The SEO Strategy That Still Works For Me

In a previous blog post, I discussed a case study I did where I promoted an affiliate product that still makes sales for me today. I talked a little bit about my traffic strategy to generate perpetual traffic to the page but I didn’t feel like I went in-depth enough…

I busted out a little notepad and mapped out the traffic strategy that I used. After mapping it out, it still looked like a bit of a spagetti bowl. I decided to make this video to give a bit better of an explanation of my traffic strategy.

Enjoy the video:

Some of you may be skeptical about this strategy and some of you may actually try it. All I know is that this exact process worked amazingly for me and I’ve used it over and over again since with the same results and with very competitive keywords.

Give it a look and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

If you’re looking for even more talk about traffic strategies, consider becoming an Insider today. We’ve got tons of additional training on how to generate traffic to any site you want.

10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging

I’ve been blogging for several years now and after writing hundreds of posts I’ve learned some important lessons while taking multiple blogs to the 2,000 visitor a day mark and beyond.

If you want to skyrocket the growth of your blog, the hard earned lessons in this post are just what you need.

Make sure when you are starting out you invest into web hosting and a self-hosted WordPress platform so that you can reap the greatest rewards from your efforts. The majority of top blogs in the world are built on WordPress simply because it is the most powerful platform.

Over 25,000 WordPress plugins exist so there are many options available for easily customizing a WordPress powered website for any application.

I was lucky enough to start out on WordPress and now I am fortunate enough to earn a full time income thanks to the traffic to my WordPress blogs. The following ten tips I was not so lucky to stumble on. If I had discovered these powerful lessons when I first started I would be much farther ahead today!

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1. Create Regular Backups

keep-your-wordpress-blog-safe-with-backups

If you don’t back up your website files there is a chance that all your work will be lost if something happens to your database files.

The more frequent you make your backups the better.

When I was upgrading to a Virtual Dedicated Server recently, I forgot to transfer a WordPress database from my old shared server. When my old hosting account expired my blog went down. I thought my files were lost… and they almost were.

Months of work almost disappeared before my eyes.

Luckily my web host still had my website files and I was able to download them so I could put them on the new server, but not until I paid a hefty account restoration fee to access my files.

If I had backed my files up more often I could have avoided the fee I had to pay by just uploading my website files from a recent backup.

Now I use the free plugin BackupWordPress to ensure that my files and databases are backed up daily. Occasionally I copy these backups to my computer so that even my backups are backed up.

If you have shared hosting through Bluehost or HostGator, you can also create backups through the cPanel.

2. Build Your Email List From the Start

Building your email list is essential to your success. Start doing this once you are set up with a solid blogging platform.

Having a list is essential to your success online. Even though I have over 450,000 followers on Twitter @Garin I am able to send 10x as many clicks to any link I share with my list in just one broadcast email, even though my email list is a small fraction of the size of my Twitter followers list.

Imagine how much easier your business will become when you can get in front of hundreds of people almost instantly with the click of a button.

I recommend having an opt-in form present on every page of your website.

If I had started building my list sooner I am sure I would be much farther ahead today.

Check out our article about 50 awesome ways to get more leads if you want to take your list building to the next level!

3. Do Keyword Research to Help With Your Post Title

Before you push the publish button on your next post, ask yourself this question: is this title going to give me the most traffic possible?

If you’re not sure that you have the best possible title for your post I recommend that you first use the free Google Keyword tool.

By using the Google Keyword tool properly you can see exactly how many searches different terms get. Sometimes changing up a single word in your title can lead to triple the traffic or more.

When using the keyword tool make sure you select [Exact] rather than broad so that you can see exactly how many people are searching for each different keyword phrase.

google-keyword-tool-exact-match

This tool is also an excellent resource for determining the best keyword tags to add to your post.

I recommend using title case for your tags as this way they will look good in Google search results and more people will click through to your website from search results. Title case is when the first letter of every word is upper-case.

Monthly searches is something you should certainly consider when deciding on your title, but having a compelling title that makes people want to read your post is the most important thing. Don’t sacrifice a great sounding title for a mediocre title that is keyword rich.

But if you can get a great sounding title that is keyword rich, you are golden.

I missed out on untold amounts of traffic by just guessing at my titles and tags when I first started out. Now that you know there’s a better way, don’t make the same mistake! :)

4. Make it Easy for People to Share Your Content

Even if you have great content, if you don’t have a button to make it easy for your visitors to share, most won’t.

Social sharing buttons are constantly present for my readers.

Flare is the free plugin responsible for the ajax floating social sharing buttons that follow you as you scroll down on my blog. This awesome plugin can also implement buttons into the top and bottom of your posts and/or pages. My recommendation is to implement buttons into the top of your posts.

Check out the dashboard view of flare below to see just how easy this plugin is to customize and implement.

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Selecting the social media buttons you want to feature in flare is a breeze.

flare-wordpress-plugin-social-media-button-selection

Flare is not the only social sharing plugin I use. I also use Shareaholic to add snazzy social sharing buttons to the bottom of every post. This feature of shareaholic is called SexyBookmarks, but the plugin comes with a few other sharing options as well.

Here is a snap shot of the plugin dashboard to give you an idea of what it is like:

shareaholic-dashboard

5. Have Clear Calls to Action

call-to-action-megaphone-man-297x300Want your visitors to share your content?

Leave a comment?

Subscribe to your newsletter?

Don’t beat around the bush. Be concise and let people know exactly what you want them to do.

A strategy that has consistently worked like magic for me is to offer an incentive for the action you want people to take.

If you want more people to share your content, offer a free product if they do with pay with a tweet.

If you want more people to leave comments, use the Thank Me Later plugin. It will send a thank you email with a free gift for your commentators automatically after they comment.

If you want more newsletter subscribers, offer a killer lead magnet.

6. Use Square Graphics

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After Instagram launched, it took them only 18 months to get a billion dollar purchase offer from Facebook. A significant part of Instagram’s success was their ability to draw traffic from other social networks due to the square pictures, which display without difficulty on other social networks.

As a WordPress blogger you have the option to set a featured image that most social networks will display when they preview your content. I have used rectangle images for the featured image before, only to have them distorted when Facebook makes a change to the way website previews are displayed.

Now I use square images for all my featured blog post images and I recommend you do the same.

7. Choose Your Domain Name Wisely

The domain name you choose can be a massive help – or a severe handicap – to your blogging success.

Ultimately choosing a domain name that you love is the most important factor in determining your success, as you will need to love it enough to commit to several posts if you want your blog to grow into a success.www-focus-3d-graphic

But having keywords in your domain can also be a massive help as well. My blog TwitterToolsBook.com is a perfect example of this. Since I have the keyword Twitter in my URL, I have been able to get great search engine traction.

For example, having Twitter in my URL helps me get hundreds of visitors daily to my posts about Twitter Analytics Tools and How to Get More Twitter Followers.

The domain you choose is probably the single most important factor determining the success of your blog so choose it wisely.

 

8. Small Improvements Make a Big DifferenceKaiZen-ChangeGood

Constantly look for ways to take your results to the next level.

The philosophy of continuous improvement is known as Kaizen.

To the right you can see a graphic I created showing the Japanese roots of this word Kai (meaning change) and Zen (meaning good.)

Think long term. If you are able to get 100 extra visitors a day, it might not seem like much. However, those 100 daily visitors will become 36,500 visitors over a year and that many people can translate into several leads and sales for your business.

Keep pressing forward. You’ll get better as you go and it will show.

9. Create a Compelling Lead Magnet

A compelling lead magnet on your blog can be the difference between failure and success.

I already stressed the importance of a list in tip #2. If you want to grow your list fast, a compelling lead magnet is the #1 thing you need.

An eCourse or eBook combined with a compelling 3d graphic will help you increase your opt-ins by 5x or more.

10. Create Remarkable Content

In order to create a successful blog you need to realize that content is king and build your blog accordingly.

If your blogs turn out as mine have, you will likely find that just a few posts will pull in the lions share of traffic.

Whatever blog topic you tackle, you should strive to create a better piece of content than can be found anywhere else on the web.

When I create a blog post I will read the top 5 articles in Google about my topic and I will ensure that my post contains all of their best tips and then some.

What Is Your #1 Blogging Lesson Learned?

So, these are a few of my biggest lessons. I’m curious what your journey has been like. What is the #1 best lesson you have learned since you started blogging? Let me know in the comments below.

Insider Information Formula: How A Simple Little Blog Made $22,397.62 in 12 Weeks

Somewhere around the middle of 2012, I set out to test an affiliate marketing strategy that I thought had some huge potential. I knew that it was going to be a long-term play and that I wouldn’t see really much financial benefit early on. It was a strategy that required planning, consistant effort, patience, and a little bit of insider knowledge.

In the world of stocks, insider trading is illegal. In the world of blogging and affiliate marketing, insider trading is one of the smartest strategies you can employ.

As I write this (in a April of 2013), the strategy that I started building off of in mid-2012 has made me a little of $22,000 and continues to bring in consistant income on a monthly basis from promoting one single affiliate product.

Clickbank Screenshot

The above screenshot is from my Clickbank account as of today. You’ll notice that I set the dates from January 1st, 2013 to April 30th, 2013 (4 months). You can see that this is all from promoting one product (webactix) and that the total sales number is $22,397.62.

I’m going to attempt to teach this strategy as best as I can. However, keep in mind upfront that it does take consistant effort and it does take a bit of networking and making connections. The latter being the key difficulty for most people.

Insider Trading

The major key to this strategy is making connections and getting to know people in the affiliate marketing world. The more people you know, the more likely you are to get insider knowledge.

With the example above, I had the benefit of getting to know and becoming good friends with Josh Bartlett, creator of Easy Video Player and its followup, Easy Video Suite.

Having known Josh for many years, I was able to extract from him what his next product was going to be called. I learned that the Easy Video Player followup would be named Easy Video Suite.

Just this little bit of knowledge gave me a HUGE advantage over all the affiliate competition. Having this insight allowed me to register a key domain name and start my SEO efforts ahead of everyone else.

I purchased the domain name EasyVideoSuite.net, began building a blog, and was able to get a jump start on SEO before anyone else even knew what the product would be called.

The key to this, however, is the ability to get the insider knowledge and the ability to network with people “in the know”.

I was lucky enough to be a longtime friend and business partner with Josh so I had a leg-up there. However, getting out there and networking is not difficult at all. It just requires that you put yourself out there a bit, get out of your comfort zone, and get to events where marketers hang out.

There’s a marketing event probably twice a month, there’s probably one coming to a town close to you soon. You just need to find them and start making connections.

The ability to know about new products and product launches months (or even years) before they are ever released will give you a huge advantage in the marketing game. Being a marketing insider allows you to get a jumpstart on everyone else with your promotional efforts.

I’m not sure if I’ve seen anyone else talking about this concept but it’s probably one of the best kept secrets in the affiliate marketing world. Get to know people, get to know what they’re working on, ask to be an affiliate, and grab a domain name that compliments the product name as early as possible before someone else does.

Ok… Now that you understand why I call it Affiliate Insider Trading and what the concept is, let’s look at the blog side of things.

The Affiliate Blog

The next piece of this strategy is the blog. As soon as I have a killer domain name that represents the product well, I install WordPress and a few key plugins to help with on-page search engine optimization. I’m not going to dive in to details now about how to install WordPress or what plugins need to be installed because that’s exactly what I teach in the free 7 day blogging bootcamp. Make sure you go through that course completely to learn the steps of getting a blog online and optimized.

Once I’ve got my blog online and optimized, I begin writing blog posts about everything I know about the product.

I’ll write a blog post about rumors I’ve heard about the product, I’ll write a post about my personal connection to the product so that people realize I’m a credible source, and I’ll make posts about the stuff that I know for sure is in the works with the product (after getting permission from the product creator).

I’ll continue to make posts like this at a rate of one per week or so all the way until the product is launched. This gives me tons of content on my site and it shows visitors that I’m really knowledgeable on the product. It also gives me a lot of pages that can rank for our keyword (the product name) in the search engines.

Once the launch date gets closer, I’ll put together two very special posts that are key to this strategy.

1) A review post – I’ll give an in-depth review of the product and explain exactly what I like about it and maybe even a couple things that I think are lacking. I’ll usually make a video for YouTube with my review that I’ll embed in the post as well.

Easy Video Suite Review

2) A huge bonus – I’ll put together a really awesome bonus for anyone who purchases the product. The bonus will be something relevant and useful for people who purchase the product. It can be something as simple as a free consultation call to something a little more complex like a piece of software I hired someone to develop that compliments the product. Whatever bonus you can add to help entice the buyer to use your affiliate link.

Easy Video Suite Bonus

I write these two posts for a coupe reasons.

One of the main reasons being that, when a new product is released, people tend to search for the product name reviews and product name bonuses. In my example, people would search Easy Video Suite Bonus or Easy Video Suite Review to find out more about the product and to find out if they can get some extra goodies thrown in with it.

The other obvious reason is to really entice people to buy once they are on my page.

Once I’ve got my blog in place with some killer posts and people see me as a credible expert on the product, I proceed to the traffic phase…

Getting Traffic

This strategy is purely an SEO strategy. I’m attempting to get as many people searching for this product in the search engines as possible to find my page over any other affiliate’s page.

The beauty of this example is that I actually ranked above EasyVideoSuite.com during the launch phase of this product. I’ve since dropped to second place in the search engines but it’s not really a big deal. Most people searching for Easy Video Suite on Google now aren’t searching to find the product anyway… They are searching to find reviews and bonuses. So being second only to the main product itself, is still like being in first position as far as those searchers are concerned.

SEO - Easy Video Suite

My SEO strategy is actually pretty simple. I have a few sites that I use to send links back to my site that seem to be pretty effective. I use WordPress.com, Tumblr.com, LiveJournal.com, and YouTube.com… That’s it… That’s my whole strategy.

This where there insider knowledge comes in handy once again…

I attempt to register the domain names for the product I’m promoting. For example, I would register EasyVideoSuite.WordPress.com, EasyVideoSuite.Tublr.com, and EasyVideoSuite.LiveJournal.com.

Once I’ve got all of these free domain names with my keyword in the URL, I would write smaller, stripped-down blog posts about the product itself. I would then link back to my main site at EasyVideoSuite.net using various keywords as the anchor text.

I would drop a link on one of the posts that say Easy Video Suite Review and link to my site. Another page may have just the naked link easyvideosuite.net and link back to my main site… I just mix up the keywords I’d use to link back to my site as well as occasionally link back to an internal blog post instead of the blog’s home page.

I would then link to all of my other free sites in all of my other sites. So the LiveJournal page would have a link to the Tumblr page and the WordPress.com page in the sidebars. Tumblr would link to WordPress.com and LiveJournal, and so on…

This works because these sites are already seen as authority sites in the search engines. These sites themselves quickly rank and send even more “link juice” to my other sites.

The final step is that I put reviews and insights in to little videos on YouTube and link from those videos back to my main EasyVideoSuite.net site as well.

Essentially, the flow of the whole process looks something like this:

Link Flow

You’ve got link juice passing between all your free blogs on Tumblr, WordPress.com, and LiveJournal. You’ve got all those passing link juice to your main site… And you’ve got YouTube passing people over to your site as well.

The YouTube videos are more to capture people who search for things like Easy Video Suite Bonus or Review straight from YouTube and get them paying attention. I’m not sure if much link juice is passed for SEO from YouTube (I could be wrong though. Google is mysterious).

And that’s basically the whole strategy…

Final Thoughts

I employed the exact strategy that I just laid out above over an 8 month period leading up to the launch of Easy Video Suite. The strategy ended in me making over $20k since the launch in January of this year.

The strategy works 100% and I’ve got more domain names that I’ve snatched up to employ the idea again and again (I just can’t give them all away and kill my competitive advantage).

I’d love to hear your thoughts and insights on the strategy in the comments below.

Bradley and I have many more case studies similar to this one going inside the Premium Members Area. So if you haven’t become a premium member yet, consider checking it out for more in-depth case studies as well as over-the-shoulder video tutorials of this technique as well as others.

I hope you enjoyed this little case study and I’m looking forward to chatting with you in the comments!

The LearnToBlog.com Mission

Welcome to the brand new LearnToBlog.com. This site was created with one purpose… To create the number one resource on the internet to learn everything there is to know about blogging and making money with blogging.

LearnToBlog.com is the result of two long-time professional bloggers teaming up to create something epic. Myself (Matt Wolfe), creator of The WordPress Classroom, and author of the best-selling book, WordPress Revealed, and Bradley Will, founder of Free Blog Factory and blogger at BradleyWill.com thought that if we teamed up, pooled our resources, and wrote about what we were most passionate about, we could build something truly amazing in the blogging world.

The result of that effort is right here at LearnToBlog.com.

We’re lining up some of the biggest names and the most knowledgable experts to contribute to our resource here. We want a one-stop resource for everything blogging, written by the experts that live and breathe blogging every single day.

We also wanted to allow people to take their education to the next level by offering a premium area where we dive in even deeper on the things that really work to make people money and allow them to leave successful careers to blog about the things they love.

We truly believe that LearnToBlog.com is something special that will grow in to the largest blogging resource that the internet has ever seen. Keep an eye on this space because you are seeing the beginning of something truly epic.