Blogging for Beginners with 150+ New Blogging Hacks 2019
This blog explains 150+ best tips for blogging for beginners for higher ranking in Google and And also explains how to drive traffic to your blog with new blogging hacks in 2019.
Listen and Respond to Readers
One of the best things that you can do for the community is to make sure that everyone’s having the best time he or she can. How do you know whether your readers enjoy their time on your blog? Why not just ask?
Give people a way to let you know whether the community aspects of your site work for them by including a Contact Me page. But if you really want to hear about how things are going, try just posting a blog entry asking people for their thoughts and constructive criticism about what you’re doing.
You may not even need to open the lines of communication with your readers. In fact, they may already be reaching out to you! If someone asks you a question, either in the comments or through email, make sure to reply.
Acknowledge what the person says in your reply and take the time to answer properly, even if only to thank him or her for the comment. Thoughtful responses to questions and comments about your blog can do as much to build your community as original blog posts can.
Keep on top of what people are saying within your blog domain and don’t be a stranger to those who like what you do. Embrace their enthusiasm for your blog. Give them a reason to keep coming back. Interaction can make those who might shy away feeling that they’re really part of the community that you’re developing.
On Page SEO is the stuff that you do on your own website. It’s what you have the most control over, and compared to Off-Page SEO, I focus on this stuff way more. Why worry so much about things you can’t control?
Actually, my on-page SEO efforts are quite simple. Broken down into broad categories, here’s what I do.
Good user experience
Keyword optimization is probably the one most worth discussing. Again, it’s pretty simple. My most basic form of keyword optimization for any phrase is going to be:
Keyword in the title
Keyword in the first paragraph
Yup, that’s it. Sorry folks, no complicated strategy here. For longtail, low competition phrases, this is enough to rank on page 1. You won’t always get it, but a lot of times you will. I’m not saying I ban myself from using any other optimization on the page, but most of what else happens on the page does so naturally.
For example, if my keyword is ‘BPA free water bottles for mountain bikes’, I would definitely fit that into my title and first paragraph somewhere as explained in the “ranking for keywords” section of this blog.
The rest of the post? I just write a natural article. Words directly related to my keyword choice will occur naturally, and I may even actually use the exact keyword inadvertently! Things like ‘BPA free’, ‘mountain bikes’, ‘water bottle’ will occur in the context of other sentences as well.
I will also hit LSI keywords (those are the ones indirectly related to your phrase). Stuff like ‘chemical’, ‘hiking trail’, ‘adventure’, and ‘thirsty’ could possibly appear in the post, giving search engines more indication that my post is about riding bikes in the forest and drinking from chemically safe bottles.
Sometimes, when I feel like I want to do a bit of extra optimization to improve rank or give me an edge over the competition, I try to fit my keyword into a few most spots (naturally of course).
Please don’t take that phrase “give me an edge over the competition” as an indication that this will guarantee you outrank your competitors. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. You need to find a formula that works for you.
Anyway, here’s what I do sometimes:
Keyword in an image alt tag
Keyword as an image title
Internal link to the related post with LSI keyword as anchor text
An outbound link to relevant article or website
Keyword in h3 or h4 tag
Keyword in the last paragraph
Internal link FROM another post (on my website) using the keyword as anchor text
Bold/italics/underline relevant phrase
1.Anchor text: the phrase you use as your hyperlink
2.H3, h4 tags: text formatting use to make your text bigger (like paragraph titles)
3.Alt tag: a piece of code that tells Google what an image is
4.Image title: text displayed when you hover over an image
5.Internal link: A link from one page on your website to another page on your website
6.Outbound link: A link from your website to a different website
NOTE: I don’t do ALL of these on EVERY post. I use Some of them on SOME posts
Why do I keep mentioning this when it doesn’t seem to be such a big deal? It’s going to help your website in two ways.
For one, it’s going to create a positive user experience for people. They can find and view related information to what they were originally searching for without leaving your website and doing another search. They will be able to dig deeper and investigate if they want, or just keep reading the current article they’re on.
It keeps people on your site longer, improving on page metrics, and an overall rank of your website.
Secondly, it gives you some power to tell search engines exactly what this page is about. Your keywords already give a very strong hint, and that’s often enough to get ranked.
But as you create more links from other pages on your site TO this page, it tells the search engine bots even more loudly that your keyword is definitely the subject of the page. Link it three times from three different pages, and sooner or later they will take a hint.
Careful though, like any ranking metric, the more you do, the less power it has. You can do it once for a big hint. Twice for another well-sized hint. The third time Google is thinking, “OK, I get it, bro.”
And as you add more links to that page, you may see diminishing returns on your efforts. Also, using the exact same phrase every time probably isn’t a good idea. Mix it up with similar phrases of different lengths and related keywords too.
For example, with the BPA free bottle example above, here are some example anchor texts you might want to use. You can see that some are exact matches, some are broken down, and some just capture the concept of the article you are linking to.
BPA free water bottles for mountain bikes
BPA free water bottles
Water bottles for mountain bikes
Preparing water for your adventure
Good water bottle
Bring enough drinking water
About siloing: Some people flip their lids over siloing, but it’s really just a form of internal linking. A “silo” is just a way to organize your website structure. You have the main site title, then 3-5 main categories based on keyword research. If your site is about mountain biking, your 3 silos could be:
Mountain bike repair
Biking personal gear
Sound familiar? Yeah, we already did that when we chose made the core concept pages. You may also divide those into sub categories. For example, you can use the three phrases above as categories, then the four phrases below as tags in the trip planning category:
First aid preparation
Food and water preparation
Categories, menu items, tags, breadcrumbs…these are all internal links to other pages on your website. Because Google sees these as running themes, or often-talked-about topics on your blog, you become more optimized for those keywords (and other related ones).
I chose poor keywords in those examples, but you can dig up high traffic phrases for your own site if you want.
The interesting thing is that most people will create this structure naturally, either in the beginning through habit, or over time out of necessity.
A well-organized website won’t make or break your business, but it can help to create a good user experience, make your job as a writer easier, and maybe boost some keyword optimization for your website.
Creating a Good User Experience
This portion of building an online business is usually the last thing that folks figure out! I know, because I’ve been there. I made tons of terrible sites before I finally got a clue.
Making sure your visitor can read posts easily and doesn’t have to try too hard to find what they came to view are simple but important concepts. People that stay on your website longer and take actions like sharing on social media, viewing a video, leaving a comment, or returning later can definitely affect your rank in search engines.
Google’s job is to deliver relevant information. The more indications that what the person is reading is relevant to their search, the more traffic you can enjoy.
There is no formula for positive user experience, but having a fast website, that’s easy to navigate, easy to read, and delivers interesting, high-quality information are some broad ideas to keep in mind.
Unfortunately, this one is really hard to do for most people because it either involves spending money or learning complicated code. Two main things that are relatively easy for you to do that can improve the speed of your website are 1) Get good hosting, and 2) Get a good theme for your Wordpress website.
A good theme will ensure that your site is running as fast as possible for the hosting you have. The code will be clean, fast, secure, and pretty.
Hosting is another thing you have control of, but good hosting comes at a cost. You can pay $4/month at a minimum for shared hosting to over $100/month for a dedicated server.
Upgrading hosting for a newbie might not seem that important, but as your website starts making money, you will absolutely notice those 5 minutes where your website went down and wonder why it seems like your site has been running slow for two weeks.
I currently run the Genesis Framework with a Studiopress theme, and host with WebSynthesis and my website is oh-so-much-faster than any other previous year. There are different sites you can use to check your site speed, but be prepared, they will spit out a bunch of stuff that is hard to understand.
Common suggestions I see are
Optimizing images by reducing their size
Installing a caching plugin
None of these are necessary, and you’ll have to view the readout of your own site metrics before taking any kind of action. They are just things to keep in mind when trying to improve site speed.
Off Page SEO
I focus much less on off page SEO for my own websites, but I do see the potential in it. I have seen some people build successful businesses with absolutely zero off page SEO efforts, and seen some people make it their focus, and create decent income as a result of it.
You’ll need to decide how much time you want to spend on it, and find a balance somewhere with On Page + Off Page efforts.
One huge advantage of doing off page SEO (as I see it) is that you can write whatever you want without thinking about keywords, and still drive traffic to your site.
Keyword optimization can get a little bit tedious day after day, writing posts about keywords just because you might gain a little bit of traffic. Without concern for keywords, you are allowed a lot more freedom to get creative and write naturally.
NOTE: Some people would say that you need to match on page keywords with off page backlinks, but I don’t do that type of backlinking.
Creating off page links to yourself is a great way to get unnatural link penalties. When you use my tactics of getting other people to link to you, you essentially have little-to-no control over how they link to your pages.
The downside to off page efforts and driving traffic from sources other than search engines is that newbies will struggle a lot to get noticed. This will make more sense as you read below, but social efforts largely go unnoticed in the beginning.
Newbies, lacking tact and finesse, are quickly ‘outed’ as just another marketer looking for traffic to his site rather than a genuine person.
Warning! People still promote unnatural linking methods, but just give it a different name. PBNs or Private Blog Networks are very popular in the “niche site builder” community.
They promoted these websites heavily until Google cracked down AGAIN in 2014 and many folks, including a few big names in the industry, lost huge traffic/income as a result. Yet, just a few months later, they still had ads for PBNs and taught courses on how to build your own PBN.
Am I crazy, or didn’t they just get a big fat warning to stop doing that? Whatever, it’s not my website. Just keep the history of link networks in mind whenever you see someone promoting ‘backlinks’ as a way to gain rank fast.
Do I do any linking at all? Yes, when appropriate. If I leave someone comment on a relevant blog, I will leave my website URL in the box that asks for it.
If I join a relevant forum, I will put my website link in my profile page and signature. If someone wants me to do a guest post on their website and I like their site, I’ll put an author bio in there.
I don’t consider this an SEO-driven activity, however. I’m doing it as a means to connect with the community relevant to my niche. That’s the line I draw in the sand. The optimization part is secondary to my real intention of engagement.
Backlinks aren’t bad! People will link to you naturally as you create link- worthy content. But thinking that a good backlink profile will help you make more money is not a path I would start walking down.
Reaching Out To Your Community
One excellent way to get noticed is to simply make the effort to reach out to communities and people relevant to your niche. Get involved! This borders on something I should post in the social media section, but I’ll count it as SEO since the underlying effort here is to gain relevant links to your site.
Expert Roundup or Best Of Posts
Probably the easiest way to start getting some attention, links, and shares is to create a list of “experts” in your niche, or on a specific topic. For my beer site,
I might create a post called “Top 10 Research center”. As far as content goes, I can then write a short bio of the people and what they do. Yes, this involves a lot of research, and you’d better be accurate since the people you write about will be reading it. But there’s no reason to be afraid of hard work!
You can then notify the people you mentioned. Some may re-share your content to their followers, and as it gets passed around, you might obtain a link from another person in a similar niche.
Either way, it ends up being an awesome resource you can use over and over, as well as add to as you discover new people and businesses in your industry.
The “best of” post doesn’t have to person-based either. You can make a “Top 5 Websites About —”, or “8 Best Articles About — “ The point is to get the attention of people with established networks and get your content passed around. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
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Same deal as above. Pick some experts or well-known individuals that you want to interview. It can be via email or just something that you piece together and post as a Q&A type post.
It can be a face to face interview that you transcribe to text. It can also be a video interview that you post to YouTube.
Again, the idea is to reach out to people with an established audience and get your name and brand in front of those viewers.
Hashtags + Comments
Commenting regularly on popular websites under the same name can draw attention to you. If you leave your website in the website box (not the comment section), you can get clicks, views, possible links from that. Don’t forget to leave insightful comments! “Nice post” won’t draw any attention to you at all.
Doing this type of commenting first may make interviews and other outreach tactics easier down the road when they recognize you as a regular contributor to their website.
Otherwise, they might not bite! Sometimes, popular people are just plain busy working and doing other things, and might not want to spend 2 hours with you bumbling through your first Skype interview for a blog that may not be around in 6 months.
Tweeting and sharing content with popular hashtags is another way to get attention to yourself. If there is a trending hashtag related to your niche and you post some original, funny, or interesting content using that hashtag, it’s going to absolutely get you some re-shares and grow your network as a result.
That’s just more eyeballs for next time you share content from your website, and at some point, down the road, you are going to get noticed by someone with a website who wants to link to you.
At the very least, it increases your social signals, helping you rank more, and you can then be discovered through search engines, increasing your link-worthiness!
Really, the only type of off page SEO that I support is social media related stuff. Grow your social network by being genuine, insightful, and helpful, and your brand will gain a good reputation because of it.
Social Media Marketing and SEO
Following are some key aspects of how to use SEO-relevant social media to connect to a larger audience:
Create brand-awareness and educate the target audience about your company’s products and services. You can also nurture brand loyalty and develop trust and credibility with your consumer base by using social media advertising.
Interact with current customers: connect with them via conversation and understand their viewpoint. Ask for feedback, and learn about their likes and dislikes; this will help you gain insight into your product’s performance and shortcomings.
Use game-changing content to keep users engaged and lure potential customers to your products. You will notice an increase in web traffic if you direct more people to your website leading, to a higher ranking in the search engine results.
Prompt users to share your content, to maximize the reach and scope of your projects.
Popular Social Media Networks
There are many social media networks. This section gives you a brief overview of how to take advantage of the benefits offered by Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Yelp, Foursquare, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Twitter is a micro-blogging platform that currently has more than 300 million users. It allows you to post tweets—short messages, limited to 140 characters—making it compatible with SMS. Twitter can be used in various ways, including to promote products and share the news with a large audience.
Following are some ways you can enhance your business flow with Twitter:
Use Twitter as a content distribution platform by sharing links to your blog or other social networking platforms such as Reddit where you have posted relevant content.
Get feedback from customers by using Twitter as it is a channel for instant input. Revise your customer relationship strategies and rework your tactics in response to comments from users.
For example, if you post about a product, you may receive feedback about its strengths and weaknesses or services related to the product. This gives you an opportunity to make changes and improve your goods.
Increase awareness of your brand and get recommendations from a wide audience for recent launches. Even celebrities use Twitter to share their views with clients and fans. Engage your users with short messages and cater to various groups using direct messages in addition to public tweeting.
Spot and hire talented employees by reaching out to as many people as possible when you have a vacant position in your company. You can also use Twitter to send internal messages to your team even if they are geographically separated.
Twitter’s reach is significant, and it is an excellent means for promoting your services. Make it a referral engine by submitting and receiving recommendations about clients, groups, or the entire community.
YouTube may not be your favorite social networking site, but it is an excellent platform for connecting with your audience. There are various ways you can use YouTube to promote products and services:
Create tutorials, lectures, and online training for your users.
Use promotional videos to reach out to customers. Include do-it-yourself projects to further educate your customers about how to work with products and services.
Use YouTube’s commercial advertising platform to create and publish ads.
Integrate with its parent Google+ account to cater to a wide audience.
Post quality links to your website or blogs, and keep user interest alive with regular updates and comments.
Foursquare is a technology social networking service catering to mobile users. It can help you discover and share information about the businesses and organizations around you.
You can check in whenever you visit a commercial establishment. Because Foursquare’s technology is used by other social media platforms such as Vine and Flickr, you can plan strategies to get the maximum benefit from this platform.
You can use Foursquare to improve your local business in the following ways:
Understand customers’ likes and dislikes by analyzing reviews and comments.
Develop a relationship with users by using trivia and contests.
Offers, deals, and badges can be used as promotional materials for your business. Offer discounts to customers who have gained perks and badges using Foursquare; this creates a positive customer experience and can increase your online reputation.
Post tips and use Foursquare’s ad services to extend your reach in the vicinity.
With mobile telephony gaining momentum and becoming the prime channel for e-commerce, the number of social media apps is increasing by the day—the list seems endless.
For example, in addition to the other sites discussed here, Instagram is an image-and video-based social media application that is hugely popular and trendy.
Social bookmarking sites are evolving and play a major role in SEO-related social media marketing. (Social bookmarking sites are centralized online services where users save links to web pages that they intend to share.) For example, Pinterest, Flickr, and Reddit are popular and widely-used social bookmarking sites catering to a large audience.
You can access the bookmarks through any computer that provides access to the internet. You can share links with your connections and also sneak a peek at links that other users tag on the platform. Using these sites, you can drive traffic and valuable backlinks to your site.
Social bookmarking is SEO-centric in that you can introduce a website or web page to the search engines before the crawlers locate the web page through inbound links. External metadata using relevant keywords, categorization, and hits improves the SEO profile for the site or web page.
Understanding why you should vlog
Even with the presence of online communities, meet-ups, and blogging conferences, the fact is that blogging remains a medium that allows participants to hide behind the computer screen, sharing only what they’re willing to share in carefully chosen words. Some bloggers, in fact, enjoy blogging for that reasons alone — the ability to hide behind their blogging mask.
So why vlog and expose yourself by coming through the screen and into your readers’ homes and phones through the power of video? The answer lies not in the readers that you have but the viewers that you don’t.
Although fewer new readers are exploring blog content that was in the initial blogging boom, video continues to bring more viewers to their content. nearly 70 percent of all Internet traffic will be tied to online video viewing by 2019. The video is booming, and now may be the time for you to get a piece of the action.
Beyond following the turning tide of Internet use, you can realize other benefits of adding vlogs to your blogging repertoire. Unless you’re blogging professionally or hoping to do so, your blog is all about you.
This means that if vlogging sounds like an absolutely horrifying pursuit to you, it’s perfectly fine to ignore the research and never upload a moment of video ever!
Discovering available vlogging platforms
The great news is that blog platforms recognize the importance of video in today’s blogging landscape. Everything from a basic, free Blogger site to a self-hosted WordPress blog offers the ability to upload video.
However, you may find yourself highly restricted in terms of file size. For that reason as well as vlog promotion, which I discuss later in the chapter, it’s worth taking a look at some of the available blogging platforms.
A great way to find a viewing audience is to create your content on one of the most popular online platforms — Facebook! Facebook videos autoplay in newsfeeds, grabbing the attention of viewers. Platform options include playlist creation, designation of featured videos, and the option to include a call-to-action at the end of the video.
Created in 2012, Vine has exploded in the social media world, with some Vine content creators achieving the kind of online celebrity previously reserved for YouTube stars.
Each Vine video, also called simply a vine for short, consists of 6-second-long looping video content. Vines are easily shared across other social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook.
Setting the Stage
One of the great things about vlog is how quickly you can hit the ground running. Most cameras include a video function, computers typically include a webcam that records video, and free vlog platforms provide anyone in the world with a location to upload content.
However, you shouldn’t necessarily just grab your old digital camera and begin recording and uploading content willy-nilly.
As with any other form of blogging, putting in a bit of time and care provides you with incredible benefits. Want to present a polished, finished product? You need to begin by setting your vlogging stage.
What Is Keyword Research?
In a nutshell, “keyword research” is just trying to find out what people are searching for online. There are quite a few ways to do this. I’ll introduce a few basic ones and a few advanced ones in this blog, but just keep in mind that if you are writing stuff on your blog that you think people are looking for, then you are doing the right thing.
Even if you are very familiar with your niche, keyword research can give us more insight into what’s going on inside search engines every day. You might know that people are searching for ways to lose weight, but you might not have known that there’s a group of people looking to lose weight before a high school reunion.
It can also help you find out which phrases and niches have more/less traffic/competition.
First I’m going to talk about some basic concepts, then get into some tutorials on how to actually conduct the research part. Detailed keyword research tactics are beyond the scope of this blog, but I will link to some resources I’ve created so you can dig in once you get started with your own website.
Using keywords properly to get your website ranked in Google is one of the most important things about building a Wordpress site that makes money through blogging.
Also, keep in mind that if some of the number stuff we’re about to go over makes your head spin, just use them as a general guide for now. High traffic is good. Low competition is good. That’s pretty much all you need to know to get started.
How To Do Basic Keyword Research
When comes to keyword tools, let me first say that I have my preferences and I will base the training in this blog based on that. Before we get started, let’s take a look at some popular keyword tools so you know what’s out there.
This is the tool that most people in the “niche site” community use. The creator of this tool is very involved in the niche site building community so it gets a lot of exposure there. Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income (a famous website and podcast) also uses this, so they have plenty of case studies, tutorials, and bloggers that also promote this tool.
It’s a good one. I don’t have extensive experience with it, but it does provide some useful insight into competition power and uses a lot of data from Moz, a reliable site for SEO analysis.
I personally found it slow at times and didn’t really care about all the data it was giving me. Also, it was using Google’s search numbers which aren’t really accurate as far as I understand.
Google Keyword Planner
This is a free tool that lots of people use. I do not use it, so cannot provide much insight into how it works, but at the very least it’ll help you think of some keyword ideas and give you a general idea of high vs low competition and traffic.
Search + Traffic Numbers
What are good traffic numbers to look for? Actually…Anything. Seriously. Why are you being so picky?
Sure, if you wanted to build up a quick niche site with impressive numbers so you could flip it to an investor, maybe you would want to look at creating some content with higher traffic stats, but since we are creating a long-term business for ourselves here, any traffic number will do.
If you write one hundred articles with one visit per day, that’s one hundred extremely targeted visitors to your website every single day that you can count on. My current website has almost 1,000 blog posts on it, which would mean I can pretty much count on one thousand visits per day (if I had a keyword for each post).
Actually, I have much more traffic than that, but that’s beside the point. If you could fast forward three years and have a thousand-post website with a thousand visits a day you could funnel to a list or to affiliate pages would you do it? Heck yeah! You can do it, but you have to build it one post at a time (which is a huge pitfall for many people by the way).
Talking about specific numbers though, anything with above 300 searches per month is doing quite well. Above 500 or 1000 is fantastic. Even 100 or 200 a month is doing alright, but under 100 is pretty low. Don’t count out those keywords, but do consider the amount of work you have to do for that traffic.
I always consider: Is the keyword attractive? I mean, does it makes sense, and what type of visitor do you think it will attract?
Time to use your brain! Let’s talk about some examples of good and not-so-good keywords we could potentially use on our website. Before you flip out, yes, coffee enemas are a real thing, and I actually have a website about it that does make money.
It’s a thing that’s gaining some traction in the alternative medicine community. You learn something new every day, right? Ha!
coffee enema blog – 32 searches 25 competition
The number of searches isn’t great, but QSR is low. I could probably rank for it, but why? Maybe I could write a post about the Top 10 Coffee Enema Blogs Online, and it could generate some traffic, but this is not an awesome keyword. People coming to my site probably want to leave right away!
coffee enema frequency – 56 searches 23 competition
Slightly more searches than above, but still pretty low. This might be more attractive as people landing on my site will see that I have some knowledge on the topic and are interested in doing their own coffee enemas probably. I could then direct them to products I recommend like organic coffee.
organic coffee enemas – 128 searches 190 competition
More searches, but also more competition. Competition is still within the range of what we consider to be “low”, but the keyword itself is quite broad, and may be harder to rank for.
Don’t count it out! It may be good for a core page on your website. You can also look for related keywords like “Where to buy organic coffee for enemas” or “Do organic coffee enemas work better than non-organic?”
are coffee enemas safe – 136 searches 44 competition
Grammatically correct, higher traffic (compared to other keywords in this niche), and very low competition. This would be a perfect blog post title. The other keywords shown above are OK, and I would target them eventually, but this one would be my #1 choice.
The examples above are all pretty mild as far as searches go because this is not a very popular topic. However, it’s a great niche because the audience is very passionate. It takes an issue (illness or discomfort) and solves it (waste evacuation, caffeine stimulation).
For popular niches or high traffic keywords, you can expect searches to go into hundreds or even thousands per month. However, the majority of keywords you find for any niche are not going to be that high, and are probably going to land somewhere between 0-500.
Let’s look a few more examples
carp fishing pole – 112 searches 120 competition
A decent amount of searches, but higher competition compared to the number of searches. Something I would consider going for, but I may find a lower competition keyword like a best carp fishing rods review.
It’s showing less than 10 searches per month, but I see that bass fishing rods reviews have 32 searches per month and only 9 competition. I’d rather try to rank for something easy I know I can get some traffic from than tougher keywords.
children fishing poles – 256 searches 121 competition
A lot more searches compared to the previous example, but the same number of competition. Kids stuff is always a winner, so I would write a big post comparing some of the top fishing poles for kids, and defining which ones are best for which ages.
hello kitty fishing pole – 120 searches 27 competition
A good number of searches and very low competition. Worth writing for, but because it’s a very specific product, I think I would have a hard time writing about it.
I would instead write a post called [brand] Hello Kitty Fishing Pole Review, and make it a product review post rather than try to write a general article about Hello Kitty fishing poles.
ice fishing pole – 306 searches 195 competition
Many more searches, but also higher in competition. I could probably do several posts on lower competition keywords like comparing different ice fishing pole brands or explaining how ice fishing poles are different from other types of poles. I’m not sure I would target this keyword as-is, but would definitely use it for a series of blog posts about ice fishing gear.
Portable ice fishing shelters – 348 searches 206 competition
Tons of searches for a potentially very expensive item. Competition is a bit higher, but I don’t care. This is something I would definitely try to rank for!
Crappie ice fishing techniques 79 searches 5 competition
A great example of a very specific keyword with the super low competition. Traffic is lower, but still OK and worth targeting. This is a great chance to write a tutorial, then link off to a crappie fishing pole review or #1 rated fishing pole!
Ice fishing shanty plans 160 searches 94 competition
Pretty good searches and pretty low competition. What’s most exciting about this keyword is that there is probably a digital info product you could promote related to this topic. Rank on page 1 for this term, and you might have hundreds of ice fishermen visiting your website every day buying shanty plans through your website!
Competition is a complicated subject because there are just so many metrics that go into ranking a page. Not only that but what those metrics are and how heavily each is taken into account is a complete mystery! Literally. Google doesn’t tell us how they rank pages, otherwise, it would be easy for people to get to the #1 position and stay there.
The #1 reason to never trust a product or service that guarantees page 1 rankings is that no one can actually guarantee this. If they can somehow boost you to page one with ‘black hat’ (bad) SEO tactics, it’s only a matter of time before you lose that spot, and maybe even get a site penalty that damages individual pages or even your entire website.
What is QSR?
QSR stands for “Quoted Search Results”. It’s a metric that is not measured by a lot of the so-called professionals, but it is a competition metric I watch closely, and pretty much the only hard number I pay attention to when assessing my competitors.
Other factors that come into play when assessing competition include the age of the website, frequency of posting, the size of their social media following, engagement in the comment section, use of keywords, and whether or not they are a marketer or just a blogger that stumbled upon a good ranking position.
The “quoted” part comes from the fact that we do a Google search for the phrase we want to target with quotes around the phrase. Instead of searching for how to make money online, we search for “how to make money online”.
The number of results that turn up is much smaller than if we did a broad search with no quotes. This shows us precisely how many websites indexed in Google have the exact phrase somewhere in their pages.
ATTN! The initial page will display something like 57 million results, but this is just an estimate. Scroll through the pages of search results as far back as you can go.
Very often, especially for particularly long phrases (long tail keywords), we only get to page two or three before we reach the end of the results. Then we are shown a very precise number of how many results are indexed with that exact phrase.
The lower the better. Ideally, we are searching for something with less than 300 pages. Anything under 100 is considered very low competition and is probably going to be easy to rank for.
Other Types of Competition
Look at the next section Ranking for Keywords to see a list of factors that can affect the rank of your page. Those are things that I generally look at when sussing up the competition.
In the beginning, you’ll probably look at everyone that’s ranking and think to yourself, “Wow, I’ll never be able to beat them!”. But anything is possible, and I’ve seen plenty of newbie bloggers outrank sites like Mashable, Amazon, or even Wikipedia. Don’t fear the competition, because, at this point in time, you might not be 100% sure who your real competition is!
Sites you might look at now as “ranking” might not even be ranking for keywords you discover later on down the road. It’s hard to imagine which direction your business will be heading in 6 months, so don’t stress too much about who your competition is right now.
For example, Wikipedia might rank for the term “History of Ford Mustang” and the MotorTrends website might rank for “Fastest Mustang in 2015”. But who cares?
There are hundreds of other better terms that you’ll be able to find that you can rank for that will probably be better for making money. Being a small website means you are more nimble and can cover more detailed topics.
For example, “ford mustang clothing accessories” currently only has 10 websites in the whole world with that phrase on them. Easy to rank for! “Car covers ford mustang” and “ford mustang ignition” are also very low competition phrases that you could do simple blog posts on and rank pretty easily.
Speaking about competitive phrases that you want to rank for, what do you do if there really are a bunch of great looking websites ranking for terms that you want to rank for?
Personally, I write an excellent post on the topic, link back to myself (discussed in the On-Page SEO section), and then forget about it. It’s really not worth stressing over the rank of a single page on your website when you could be working on new pages.
Yeah, I may re-visit it from time to time to try to improve the rank over a longer period of time, but it’s not something I would re-visit on a weekly basis. It’s very possible that your website is just too new, and doesn’t have the “authority” to compete with other, more established sites at this time.
Last thing about competition – how do you know if someone really is tough competition? I mainly look at how often they post, how good their website looks, and how much engagement they get in the comments. I also like to snoop their monetization strategies. Are they building a list? What products are they promoting? Do they have a sales funnel set up?
You should stop seeing them as competition and start seeing them as peers. They are worth much more to you as a potential buddy for future joint ventures than someone you just dislike because they rank better than you!
Ranking For Keywords
Possibly one of the most talked about topics in the world of making money from websites is how to rank for a phrase you want to rank for. There are thousands of guides out there that claim they have discovered the secret formula, and if you just follow their steps, you are guaranteed a #1 spot in the search results.
No matter who is saying it, or how they phrase it, if they tell you they have a guaranteed way to rank, they are yanking your chain. No one knows. Even with my own recommendations for how to use keywords in order to rank, I have surprised myself by not being able to rank for things I thought would be easy.
I have also surprised myself with an excellent rank on articles that I basically wrote willy-nilly. Sometimes, it’s kind of a guessing game.
That being said, I do have a set of rules I try to adhere to, to increase my chances or ranking highly in search engines (mostly Google). Let’s use the keyword phrase “best way to grow hydroponic tomatoes”. It has an average of 100 searches per month and a QSR of 10.
1. Use the keyword in the title. For example, the title of your post will be: “The Best Way To Grow Hydroponic Tomatoes In The Winter”. That’s pretty simple, right?
Oh, and your permalinks should be set to create matching links to your titles. Normally, you won’t have to change anything, but it’s worth mentioning. This means when you publish your post, the URL will be http://website.com/the-best-way-to-grow-hydroponic-tomatoes-in-the-winter.
Some people prefer to shorten it to something like http://website.com/best-way- grow-hydroponic-tomatoes-winter or even http://website.com/grow-hydroponic- tomatoes-winter. Both of those are fine too.
2. Use the keyword in the first paragraph. For example, Tomato lovers looking to grow their own vegetables with hydroponic systems start around springtime, looking forward to harvesting their food in summer.
But seasoned growers will want to keep a crop moving all year round. For you guys, I’ve come up with the best way to grow hydroponic tomatoes in the winter. This has worked for two winters for me already, and I’m happy to share my secrets with you.
That’s pretty much it! Shocking, I know. But I currently rank for thousands of keywords using this method. But before you close this blog and write me off as a hack, hear me out.
You are not ‘banned’ from using your phrase again later in the pages. These are just the minimum rules I set for myself for keyword targeted content.
If you write about anything naturally, the phrase will occur more than once over the course of a 1000 word article. Not only that, but you will be naturally using synonyms and related phrases without even thinking about it.
Rather than try to stuff your phrase in there to hit a 2% density which creates an unnatural feel to the article, just write from your head, and most of the time you will write something that is at least eligible for the first page…if you play our cards right.
Some other optional things you can do for on-page optimization for a phrase include:
1.Adding an image with an alt tag using your keyword
2. Use a heading with your keyword (h2, h3, h4, etc)
3. Use the keyword once more in the last paragraph
4. Use text formatting for an LSI keyword phrase
5.Create an external link to a relevant resource with a related phrase
6.Create an internal link to a relevant resource with a related phrase
I realize that there are some things in that list that you might not understand right now. Honestly, it’s not worth the discussion at this point, because I don’t recommend you start off your blogging journey worrying about minute details that may or may not even work.
You can come back to this portion at a later date and look each over the things you don’t understand, as they’ve been written about many times over on different websites, including my own.
For now, just keep in mind, “Keyword in the title, keyword in the first paragraph”. If you are aiming for appropriately low competition phrases, ranking for some, if not most of what you target, should be easy.
Yahoo Answers is probably the most famous and well ranked, but Quora and a few others exist. Reddit would fall under this category as well. See where people are asking questions and discussing your topic. Notice which topics get the most comments, cause controversy or are asked several times.
You can not only get insight into what makes people in your niche tick, but you also get some real answers and start to gain more knowledge that you can use to create original articles for your own website.
Join a forum and see what new topics are getting posted. See who’s answering the questions, and how they are answering them. Notice what the brand new people are asking, and what’s frustrating or confusing them. What are they excited about?
People dedicate time out of their day to participate in discussions on these forums. They are not paid, and the vast majority of them have got no monetary value out of participating. It’s like spying in on your potential customers to find out what they are passionate about.
Browse some other blogs in your niche. See what their most popular posts are and which ones are getting the most comments. Take note of what new stuff they’re posting.
Get on their email list and check out what they are talking about. You can even investigate what stuff they are promoting on their website and get some ideas of what you can promote on your own.
I don’t advocate copying at all! But there’s nothing wrong with doing research and seeing what works for other people. Don’t just creep one person's blog and drool over their traffic stats.
Keep an eye on a few big players you see ranked a lot, borrow some ideas from each, and keep in mind that you want to work on developing your own brand over time.
I have seen a lot of people copy my websites in the past (or currently) and it’s annoying. Please just use this for learning, not leeching.
Making Up Keywords
The more familiar you are with your niche, the more you can just write anything you think of and have it stick. Seriously. Some of my most popular posts were done just by using my brain. Sometimes, this is the only choice!
When news comes out this week, you won’t find it in any keyword tool because they rely on historical data. For example, when I was living in China and promoting VPNs, Gmail got blocked one week. So I wrote a post, “How to unblock Gmail in China”.
The post was ranked within a week and doubled my traffic overnight.
I probably made a few thousand dollars just from that one post over the next month. Of course, I eventually got pushed out of the #1 spot by websites like Mashable and Lifehacker, capitalizing on the traffic and ad revenue, but it was nice to know that I truly was on the top of my game, and had real insight that only I and a select few could provide.
This tactic isn’t as available for newbies, and for people entering a niche, they aren’t very familiar with. But don’t worry – as you grow, you will eventually have more ideas than you could ever write about. I’m now approaching 1,000 posts on One More Cup of Coffee and still have tons of ideas I want to publish over the next couple of years.
Keywords + SEO
More people waste money on SEO products than I care to think about. The one thing I want you to understand about search engine optimization is that no one can guarantee rank for any keyword, and even if you slime your way to the #1 spot with loopholes, there’s a slim chance you’ll stay there.
What I want to provide for you in this SEO blog are two basic things.
General advice to keep in mind when optimizing your page
Specific steps that I use to increase my chance of ranking
However, there is no formula that will guarantee a #1 spot, no matter what the sales page of “Amazing SEO Secret Explosion” (or whatever the flavor of the week is) tells you.
For me? The #1 tool in my SEO toolkit is aiming for low competition keywords. Writing high-quality content for keywords that very few people are trying to rank for can get you ranked on page 1 within hours of publishing.
I do it on a weekly basis. Now, keep in mind that not all those posts drive huge amounts of traffic to my blog. They may only attract a few visitors per day, or maybe even a few visitors per week.
But once you get more posts under your belt, those few visitors that love your website will help boost rank for other pages on your website targeting more competitive terms. Think about this:
If you rank for a super low competition phrase and a visitor spends 5 minutes on the page reading, plus clicks around to other pages on your site, likes, comments, and comes back later, don’t you think that will send some positive signals to Google? Of course! Those positive signals will seep into other places onto your site, improving your overall rank.
Then, let’s say you creep up to page 2 for a competitive phrase. A person looking for a difficult answer is not satisfied with page 1 results, and does the unthinkable…he clicks to page 2 of search results. Wow, he lands on your page and stays for a couple minutes.
Then leaves a comment to thank you for such an awesome post. I’m confident that in the next few days you’ll see yourself cross the threshold into front page territory. As more visitors land on your site and enjoy what you write, you can work your way up to that #1 spot.
Of course, this is just a hypothetical example, and it doesn’t always work like this. I’m also guessing as to how the algorithm works, so don’t take it as gospel. But that’s the thinking behind why low competition keyword phrases are so important for not only ranking those individual pages but for improving your overall (brand new) website authority.
One more thing! Over-optimization is a real thing and can get you dinged. Too much of any one thing is bad for your site. Too many keywords, too much text formatting, too many backlinks from one place, too many outbound links; they can all hurt your SEO.
Keep everything in balance, and most importantly, keep your reader in mind. Google may be an imperfect machine, but they are always working to make it smarter, more intuitive, and better able to interpret your searches like a human.
Write with your readers in mind, and you are optimizing for the future of search.
Write for search engines, and you aren’t doing yourself any favors.
So let’s get into how I optimize my pages for search engines.