In the 3rd and final part of Kristian’s Affiliate Marketing tips he talks about how to get your posts ranked better in Google.
Today I am going to explain how to get your posts ranked in Google using a very simple technique that works – no dodgy backlinks, cheap tricks or anything that will compromise the quality of your content – just a simple and easy-to-implement method that I know works. I have never engaged in any backlink-building strategies of any kids for any of my sites (not even blog commenting), yet my baby sites can still get ranked on page 1 of Google and I am convinced that a large part of that is due to simple keyword selection and placement techniques.
So, you have chosen your niche, set-up your site, sent your sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools, and are ready to start writing posts that will hopefully make you some money.
Well, before I make some suggestions about how to proceed, I need to explain some of the jargon that is commonly used:
Keyword – a string of words (of any length) that is typed into a search engine (e.g. “iPhone 6 Review”)
Ranking – The position that a post occupies when some searches using a certain keyword (e.g. position 4 of page 1)
Can’t I Just Write Good Content?
Writing good content is an absolutely fundamental part of blogging, whether you are writing “lifestyle” posts or “product reviews”. Aside from personal pride, there is little point in attracting lots of visitors to your site if when they get there the content is absolute garage – they will just immediately leave.
But, It doesn’t matter how good your post is if no-one can actually find it. If it appears on page 16, then it might as well not exist since you won’t get any visitors to it from the search engines. So, getting to page 1 is the key to success when it comes to attracting visitors to your site, but the key question is how of you get there?
You could just start writing and just hope that Google and the other search engines stumble across your posts and start listing them on page 1 for dozens of different keywords. However, this approach will seriously diminish your chances of generating enough traffic to your site to make any serious money. The good folks at Google might be very smart people, but they are not mind readers. Instead of leaving it all to chance, you need to use a few basic techniques to ensure that Google (and the other search engines) know exactly what your post is about and which search terms ought to lead to your post being presented to the person carrying out the search. However good the Google algorithms are, they cannot be expected to perfectly analyse the content of your post and rank it for the appropriate keywords without a little help from you.
You have to think about what Google is hoping to achieve when it decides which sites to list in their results pages when someone carries out a search and (most importantly for you) in which order to present them. People very often use the search engines because they are trying to solve a problem. They might want to buy a new HDTV but don’t know which one to choose, or they might want to know how the new iPhone 6 compares to the previous models. When people search for “Best HDTVs” or “iPhone 6 vs iPhone 5”, Google wants to present them with a list of posts that are:
1. Relevant to the search term
2. Contain high quality information that helps to solve the searcher’s problem
If you write a post without targeting a “main keyword” then you might have all of the high quality information that the visitor requires, but Google will probably find it very difficult to decide that your post is “relevant to the search term”.
How Do I Target Keywords in My Posts?
I am not going to explain about the more technical aspects of optimising the SEO settings on whichever blogging platform that you use, since there are many different options and you approach will depend upon which one you use. Personally, I use the very simple and user friendly “All in One SEO” plugin for WordPress and If you want to know more about which boxes I do and do not fill-in when using it, please send me a PM at TMS.
On each and every post that I publish on one of my sites, I follow exactly the same process in terms of ensuring that my targeted keyword is prominent enough to inform Google what the post is about and what I want to be ranked for.
Say I wanted to target the keyword “Best iPhone 6 Cases”, I simply ensure that this keyword appears in the following places:
1. Title of the Post
2. First paragraph of the Post (some suggest first sentence)
3. Last paragraph of the Post
If you can fit the keyword (or similar keywords like “Best cases for the iPhone 6”) into the main body of your post without degrading its quality, then that it perfectly fine,
but you must be very careful not to overdo it. If you artificially “stuff” the keyword into your posts dozens of time, it will simply diminish the quality of your content and Google might also punish you.
Finding Good Keywords to Target
Ideally, you want to target keywords that receive lots of monthly searches and have very few other sites ranked for them. By just modifying the title of your post slightly (e.g. by re-ordering the words), you can dramatically alter your chances of success. But,how do you get this information about monthly search volumes and competitors?
There are many keyword tools that claim to be able to provided this information for a fee, whether than is a on-off charge or monthly subscription. However, you don’t need to actually pay to get this information if you make good use of the free trials that are available.
The 2 keyword tools that I have used are:
If you use the free trials wisely, you can get dozens of good keywords to use on your site.
Getting Ranked for Bonus Keywords
When I first started, I mistakenly thought that you only ever got ranked for the keyword that you specifically targeted in your post. However, I have since learned that this is not correct. If you write good quality posts of a decent length (at least 500 words and preferably more than 800), then you will rank for other keywords that you never even thought of when you wrote the post. What’s more, as time goes by and the Google bots return to your site, they seem to increase the number of keywords that you are ranked for. I don’t know why this should be the case, but it seems to be the case.
It can be quite disheartening when you publish your first post and eventually see it ranked on page 18 of Google for your targeted keyword. However, don’t repair! Rankings change dramatically over time and very often you will gradually see your posts increase in rankings as the days and weeks go by. I have many posts written in my early days that started off in the “Google Wilderness” that are now sitting happily on page 1 and there is no reason why it should be any different for you.
Although no-one apart from Google really understands the full complexities of how posts are ranked, and how those rankings change over time, there seem to be 3 important things to bear in mind when moderating your expectations at the start:
1. The older your site becomes, the better you will rank on average and the quicker your posts will get ranked
2. The more content you have on your site, the better you will rank on average and the quicker your posts will get ranked
3. If you engage in any sort of deceptive tactics like buying backlinks or building PBNs, Google reserves the right to punish you severely.
One other thing that I would like to say about having realistic expectations is that Google is not immediately generous to new sites. They like to take a few months to check you over and make sure you are not just going to create one of those spammy 5 page sites that doesn’t add any value. But, once you have proven that you are serious by posting 3-4 times per week for 4-6 months, they very often reward you with a significant boost in your rankings (both for new and old posts).
You Don’t Have to Always Use Keyword Tools
Although I always follow the rule about keyword placement described above, I certainly don’t always use a keyword tool to decide upon the title of my post. In fact, for many of my posts (e.g. reviews of new products) this would be pointless. Since keyword tools rely upon historical data to predict future search volumes, they can tell you very little about how many people are likely to search for “iPhone 6 Review” when it has only just been released. Of course, you don’t need a keyword tool to tell you that hundreds of thousands of people will probably search for this term!
Another technique that can be used to get inspiration for blog post titles is the “Alphabet Soup” technique, which uses the Google Instant device to find out commonly searched terms.
So, don’t get involved in complicated (and often dodgy) SEO techniques. Just keep it safe and simple and hopefully Google will reward all of your hard work with the rankings that it deserves.
If you have any questions about any aspect of affiliate marketing, please send me a PM at The Money Shed (TheRewardGuy).