REMAKE - Organic Traffic
Chapter 9 Table of ContentsKey Concepts and Principles
- Understanding How Google Works
- Google Ranking Factors
- Cyber Space Analogy
- My Insanely Simple SEO Marketing Plan
- Get High-Quality Backlinks
- Target Your Competitors' Best Backlinks
- Other Safe Ways to Get Good Backlinks
- Post "Link Bait" Content on Your Blog
- Build a Social Following
- Send Your Followers to Your Content
- Automate and/or Outsource SEO
Chapter 9: Organic Traffic
In Chapter 8, we talked about how to use paid advertising to drive traffic to your site, which is great as long as it pays for itself. But always remember this ...
A sale generated through free, organic traffic is always going to put more money in your pocket than a sale generated through paid advertising.
Chapter 9 focuses on how to achieve good rankings in Google and the other search engines, which will result in a steady, ongoing stream of free organic traffic to your site.
Free traffic to your site is always a great thing for obvious reasons but more important, increasing your rankings is really the only way a website can continue to grow in profits. If you rely solely on advertising, you'll eventually hit a wall where you have maxed out your advertising opportunities. If every month, one or more keyword phrases climb the rankings, you'll always be generating a little bit more traffic, which should translate into increased sales.
Yes, getting a site ranked in Google (and the other search engines) takes time. You can't earn Page 1 rankings overnight, or even in a week or a month. But, by using the Insanely Simple SEO Marketing Plan I'll teach you here in Chapter 9, you can and will achieve Page 1 rankings, provided the keyword phrases you have chosen are not too difficult, you show some patience and look at this as more of a long distance event and not a sprint, and you keep at it, gradually gaining backlinks, one at a time, week after week, month after month. Once you do, you'll enjoy an ongoing, steady, and growing stream of free traffic.
With every passing month, more and more of your orders will come from free, organic traffic. Any extra sales you're still making through the PPC campaigns you're running will just be "icing on the cake." And best of all, the orders you get from organic traffic will have a higher profit per order since you don't have to pay a single penny for organic traffic.
All of the techniques I'll be teaching you here in Chapter 9 are both effective and safe. No trying to "trick" Google. No exploiting "loopholes" in Google's algorithm. No need to worry that your rankings will disappear with the next algorithm update. I'll teach you what ranking factors Google cares the most about and how to optimize those factors so that Google loves your site and ranks you high.
Getting a Site Ranked Does Not Need to be Complex
Although Google's search algorithm is extremely complex, what you need to do to get ranked is actually very simple. Google just wants you to build a high-quality website with lots of unique content and then market it on the web basically the same way you'd market a "brick and mortar" business locally.
You don't have to - and you shouldn't! - get involved in all kinds of complex link-building schemes, content blasts, SEO blog networks, high-PR link purchases and other "under the table" tricks and techniques. All that mumbo-jumbo is exhausting, short-lived and downright scary. Google ALWAYS catches up and will eventually penalize websites using shady, black-hat methods causing a massive rankings drop and once they've lost trust in a website, you might as well shut it down because it is almost impossible to regain their trust. No thank you!
Getting ranked well in Google is really just a matter of a) learning what factors matter to Google, and then b) optimizing for those factors. If you give Google what it wants, Google will reward you with high rankings. And, when you're optimized for Google, you'll automatically rank well in the other search engines as well (since they basically just copy Google's algorithm as best they can).
Chapter 9 is organized into 3 parts ...
- Important SEO principles and concepts (i.e. learning what Google wants)
- Part 1 of my Insanely Simple SEO Marketing Plan: Get High-Quality Backlinks
- Part 2 of my Insanely Simple SEO Marketing Plan: Content-Driven Social Marketing
Ready to get started? Let's do it!
Understanding How Google Works
Let's take a few minutes to conceptualize what Google is and to make sure you understand a few important things about how Google works. Watch this short video, then I'll summarize the 3 takeaways I want you to remember.
Take-away #1 - Google ranks individual web pages, not entire websites.
This is why on-page optimization is so important and why we took the time back in the store build-out phase to optimize specific pages on your site for specific keyword phrases. Page A on your site should be optimized for Keyword Phrase A, page B should be optimized for Keyword Phrase B, page C for Keyword Phrase C, and so on.
(Note: Your website's overall "Domain Authority" and overall "Quality Score" are important and play a major role in how well all the pages on your site rank, and we'll talk about this more later on, but it's important to recognize that Google looks at each page of your site separately.)
Take-away #2. Google rankings are unique for each specific keyword phrase.
Google doesn't group "similar" keyword phrases together and show the exact same set of results for the entire group of related phrases (although it's, of course, quite common for highly similar keyword phrases to have a fair amount of overlap in the results). Every keyword phrase (however similar it may be to other keyword phrases) has its own unique set of top 10 results, and you'll have a unique ranking for each separate keyword phrase (aside from the singular and plural version of the same phrase, which Google now treats the same in most cases).
For example, a particular page on your site might rank #7 for Keyword Phrase X, #9 for Keyword Phrase Y and #3 for Keyword Phrase Z.
Take-away #3. Google hates being tricked and manipulated.
Don't try to outsmart Google 'cuz, guess what ... you're going to lose! Don't forget that Google has half the PhDs on the planet working for them! 🙂
If you want to rank well in Google, you simply have to play by their rules. Google will penalize your site if it detects unnatural patterns and link-building techniques. Just stick to the principles and techniques we show you, and you'll be fine.
Google Ranking Factors
Google's algorithm considers dozens and dozens - some say it's actually in the hundreds - of different factors to determine how your pages will rank. But at the end of the day, you can really boil it all down into 3 KEY RANKING FACTORS that encompass virtually everything ...
- Keyword-optimize the pages you want to get ranked
- Establish your site as a "high-quality" website for enhanced user signals
- Build your site's "Domain Authority"
These are the 3 key factors to getting ranked well in Google. Pause for a minute to read over them a few more times and let them sink in. (No really, do it. Go back and re-read them.) Memorize them. If you do these 3 things well, Google will love your site and reward you with good rankings.
Through the remainder of Chapter 9, our focus will be optimizing these 3 factors. Okay, let's talk about each of these "big 3" factors in more detail ...
Key Factor #1. Keyword-Optimize the Pages You Want to Get Ranked
Guess what? If you followed the principles we covered in Chapter 5, you're already done with this. Good job, you're 1/3 the way done with your SEO already! 😀
Just to make sure, here's a quick recap of what you should have already done ...
- Optimize your home page for your primary keyword phrase by ...
- putting the keyword phrase in the page's title tag 1 time;
- putting the keyword phrase in the page's H1 heading 1 time; and
- "sprinkling" the keyword phrase (and closely related LSI keywords) a handful of times throughout the textual content of the page in a natural way.
- putting the keyword phrase in the page's title tag 1 time;
- Use a keyword ranking tool like the free Ubersuggest tool or a top-notch keyword tool like SEMrush to identify 5-10 (or maybe as many as 15-20) additional keyword phrases you'd like to target.
- For each additional keyword phrase, choose the page on your site that would be the "best fit" (1 keyword phrase per page). In some instances, you may combine 2 phrases for one page if it makes sense (i.e. plural and singular of the same keyword).
- Keyword-optimize each page you've chosen for the keyword phrase you've matched it with (optimize it exactly the same way you keyword-optimized your home page as outlined in #1 above).
If you've done all that, you're good to move on. If not, jump back to Chapter 6 and do it now! By keyword-optimizing your pages, you're plainly telling Google what keyword phrase you're trying to get each page of your site ranked for. Google doesn't have to "guess" at what the page is about; you've told them!
Is Google going to automatically give you good rankings just because you've told them what you want? Of course not! You've got to prove to Google that you deserve the rankings. That's what factors #2 and 3 are all about.
Key Factor #2. Establish Your Site as a High-Quality Site
There's quite a bit that goes into having a "high-quality" website and establishing a high Google Quality Score. These days, we believe that user signals are the most important factor in Google rankings, so you want to do everything you can to convince Google that yours is the best website for any given search query. Let me highlight the biggest items (some of which we already touched on in Chapter 5) ...
Unique Title Tags. Every page of your site should have a unique meta title. In other words, no two pages on your site should have the exact same title tag. Your title tag should also be one that gets people's attention.
- Inspiring Meta Descriptions. User signals are becoming more important to Google than anything. If one web page for a given search term gets 100 clicks and another gets only 40, Google is likely to reward the listing that gets clicked on more with a higher ranking. Write compelling meta descriptions that will make people HAVE TO click on your listing! Also, please note that all of your meta descriptions MUST be unique, as well (i.e. two pages cannot have the same exact meta description).
- Abundant Unique Content. Every page on your site should have a fair amount (the more, the better) of 100% original unique content ("hand-written" content, so to speak, that doesn't exist anywhere else on the web). It's critical that you avoid a) duplicate content (i.e. content that's been copied/pasted from another site/page), b) spun content (content that's been run through some kind of "spinning software" to make it look like it's unique, when it's really just re-hashed content using words/phrases that mean the same thing) and c) thin content (pages with little or no textual content on them).
Good Site Health. Your site shouldn't have any "broken links" (hyperlinks that don't work) or "bad links" (hyperlinks to sketchy sites or completely unrelated sites). Your website should load quickly. Visitors should be able to easily navigate to any page on the site.
Whole Site SSL. Google now takes internet security very serious and rewards sites that have every page encrypted with an SSL. In fact, the Google Chrome browser now warns people if any page of a website isn't secure (i.e. https) - even if the page doesn't need to be. You definitely don't want people being scared away from your website because of a warning they see in the address bar of Chrome!
Mobile Friendly. Google's latest algorithm is a "mobile-first" index, which means that they look at the mobile version of your website first and foremost in order to determine where it will rank. If your website is not mobile friendly (you have to scroll left-right or re-size things or pages load very slowly on cellphones, for instance), it will hurt you in the search engine rankings. Fortunately, most modern shopping cart platforms, including Shopify, automatically create a mobile-friendly version of your website, so you shouldn't have to worry about this.
Constantly Growing and Changing. Part of being able to rank well is getting high quality backlinks. In order to do that, you should constantly be adding new "fresh content" to your site (primarily through an on-site blog, which we'll discuss a little later). In addition, the more often you add new content, the more often Google will re-crawl your site (they only re-crawl static websites once a month or even less frequently for sites that haven't changed in years). And, all of that new content means there are more keyword phrases for your site to potentially rank for, whether you intended to rank for them or not.
- Keeping People On Your Site. Another extremely important user signal is how long a person stays on a website and whether or not they have to return to the search listings and click another result. Not only should you provide ample content on your page, but you should make sure that you answer every possible question someone might have about the subject. Don't force people to return to the search listings to look for answers. Google won't like it very much (but the other site that they bought from after visiting yours probably will love you for it!). Link to other pages on your site that provide further information (like buyer's guides), provide assembly instructions and owner's manual PDFs and embed videos, which will keep them on your pages longer.
Really, the only thing you need to worry about moving forward is regularly adding fresh, unique content to your site on an ongoing basis so that you can earn backlinks. You'll see in a few minutes how my Insanely Simple SEO Marketing Plan will take care of all of this. All you need to do is follow it!
Why is Having a High-Quality Website so Important?
Having a high-quality website allows you to retain & benefit from the "domain authority" you'll be building up as you obtain backlinks (which we'll be discussing in 'Key #3' below).
Think of it this way ... Having a high-quality site is like having a plug for the drain at the bottom of a sink. The backlinks you get are like water filling up the sink. A low-quality website doesn't have a plug covering the drain. So the water all drains out the bottom of the sink. In other words, the backlinks you get won't do you much good and you won't build up domain authority.
A high-quality website, on the other hand, has a plug covering the drain. So as you obtain backlinks, your domain authority will grow (just like water filling up the sink). It's kind of a strange analogy, I know, but it does a good job of illustrating why it's so important to have a high-quality website. You'll have a hard time building your domain authority if your site sucks, no matter how many and how good of backlinks you obtain!
In addition, once you start showing up in the search engine result pages (SERPs), the user signals I previously mentioned are going to tell Google how well your site satisfies people compared to the other web pages showing up for the same search phrases. All the backlinks in the world are not going to help you retain high search rankings if users are dissatisfied with your pages.
In fact, we now believe that nothing is more important to Google than user metrics. In a nutshell, your goal should be to build the very best website that exists in your niche. If you do, a whole lot of things will take care of themselves. You'll be able to get backlinks more easily, your stellar content will naturally cause your pages to rank for a plethora of search terms and most important of all, user data will tell Google that people love your site, don't seem to want to leave it and always get the answers they are looking for without having to return to the search results.
Key Factor #3. Build Your Site's Domain Authority
Domain authority is basically a measure of how important and authoritative your website is. You acquire domain authority through "connections" with other sites on the web. We like to categorize these "connections" into 2 buckets:
- Backlinks from other sites on the web (such as informational sites, blogs, forums, eCommerce sites, etc.)
- Connections to social networking sites (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), which we call "social signals"
My Insanely Simple SEO Marketing Plan is all about building your Domain Authority as quickly, effectively and safely as possible. I'll show you how to go out and get high-quality backlinks to build your domain authority immediately after launching your store. And, I'll also show you how to use content-driven social marketing to simultaneously boost your social signals and get 100% natural backlinks.
Note: It's important to recognize that Domain Authority is universal for your entire website (your entire domain). Your Domain Authority will affect how well all the pages on your site will rank for the keyword phrases they're each optimized for. When you get a backlink to any page on your website - including a page on your on-site blog - it definitely helps that page rank better but it also builds your site's domain authority and benefits ALL of your pages' rankings.
1 + 2 + 3 = Rankings!
Let me take a minute to show you how the "Big 3" key ranking factors fit together. But I want to do it in reverse order ...
- Key factor #3 (getting backlinks and boosting your social signals) is how you actually build your Domain Authority so you can rank.
- Key factor #2 (having a high Quality Score) shows Google that your site is deserving of good rankings and allows you to retain the Domain Authority you're building.
- And key factor #1 (keyword-optimizing your pages) tells Google what each page is about so Google knows which keyword phrase each page should rank for (now that you've proven you deserve good rankings).
Do you see why all 3 are so important and how taking away just one of the key factors will keep you from getting ranked? If you don't get any backlinks or boost your social signals (factor #3), Google won't see your site as important or authoritative (i.e. you won't have any Domain Authority) and therefore won't give you rankings for anything but the easiest, least competitive search phrases. If you have a low-quality site (factor #2), you won't be able to retain the Domain Authority Google otherwise would have given you (because Google doesn't consider low-quality websites worthy of having good rankings). And, if your pages aren't keyword-optimized (factor #1), Google doesn't know what your pages are about or what keyword phrases you should rank for! It's really pretty simple.
Getting ranked doesn't need to be any more complex than this ...
- Keyword-optimize your pages
- Have a high-quality site
- Build your Domain Authority
In the next section, I'll use the analogy of "cyber space" to kind of recap everything we've learned. Then I'll finally introduce you to my Insanely Simple SEO Marketing Plan. 🙂
Cheaters Never Prosper!
Like I said before, Google absolutely hates cheaters. The most common area where people try to "cheat" is in obtaining backlinks to their site (key factor #3). Google doesn't want you to get backlinks by trading for them or buying them. Google wants to see naturally occurring backlinks you get because your site has awesome content that other sites choose to link to. In other words, links that your website actually earns. (My Insanely Simple SEO Marketing Plan shows you exactly how to do this!)
Many (probably even most) "SEO techniques" promoted out on the web DO NOT follow Google's Webmaster Guidelines (i.e. Google's rules for playing fair & marketing your site in a natural, non-manipulative way). They exploit weaknesses (i.e. loopholes) in Google's algorithm that allows them to achieve high rankings quickly.
The inflated rankings are extremely short-lived, though, because the PhDs at Google quickly see what's happening and update the algorithm to patch the hole. And guess what happens? Everyone who was using the "black-hat" SEO techniques sees their rankings disappear overnight and in many cases, the site is penalized so severely, it never ranks again!
PLEASE don't allow yourself to get sucked in by promises and guarantees of stellar rankings obtained overnight (or anything close to overnight). You'll spend a lot of money on a software/service that is going to do you way more harm than good! Achieving good rankings that will last takes time and effort. The approach I'll show you in my Insanely Simple SEO Marketing Plan uses nothing but safe, effective methods that Google approves of. In other words, I'll be teaching you how Google wants you to market your store.
The Golden Rule of Link Building - "If you can place the link, yourself, it is WORTHLESS!"
Backlinks matter to Google because it means that another website values your content so much, that they are willing to send visitors away from their own site in order to check your content out. Really, there is no greater endorsement than that!
The important word in that statement is the word "they". In other words, someone else makes a decision to link to your website.
Far too many people get desperate and start placing links to their website everywhere they can find, spamming forums and blogs with comments that link to their website. Although it is perfectly fine to occasionally have a link to relevant content on your site in a blog comment or forum thread if that link is helpful to the topic being discussed, it is not fine if the link is placed there "just to get a link".
In the first place, the vast majority of comment and forum links are "nofollow" which means that the website has told Google not to follow the link and pass authority through it, Secondly, Google already pretty much knows not to value the link because they know that people can link to things, themselves, from those places. If a link in a forum thread or blog comment is helpful and might get you some targeted traffic, go for it (provided the other site approves it). Otherwise, Don't Do It!
Google's algorithm is far too "smart" to be manipulated by easy-to-get links. They know that anyone can link to themselves from forums, blogs, social bookmarking sites, etc. so they ignore those links.
Google rewards sites that EARN links. Any link that you can place yourself is not only worthless, if there are too many of them, Google can hit your website with a manual penalty. And, once you get a manual penalty, it's nearly impossible to recover from it because Google no longer trusts you.
Cyber Space Analogy on Building Domain Authority
We often refer to the Internet as "cyber space," so let's go with that concept and compare it to outer space (as in stars and planets and galaxies and Star Trek). 🙂
In this short (embarrassingly low-quality) video we put together quite a few years ago, pay close attention to how getting backlinks to your website builds your domain authority:
Before we move on, I just want to emphasize one very important thing ... All backlinks are NOT created equal. Google is way smarter than that! A single high-quality backlink is more valuable than dozens - even hundreds! - of low-quality backlinks. Just a handful of high-quality links can get you onto the 1st page of Google. On the other end of the spectrum, some backlinks are worthless and some can even get your site penalized.
You may have heard that backlinks are like "votes" for a website and that Google gives the best rankings to the sites with the most votes. I'm sort of okay with this analogy, but only if we specify that some votes are WAY more valuable than other votes.
It's like the electoral college for the U.S. Presidential election. Each of the 50 states isn't worth the same number of votes. Each state's vote is "weighted" based on its population. California is worth 55 votes, Texas is worth 38, New York and Florida are worth 29, and so on ... all the way down to states like Montana and Wyoming that are only worth 3 votes.
Going out and getting a "California-like" backlink (worth 55 votes) is obviously going to boost your Domain Authority A LOT MORE than going out and getting a "Montana-like" backlink (worth 3 votes). And, you also need to recognize that spammy backlinks are worth absolutely nothing and can even hurt your rankings or get your site penalized! Think of them as committing voter fraud, if you like. 😉
My Insanely Simple SEO Marketing Plan
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the moment you've been waiting for. We're done talking about SEO principles and concepts, and I'm now ready to introduce you to my Insanely Simple SEO Marketing Plan. I've spent years developing and fine-tuning this baby, and I'm pretty proud of it (if I do say so myself). 🙂
Two of the biggest struggles website owners seem to have with marketing their store are 1) figuring out where to start and 2) choosing among the hundreds and hundreds of "SEO techniques" being advertised and talked about on the web. It's simply overwhelming!
That's why I love the simplicity of the marketing plan I've put together ... and why I've named it the Insanely Simple SEO Marketing Plan. The 2 simple components of the plan represent the sum total of what I do - and what you'll need to do - to get a site ranked really well in Google and the other search engines.
Goals of the Insanely Simple SEO Marketing Plan
Let me quickly re-state the 3 key factors for getting ranked well in Google and point at where you're currently at on each ...
- Key Factor #1. Keyword-optimize the individual pages you're trying to get ranked (you've already done this).
- Key Factor #2. Have a high-quality site (you've already done this) and continually add fresh, new content to it (you still need to do this).
- Key Factor #3. Build your site's domain authority by getting backlinks (you still need to do this) and by boosting your social signals (you still need to do this).
So the 3 things you're currently lacking that the Insanely Simple SEO Marketing Plan needs to help you accomplish are ...
- continually add fresh, unique content to your site,
- get high-quality backlinks to your site, and
- boost your social signals.
Part 1. Get High-Quality Backlinks
There are 2 separate components of the plan. Part 1 is about getting high-quality backlinks.
Let me be absolutely clear on this ... Backlinks still matter, and they matter A LOT! The Penguin Update did NOT make backlinks irrelevant; it made spammy backlinks irrelevant. Backlinks are still Google's #1 way to measure a site's Domain Authority. The Penguin Update (which was honestly a Godsend to those of us following Google's Webmaster Guidelines) simply killed all the "link spam" on the web and placed a much heavier emphasis on the QUALITY of each backlink.
A few years ago, the name of the game was getting as many backlinks as you could as fast as you could. And I'll tell you what ... it was exhausting! Every couple of weeks, someone was coming out with a new link-building scheme or a new software program that could get you hundreds or thousands of backlinks overnight. Pay $200 or $300 or $500 for the software, plug your domain name into it, hit the 'Go' button and watch the software go out and spam the web with links!
Well, Google got fed up with it (and I don't blame them)! The post-Penguin world is a much simpler place (thank goodness). Today, it's all about the QUALITY of a backlink. As we've already discussed, all backlinks are NOT created equal. 😉
In Part 1 of my Insanely Simple SEO Marketing Plan, I'll show you several killer ways to get high-quality, topically relevant backlinks that look 100% natural to Google. The methods I'll teach you are all "white hat" techniques that I've been using with great success for years. They're effective, they're easy and they're safe.
The next couple of sections here in Chapter 9 will focus on getting high-quality backlinks that will help you immediately boost your Domain Authority.
Part 2. Content-Driven Social Marketing
I know what some of you are thinking ...
Yep, I know where you're coming from. That was my experience too until I discovered that I was going about it all wrong. I was trying to use a hammer as a screwdriver, so to speak! The problem wasn't the tool (i.e. social marketing) ... the problem was that I was using the tool completely wrong!
If you've "swung and missed" with social marketing before, I can guarantee you it's because you weren't using the tool correctly. Content-driven social marketing is extremely powerful when you go about it the right way ... the way I'll show you! And it kills all 3 birds with 1 stone ... You'll be:
- adding new content to your site,
- boosting your social signals, and
- even getting some natural backlinks.
As you hopefully recall, those are the 3 goals of the Insanely Simple SEO Marketing Plan! With content-driven social marketing, you get them all in one shot! Here's an overview of how content-driven social marketing works: ...
Step 1 - Post hot-topic "link bait" content on your site (primarily on your on-site blog) that will appeal to "link creators" in your market (i.e. people with the means to link to your site). This takes care of goal #1 (i.e. regularly adding new content to your site) AND it gives you interesting content on your site you can send people to (more on this in step 3).
Step 2 - Build a social following on the "Big 2" social networking sites of link creators in your market who are truly interested in your topic (i.e. market). Truly interested is the key here. It doesn't do you any good to get your Facebook friends to "like" your page or "follow" you. What you want is followers who are truly interested in your topic ... people who are passionate about it, who talk about it out on social networking sites, and who post content about it on their own sites. I'll, of course, show you how to actually do all of this. (Note: This takes care of goal #3: boost social signals.)
Step 3 - Tell your social followers (made up of link creators) about your awesome content, then sit back and watch as ...
- your followers like, share and re-tweet your posts;
- your following grows as your followers' followers become your followers; and
- your followers post backlinks to your site because they like your content (you don't even have to ask them to do it)!
All of this happens completely naturally on its own because a) you have good, interesting content on your blog; and b) your social following is made up of people who are truly interested in your topic.
Once your social following reaches a "critical mass", you can get several 100% natural backlinks to your site by doing nothing more than adding a new blog entry and posting notifications about it on your social profile pages. (Note: These naturally occurring backlinks will be in addition to the backlinks you're getting through Part 1 of the Insanely Simple SEO Marketing Plan.) The last handful of sections here in Chapter 9 will show you how to tap into the power of content-driven social marketing.
Executing the Insanely Simple SEO Marketing Plan
You may be wondering ...
I'm glad you asked that question. You're very astute! 🙂
Content-driven social marketing works, and it work very well. But, it takes a while to see the fruits of your labors. Things don't start to snowball until you hit a critical mass, which can take several weeks (maybe even 2-3 months).
That's where Part 1 of the plan comes in. Using the techniques I'll be showing you in the next couple of sections, you can start getting some high-quality backlinks today! These backlinks will start to boost your Domain Authority immediately while you're waiting for the content-driven social marketing machine to pay its long-term dividends.
Bottom line: You'll want to get started with parts 1 and 2 of the plan simultaneously. Part 1 will start paying off right away; part 2 will take longer to see results, but the results can be absolutely enormous!
Part 1 of the Insanely Simple SEO Marketing Plan: Get High-Quality Backlinks
Looking Natural to Google
Since we're going to be going out and posting/requesting backlinks to our site, it's absolutely critical that we make it look 100% natural to Google. I don't want to scare you too much here, because all of these methods I'll be showing you are completely safe. I've been using them with great success for many years.
But, there are many "black-hat" SEO techniques out there that are NOT safe. Link-building strategies of the past (reciprocal links, link networks, link exchange communities, splog networks, private blog networks, link spamming on blogs/forums, article blasts, buying high-PR links, etc.) simply do not work anymore and can easily get you penalized.
Please don't get sucked in by promises of overnight rankings! Your time atop the rankings mountain will be short-lived, and then your site will never rank again. Just stick to the methods I'll show you here, and you'll be just fine.
So, what does a natural-looking link look like, you ask? Well, I'll tell you ... 🙂
- The linking sites should be at least loosely related to your general market/topic (it looks very unnatural for a completely unrelated site to link to your site).
- The anchor text (i.e. the "blue, underlined text" that you click on) of the backlinks should be varied and different ... some URL links, some domain/brand-focused links, some "click here" type links, relatively low percentage (10-20%) of keyword-targeted links (it looks very unnatural for a large percentage of backlinks to have the same exact anchor text).
- Links should come from a good mix of different types of websites (it looks very unnatural for all of your links to come from the same type of website - i.e. blogs).
- Links should be obtained gradually over time (it looks very unnatural to get dozens or hundreds of backlinks overnight).
Quality > Quantity
Yeah, I know, we've already talked about this (several times, I'm sure). But it's so important that I'll say it again ... We are infinitely more interested in the QUALITY of the backlinks you get than the quantity of backlinks you get.
Low-quality backlinks will do you no good at all (you'll seriously just be wasting your time). Spammy backlinks will actually hurt you and potentially get you penalized (so your site will never rank for anything)! The only way to build Domain Authority is by getting high-quality backlinks that Google will actually care about.
So What is a "High-Quality" Backlink?
First and foremost, a high-quality backlink is a link from a website that has a lot of Domain Authority itself. Backlinks "pass" authority from one website to another website. A website that has really low Domain Authority can only "pass" a small amount of domain authority to the sites it links to (because it doesn't have much authority itself). Websites that have A LOT of domain authority obviously "pass" a lot more authority to the sites it links to.
(Note: By linking to other sites, it's not like the site is "giving away" its authority. You don't need to be afraid to post backlinks on your site.)
How can you tell if a website has a lot of Domain Authority? Well, there are tools that can tell you (and I'll introduce one to you here shortly). But one way to tell if a site has a lot of Domain Authority is to see how well it's ranking. Sites ranking near the top of Google's search results are bound to have a lot of Domain Authority (hence the reason they're ranking so well)!
What are the other characteristics of a high-quality backlink? Let me list them for you ...
- The linking page is topically related to your site.
- The linking page is on a well-structured site that looks legitimate and up to date.
- The linking page isn't plastered with all kinds of ads and paid links.
- The backlink isn't in the footer as a "run-of-site" link that appears on every page of the site (this is a clear indication that it's a paid link).
- Similarly, the backlink isn't in the "blogroll" section of a blog's sidebar (also indicative of a paid link).
- The backlink is a "followable" link (as opposed to a "no-follow link" - i.e. a link tagged with rel="nofollow" - which are ignored by Google and which do not "pass" authority).
- The backlink isn't on a directory website (directory links have become worthless).
- The backlink is editorially placed. In other words, the linking site chose to link to your site.
Okay, now that we've talked about the key concepts and principles of link-building, let's move on and I'll show you how to actually go about doing it.
Target Your Top-Ranking Competitors' Highest-Value Backlinks
For over a decade now, the #1 approach we've used to get high-value backlinks is to target our top-ranking competitors' highest-value backlinks. Let me explain why this approach is so powerful ...
The primary reason they rank so high in Google is that they have a lot of high-value backlinks, right? So it stands to reason that if you obtain the same (or similar) backlinks that they have, you'll climb to the top of the rankings too!
And, since they were able to obtain a backlink from the sites linking to them, there's a good chance you'll be able to as well.
Let's say you're able to obtain just a few (maybe 5-10%) of the same (or similar) backlinks as the #1 ranking site in your market. Then, you're able to obtain just a few of the same (or similar) backlinks as the #2 ranking site. Then just a few of the same links as the #3 ranking site, #4 ranking site and so on all the way through, say, the #10 or #20 ranking site.
Look at the end result ... Your backlink profile will be AMAZING! You'll have a better collection of high-value backlinks than any one of your competitors because your backlink profile will be comprised of the "best of the best" (the best backlinks of the best sites in your market). And, your backlink profile will be unique from any individual competitor since you'll have just a few of the same (or similar) links as any one competitor.
Do you see how powerful this approach is? It's flat-out genius (if I do say so myself). 😀
Like I said, this is the main link-building approach we've used to get ranked for all of the highly profitable stores we've run (many of which made over $5k/month and sold for 6 figures). Now, if only there was a tool that made this easy to do ... 🙂
Backlink Analysis Tools
Unfortunately, you can't just do an online search and find out what backlinks your competitors have. You're going to need a tool that will show you those links and which ones are more important than others.
Although there are a ton of great backlink tools out there, our favorite will always be SEMrush. Not only do they have a top of the line tool that will show you your competitors' backlinks, but the SEMrush suite of tools covers pretty much everything you could ever want in terms of SEO - keyword research, PPC analysis, on-page content analysis, keyword rank checking and a whole lot more.
Unfortunately, not everyone can afford a top of the line, professional SEO tool. If you don't have the money (just yet) for SEMrush, there is another set of free tools available from SEO Review Tools that you can use right now to get the job done. Now, I can't vouch for how long these tools will be free but for now, they are. Their free Backlinks Checker will not only give you the top 100 domains that are linking to a site's entire domain or just a single page, it ranks them in terms of each linking website's domain authority. Now, that's not quite as good as a tool that will give you every single backlink to a competitor's site but the best 100 from each of your competitors isn't too shabby!
WARNING: Although tools are great for accomplishing things quickly, they aren't even close to as good as the best tool of all ... your brain! Most websites have a bunch of links that are not worth going after at all. You are still going to have to look at each backlinking page and decide if it is a good link that is worth pursuing. Use some common sense here. If you can place the link yourself, don't bother. If you have to ask the other site to link to you, it's probably a good link. Other things to take into consideration are all of the things we just mentioned in the "What is a High'Quality Backlink" section.
Other Safe Ways to Get Good Backlinks
In addition to targeting your competitors' highest-value backlinks, there are a handful of other effective, safe ways to get 1-way backlinks to your site. I'll introduce each of them in the following video, and then I'll provide more details down below the video.
Find "Resources" Pages in Your Market
Yes... I know this is a little "old school", but it still works. 🙂
Just do a Google search for phrases like these...
- [keyword phrase] resources
- [keyword phrase] resources page
- [keyword phrase] friends
- [keyword phrase] "sites (that) we love"
- [keyword phrase] link partners
- [keyword phrase] links
- [keyword phrase] partners
Cruise through the results to find "Resources" pages that link out to a bunch of related websites. Check to see if there are any broken links on the page. If there are, use either the "Change of Address" technique (if the entire site is dead) or the "Broken Link Recovery" technique (if the site is still active but the linked-to URL doesn't exist anymore). Both methods are described, below.
If there aren't any broken links on the "Resources" page, basically you're just going to send an email to the webmaster, "kiss up" to them and nicely request a link to your site.
Your success rate won't be amazing compared to the "Change of Address" or "Broken Link Recovery" methods, but you definitely can get some good backlinks this way. We've done it for years, and we still do it when there aren't any broken links on the page.
"Change of Address" Technique
This technique is highly effective and incredibly easy to do. Basically, all you're doing is finding an expired domain name that still has some high-quality backlinks pointing to it, "claiming" the expired domain as yours (it is expired, after all) 😉, and then informing the webmasters of the sites linking to it that your site has "moved" to a new domain name (your domain name).
How to Identify Expired Domain Names
Finding expired domains a simple 2-step process ...
Step 1. Use a free plug-in like LinkChecker (for Firefox users) or Check My Links (for Chrome users) to highlight all of the broken links on any resource page that you found using the method described, above (i.e. hyperlinks where the linked-to page URL does not exist).
Step 2. Even though you know the link is dead, click on it anyway. Then, manually delete everything except the root domain name from the URL (so that you're attempting to load the home page). If the home page won't load either, you know that the website is completely down and can assume the domain name is expired.
Note: If you'd like to make absolutely sure the domain name is expired, you could always look up the domain name at NameCheap.com, but we typically don't bother with that step. If the home page doesn't load, it's a pretty safe bet that the domain name has been abandoned.
ALTERNATIVE METHOD: If you aren't comfortable with telling the other webmaster the "little white lie" that you used to own the dead domain, you can always be honest and tell them that you found a broken link on their site, how Google doesn't like broken links, and that since you were such a nice person for pointing it out to them, you would love for them to link to your content. We've found that this is one of the rare cases where honestly is not always the best policy because we just don't get as many links being upfront with people, but let your conscience be your guide. 😉
Broken Link Recovery
This technique isn't quite as effective as the Change of Address technique and, in some instances, it might involve more work, but it's still quite effective (i.e. a much higher success rate than "cold calling" webmasters and asking for a link).
It's actually pretty darn similar to the Change of Address technique, but rather than looking for a single domain and trying to get links from all of the sites that linked to it, you are trying to find all of the broken links on a single resource page and telling the website that owns that resource page about the broken links and that you have a great place for them to link to, instead (your site).
With this method, there is no reason to claim that you owned an expired domain which has now "moved" to a new domain (it would sound pretty odd that you owned several expired domains that were all being linked to by this site, after all). You simply point out the broken link(s) and ask the webmaster to replace it/them with a link to your site.
As you should have learned earlier here in Chapter 9, having broken links on your site hurts your Google Quality Score and holds you back in the rankings. So, you're doing webmasters a favor (which you may want to subtly point out to them) when you let them know about broken links on their site. Since you're actually doing something for them, webmasters are more inclined to give you a link (i.e. replace the broken link with a link to your site) to show their gratitude.
One other thing I want to point out is that you can use the Broken Link Recovery technique for any broken link (i.e. bad URL), even if the website the linked-to page belongs to is still active. (Contrast this with the Change of Address technique, which can only be used if the domain name is expired and the entire website is down.)
So, when I find a broken link on a page, what I'll do is try going to the home page of the linked-to website (i.e. domain-name.com). If the home page is down, I can pretty safely assume the domain has expired and I'll use the Change of Address technique in addition to letting the resource page site know about the broken link. If the home page is still active, it's clear that it's merely a bad URL and I'll just use the Broken Link Recovery technique.
What do I tell them to link to?
Here's where the Broken Link Recovery method can get more complicated. In many instances, the resource page may not be linking to the home page of another site. It might have linked to a category page, a product page or even a resource article page.
Before you can recommend a new, better place for them to link to, you need to find out what they were linking to in the first place if it wasn't the home page. Now, if you can see from the URL that it was a category page or a specific product page (and you have that product on your site), it's pretty easy to find the specific page on your site to have them link to.
On the other hand, if it seems to be an article or resource page, things become more difficult. In that case, we like to use the Wayback Machine to research old websites and pages that are no longer available. It's essentially an archive of the world wide web and it takes "snapshots" of web pages as they appeared at various times over the years.
Enter the full URL path of the expired link into the Wayback Machine and you might get lucky and find the former content in its entirety. If not, try searching for just the domain name and then click different dates in the calendar to see if you can find the content that was being linked to in the archived website pages.
Assuming that you do find what was formerly being linked-to, you'll need to create your own, better version of what was there. Yeah, I know ... more writing (ugh!). The good news is, you'll be creating a great new piece of content for your website that is worthy of earning links (and social mentions) from more than just one place! 🙂
Post Followable Backlinks on Authority Forums Within Your Market
Truth be told, we were kind of torn about whether to put this method in the Direct Traffic section of this course (Chapter 10) or here, in the Organic Traffic part of the training. The fact is, as Google's algorithm gets "smarter", they are devaluing or outright ignoring any links that a website owner can place, themselves, as I mentioned in the "Golden Rule of Link Building".
There is some evidence that followed forum links might have a very minor effect on your domain authority, so we decided to leave it here - at least for now. I should definitely point out that this should NOT be your main link building strategy and that if too much of your backlink profile is made up of followed forum links (especially if the links have keyword optimized anchor text), you could actually get penalized by Google!
Virtually every market has at least a few "authority forums" (i.e. forums that rank well and have a lot of Domain Authority). There may not be any forums for your specific niche product line, but if you "go up a level" to a slightly broader topic you can certainly find plenty of blogs in the same general market that your niche is in.
Just do a simple Google search for '[your market] forum' and look through the top 2-3 pages of results. What exactly are you looking for? You're trying to find topically relevant forums that allow its members to post "followable" links (aka "clean" links, as I like to call them).
Probably more than half of the forums you'll find use a forum platform (i.e. software) that automatically adds the "no-follow" tag to hyperlinks that users insert into their posts. You're not really interested in these forums since any links you post won't be counted by Google. (That being said, you may want to jot down the URLs of these forums - especially if they have a lot of members and seem to have a lot of daily activity - for purposes of getting direct traffic to your site, which we'll be discussing in Chapter 10.)
When you find an authority forum that gives clean links, here's what to do ...
- Become a member of the forum (i.e. create an account).
Note: Whether you create a forum profile under your own name or use a fictitious name depends on which method you use in Step #3, below. It would help to know if the forum allows followed signature links BEFORE you create your forum profile. It also matters if this is a great, targeted forum that you want to drive direct traffic from, regardless of whether or not it has followed links. If it is, you obviously want to use your real information.
- Participate & contribute to the conversation for 2-3 weeks (don't immediately post a link to your site in your very first post - it will almost for sure be removed by the forum owner/moderator).
- After 2-3 weeks of active participation, either ...
- a) add a link to your "signature" (which appears below all of your posts), OR
- b) pose as a customer and ask if anyone else owns [product X, as a hyperlink on your site] or has done business with [your website url] and if they're happy with the product or website.
Once you've gotten a link from the forum (and it sticks for 2-3 days), you can pretty much just forget about that forum and move on to other link-building opportunities (unless it's a super popular, high-traffic forum you think you can get some direct traffic form, which we'll discuss in Chapter 10).
There's no sense in trying to post multiple links on the same forum, since Google doesn't really reward you for having multiple backlinks from the same website.
How to Differentiate Between Clean Links and No-Follow Links
All you need is a free plug-in called the Moz toolbar. Here are the download links for Firefox and for Chrome. Once you install the Moz toolbar, no-follow links will be highlighted on the page. Easy-peasy. 🙂
Help A Reporter Out (HARO)
Another cool link-building opportunity is called Help A Reporter Out (HARO). This site's purpose is to help reporters, journalists and bloggers find sources they can quote in stories or articles they're writing. After you create a free account, you can sign up to be notified (via email) when a reporter is looking for a source within your market or topic area.
Each time you receive an email from HARO, just skim through it to see if there's an opportunity that looks interesting or promising. When you find one, simply respond with the information they requested, making sure to include your domain name (as your business name) in the response.
It also helps to have a brief 2-3 sentence opening paragraph bio that tells who you are and why you are a good resource for them to use. We copy paste the same one for every response we send to HARO requests.
Note: Although it is definitely preferable for the questions you answer to be related somewhat to your niche, we've seen people get links that were very beneficial to their site from questions that had nothing at all to do with their niche but ones that they had some expertise in. In most cases, the journalists will put whatever website link you put down after your quote, so you might as well go for it!
Part 2 of the Insanely Simple SEO Marketing Plan: Content-Driven Social Marketing
Post Hot-Topic "Link Bait" Content on Your Blog
Let's pause for a minute to get our bearings. We just finished up talking about how to safely and effectively go out and get high-quality backlinks to immediately start building your domain authority (i.e. Part 1 of the Insanely Simple SEO Marketing Plan).
We're now moving on to Part 2: Content-Driven Social Marketing. Like I said earlier, content-driven social marketing kills 3 birds with 1 stone ...
- You'll constantly be adding new high-quality content to your site,
- you'll boost your social signals, and
- you'll even get some naturally-occurring backlinks (to supplement the backlinks you're getting through Part 1 of the plan).
To start off, take a few minutes to watch this video where I explain how social marketing works and why your on-site blog is such a critical component of it.
It's critically important for you to understand that the primary purpose of social marketing is NOT to generate direct sales. (Social marketing can and will result in some sales here and there, but don't get discouraged if you're not getting tons of orders from it.)
The main objective of social marketing is to build your Domain Authority by getting 100% natural backlinks and boosting your social signals in order to improve your organic rankings. Generating direct traffic and sales is a nice "side benefit" of social marketing, but keep in mind that we're doing all of this primarily for the improved rankings (which will lead to a continuous flow of free, organic traffic long after the blog posts and social updates get buried and forgotten).
Also, I mentioned this before, but let me make sure it's crystal clear ... Domain Authority is a global site-wide factor. A backlink to any page on your entire site (including your on-site blog) increases your Domain Authority and will help all of your pages rank better (for the specific keyword phrases you're targeting on each specific page throughout your site).
So, we don't care much which page of our site we get backlinks to. We just want high-quality backlinks. And, the fact of the matter is, it's 10x easier to get backlinks to blog posts about interesting, trending hot topics people actually care about than it is to some dry, boring page about your products. In today's "share"-happy world, you don't even have to ask! All you have to do is post content worth sharing.
Furthermore, when people visit our site from social links and spend a good amount of time on the site, it creates better user signals for our site, which also is a major ranking signal.
Posting Content Worth Sharing
Easier said than done, right? Yeah, sure, everything is (except maybe "I slit the sheet, the sheet I slit and on the slitted sheet I sit") ... but it's really not that difficult! The key is to choose topics that people are interested in and passionate about. People talk about and share things they're passionate about without even thinking about it. No asking, pleading, begging or even inviting necessary. They just do it naturally!
Heavens no! If you try writing about nothing but the exact product line you sell, two things will happen ...
- You'll go nuts trying to think of things to write about (and want to jump off a cliff within 2-3 weeks). 😲
- Nobody will want to read your insanely boring blog posts (and the whole social marketing thing won't work for you). 😢
You have to write about things people will actually want to read ... and share! If you write about your specific niche topic, nobody will care enough about your blog posts to consider sharing them. You'll just be wasting your time.
Go "up a level" (or two) to a more broad topic range. If you sell dog collars, you can talk about anything related to owning a dog: dog health, dog training, dog news/events, dog breeds, and so on.
Can you see how much more likely these types of blog posts are to get read, shared and linked to? That's why it's so important not to be too laser-focused on your specific product line or niche. If you "go up a level" to make your blog a little more broad (but still relevant, of course), you'll have much greater success getting the whole social plan to work (and, as a bonus, you won't want to off yourself a couple weeks in). 😉
Who is Your Target Audience?
Any literature professor will tell you that it's absolutely critical to define your target audience BEFORE you begin writing. So, who are you writing these blog posts for?
Your target audience is potential customers who will be interested in buying the products you sell, right? WRONG! Your blog posts should NOT be written for your potential customers!
Confused? This is probably the most common mistake we see website owners make. They write blog post after blog post written for the wrong audience.
Remember, what's the primary reason for doing content marketing? It's NOT to generate sales; it's to get backlinks! The problem with writing blog posts tailored to potential customers is that 99% of your potential customers don't have the ability to link to your website! The average customer doesn't own a website themselves, so how can they post a link to your site? They can't!
Your blog posts should target "link creators" in your market. Who is a link creator? It's someone who owns a website in your general market and who regularly posts content about your topic. Even better, it is someone who owns a website that frequently links to other websites. These are the people who have the ability to link to your site and who have shown a propensity to link to other sites in the past. So, that's who you want to target!
Coming Up with Blog Topic Ideas
Blog writing is fairly easy ... once you come up with a good idea of what to write about! But coming up with those ideas can be difficult, especially after you've been at it for a few weeks and have exhausted your initial list of ideas you came up with. But, with some quick up-front leg work, you can set it up so blog topic ideas literally come to you!
Before you start blogging, you should identify several good sources for hot-topic stories and news related to your chosen passion/topic. Either bookmark these sites or, even better, subscribe to their RSS feeds to receive updates directly to your email or RSS reader. Below, I'll share some advanced tips that will help you set up a never-ending stream of killer blog topic ideas.
Find Niche Posts/Videos that Went Viral
The key to getting great social interactions and shares (and maybe a few links) is creating the kind of content that you KNOW is going to be a hit.
Far too often, we hear of people writing what they think is the best piece of content ever to hit the internet about their general niche, only to be greeted with the sound of crickets chirping when it comes to social shares, traffic and links to that post.
Rather than guessing what will be popular, wouldn't it be great to already know in advance the type of content that people are going to love to share and link to BEFORE you spend a whole lot of time creating a blog post? Fortunately, there is a way to do just that ...
BuzzSumo is an online tool that is dedicated to showing you what's popular on social networking sites and a whole lot more. It is, by far, the most comprehensive tool in the social discovery market.
In addition to showing you what the most popular content about your topic is on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest, it allows you to filter that content for the type of post you are looking for (articles, infographics, guest posts, giveaways, interviews and videos). More important, it allows you to see how many links a particular post got and what sites linked to it and you can also export a list of not only the linking sites, but all of the people who shared the post socially (which gives you a ton of people to contact after you create your own great piece).
If that's not enough, BuzzSumo also lets you set up content alerts, so that you always know when something new has been posted in your niche, it allows you to spy on your competitors to see what content of theirs is getting the most shares and it even helps you discover who the biggest influencers are in any niche.
BuzzSumo is not exactly cheap; though, subscriptions to the service start at $99/month ($79/month if paid for annually) and they offer a 7 day free trial. You can also see extremely limited results without an account but they aren't really much more than a tease and not very helpful beyond the first time or two you search.
If you can't afford BuzzSumo at this point, a less expensive alternative is Social Animal. It comes with a whole lot of the tools that BuzzSumo has but for about half the price.
With Social Animal, you can see the most popular content being shared on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Reddit and it also has an influencer discovery tool.
In addition, an "Insights" tool within the dashboard helps you determine the best days to post, the best title length and the best article length for getting shares. You can also set up content alerts with Social Animal.
Unlike BuzzSumo, you will not be able to see who has linked to an article nor export lists of those links or social sharers. Of course, you can always feed the article URL into another tool like SEMrush or SEO Review Tools' Backllink Checker to see who has linked to an article.
Although you can technically do a couple of searches per day for free and see a 19 results, if you try doing much more than that, they will require you to pay for a membership. Social Animal starts at $49/month ($41/month if paid annually) and they offer a 14 day free trial.
PLEASE NOTE: No matter which tool you decide to use to show you popular content on social networks, they all have a "time frame" setting. Unless you're really on top of things, you probably won't want the time frame set to "today". Instead, set it to "this week" and if you don't find anything there that floats your boat, try "past month". You may have to even try "past 6 months" or "past year" in order to find something you can work with. Also, don't forget that there are probably at least a half dozen words you can use for your general niche that should yield some great results.
Once you know the type of content that is a hit with the social networks, it's not all that hard to create your own piece and share it socially. Now, I'm not saying to write exactly the same thing. If you can write about the same thing and do a much better job, go for it! You can also create a post that is complementary to the other one or one that is the exact opposite. If I had a website that sold dog houses and found a well-shared article that showed people how to keep their dog from barking at the mailman, I might decide to write an article about how barking at the mailman is actually a good thing (you wouldn't want to stifle Rover's natural burglar alarm, would you?) or I might write something about how to keep Fido from chewing on your shoes. Both of the posts would probably get shares and links from the same places that shared the first piece.
Use RSS Feeds For Great Content Ideas
One of the best ways to get ideas for blog content is to see what other people in your overall niche are writing about. In the SEO industry, this practice is widespread. You'll see one person post an article about something and ten others suddenly appear, talking about the same thing.
Again, I'm not necessarily saying you should write about the same thing, but you could if you wanted to, only with your own spin on it. As discussed above, you could also write a parallel piece or one that takes an opposing view. If nothing else, seeing all of the things that people are writing about is sure to pop a few ideas into your head.
Find as many blogs as you possibly can that are centered around your general niche. For a dog house website, I'm not looking for dog house blogs; I'd be looking for dog blogs.
Rather than trying to find them all one by one, you'll almost always discover that someone else has done all of the hard work for you by creating a "Best" article. Simply do a search for "best" along with your overall niche and the word "blogs" (e.g. "best dog blogs"). I can almost guarantee you that somebody has come up with a list of the top 20-50-100 blogs for you to check out!
By far, the easiest way to keep up with the latest content on other blogs is to subscribe to their RSS feeds, which will let you know the moment a new article from a place that you follow hits the web. In case you are wondering, RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication". It is used by computer programs that organize those headlines and articles for easy reading.
But first, you're going to need to have an RSS Feed Reader because RSS feeds are written in XML markup language - something that browsers and regular email cannot convert into an easily readable format. Then, you need to find the RSS feed for blogs that you want to follow.
Where to Get an RSS Feed Reader
If you simply do a search for "free rss feed reader" you'll find a ton of them. Probably the best known one that integrates easily into other apps is called Feedly. Feedly has a free version and a paid one but the free version is all you'll probably ever need.
"Out of the box", you'll need to login to Feedly every day to see if there are new articles that have been posted. Not only is that inconvenient, but it adds one more thing to your list of things to remember to do in a day. It's very easy to forget to check your RSS feeds every day, so we really don't like having to login to a website to read our feeds. We'd much rather be notified about them via Email.
Fortunately, some ingenious people have come up with a couple of ways to get Email alerts every time something new shows up in your Feedly account. You can read about those methods and how to implement them by clicking here.
Then again, you may already have an RSS feed reader incorporated into the Email client that you currently use, so you don't even need a separate app like Feedly. While we certainly cannot post links that show how to set up rss feeds in every type of Email client out there, here are links to the setup instructions for the three most popular desktop clients - Microsoft Office Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird and Apple Mail:
- Microsoft Office Outlook RSS Instructions
- Mozilla Thunderbird RSS Instructions
- Apple Mail RSS Instructions
If you use a different Email client, do a search for it along with the words "rss feed reader" and maybe yours has a feed reader, too. (Sorry, Gmail users, but there is no native feed reader for Gmail, although, there IS a way to integrate Gmail with Feedly.)
Now that you have a feed reader, you're going to need to find the RSS feeds of the blogs that you want to follow ....
How To Find a Blog's RSS Feed
Back in the day - long before there was ever such a thing as social networks - people needed a way to discover when new content had been posted on websites that they liked. RSS feeds were invented to make that possible. Using a special feed reader, people would always find out the moment one of their favorite writers or blogs had published a new piece of content.
Then, social networks entered the picture and in very little time, people forgot all about feed readers. In fact, most blogs these days not only don't offer an easy-to-find link to their RSS feed, most blog owners don't even know what an RSS feed is or that their blog even has the ability to create such a thing!
The problem with most websites' social networking pages is that there is a whole lot of fluff posted that you simply aren't interested in. If a website's Twitter page, for instance, shares some interesting articles it has discovered on other people's sites, I might be OK with that. If, as is often the case, they start posting about what they had for lunch, where they are going tonight or what they watched on TV, that's a whole different story. Sorry folks, but I only want to know about the new articles you post; I couldn't care less about the rest of your life!
An RSS feed only lets you know about new content posted on a website - none of that other stuff. Most of us don't have time to wade through the junk to find the interesting tidbits. So how do you find a website's RSS feed and then, how do you read it?
Well, in a perfect world, every blog would make it easy for you to find their RSS feed, displaying the RSS feed symbol or a link that says "RSS Feed" (or something similar).
Unfortunately, as I stated before, most blog owner's don't even know what an RSS feed is and they certainly wouldn't be linking to something they have no clue about. That means that in many/most cases, you're going to have to do a little bit of digging ...
If you cannot find the RSS feed for a blog, simply right click anywhere on the page and select 'View Page Source' from the drop-down menu that appears. In the ensuing window, hold down CONTROL and F (if you're using a PC) or COMMAND and F (if your using a Mac) and in the search box that appears, type in "rss" (without the quotes). You can also try "feed" (without the quotes). If there is an RSS feed (and there almost always is) it should be highlighted in the code.
Click the blue URL link next to the highlighted "RSS" word and it should open the feed in a new window. Go to the top and copy the URL. Then, add that URL to your feed reader so that you always get the latest posts from that blog.
If you like videos better, there are plenty of videos online that show you how to find any blog's RSS feed. Just do a YouTube search for "how to find rss feed".
IMPORTANT NOTE: Quite often, there is more than one RSS feed. A common one that you DO NOT want is the RSS comments feed. Usually, the shortest feed URL is the one you want and it's almost always listed first, before any other RSS feed URLs. Also keep in mind that sometimes, the feed URL just doesn't work, for whatever reason (usually because something is set up wrong on the website you are trying to get the feed from). In rare cases, you simply will not find an RSS feed because they are using an obscure platform for their website. Unfortunately, there's nothing you can do about it, so just shrug and move onto the next blog you want to follow, grabbing its RSS Feed.
Ideally, you'll want to follow as many blogs as you possibly can that publish regularly (at least every 2 weeks, but more often is better). Not only can you use all of the things you read for your own blog post ideas, but you can also link to the ones that you do not use in your social pages' posts, building some great rapport with other website owners while also becoming that person to follow who always posts the cool stuff (which we'll discuss soon).
Yeah, I know, it'll probably take awhile for you to find all of the good blogs, locate their RSS feeds and paste them into your feed reader. That's OK, we'll wait for you! 😉
When you're done, you'll have an idea and content sharing machine set up that will churn out link after link that you can share and idea after idea that you can write about. It'll all be worth it in the end! 🙂
Regularly Post 2+ Blog Entries Each Week
It's important to add new blog entries regularly ... at least once a week, but 2-3 posts a week is definitely preferred. Why? For a few reasons ...
- Posting regularly keeps your readers attentive and interested.
- Posting regularly also keeps your social profile pages active (more on this later).
- As we've discussed several times now, regularly adding new pages and content to your site improves your Google Quality Score.
If you lack the time or patience to do all this, I invite you to check out our amazing My Blog Squad service. My Blog Squad basically puts your blog on auto-pilot.
We handle everything for you ... we research and find interesting topics, we write the posts (including inserting images) and we even log in to your blog and post the blog entries for you! (Optionally, we can also log in to your "Big 3" social profile accounts and post notifications/updates about each new blog post to get the social sharing going.)
You still have complete control over what we blog about, but we do all the heavy lifting for you.
Occasionally Post a Really Good "Link Bait" Post
Not every post can be an "epic" post with the potential to "go viral" within your niche. But every once in a while, you need to write a really good "link bait post" (as I call them) that you think will be extremely interesting to your social followers ... something likely to be shared and linked to.
This could be an embedded video, a "best of the web" type compilation of ideas/stories/videos, an interesting graphic (or infographic) or anything else likely to generate "buzz."
Your 2-3 regular weekly posts are basically "primers" for your occasional link bait posts. They keep the audience engaged and attentive, and they build up your social following so you have somebody to share the link bait posts with.
But these once-a-month (or so) link bait posts are the ones where you're really trying to drum up shares and backlinks. They don't necessarily have to be "special" or insanely time-consuming to put together; they just need to be extra interesting and the type of posts that other websites in your general niche have already shown that they like to link to.
The best method we know of is to create what we affectionately call an "SEO BOMB", which we do with our Viral Copy Cat Technique, which combines everything you could possibly want - great organic content capable of ranking well, social mentions and almost guaranteed backlinks. Because the Viral Copy Cat Technique technique combines everything in this chapter, I'll save it for the bottom of this page.
In the meantime, we'll discuss social networks and I'll show you how to build up a social following of people who are truly interested in and passionate about the topics your're posting blog entries about so that you can "spoon-feed" the content to them and see the magic happen.
Build a Social Following
You're working hard to add lots of good, interesting content to your on-site blog. Now, you need a social following to tell about it! Once you have a good-sized social following, you can "feed it" any content you want. You'll get to the point where every time you post a new blog entry (and particularly a really good link bait post) and tell your followers about it, you'll get several new backlinks to your site (boosting your domain authority and your rankings).
The Power of Social Networking Sites
You never heard the phrase "going viral" until social networking sites became popular. Now you hear it all the time. That's because the social networking sites make it possible. Let me explain how (using Twitter as an example) ...
When you post a message (called a "tweet") on Twitter, all of your followers can see it in their "feed" (i.e. a continuous list of all the tweets made by someone they're following). So, let's say you have 300 followers. When you tweet something, all 300 of your followers could potentially see it (because they're following you).
Now, here's where it gets interesting (and powerful). Let's say that out of your 500 followers, 5 of them see your tweet and like it enough to take 2 seconds to click the "re-tweet" button. By clicking that button, your tweet is now going to show up in the "feed" of all of their followers.
Let's assume that each of your 5 followers who re-tweeted your tweet had, on average, 500 followers themselves. Now there are another 2,500 people (5 re-tweets x 500 followers each) who are potentially going to see your tweet! (And they aren't even your followers ... they're your followers' followers!) Let's say that out of those 2,500 people, 20 of them re-tweet it (or comment on it ... the result is the same). Your tweet is now going to show up in the feed of all of their followers, resulting in your tweet going out to thousands more people.
And so it goes, on and on, generation after generation. The "share rate" will no-doubt go down a little with each generation, but the number of people potentially seeing your tweets goes up exponentially. A couple of days after your initial tweet, it could be viewed by a follower of a follower of a follower of a follower of a follower of a follower of a follower of a follower of a follower (okay, you get the idea). 🙂
Thousands of people could eventually see your tweet ... all from just a handful of your 300 followers liking it enough to click "re-tweet" (or commenting on it). Oh, another cool thing I forgot to mention ... Many of these "followers of followers of followers" will become your followers if they like what you're posting and want to see more of your stuff. So, in addition to getting the "viral multiplier effect" working for you, your social following will be growing as well (making it that much easier to get a few initial re-tweets to get the ball rolling).
(Note: I used Twitter as an example, but the concepts are virtually identical for Facebook or any other social networking site. The terminology used on each social networking site is just a little different. And, of course, if you do the same exact thing on both Facebook and Twitter, you can double all of the numbers discussed, above.)
The Right Kind of Followers
I sense a few skeptics among us. 🙂 Let me show off my psychic abilities and tell you exactly what you're thinking, oh skeptical one ...
Well, you're probably right IF you don't have the right kind of followers. We've had a lot of members tell us they've tried something like this before but haven't gotten these kind of results. When we ask them how they built their social following, the answer is always the same:
"I hit up all my friends on Facebook and asked them to 'like' my page. (Oh, and I also added 'follow' buttons to the footer of my website.)"
Do you see the problem? I sure hope you do. 🙂
No offense to your friends and family, but they are NOT the type of followers you want. Remember, you want followers who are passionate about the topic you're writing about ... people who are talking about things going on in your niche/market, both on their own websites and out on social networking sites. These are the type of people who will read, share and link to your posts. Chances are, your friends and family members who gave you a "pity like" won't.
The ultimate goal is to get a few of the authorities - the "influencers" - in your market to follow you (or at least to share your posts). I'm talking about the folks with TONS of followers who are posting tons of stuff every day and get all kinds of interaction from their followers. Some of these guys have tens of thousands of followers! Imagine the kind of publicity one of your tweets/posts can get when one of these influencers with tens of thousands of followers shares, comments or links to one of your posts!
Building a Social Following
Once you reach a critical mass, your following will kind of just grow organically on its own as you simply follow the social marketing plan. But you've got to get to that critical mass point first! So the question is: how do you build up an initial following?
How to Build an Initial Social Following
Twitter is the first and best place to build a social following. Once you build up a strong social following in Twitter, you can direct that traffic to your blog posts and get "buzz" for them that will result in natural incoming links!
Tips for getting followers (and holding onto them)
- Use the search box at the top-right of Twitter and enter a hashtag (#) along with a general keyword for your niche (e.g. for a dog house website, I would enter #dogs). Then, scroll through the list of tweets that use that hashtag and start following people who have a good number of followers but who also tend to follow a good amount of people, themselves (you can see the follow/follower count by hovering over their name). If the number of people they follow and those who follow them is fairly close, chances are pretty good that they pretty much follow everyone who follows them. Follow everybody that looks like a good match. Many will automatically follow you back.
- Use the #keyword feature in your tweets, but don't abuse it. Put 1-2 in your average tweet and use them inline within the Tweet. Same goes for the @author feature. Whenever you mention a company, website, blog, person within your industry in a tweet, give them credit with the @author tag. See an example of a tweet using both of these tags here.
- When people mention you or reply to you, make sure you reply back (using the @author tag of course). That is how conversations are held on Twitter. You write @THEIRusername and they reply @YOURusername.
The goal with your Twitter account is to become a known person within YOUR industry, and by simply being involved in your topic on Twitter that will happen! Here is how to easily come up with stuff to tweet about:
- Do a search at google for: [MAIN ROOT KEYWORD] + BLOG
- Each day, skim through the list of new posts that you receive in your RSS feed (you set that up in the previous section of this chapter, right?). When one catches your eye, read it, and if you like it, do the following:
- Find the author's twitter profile and 'Follow' them (it's ALMOST always linked to from the blog post page somewhere, and if not, just search twitter for their full name).
- Write a quick tweet about their story (formatted something like this: Great article about dealing with #fleas on #dogs: http://tinyurl.com/6wczsll by @lorieahuston).
- Find the author's twitter profile and 'Follow' them (it's ALMOST always linked to from the blog post page somewhere, and if not, just search twitter for their full name).
Using these techniques accomplishes the following:
- By using the @author tag you are making it so YOUR tweet shows up in THEIR Twitter Feed and they will most likely see it. They do NOT have to be following you to see your tweet when you use the @username tag.
- By crediting them, you are feeding their ego and they often follow you on Twitter. Better yet, they may retweet or reply and this will make your tweet visible to all of THEIR followers (oftentimes, they will have thousands within your specific topic).
Send Your Followers to Your Content
What are you waiting for?! You have killer blog content. You have a social following. Introduce them to one another and let the sparks start flying! 🙂
Like I've said several times now, the goal here is to get backlinks to your site because people in your social following (and in their social followings) find your blog posts interesting, entertaining or useful.
They'll link to your blog posts because they like your content, completely on their own. (The direct traffic you'll get to your site is a nice "side benefit" that may result in a few sales, but the main objective is to get people to post backlinks to your blog posts.)
Make sharing, following & commenting easy. Back in section Chapter 6 of the training, I walked you through a few critical steps for configuring your on-site blog to make it possible and easy for visitors to a) share your posts, b) follow you and/or c) make a comment. Hopefully you've already gotten that all set up. If not, make sure to do so now.
Mix it up! What do you think is going to happen if every single post you make in your social profile accounts is about your new blog post? You'll be just like that guy at the party that only talks about himself that everyone tries to avoid. In other words, you'll quickly lose your followers' interest ... and likely your followers, too! 🙁
You have to mix it up and keep it real. Share and comment on others' stories and posts. Post funny stuff. Link to fresh, interesting news stories that just came out. Yes, I'm telling you to link to other people's websites and blogs (as long as they're not direct competitors). You'll of course want to post updates about your new blog posts as well, but they shouldn't be the only thing you ever post about!
"Automate" Social Sharing
Use Hootsuite. Hootsuite makes it super easy to simultaneously post to all major social networking sites so you don't have to manually log in and post to each one separately. It's like having a single login for all things social. And with Hootsuite, you can also do cool things like scheduling several posts in advance (which makes it possible to spend ~20 minutes once every few days to schedule out several posts to go out over the next several days to ALL of your social networks, instead of having to log in several times each day).
Hootsuite has a limited free plan that you can use for your first website, provided you do not try to post to more than 3 social networks or schedule more than 30 messages at any one time. If you need more than that, their paid plans that allow you to add some pretty cool apps start at $29/month.
BONUS: Even better, if you don't mind paying an extra $5 per month, you can add an RSS feed app to Hootsuite, which will grab all of the articles from the RSS feeds that you discovered during the Use RSS Feeds For Great Content Ideas part of the training, above. Then, all you really need to do is click a share button next to the article in the RSS app and it will automatically grab the title, image and the URL of the article and auto-schedule the share on all of your social networks (you should still manually add the @author handle and a hashtag or two to each post, if applicable).
Viral Post Copy Cat Technique
We saved the best for last ... something we fondly call our "SEO BOMB" or more formally refer to as our "Viral Post Copy Cat Technique", which uses all of the tools and methods mentioned, above.
The Copy Cat Technique is the best one that we know of for accomplishing ALL of your organic SEO goals simultaneously. When you have finished implementing all of the steps in the Viral Post Copy Cat Technique, you'll have an amazing piece of content that your readers and search engines will love, you'll build up stronger user signals which will help your site rank better, you'll get a ton of social mentions and you will also earn a bunch of practically guaranteed backlinks on highly relevant websites.
We're going to find content that we already know is popular on social networks AND has quite a few websites linking to it. Then, we'll make our own version that is either much better than the original, offers a differing viewpoint from the original, is a piece that is interrelated or offers a fresh, new, more modern take (there's some really outdated content out there being linked to!). You might even want to try turning a viral video into a text article or vice versa. Then, we're going to reach out to all of the people who shared the original piece socially as well as all of the people who linked to it and ask for them to do the same with our sensational content. And, of course, we're going to share our great, new piece of content with our own ever-growing throng of social groupies, as well. 🙂
Lets get started! ... I'm going to use the paid versions BuzzSumo and SEMrush for my examples. I'll tell you alternative ways of accomplishing the following steps using Social Animal and SEO Review Tools' Backllink Checker, as well.
Step 1: Find a Viral Piece to "Copy Cat"
Using BuzzSumo (or Social Animal), enter a seed keyword to see all of the hot content that has recently gone "viral". As I mentioned before, you want to expand your niche a bit here so that you get the kind of results that people will like and share. If I sell dog houses, practically nobody will have written a stellar dog house piece that others have linked to and shared like wildfire. Instead, I'll do a search for "dogs" ...
The ensuing screen contains a ton of information and tools. If you do not have a paid account, very little of what you see will be useful. Here are the sections of the results page and what you can find in each section of the results;
1. Filter by Date: By default, the results how you all of the posts that were popular within the last year, sorted by popularity. If you do not have a paid account, you will only see the top 9 results with BuzzSumo (top 19 with Social Animal). Without a paid account, you are stuck with the past year only. Paid accounts (at both BuzzSumo and Social Animal) allow you to filter the results so that you only see the more recent popular content. We usually start off with 'Past Month' but sometimes have to expand to a longer period if we can't find anything we like. You will also notice a bunch of other filters in this column that you may wish to use if you have a paid account (country, language, content type, etc.).
2. Viral Content: This is where you will find links to the actual content that was popular. Click each one and see if the article/video is something you would like to pursue creating your content around.
3. Save/See/Share: This is where you could start a project, see the actual people/places linking to an article or sharing an article or even share the article, yourself (something you would never be doing using the Copy Cat Technique). This is only available to people with paid accounts.
4. Engagement: The headers at the top show what networks things were shared on, the number of backlinks, total engagement and an Evergreen score. Evergreen content is stuff that lasts for a very long time and rarely has to be updated. The higher the evergreen score, the more the content will stand the test of time.
5. Number of Links: For the Copy Cat Technique, the number of backlinks is really the only thing we are concerned with. Sure, it's great to get social shares and we'll take all of them that we can get, provided we can also get a bunch of backlinks. Creating a viral piece takes a considerable amount of time, effort and talent, so we don't want to waste that on something that's just going to get shared a lot. You will not see the number of backlinks with Social Animal, regardless of whether you have a paid account or not.
Export Button: You should also notice an Export button near the top-right. This makes it possible to export all of the data so that you can do things like keep track of who you reached out to for links and social shares. Social Animal also has an export function for paid accounts.
Now that you know what everything is on the results page, it's time to get to work. Click on each article, one by one, until you find something that you think you can use to create your own viral piece. Again you're trying to make your own version that is either much better than the original, offers a differing viewpoint from the original, is interrelated with the original (complementary), presents it in a different format, etc.
Before you waste time creating your own article or video, you first need to check to see if a decent amount of websites linked to the hot social piece.
Step 2: See if there are any Link Creators
As I stated before, the primary goal of the Copy Cat Technique is to get high quality, relevant links. If you have the paid BuzzSumo tool, you already know which viral social pieces have links, so you can almost skip this step. I say almost, because you want to make sure that the links a viral piece got were followed and that they came from a variety of domains.
At this point, I'd scroll through the list of hot social shares, see if something looks good for using as your content reference piece, read/view it to see if it is what you think it is and THEN check to see if it got backlinks. There's no sense in checking a bunch of articles or videos that you would never create your own piece around, after all.
If you are using Social Animal, you're going to waste a bit more time because, although you can see the hot content on social networks, you really have no idea how many (if any) backlinks each piece got. You are going to have to feed those URLS, one by one, into a tool like SEMrush or the free Backlinks Checker Tool to see if the article/video got any backlinks. At least with BuzzSumo, you instantly know how many backlinks each viral content piece got. You just don't know what kind of links they are yet.
Copy the ENTIRE URL of the article/video you want to base your piece on and paste into the URL field of either SEMrush or the free Backlink Checker tool. For my mythical dog house website, I found an interesting article - "Science Confirms That Dogs Can Recognize a Bad Person" - that I think I can create my own content around, so I'll just copy that article's URL and paste it into SEMrush's backlinks tool ...
Wow! This article got 92 backlinks, 65 of which were followed links from a total of 29 different domains. This one definitely looks like a great candidate for the Copy Cat Technique!
The number of domains is particularly important because once you've gotten a link from a domain, you're pretty much done with that domain. More links from different pages of the same website aren't going to help you rank any better.
Now, I know for sure that it's worth my while to create my masterpiece. Yep, that's the next step.
Step 3: Create Your Viral Content
Not much to say here. You know what the people like; now it's your turn to create something just as good or better!
There are a few things you need to keep in mind when creating your own piece ...
- First and foremost, your post needs to appeal to the people who linked to the original viral post. Check out the different articles on their site - especially ones they link to - and make sure that your content is similar in nature.
- Unless your piece absolutely blows the original viral piece away, it cannot be about the same exact thing. If it is too similar, they won't link to it (they recently linked to the viral piece after all).
- If it is too different, they might not link to it, either. You've really got to grasp who their audience is and the kinds of other pieces they have linked to in order to understand what they like.
- Yours needs to dive deeper, introduce a new perspective, offer a different opinion or add something that would go with the viral piece.
Next, we'll go about getting the sites that linked to the original, to link to our new piece ...
Step 4: Reach Out to the Link Creators
If you have the paid BuzzSumo tool, a whole lot of the work is already done for you. Simply export a list of all the websites that linked to the original article and then email each one, letting them know about your terrific new piece of content.
Of course, if you used the SEMRush tool to double-check the links, you can just export them all from there. If you used the free Backlinks Checker, you'll need to manually create your own spreadsheet of the Link Creators.
We like to make one column the linking page URL, another column the Contact Us information for the website, a third column for notes, where we'll put things like "contacted about a link on 10/14/2018", and a final column we title, "Got Link?" where we just put a "yes" when we get the link (no sense in putting "no" for the rest).
Now Click on each linking URL and search the website for the Contact Us information for the site. It's almost always somewhere if you look for it (header or footer, usually).
Now that you have the contact information, it's time to reach out to those glorious people who seem to like to link to great content on other websites. You just need to shoot them a short email, that butters them up a little and then asks for a link. We use the following template when reaching out:
Hi there [use their name instead of "there" if you know it],
I noticed that you are linking to [VIRAL PIECE URL] which is one of my favorite articles ever! It's an amazing resource and I'm glad to see that others appreciate it as much as I do!
I actually just wrote an article called [YOUR ARTICLE TITLE (as a hyperlink)], which [brief explanation of your post & how it is better or unique and something their readers might enjoy].
It might be worth sharing or linking to if you think your followers would find it interesting and I certainly welcome any comments you might have about it.
Either way, keep up the great work!
[Link to Your Domain]
[Link to Your Twitter Handle]
[Your to Your Email Address]
Step 5: Reach Out to the Link Sharers
Great job. Hopefully you already have links to your great new piece of content being posted. Now, it's time to get some "social love". 🙂
Both the paid BuzzSumo and Social Animal tools allow you to export the people who tweeted the viral post's link or shared/liked it on Facebook. It's time to reach out to them.
There's only one problem; though, both BuzzSumo and Social Animal have their limitations on what they share about the sharers. BuzzSumo only lets you export people who shared the viral post on Twitter. Social Animal only lets you export the people who shared it on Facebook. This is one of the main reasons we prefer BuzzSumo. Twitter is a much more used platform than Facebook for reaching out and creating some buzz (and maybe links) with other websites/blogs.
Now, you can certainly do your own research and come up with who shared the viral piece on both social networks. With Twitter, just enter the full URL to the article in the search box and it will show you all of the tweets with that URL (even if the URL is disguised as a shortened link with something like bit.ly). Similarly, you can put the URL in a Facebook search and see everyone who posted it there (be sure to click the "See All" link next to "Public Posts").
Yeah, I know, if you want to share your link with everyone on both networks, there's a great deal more manual work involved in this step with only a like, tweet or share as a reward, but it all will result in traffic to your site and help you build your site's authority through user signals. And, who knows? Someone (a follower of a follower of a follower, perhaps) might see your post from those shares and link to it from their own website!
The template we use for sharing our piece on social networks is almost the same. It goes something like this:
Hi [use their name],
I've been following you on [Facebook/Twitter] and noticed that you recently [tweeted about/shared] one of my all time favorite articles - [VIRAL PIECE URL]. It's an amazing resource and I'm glad to see that others appreciate it as much as I do!
I actually just wrote an article called [YOUR ARTICLE TITLE (as a hyperlink)], which [brief explanation of your post & how it is better or unique and something their readers might enjoy].
It might be worth sharing or linking to if you think your followers would find it interesting and I certainly welcome any comments you might have about it.
Either way, keep up the great [tweets/shares]!
[Link to Your Domain]
[Link to Your Twitter Handle]
[Your to Your Email Address]
Step 4: Share With Your Own Followers
At least you know who your own followers are and can share things with all of them by just posting a link to it (along with a brief summary of why they'll love it) on your own social network pages.
So what are you waiting for? This is the easiest step of all!
Automate and/or Outsource SEO
Congratulations! You're just about done with Chapter 9, which is without a doubt the most intense, complex chapter of the entire training course. Before I send you on to Chapter 10, I want to take just a couple minutes to talk about ways you can either automate your SEO efforts or outsource them completely. Because SEO is a) time-intensive, b) somewhat challenging and c) easy to put off until tomorrow (or next week, or next month), it often gets neglected or completely ignored.
Which is silly, isn't it?! I mean, getting ranked well in Google and the other search engines is the #1 key to your success and profitability, but a lot of store owners simply don't do it (or don't put enough time into it). SEO work is one of the easiest things to outsource, but it's also one of the scariest things to outsource. It's absolutely critical that you only hire people or firms that follow Google's Webmaster Guidelines. It's one thing to say you use only Google-safe, white-hat SEO techniques; it's quite another to actually do it!
As in all things in life, you get what you pay for! And I've said it probably 5 times already, but I'll say it again ... don't fall victim to a new, revolutionary tool or technique that promises #1 rankings overnight (or anywhere close to it). You're going to waste a lot of money and do more long-term harm than good.
For Those Looking to Outsource All the Blog Writing ...
Hate writing? Yeah, most people do ... which unfortunately makes the content-driven social marketing stuff impossible. That's why we created My Blog Squad, a 100% hands-free blogging service that essentially puts your blog on auto-pilot. Our writers are all "born-and-raised" Americans, and talented writers, to boot!
Our team a) researches and finds interesting hot topics to write about, b) writes 100% unique, high-quality posts, c) logs in and posts them on your blog and d) posts updates on each of your "Big 3" social profile pages (optionally).
We offer 3 plans: 1 post/week, 2 posts/week or 3 posts/week. Check out the plans and pricing here.
For Those Looking to Completely Outsource All SEO...
If you're looking to hire a firm to do ALL your SEO for you, I invite you to request a free, no-obligation quote from Rizolt. Rizolt is an "all-inclusive" marketing service that handles the entire Insanely Simple SEO Marketing Plan for you (including both the content-driven social marketing plan and getting high-quality 1-way backlinks).
We assisted with putting together the highly effective marketing plan that the Rizolt team executes for each of their clients, and they use the same techniques we use to get our websites ranked and grossing tens of thousands of dollars each month!
All client work is done "in-house" by Americans in Boise, Idaho. Each client gets over 40 hours of an SEO expert's attention each month. If you're looking for a full-service solution, you simply won't find a better service than Rizolt.