SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”.
What are Search Engines?
Google, Bing and Yahoo are the three best known search engines, but most SEO efforts focus on Google since that is by far the most widely used.
In a nutshell – SEO is the art of ranking on page 1 in Google – ideally the #1 spot.
Why would that be important?
Because the higher you rank the more organic traffic (= people googling) your site will receive and with that potential new readers and customers.
To understand how powerful SEO is, lets look at a few numbers:
Statistics show that page 1 in Google gets 95% of all search traffic (= people googling)!
Page 2 receives 5%. Page 3 only 1%.
Let that sink in for a moment…. Even more staggering – 61% of traffic go to the #1-3 spots.
The #1 spot actually gets a staggering 33-40% of all search traffic on Google!!
That is HUGE!
In comparison, only 10% go to paid Ads – even though ads are very expensive, whereas organic ranking is mostly free (once you get there….).
That’s why SEOs are some of the highest paid marketing consultants in the world with up to 20K per month per client!
Yes, you heard correctly!
The monthly revenue from having a site rank #1 in a competitive niche will be a LOT higher than those 20K, which is why companies are more than happy to pay well.
I have several friends – my SEO mentors in fact – who make 100,000 Dollars per month from SEO!
It sounds incredible, but these are not singular cases, but remarkably frequent.
This income comes from both:
* SEO clients = companies who want to rank their websites in the top spots. Note that SEO Consulting is always a monthly service because it takes consistent effort to get to the top spots and stay there
– and –
* Affiliate sites – your own sites where you market affiliate products for a commission. Obviously, that, too, requires a high degree of SEO expertise, otherwise, you’ll have to pay for Google and Facebook ads – and still won’t have remotely the same results
How does SEO work?
Google’s #1 concern is to provide the most relevant high quality content to whatever phrase (= “Keyword”) someone puts into the search bar when “googling”.
SEO therefore is about you convincing Google that your content is the best and most relevant available for this search term.
That’s what it’s all about.
How do you convince Google?
Well, first of all, you are not convincing a person/ an employee at Google. That would be absurd and physically impossible given the billions of searches every day.
Instead, Google employs little cyber “bots”that constantly crawl the net and every page on there. The bots catalogue all your content and determine what it is about and how valuable/ relevant it is.
So you need to send signals that the Google bots can understand – and do so consistently.
You need to build up “authority”with Google. Prove that you are a reputable site with quality content that will be truly helpful to their readers.
Obviously, that takes time, especially when your site is brand new, but you can greatly speed up the process by employing a number of SEO techniques.
That’s what this book will teach you.
Keywords vs. Niches
To clarify – you don’t just “rank”, you always rank for a specific search term or “keyword”as they are called. For example, someone might google:
How do I potty train my Dog?
If you want to rank on page 1 for that keyword, you will need to SEO “optimize”your article for that phrase.
In other words, your site will rank for many different search terms – each on a different rank within the “SERPs”= the result pages that come up after you google something.
SERPs = “Search Engine Result Pages”
And it’s not just individual posts. If “dog training”is your main niche, then your entire site needs to be optimized for that keyword.
Optimization happens both “On Page”= on your site and “Off Page”= anything that points or links to your site.
The more competitive a keyword, e.g. the more people are trying to rank for it, the more difficult it will be to reach the top spots. In some cases, it will be impossible for you with a brand new site.
This is where “Authority “comes in.
Sites like Wikipedia, CNN, National Geographic etc. enjoy huge authority with Google, because they are long established and highly regarded.
You cannot “beat”those sites in the beginning and there are also certain keywords/ search phrases that you simply will not be able to rank for in the first year or two, such as:
“Make money online”
“Lawyer New York”
Those are highly competitive keywords with millions of sites trying to rank for them.
Notice, I say “keywords”- not “niches”. Because even in very competitive niches, you can still rank and monetize your site – but for a different type of keyword….
White Hat vs. Black Hat SEO
There are a number of SEO techniques that can greatly speed up the process, and they are grouped into “White Hat”and “Black Hat” techniques.
As you probably guessed White Hat follows Google’s rules and policies, but is by far not as fast and effective, while Black Hat techniques can help you rank very quickly, but come with a significant risk of getting penalized or de-indexed (= your site being banned from Google – and you don’t ever want that to happen!)
In this website, we will only cover White Hat techniques as those will give you plenty to start with – and without running into trouble with Google.
How does Google determine where to rank you?
Google doesn’t exactly tell us – that’s the whole point – and their ranking algorithm keeps changing to adjust to ever new Black Hat tactics.
You may have heard of “Panda”and “Penguin” updates and wondered what that was all about?
SEO is a constant game of hide and seek between Google changing its algorithm and SEOs then trying to figure out how to rank within that new algorithm.
Once they find effective ways, Google responds with another update and a stricter set of rules to keep it fair and punish unethical techniques. And then we start again….
It’s important to understand that unless a page has huge authority like CNN, Forbes, Wikipedia, or Amazon, any site ranking on page 1 for very competitive terms is applying at least a few Black Hat techniques.
It’s impossible to get there otherwise, unless you give it years and years to grow authority naturally.
That’s ok as long as that site is providing value and helpful content. Gone are the days where SEOs could just spam the heck out of a site and rank #1. These days, they would quickly be slapped with a penalty and de-indexed (= disappear from Google).
As I mentioned before, Google’s #1 priority is to provide the best, most relevant content to their customers that’s available right now.
SEO therefore is about sending the “right”signals to the Google bots to get ranked as high as possible. The bots are not people, they don’t think or feel, instead they are programmed to respond to certain signals and then rank that site accordingly.
What signals are the Google bots looking for?
Most of all, authority and relevance.
You need to show that you are an expert and that your content is the most relevant – while you are competing with every other related site on the internet!
Not really….;-) – if you understand a few basic principles and techniques – and have some patience!
Building authority with Google takes time, especially with a brand new site. You have to prove that you are worthy of the exposure and the newer the site, the more skeptical Google will be – understandably.
So start as soon as your site is set up and apply the principles taught here consistently. Over time, you will see results, and once Google starts taking you seriously, it becomes more of a self runner.
Maintaining your status will be much easier than getting there, so your initial effort is well worth it in the long run.
Keep in mind also that the majority of bloggers never bother to learn these principles. And unless you are in a very competitive niche with lots of knowledgable people, it won’t take that much effort to get to page 1. But it takes consistent effort – and excellent keyword research.
Eventually you will be able to rely more and more on SEO and no longer have to hustle, network and pay for ads. You can still continue with those, but on a much smaller scale, because in the long run, SEO is the most effective – and consistent – traffic generator on the internet!