You cringe every time you hear it.
You know you should take it seriously…you know you need to be reading up on it…
But you already have a thousand things on your plate and this is one that you’ve just let slip.
You say you’ll come back to it.
But let’s be honest, you and I both know that isn’t going to happen.
This is where my friend Michael Pozdnev comes in.
He’s an SEO pro and has a unique blogger outreach strategy that has worked tremendously in his favor.
I reached out to him because I needed SEO help and he’s come back with a monster post.
So if there’s just one SEO post you want to read and have time for, you’ll get all that you need from this one.
I’ll leave it to him to walk you through these steps.
You don’t have enough organic search traffic.
But you want it.
Because I’m a blogger and a solopreneur too.
In order to get traffic from search engines, you’re going to need some basic knowledge of SEO.
- Because everyday users create 6 billion queries in search engines, and look for the answers to their questions.
- Because search engine traffic can (and should) become your #1 source of traffic.
- Because if you rank on the first page, you can get your traffic on autopilot every day.
SEO offers some fundamental knowledge that will help you achieve your goals.
That’s why I’m sharing my SEO experience with you.
So you can use my 16 years’ worth of knowledge and achieve some awesome results with your blog or website.
With this tutorial, you’ll learn basic SEO knowledge and principles, and how to apply them
- What is SEO knowledge and how it works
- How to create better content
- How to use external and internal links
- The basics of semantic search
- How to evaluate the strengths and capabilities of your SEO
- Defining a topic for your content
- Conducting keyword research
- How to apply basic on-page SEO tips
- How friendship can help you promote your pages in search engines
Let’s get started…
What Is SEO Knowledge and How It Works
SEO knowledge is understanding how search engines work to give users relevant results, and influencing the ranking of your pages in search results.
Every blogger and solopreneur should know the fundamentals of SEO.
This knowledge will not only help you gain search traffic, but also teach you how to:
- Create viral blog posts
- Optimize your pages
- Structure and format your content
- Better understand your target audience
Because Google is the most popular search engine in the world and controls about 80% of the market:
It’s Google that can bring you the highest number of visitors.
Denying this fact means depriving yourself of your potential to get the most traffic.
It means divesting yourself of revenue.
Search Engine Optimization might seem difficult, but that’s not true.
SEO is easy when you understand and build upon these three aspects of knowledge:
- Semantic search (the RankBrain algorithm)
There are hundreds of other factors that are less significant.
If you want to know more, you can read Brian Dean’s article: Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List.
Sure, it isn’t bad to know everything there is to know about SEO — to understand all the principles, including how to control them — but that’s more important for SEO specialists than it is for you.
You only need to learn how the 3 fundamentals work, and then use them!
#1 SEO Knowledge – Write Better Content
You don’t have to write new articles a few times a week.
Not even a few times a month.
Hear me out:
In 18 months, I’ve only written 5 blog posts. (Yes, I’m very slow when it comes to creating my epic content. 🙂 )
But every month, I get more than 300 new email subscribers!
Without link building or popular SEO tactics.
I simply rely on quality content that helps my readers.
Starting new friendships has also helped me achieve these results.
I do realize that you don’t have a lot of free time.
So you may write your articles as often as you want.
But only in ways no one else can!
Don’t look at the people who publish several blog posts a week, or even several posts a month. It’s not important.
Writing content should above all else be pleasant for you.
Then you can create epic content that will appeal to your readers and become popular.
There are no rules here.
Millions of articles have already been written, and thousands of new articles appear every day.
Don’t make this mistake!
Always create your content with a specific strategy in mind.
This means you must be 100% sure that it’ll bring you traffic.
You’ll get help from:
- Keyword/topic research
- Evaluating keyword competition
- On-page SEO
- Link building (hint: friendship!)
When you create content, always do some research.
Find keywords over which you can compete.
Learn who already ranks by these queries.
How many words do their pages have?
What type of content is there (List Post, How-to, Video, or Infographic)?
Have they fully answered the question and covered the topic?
Try to create the best content possible in order to leave your competitors far behind.
Conduct additional research, and your experience will give you an edge.
Learn the intents of your users.
Determine what they want to get and what problem they are trying to solve.
If you don’t know how many words you should write, evaluate the word count of your competitors’ articles.
You can do it quickly using this tool:
But it’s not that important to win the word count competition.
It’s more important to create better content that will excite your readers.
So they won’t feel the need to search for other websites or additional information.
Always try to give the most exhaustive and relevant answers.
This will be valued by both your readers and search engines.
And trust me — they’ll express their gratitude with dozens or even hundreds of comments and thousands of social shares.
Look at the results of my blog post (where I explain how to write your first blog post):
I was able to achieve this only because I created the best guide on the topic. The best guide according to visitors and Google.
Search traffic doesn’t depend on how often you publish new content.
It depends on the quality of the content, and how it’s promoted.
So create the best possible content and share it with the world!
#2 SEO Knowledge – How External and Internal Links Can Help You
On the Internet, links are the main currency.
When you link to someone, you inform the search engines that you recommend the content.
The more external links your page gets, the more authority it has in the eyes of search engines. (The same principle also works for internal links!)
This number is influenced by:
- The link’s anchor text
- The topic (relevance) of the linking page and its domain in general. For example, a link to my blog from meerakothand.com would have more of an effect than a link from some fitness blog, or even a company like Apple.
This is because Meera and I are both in the same area. In the area of online marketing.
It’s very rare that you will find keywords where you don’t need external links for.
But there are some!
The effects of linking to your page will not be visible instantaneously. According to the latest research, it takes about 5-10 weeks on average.
This is why it’s very important to pick keywords that require minimum backlinks — especially if you’re a beginner — and with which you’ll have weaker competitors.
If you have just recently launched your website/blog, don’t despair if you only get a little organic search traffic.
Google is currently taking your stats — it’s studying you. In approximately 6-12 months, you’ll see a significant improvement.
#3 SEO Knowledge – Understanding Semantic Search
A few years ago Google created its RankBrain algorithm.
To better understand it, look at the following infographic:
The main objective of the RankBrain algorithm is to improve the quality of search results using the semantic search.
This algorithm tries to understand users’ intent.
The meaning of the phrases or terminology that they type, but not the keywords.
It’s hard to disagree that the same action can be referred to in different ways, and many terms have multiple synonyms.
For example, let’s say I decide to write a blog post devoted to the images on Pinterest.
Which keyword would you use to find relevant material on this topic?
Every person uses a different set of phrases:
- pin-worthy images
- pinterest friendly images
- pinnable graphic styles
- free pinterest graphic templates
They all mean the same thing.
Google knows it. People know it.
So when you create your blog post, it’s important to organically use all these phrases.
But that’s not all.
I also used synonyms in this example.
Think of the words you can’t avoid using when you create your content.
This is where the LSI keywords come on stage.
(You’ll need this free tool to find them: LSIGraph.)
In this post about Pinterest images, I would probably also tell you how to create these images. And I’d use the following phrases:
- best pin
- how to make images
- stock photos
This helps you inform Google that your article is relevant.
Because you are using the language that your users speak.
It’s very important to learn how to apply this essential knowledge of semantic search.
- First, think of the synonyms
- Look at what Google has to offer in the block “Searches related to”
- Search in Facebook groups
- Study Quora
- Use the tools for searching questions (AnswerThePublic, BloomBerry, and StoryBase)
Your main objective here is to look for the words and phrases that are popular with your users…your target audience.
But you have to conduct your keyword research in the beginning!
Use relevant phrases and long-tail keywords to fully develop your topic.
This way you can get your traffic not only by your main keywords, but by dozens or even thousands of other phrases!
Learn 5 Basic SEO Principles that Will Boost Your Organic Traffic
You have read a lot of articles on SEO.
You’ve applied some SEO tips, but you’re still falling short.
Did I guess that right?
The thing is that most of those tips won’t do you any good.
Because there are only a select few who speak and write about the most important search engine optimization skill:
SEO knowledge of what you can expect depending on your domain authority.
Choose Keywords with Which You Can Rank
Imagine you’re a new company that produces mobile phones.
Do you think you will instantaneously be able to compete in Google over all the keywords that are relevant to mobile phones?
Because all the places are already taken by your competitors.
Apple, Samsung, Huawei, LG, etc.
These sites are strong and have high ratings in the eyes of search engines.
That’s why Google will always show their pages in its search results.
Even if you create the best content, all the places are already taken by stronger competitors.
This is the most frequent SEO mistake:
Creating content without knowing the strength of your competition.
Hence, it’s difficult for bloggers in popular areas such as marketing, finance, and blogging to get organic search traffic.
Because all the places are already taken.
On the first page in Google, there are only 10 organic results.
And the clicks on them are distributed based on the position they take:
So what do we do?
Would it be impossible to get search traffic?
No — you can still get it.
And the process is fairly simple, although it takes some time to evaluate the strength of your competitors compared to your own numbers.
You’ll now learn the fastest way to evaluate your competition. It only takes a couple of seconds.
Step 1. Learn your strength
Install MozBar — a free extension for Chrome.
Go to any page on your site and look at the DA (Domain Authority) value.
Memorize this number.
Step 2. Enter a potential keyword in Google and look at your competitors’ numbers
Is there any domain that has a lower DA than yours?
Or a domain that is a maximum of 5 points higher than yours?
If all of your competitors are a few times stronger than you — if their DA is 2 or 3 times higher than yours — then it’ll be very difficult for you to get to the first page with this keyword.
It is possible, but you’ll need to work on link building for months.
Is it worth fighting a war you’ve lost from the very start?
In most cases, the answer is no.
That is, unless you create the most awesome content and have plans on how you’re going to get your backlinks.
If link building is not in your plans, just find another keyword.
Rephrase your query, and try different words and relevant phrases.
Or better yet, use any of the keyword research tools (have a look at the list below).
Sure the process of evaluating your competitors requires more steps.
That’s why I’m giving you a chance to find your SEO friend — me. 🙂 I’m also inviting you to become my subscriber.
But even this quick evaluation will help you save time and create content that has a shot at getting search traffic.
Define the Topics that Are Worth Writing About
If you want to get Google traffic, then you have to be analytical when you come up with the ideas for your posts or pages.
The process from generating ideas of what to write about to actually writing the content is usually very short.
I do realize that you don’t want to analyze or do all these technical things.
You’re a blogger.
You’re an entrepreneur.
You aren’t an SEO specialist.
You do everything on your own, and you don’t have any desire to spend time doing your keyword research.
You write about your experiences. About your mistakes and achievements. About your loves and hates.
And those are excellent topics, not to mention the right strategy!
But when it comes to SEO and organic traffic, your ideas need additional validation.
Do users ask questions related to your topic?
In what volume?
I also suggest that you install yet another secret weapon of SEO specialists — Keywords Everywhere.
It’s a free extension for Chrome, and you can use it to instantaneously see a search volume of any query, any keyword.
I wouldn’t recommend using Google Keyword Planner to evaluate the number of queries.
This tool is for specialists in context advertising. Moreover, it currently only shows a short range of values.
So be sure to install it and check your ideas in a moment.
Find Your Top Keywords with Keyword Research and Feed the Content with Relevant Words
If you’ve run out of ideas on what to write about, or if you want to find a top keyword for your page, use the following free helpers to do your keyword research:
Have you forgotten the most important thing about creating content and in semantic search?
Not keywords, but your topic!
The better you cover it, and the more details you use to do so, the better your results will be.
To achieve the best results, you need relevant words, phrases, LSI keywords, and, of course, long-tail keywords.
But their main purpose is to help you write better content.
Keywords are not meant to be reused as often as possible.
Keywords are the language that your users speak — the language that Google understands.
Don’t waste your time calculating keyword density.
There are no rules on how often any given keyword can be used so that you rank for the first positions.
However, a few years ago the situation was quite chaotic, and SEO specialists were committed to keyword stuffing.
Picture the topic of your blog as a tree.
What is the tree called? Use your top keyword.
The branches are subheadings.
The body is composed of keywords. It runs from the very top down to the base.
The leaves are relevant words and phrases.
The root is the quality of your content.
Do the Basic DIY Search Engine Optimization
These small SEO tweaks help the search engines better understand your content.
They also help your readers.
On-page SEO involves first and foremost your page formatting.
Here’s the 21-Point Basic On-Page SEO Checklist for Bloggers and Solopreneurs:
(That should be used on each of your pages!)
#1. Be sure to include your top keyword in your Title tag.
Try to limit it to 55-65 characters. Your Title tag should stimulate your users’ interest and help them learn the details (Benefits, How-to, List-based, Numbers, Curiosity). Remember that your Title tag is what shows up in Google!
Try to use different H1 and Title tags. It’s not obligatory to always have them identical. Supplement your H1 tag with long-tail variations and relevant keywords in order to get even more traffic.
#2. Use keyword modifiers and brackets in your Title or H1 tag.
For example: (Free Checklist), (Free Worksheet), (2017 Update), (#3 is AWESOME), How, What, Why, Tips, Review, Best, Cheapest, Smallest, Biggest, Fastest, Year, Month, Location.
#3. Write a Meta Description of up to 130 characters.
Be sure to add a call to action, 1-2 keywords, and relevant phrases.
#4. Prior to publishing, check the loading speed of your page.
This is a good page to check your speed.
The best way to accelerate your landing speed is by reducing the size of your images or investing in premium hosting.
#5. Use short URLs for your pages with target keywords.
#6. Make sure you haven’t written less content than your competitors.
Long-form content > 2,000 words gets better results.
#7. Try to include your top keyword and semantic terms several times in your content.
At least in your intro, conclusion, and 1-2 times in the content body.
But first, look at how many times your competitors used this phrase!
#8. Add relevant keywords or long-tail keywords to subheadings (H2, H3).
#9. Use LSI keywords or relevant terms.
Always use them organically. Don’t just add them to manipulate search engines.
#10. Use relevant questions and answers to your topic.
#11. Find synonyms and long-tail variations of your main keyword, and include some of them in your content.
#12. In each article add a few outbound links to authoritative resources.
Don’t be afraid to link to your friends, or to influencers. It’s always a big plus if these links help your users get some additional information to fully cover the topic.
#13. Use the power of internal links.
Be sure to search on your blog/website articles that will be an excellent supplement to your topic. A simple search in Google: site:yourdomain.com keyword will help you find these pages. In the anchor (link text), it’s better to use an exact or partial keyword match of your target page.
#14. Include multimedia in your content.
Images, video, slides, and infographics help keep users engaged for as long as possible. Google sees and appreciates this.
#15. Use keywords in the filenames of your images.
Especially for the first images! (e.g., basic-seo-knowledge.png)
#16. Write a unique image description in ALT for at least 1-2 of your first images.
Google often looks through the information in ALT to understand what the page is about.
#17. Increase the time that users spend on your page
Use stop words and short sentences. Get rid of everything redundant from your sidebar.
#18. Use bulleted and numbered lists to simplify the reading process for your users.
The correct formatting will help you get into Google’s featured snippets.
#19. Proofread your content for grammatical mistakes.
#20. Check how your page looks on mobile devices before publishing.
Most users visit sites from their mobile phones or tablets.
#21. Last but not least: Have you installed Google Analytics, and is your domain connected to Google Search Console?
In the case of any indexation mistakes, you’ll be able to catch them quickly. It’s very helpful to analyze your traffic and know who, where, and why it gets to you.
When you update your pages, don’t forget to use the reindexing function in Google Search Console > Crawl > Fetch as Google.
Start Promoting. Build Some Links. Or Is There Another Option?
I’ll share two link building strategies with you.
The first example — the fastest way to get backlinks.
The second example — the easiest link building tactic.
#1. Find Resource Pages
Resource pages are pages that contain a list of links that lead to myriads of articles on a certain topic.
The process of finding these pages is fairly simple.
Just use special search operators in Google, plus your keyword.
You may make a copy of my Google Sheet: Link Resources Search Operators (no opt-in!).
Be sure to use it, as it will help you get the fastest external links!
As you find a suitable target, just email the owner of this resource.
Here are some examples of how you may write:
Here’s another example.
Be sure to make your email unique, and consider adding something personal.
In order to improve the results of your outreach, first do something useful for this person.
Share their latest articles on Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter.
Even though this tactic is fast, it’s rather boring.
This is why I’m looking forward to sharing my favorite and most successful strategy to get links with you.
Use them, and you won’t even need to do link building!
The links to you will appear by themselves on a daily basis.
#2. Find Online Friends
Links. Links. Links.
Links are what help search engines understand the authority of your domain and pages.
That’s why it’s so easy for influencers to rank with keywords (and so difficult for you).
There are a lot of articles on link building out there.
And I’m sure you’ve read them. But have you tried doing what they tell you to do?
Maybe you wrote some guest posts, but nothing has dramatically changed for you?
You didn’t start getting your organic traffic instantaneously.
The SEO miracle won’t happen even in a year or two.
Promotion is simply uninteresting.
Even though it is a very necessary process.
Furthermore, you have to make acquaintances with new people. And it’s so hard to do that when you’re an introvert.
The fear of hearing “no.”
The fear of taking that first step.
I have the same feelings as you.
That’s why for my blog, I have chosen another strategy that I’m sure you are going to like.
- Creating awesome content.
But can your friends help you?
The real ones? Not so much.
But since you started your blog or launched your website on the Internet, your online friends will help you.
Bloggers and solopreneurs are unique people who do everything (or just about everything) themselves.
That’s why it is so hard.
Introverts become the best online friends who are always ready to support one another.
The most important thing is to know what to look for.
People who share your interests. Your competitors. Bloggers and solopreneurs in relevant areas.
They are all your online friends.
And they will always support you. Don’t ever doubt that.
Because each and every one of them — of you — understands how difficult it is to do online business all alone.
The hardest thing is to take that first step toward friendship.
But it won’t be any easier if you don’t ask for anything.
Show your appreciation. Say thank you. In your email, write a couple of kind words expressing your support.
Share your potential friends’ articles on your social media. (Don’t forget to tag them!)
If you decide to make friends with anyone, here’s my best advice that I have tested and proven myself:
Find commenters on your topic.
Those who leave their comments on sites that you read. Authors you respect.
I came up with my technique of making online friends completely out of the blue. You can read my blogger outreach case study to learn the details.
It was my new friends — typical bloggers, but sometimes even experts — who helped me get traffic when I was starting out:
When I asked them to give me some recommendations for my now popular post:
63 people replied immediately!
Those were the same people who linked to my blog on their posts.
Who shared it on social media.
I didn’t ask for anything. I wasn’t doing any link building.
It’s thanks to friendship and mutual help that my blog got mentioned on such popular sites as: Copyblogger, Neil Patel, Sumo, Problogger, Ahrefs.
Thanks to this technique I got to know more than 100 awesome people.
Those people are of an unparalleled level of success.
My main objective was to find some interesting people such as Meera Kothand.
Do you want to know how I got to know Meera?
I read her article “How to Profile Your Ideal Reader” on SmartBlogger.
And I instantly sent her a personal thank-you email:
As soon as you read Meera’s articles, you instantly fall in love with her.
Because you can immediately see that Meera wants to help you. And does everything to do so through hard work.
The best thing about people like this is their willingness to help!
I appreciate it. And you should appreciate it too.
Promotion becomes fairly easy when you inform your friends that you are publishing a new post.
Heres a short roadmap to building relationships and promotion through online friendship:
- Make acquaintances with interesting people in your area.
- Add value for them — focus on the benefits for them!
Share their articles on social media, link to them in your content, leave a comment, or give them a part of something that you can do best.
- Don’t ask for anything in return.
- Show your appreciation in your email.
- When you become friends, ask them to help you promote your content.
Sure, my friendship with awesome bloggers wouldn’t exist if I published useless content.
That’s why I believe that basic SEO knowledge consists of hard work and friendship.
Yes, you need content and links.
It’s very important to understand what you can expect thanks to SEO and gradually grow.
However, it shouldn’t take you a lot of time to study all the technical aspects of SEO. The most important thing is to be a good person, and that depends only on you.
Should you have any questions about SEO, please leave them in the comments. I look forward to reading them.
Find yourself an SEO friend in me and become my subscriber. As the first step toward friendship, you can get my 101 SEO Tips and Tricks. They will not only help you boost your knowledge of SEO, but also make organic search traffic a #1 source for your blog or site.