, your website will be subject to manual penalty, which will destroy all your SEO efforts because all your webpages will be pushed to the bottom of SERPs.
Also, the quality of backlinks obtained via money is generally inferior. The reason is that those websites are selling links to many people. So their websites are spammy and may be punished by Google. If you get a backlink from those penalised websites, your website might be penalised as well.
Therefore, if you want to build a sustainable affiliate marketing business, you should never buy links.
In the next lesson, I will talk about how to get backlinks in a legitimate way.
Lesson 4: Link Building (Part 3)
There are many link building strategies, but not every technique is effective or safe. Actually, you don’t have to use every strategy to succeed. You just need to master one strategy and execute it fully on your website.
In this lesson, I’m going to talk about the best strategies you can implement to get more backlinks and boost your website authority for better ranking on Google. You can choose one to implement at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself or complicate stuff by doing all at the same time.
The Best Link building Strategies
1. Linkable Assets
Linkable assets basically mean a valuable piece of content that can attract backlinks. For example, ultimate guides, resources page, free tools, tutorials are usually popular types of content.
This method is the most natural link building method that is safe and legit.
To attract links, you need to reach out to websites in your niche that might want to link to your content. For example, you can identify the influencers or experts in your niche and ask for their feedback. I will talk about how to automate this process in the next lesson because it’s quite time-consuming to contact them one by one.
After your linkable asset attracts many backlinks, you can then pass the link juice of the linkable assets to other pages of your websites through internal links. Usually you should link to the money pages which include the affiliate links.
This can help your money pages such as product review pages to rank higher on Google for making affiliate commission.
2. Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is another great link building technique. It’s also simple to implement.
You simply contact a blog of your niche and offer to write a guest post for the blog. The post then includes a backlink to your website.
This is a mutually beneficial deal. The blog will get a free piece of content for driving traffic, which generally requires a hundred dollar to hire a writer. And you will get a backlink to your website.
So, how can you find blogs that would accept your guest post?
Simply do a Google search. Type “Your Niche” + “Write For Us”.
You will find a lot of blogs accepting guest posts. Read the guest post guidelines and see if you can meet the requirement. If yes, send a message to the website owner to offer writing a guest post for them.
To increase the chance of being accepted, your website should have some quality content that demonstrates your knowledge or expertise in the niche.
The website owner generally has two concerns: one is your knowledge about the niche; another is the quality of your website.
They want to get a piece of good content and link to a relevant and quality website. So if you can address these two concerns, you are likely to get a guest post opportunity.
3. Spy on Your Competitor Backlinks
You can see what websites are linking to your competitor’s website. To do this, you need to use a backlink analysis tool. I suggest using Mangools, which has the LinkMiner. LinkMiner can help you find all the backlinks of your competitors for a certain blog post.
After that, you can reach out to those referring domains and see if they will link to you as well.
Mangools’ LinkMiner will also show you the authority, anchor text, attributes of those backlinks. This additional information is useful for deciding what websites to reach out to.
When analyzing your competitor’s backlinks, you should consider the following factors:
- Link relevance: Would a backlink from this page be relevant to your content?
- Link strength: What is the authority of the linking page?
- Difficulty: Will you be able to get the same backlink?
After doing the analysis, you should have compiled a list of websites to reach out to. But you may ask why would the websites link to you? In the next section, I will talk about the Skyscraper technique in order to get the backlinks.
4. The Skyscraper Technique
The Skyscraper Technique is not invented by me, but Brian Dean, who is a famous SEO expert and owns Backlinko.
This technique works like this:
- Find the best article on a certain topic, write something that is even better.
- Then contact all the websites linking to your competitor and ask them to link to you instead.
This technique might not be suitable for everyone. After all, writing a much better article is quite difficult and takes a lot of time.
5. Broken Link Building
Broken link building is one of the easiest strategies to build backlinks. Broken links are present all over the Internet. Most website owners are unaware of the broken links on their site.
Having broken links on webpages are harmful to SEO, so website owners are very willing to replace the link with your content as long as it is relevant.
To find inactive links on the websites of your niche, you can use the free Dead Link Checker to scan the websites for finding broken links.
After that, just reach out to them by email and send them your content as a replacement suggestion.
You shouldn’t expect to get a response for every email you sent. Having a 5% success rate can already earn you a lot of quality backlinks.
6. HARO Backlinks
Imagine being able to earn passive backlinks from some of the biggest websites on the internet.
Welcome to HARO, or, Help a Reporter Out.
It’s a website that journalists sign up for to find sources for their articles. Forbes, Martechexec, and other huge publications also use it. That means you have a chance to be placed on these sites and earn a backlink from them.
Once you’re signed up, HARO will email you in the morning, afternoon, and evening throughout the week. It will present dozens of categorized stories to choose from. Browse through the stories and click the one that you believe you could offer expert advice on.
This will bring you to the contact and information section.
The summary includes the HARO email you need to send your response to, the requirements, deadline, and more. Many of them will ask you to leave a website URL and other information so they can include it with your answer.
Make sure you follow their guidelines so you have the best chance of getting accepted.
A pro tip for you is that you should mention why you are an expert on the given subject before giving your response. Don’t be afraid to brag about your accomplishments or knowledge on the topic.
If your response is selected, you will earn a backlink to your website. It also acts as great PR and branding.
Tools & Resources
Lesson 5: Link Building Automation (Part 4)
In this lesson, I’m going to talk about how to send bulk emails to website owners to get backlinks in an efficient way.
Finding and sending an email to get backlinks takes a lot of time and you may not see any results after spending hours.
That’s why we need to use the power of automation to get the most backlinks with the least efforts.
This link building automation process includes 4 steps: keyword research, creating content, finding email addresses, sending emails with automated follow-ups.
1. Keyword Research
In the previous modules, the keyword research method focuses on finding the low hanging fruits, which have a reasonable amount of traffic but low competition.
However, when it comes to getting backlinks, we have to do the opposite. We have to find the keywords which have a high Keyword Difficulty (KD) score.
The reason is that the KD score in Mangools measures the link profile of the top 10 results in the SERPs for a focus keyword. The higher the KD score means the top 10 ranking websites have a lot of quality backlinks.
Remember, our purpose here is not to rank our content for a competitive keyword, but to get backlinks to our website to boost the overall domain authority. Once we get the backlinks, we can pass the link juice to our money pages (i.e. product review page) via internal linking.
Please note, the idea here is that if the pages are linking to a competitor’s article, they would be willing to link to your article on the same topic.
So go to Mangools, do the same process like the previous module, but this time, look for the keywords with high KD score. Preferably, you should look for “Question” keywords instead of product review keywords, because question keywords are for informational content, not money pages.
I suggest looking for keywords with a KD score of 50 or above in Mangools. The higher the KD score, the more potential websites you can get backlinks.
Here are the criteria you should consider when choosing a keyword:
- The keyword is relevant to your website’s niche
- It’s competitive with a KD score of 50 or above
- The content ranked for the keywords are informational, not money pages. Because generally, it’s much easier to get links to informational content which has no affiliate links.
You can take each URL of the top results for the keyword and run it through Mangools’ LinkMiner to find exactly what sites are linking to it.
Mangools’ LinkMiner allows you to filter the results by “Do Follow”, “Active” and “One Link Per Ref. Domain” so there won’t be duplicated and dead links.
Then, export all the pages linking to your competitor’s article into a CSV file, which will be used to find the email addresses later.
Repeat this process for the top 10 or more URLs ranking for the target keyword.
2. Creating Quality Content
Now you have found all the websites you want to contact and get a backlink. Before contacting them, you should create a great blog post for them to link to.
Creating great content is the key to the success of this method. No matter how many websites you reach out to, you cannot earn a backlink if your content doesn’t provide valuable information or is not better than your competitor’s article.
Therefore, to make your content better than your competitor’s blog post, you should include all the key points mentioned in your competitor’s post and expand each point with more examples, statistics and any updated information.
You may also include more images and videos to make your content easier to read and more interesting.
Moreover, to increase the chance of getting backlinks, here are what you shouldn’t do when creating your content:
- Do not add any pop-ups on the page
- Do not include any affiliate links
- Do not promote or sell any products or services
- Do not include display ads
3. Find Email Addresses
Now, you have gathered a list of websites to reach out to and you have created a great blog post to ask for backlinks. It’s time to find the email address of the websites so that you can contact them.
You can choose to do that manually, which means checking out every website’s contact page or about page. It takes at least 1 to 2 minutes to do so.
If you have 1,000 websites, you need to spend 30 hours+, which can be better spent on other important areas. Therefore, I recommend using Hunter which can help you dig out the email addresses in seconds.
Hunter is a tool that uses multiple sources of publicly available data to locate email addresses attached to any domain.
So instead of manually looking up email addresses, you can upload the CSV file you exported from Mangools to Hunter, which contain a list of URLs.
Hunter will then process your request in the background and generate a list of valid email addresses.
For some websites, Hunter may fail to look up the email addresses. In that case, you might have to do it manually by checking out the website’s social pages or anywhere that may contain email addresses.
It might be quite time-consuming to do this manually, but those ”hidden” email addresses usually have a high response rate and hence you may have a higher chance to get a backlink.
4. Use Woodpecker to Send Bulk Cold Emails
So now, you have a great blog post and email addresses. It’s time to persuade people to link to your blog post via email.
It’s not practical to send bulk cold emails using your personal Gmail account. It’s very time consuming to send out personalised emails one by one.
If you only spend 10 minutes per email, that means you will spend at least 166 hours to send 1,000 emails. Also, usually you need to send follow-up emails as your first email might be missed, which will need much more time.
Therefore, you must use an email automation tool specialised for cold emails. I recommend using Woodpecker. It allows you to send scheduled cold emails, automated follow-up emails, personalized emails etc.
That means with Woodpecker, you can send hundreds of emails per day without you spending any time.
So you may wonder if you would get a lower response rate when compared with emails sent manually. The answer is yes, but you will get many more backlinks.
Taking a volume approach with Woodpecker is smart because it takes much less time to send out email one by one. You can then invest more time with people who do respond and are interested in your offer.
Email outreach for getting backlinks is a numbers game. It’s always better to get 5% of 1,000 websites linking to you than 30% of 50 websites. 10 backlinks you get from 10 different websites are much more valuable than 10 backlinks from one website.
- Including a person’s first name in an outreach email will improve the response rate.
- Send 3 emails to each prospect using Woodpecker. You can specify when to send the follow-up emails. Most of the backlinks should come from follow-up emails.
- Target websites with domain authority of 20-80. The success rate is lower if you contact websites with domain authority outside this range. The response rate is low for very low authority and very high authority websites.
- The best outreach days are Monday and Friday. These two days have a higher open rate and reply rate in general.
Tools & Resources
Lesson 6: Internal Linking and External Linking
In this lesson, I’m going to talk about internal and external linking.
If you just have one single landing page with no links to other pages of your site, it is hard to get listed on the top position of SERPs.
Internal links improve the crawlability of your website. If your pages are well interlinked, the search engine crawlers have an easier job to find and index all your pages.
Moreover, internal links improve the UX and engagement. If you have clear navigation, your visitors will find what they need more easily. With relevant contextual links, they’ll spend more time on your website instead of finding information elsewhere.
Also, internal links can improve your SEO rankings because internal links will pass link equity. If a page has a lot of relevant internal links with descriptive anchor texts, Google will understand the linked page better and give it more prominence.
Here’s what you should do before you publish a new post:
- Every time you’re about to publish a new post, think about your other relevant content that the reader might find useful. Then you can link to it contextually in the body text.
- Once the new post or page is published, add a couple of internal links from other topically-relevant pages.
- Vary your anchor text when you add internal links. Anchor search terms that you want to rank for.
Apart from internal links, external linking is also important. When linking out to other authority websites, it acts as further resources for readers.
Google and other engines like blog posts with external links because it makes the content more useful.
However, please note that linking to irrelevant websites can actually hurt your SEO. Always link to relevant and authoritative websites.
For each blog post, you should at least have 1-3 external links.
Lesson 7: Optimize Your Content for Featured Snippet
Featured snippet is a selected search result that appears above the standard search results on Google search, which we call “position zero”. Its goal is to answer the user’s question directly in the SERP.
In the past few years, Google has been increasing the number of Featured Snippets that it displays for queries. You can get many more clicks through to your content when it appears in the Featured Snippet.
Type of Featured Snippets
There are 3 main types of featured snippets:
This is the most common type of Featured Snippet. It is usually a short answer to how, who, why, when, or what question.
Bulleted or numbered list that is mostly step-by-step instructions or recipes. It typically shows up for more process-driven, step-by-step, and list queries.
This kind of featured snippet is often shown for comparison charts, data tables, etc. It aims to answer the searcher’s query involving data or other information presented in a table format.
Video result embedded on the page intended to answer the searcher’s query in a visual/auditory format.
How To Get A Featured Snippet?
Having a featured snippet means you can “outrank” your competitors even if your page has a lower position in the standard search results. So you will get a lot of traffic with featured snippets.
So, how to get a featured snippet? There are several techniques you can use to increase your chance of getting a featured snippet for your content.
1. Look for Keywords with Featured Snippets
A great place to start is a keyword research tool where you can look specifically for “question” keywords.
I personally use KWFinder, which is an amazing tool for finding keywords with featured snippets.
Another great source of keywords with featured snippets is the so-called “People also ask” box that often appears below the featured snippet.
If you click on a question, more and more questions appear. You should answer as many questions as possible in a single blog post.
2. Answer the Question first
The key to appearing in the featured snippet is to answer the question as soon as possible on the page.
It means you provide the definition first and then continue with the supporting details.
3. Follow The Optimal Word Count
It’s not possible to mark what exact text should appear in a featured snippet. Google will select the part of your content automatically.
However, you should optimize the length of the assumed snippet text so that it fits the usual featured snippet length.
Most featured snippets, especially paragraph-style answers, have a length of 50-60 words.
4. See What Works for Your competitors
If there’s an existing featured snippet for a particular keyword, you can see what works for your competition and model it.
Here are the factors you can look into:
- Type of the snippet (paragraph, list, table)
- Length of the text
- Placement of the text on the page
- Any images
5. Target Long-tail Keywords That Are Questions
It was found that from 850,000 question-based queries, 19% of them had a Featured Snippet.
Most featured snippets in search include information that provides an answer to a question. So create content that targets long-tail keyword phrases that start with:
- What is
- Why is
- How does/do
- How to
6. Clearly Answer Questions In Your Content
Make sure the answer to the question is clear on your page of content.
Present the question in a subheading (with <h2> markup), and answer it in the text below (with <p> markup).
Then use the rest of the article to provide supporting information.
7. Format Information In A List
To increase your chances of showing as a list featured snippet, outline your content in a list format. Use subheading tags (<h2>) for items in the list to help search engines read and understand the content.
When applicable, include steps for solving a problem or answering the question.
8. Use a Table Structure
To increase your chances of showing as a table feature snippet, structure your content in a table format. Create charts in your content using appropriate table tags (<table>).
9. Add a Q&A Page to Your Website
Q&A pages are beneficial to site owners who offer products or services. These pages demonstrate your expertise by addressing concerns. Most importantly, they offer more opportunities for showing up in a snippet.
When creating a Q&A page, address the most frequently asked questions in your niche and provide complete answers in short paragraphs and keep them straightforward.
Tools & Resources
In the next module, I will teach you the proven strategy to promote ClickBank products.