Whether you’re launching (or trying to grow) a personal blog or a business related website, you have to have a plan for creating quality content that will attract visitors to your pages.
What follows is the (very long and in-depth) approach I’ve used and helped client’s to adopt for years, obviously because it works.
1. Find Your PCK’s (Perfect Content Keywords)
If you’ve spent any time trying to start a blog or online business already then no doubt you’ve read tons of advice on finding keywords, from complicated formulas to even the odd-ball person saying “don’t worry about keywords”.
Much of what you’ll find out there, depending on the source, is quality information but often times it’s targeted at the wrong audience.
What do I mean by that? Basically, the individual just starting out is not going to have the resources to rank for very much with Google. It’s purely a numbers game and there’s always people more experienced than you, not to mention larger companies and organizations with deeper pockets; and the majority of information on SEO and keywords is targeted to them.
So what can the “little guy” do? Simple, you go after the overlooked dust. Let everyone else chase the big nuggets of gold for now, narrow your focus in on the dust that’s trickling down stream because that dust adds up, and it can add up very quickly.
Everybody wants to target the keywords that get 1,000, 10,000, 100,000 monthly searches or more. That’s where all the traffic is, right?
Wrong! That’s where the bulk of traffic, often generic and untargeted, resides.
It’s in the smaller terms, what are called long tail keywords, that you’ll find the gold dust that’s easy to collect and be able to truly target your traffic by intent.
That last statement is key to understand here. You don’t just want traffic, you want traffic that wants or needs what you’re offering, that’s the user intent, to find the answer or solution that you’re able to give them.
If you want a little proof on the power of long tails let me share two brands with you who’s stories of mastering the long tails of search and building empires upon it are well documented online: Amazon & eBay.
Both companies spent tons on search marketing and they didn’t spend it advertising on keywords like “Horror Books”, no they spent their resources on long tail terms like “Stephen King’s Pet Sematary paperback”.
Why? Because the person searching for “Horror Books” may not even be a buyer, they may be looking for information for a school paper, or even if they are looking for books to buy they’re still very “cold” in terms of intent, in the retail world they’re window shoppers who may or may not make a purchase.
But, the person who searches for “Stephen King’s Pet Sematary paperback” is almost certainly on a mission to find and buy a copy of that book, so if you sell that book it’s an easy conversion for you to make if you can just get in front of that buyer’s eyeballs, and that’s how Amazon and eBay both built themselves up into online retail juggernauts.
They did it with paid search marketing, but it works for organic search traffic just the same. The traffic is out there, and the terms are easy to rank for when you know how to pick them.
When you drill down to the long tail terms, you’re able to see exactly what searchers are looking for, then provide it to them in a harmonious way that means more profits/subscribers/followers for your efforts.
Here is my method for finding PCK’s (Perfect Content Keywords) that you can use to build articles or blog postings around and rank easily and fast in the search results with:
- Use the Google Chrome browser and install the free Keywords Everywhere browser extension from https://keywordseverywhere.com
- Start searching Google for terms, even short ones, related to your business, industry, niche, topics.
- You’ll see the Keywords Everywhere extension adds a column of keyword suggestions on the right of your screen that includes average monthly search volumes. Begin keeping a list of all the terms that have under 200 monthly searches AND display user intent that matches your needs (i.e. if you want to sell widgets ignore terms like “free widgets” or “how to get widgets for free”, these aren’t good intent terms for you when you’re trying to sell, these users want it free), even the terms that have ZERO (I’ll explain this below) monthly searches are great, and keep repeating this until you’ve got a nice long list of possible terms that fit the “under 200 monthly searches and good intent” factors.
- Now go through your list, and one by one search each term in Google with the “allintitle:” operator. That looks like this allintitle:KEYWORD TERM
- When you use the allintitle operator, Google will display a number above the first result that looks like this: “About ### results”, where ### will be some actual number. If that number is below 100 then put this term onto a new list, it’s a great longtail keyword by the numbers.
- Do this for your entire list of terms you created in the earlier step above, and when done you should have a shorter list, but it’s a list of great terms both by the numbers and by intent for you to use.
- Now take your shorter list, and using a new Icognito Tab (Ctrl + Shift + N) on your browser search each term (this time without the allintitle operator) again, and look at the first page of results. Google has been working hard lately to keep people on their own service, they do this by offering what’s called Zero Spot solution results, usually bullet lists that answer the search term question, and playable videos right in the search results. This means you’re not only competing with the top ten organic search results plus paid ads, but also with Google themselves for user’s eyeballs and clicks. If there’s a lot of this “provided by Google” type content on the first page of results then your term is less useful. Fortunately, by targeting long tails you shouldn’t run into this with a lot of the terms you’ve collected so far. So go through your short list and separate out the terms that don’t have much (or any) of Google’s solution content displaying, these are your PCK’s.
- You’ve done a lot of work to this point, but trust me it’s worth it, you should now have a very short list of great keyword terms that don’t have tough Google competition for you.
Okay, you’ve completed the first of 3 steps in this guide now, but let me quickly explain why I said even the ZERO monthly search terms are good stuff.
As I mentioned earlier, everyone chases the big traffic terms, this means they overlook (and lots even filter out) these low search volume terms all together when picking their keywords to target.
But here’s the secret sauce, when you create quality content (as I’m about to show you how to do in step 2 below) around one of these search terms, you’re not just going to have an easy time ranking for this term, but your content is going to be full of dozens of other long tail terms you’re not knowingly targeting, terms you’re not even going to realize you’ve got, and all of those are going to bring you traffic too.
I’m serious in this, it’s not unusual at all to target a term that says it gets ZERO monthly searches on average and have that single article or blog posting turn into a few hundred new visitors to your website every month for you.
Think about this. A single piece of content that you can create in a few hours, which I’m going to show you how to do in step 2 below, that can bring you a couple hundred highly targeted readers or leads month after month for as long as you’re online.
That’s thousands of targeted visitors/leads coming to you every year. Is that worth the little effort of the system this guide is showing you? I can tell you from experience and watching businesses grow over and over again using it that yes, it is!
This isn’t generic traffic, it’s not cold traffic, these are motivated and targeted visitors coming to you looking for what you’re about to offer them, already believing you’ve got what they need or want.
Forget the hype out there about articles, blog posts, videos, social media gone viral, and anything else that brings in thousands of visitors overnight. Anyone can write a click-bait article and generate tons of useless traffic that never converts for them or becomes regular readers. What I’ve just given you is the key to bringing in actual customers and followers on a consistent basis.
And it’s like a faucet, if you want more quality traffic then you repeat the process and create more content pieces until you reach the flow you desire.
Now, let me show you how to create the kind of content pieces that are vital to putting these PCK’s to work for you in the next step.
2. Your Content Factory
This is the step where most website owners I’ve worked with over the years groan and grumble, but without this all your efforts are for naught. The good news however, and what usually turns frowns around with my clients, is when I tell them “Do this right and you can all but eliminate the time and money you’ve been spending in the past on link building for your site.”
It’s absolutely true. There was a time when backlinks were the gold of the web, there was an entire link-economy built up around them because everybody knew if you wanted to rank in the search results you needed tons of backlinks.
Fortunately, 2005 is long gone now and the search engines have become better at their actual purpose, which is placing the best quality content in front of searchers.
Using this template below I’m going to show you how to create incredible content around your topic (keyword term) and with the added fact that the term you’re targeting has such low competition (as we discovered going through the steps of part 1 above) you’re going to have a great chance of not only getting on the first page of results right away, but even into the top 3 or 5 of the results without having to do any sort of backlinking at all.
The first step in a great piece of content is creating your title. You need to use your keyword term here, optimally without breaking it up at all, but sometimes you’ll need to in order to use proper grammar and for human readability, that’s okay if you must.
As an example, let’s say the term you’re targeting is “get rid of stink bugs attic”. Now, there’s no way to use that term exactly as-is and have it be grammatically correct or not appear “SEO optimised” in a way that screams to searchers “spammy sales crap”. People aren’t dumb and they can spot someone trying to game them in the search results.
Instead, you’re going to have to change that into something like “get rid of stink bugs in your attic” or “from your attic”, and that’s okay to do. You want to avoid separating the keyword term words where possible, but don’t be afraid to do it when needed.
Now go a step further, because you’re not just creating a simple article or blog posting on getting rid of stink bugs from the attic, you’re going to be creating “the” piece of content on this topic, so preface the title with something like “Ultimate Guide To” or “Ten Ways To” or “All You Need To” and etc., in other words make a statement that this is the complete and best answer to the searcher’s problem.
Finally, consider adding the year to the end of the title, in parenthesis, and every December set a few days aside to go through your published content, update it, and change the titles for the next year.
Final result for a title: “Ultimate Guide For How To Get Rid Of Stink Bugs From Your Attic (in 2018)”.
Now that you’ve got a title that’s going to grab eyeballs and attention it’s onto the hard part, creating your piece of content:
Your content needs to be above 1,500 words in length. Even longer is better, but 1,500 words should be your minimum baseline.
Believe it or not, writing that much isn’t really hard or that time consuming, and bonus tip if you use dictation (Google Docs with voice is a great free option for this) you can get it done in under an hour once you’re used to dictating.
I never write a piece of content below 2,000 words myself, and with dictation I can usually knock it out in under an hour with a coffee break in the middle. The average person speaks at a rate of 4,000 words per hour, so a 2,000 word piece of content with a coffee break in the middle is totally feasible.
I work in sprints, so normally my content creation process looks like this:
- 20 to 25 minutes writing (dictating)
- A 10 to 15 minute coffee break
- Another 20 to 25 minutes writing (dictating) and done
You’ll find what works best for yourself, typing or dictating, working in sprints or straight through. The most important thing to getting from nothing to finished with articles and blog posts is to begin with an outline.
A simple bullet point list, I try to make ten bullet points for a 2,000 word piece of content, so how many bullets you need or want will depend, but what I’ve found works is to bullet point whatever you’re going to discuss and shoot for about 200 words per bullet when fleshing the outline out into the full article.
This makes things really easy and takes away the daunting nature of thinking you have to write 2,000 words on the topic. No, you only have to write 200 words on a handful of topics instead, which is so much easier.
If you need help coming up with your outline bullet points here’s a few great ways to knock it out in a couple of minutes:
- Look for a course at Udemy or some other course-based websites on the topic, the outline of the course usually has up to 50 individual topics/lectures listed, use them as your guide and creative inspiration. Don’t copy them word for word, but let them inspire you on however many bullet points you need.
- Visit Amazon and find books on the topic, use the Look Inside feature and scan the Table of Contents, same as with Udemy above here’s your creative inspiration for making your own outline bullet points.
- Search YouTube for videos on your topic and watch them, you just want to listen for the key points and takeaways in the video, and again there’s your creative inspiration.
- Use Wikipedia, go lookup your topic and pay attention to the Table of Contents that appears (on longer entries) or the way the entry is laid out.
- Combine all of the 4 tricks above and turn your piece of content into a true pillar on your website by producing something upwards of 5,000 words! Remember, the longer the piece of content is (without useless fluff) the more unknown long tail keyword terms you’re going to naturally include in the copy and rank for with Google, meaning the more traffic that single piece of content is going to deliver to you.
Once you’ve got your outline it’s just a matter of going from one bullet to the next, using your own words to describe and answer each one in as much detail as you can. You’ll find this goes super fast and makes the entire article or blog post writing process a breeze.
Once written, get yourself some images (watch for licenses and copyrights) to pepper into your article. Eye candy keeps people on your page and makes your content more interesting.
NOTE: I haven’t discussed methods for converting these visitors or giving them calls to action and so on here. This guide is about getting your content up and ranking fast in Google so traffic conversions is really beyond the scope of it.
Now, let’s go on to the final step of this process, and good news it’s a short and easy one.
3. Tell Google About Your New Piece Of Content
This is the final and easiest step in the whole process and should take you less than five minutes the first time you do it, and about a minute every time after that.
What you want to do is tell Google about your new piece of content and encourage Google’s spider bots to crawl it immediately.
To do this (steps 1 to 3 below only need done the first time if you haven’t already added your domain to Google’s Webmaster Tools / Search Console before):
- Go to the Google Search Console https://search.google.com/search-console/about
- Login with your Google account (if you don’t have one make one)
- Add your website as a property to the dashboard, and verify it (Google will show you several easy options for verifying the website is yours)
- Make sure you’re using the new version of the Search Console (if you’re not there will be a big blue button in the top right saying Try The New Search Console)
- At the very top of the dashboard is a place to type a URL that says “Inspect any URL in YOUR-DOMAIN”, here type in the full URL of your new piece of content, not the URL to your home page but the URL to the specific new page with your new article or blog post on it
- Press Enter and wait until Google checks their index to see if the page is already included, if there’s any errors Google will tell you what they are and how to fix them
- Since your page is brand new it won’t be included in their index yet, so now click the link that appears titled “Request Indexing” and wait for Google to say it’s crawled your page
- For good measure now press the gray button at the top right titled “Test Live URL”
That’s it! Google may say it will take some time for the page to be indexed, but my experience is that within about 3 minutes you’ll show up if you search for your full article or blog post title, and I’ve seen pages rank within a few hours for the specific keyword term that was targeted.
This process works and it isn’t gaming anything or manipulating Google in any way, you’re just helping Google do what they want to do in the first place, which is put the best content possible in front of searcher’s eyes. And you’re helping searchers by providing them with a great piece of content that answers their questions or helps them to solve their problems.
If you’ve found this guide useful please share it or leave me a comment saying so below. And if you’ve had any trouble understanding any of it or are unclear on any points also feel free to comment below and I’ll do my best to help you out.