I’m going to say it – Google traffic is the ‘best’ kind of traffic. Or, not forgetting the other search engines (lots of people do use Bing, you know!), I’ll say that SEO traffic is the ‘best’ traffic.

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Why is SEO traffic ‘better’?

Well, unlike say with social media, where people are browsing for fun or entertainment, and sometimes just to learn, SEO traffic comes with one very important element.

INTENT.

That’s right, people coming to your site from Google are generally LOOKING for something.

Quite likely ready to buy, engage, download, send an inquiry.

Exactly what you want, in other words!

Anyway, maybe you already know that. And even if you didn’t, you do now.

Well then let’s get to it! How do you get 193,726 site visits in a single month? 

Caveat – it took over 3 years and lots of hard work, effort and attention!

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A few caveats to start, before I give you the step by step process:

This takes time! It took me some time to get to this point. Nothing in life worth having comes easy, unless you’ve won the lottery. And even then, you’ve probably been playing for years and have spent a lot of money on tickets!

Your results will vary relative to how competitive your niche is (hopefully you aren’t trying to rank on Google for ‘best credit cards’), and how much you are willing and able to invest in the process (research, content development, investing in content, writing, working to get links, etc.).

YOU MAY NOT NEED ANYTHING REMOTELY LIKE 100K VISITS/MONTH! This is ultra-important.

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see progress like this – it’s totally normal and it will depend to a massive extent on your niche.

My main niche is education and it can be considerably less competitive than pretty much any commercial niche.

It all depends on your niche / sector. If you have an Amazon affiliate site, a subscription service or you offer X service or sell Y product, you may need far less traffic and it becomes more about converting and optimising your traffic.

With that out of the way, let’s get to the process!

It’s all about the implementation of course, but this will give you a recipe for growth on Google.

Step 1: Know Your Audience, Know Your Keywords!

It can seem complex, but customer and keyword research is as simple as you make it. In short, ask yourself this:

Who is my ideal customer and what keywords would they use on Google to find what I’m offering?

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Let’s say you offer a software product, or you are selling shoes online. Your first step is to think of your ideal customer – that could be a manager or executive in a company, or a woman shopping online for high-end shoes.

What kind of keywords and themes would they use to describe what they are looking for? That’s your starting point.

I advise writing out a list of these words and phrases, maybe keeping them in an Excel file or Google doc.

Next, it’s time to research what kind of search volume your keywords have. In other words, how many people search for what you are offering every month?

There are a few research tools and methods that work well here. Let’s focus on one for this cheat sheet – the Google AdWords Keyword Planner.

Get to the Keyword Planner here.  You’ll need to take a few minutes to set up a Google account to access it, or log in with your existing Google account.

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Once you are logged in or signed up to AdWords, you can get to the Keyword Planner by clicking on the ‘Tools’ tab at the top, and selecting ‘Keyword Planner’.

Next, you’ll want to gather some of your target keywords / phrases from earlier in this step – those phrases that your ideal customer will use to find what it is you offer.

Pop them into the search box and you’ll get a list of results…

This data gives you an idea on how many searches your chosen keyword gets per month, and you can filter by location, language and other elements too, via the ‘Targeting’ section on the left-hand side of your screen.

Next, you’ll want to focus on those keywords which have good search volume. ‘Good’ is generally at least a few hundred exact match searches per month, but it depends on your niche and your goals.

You want a mix of keywords here too – a combination of high, medium and low volume keywords.

If you have too many high volume, high competition keywords you may find it too competitive to rank, but if you have too many low volume, low competition ones, you may not get enough search traffic from these. 

Note – ‘competition’ levels within the keyword planner refer to advertiser competition, not organic ranking difficulty. The keyword planner is good for initial research, but I recommend a tool like KeywordTool.io or Long Tail Pro after this initial stage.

Once you have selected say 15-25 target keywords (a good number to keep things simple), it’s time to move onto the next step – creating your content!

Step 2: Map Your Keywords to Content

Content is king…we’ve heard that many, many times. But what does it really mean for you?

Well, those who do best at SEO do something well – they develop high quality articles, blogs, white papers and other content formats that attract links from high quality sources – websites, blogs, social channels, and so on.

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This adds up to links, shares, and general exposure that drives traffic from search engines and well as just generally. Google wants to reward high quality content by placing it high in the search results, and so you need to ask yourself two things:

What kind of content is ranking on page 1 of Google for my target keywords in Step 1?

How can I do something that is better, different, or maybe just more comprehensive?

How can I attract links to this content? Hint – a big part of this is doing something that is better, different, or more comprehensive…

If you’ve done your keyword research in step 1, then start by simply googling these keywords and phrases to see what is ranking on page 1 for these terms.

Bear in mind that some of the results may be big brands with significantly more resources than you, but don’t be discouraged by this.

You can still develop great content that can compete with the big guys over time, but this also highlights the need to choose your battles – you will want to focus on lower volume, less competitive keywords to start.

It’s just easier to rank with these keywords, and much faster!

Try not to chase the same keywords you know all your competitors are chasing, and aim for ‘long tail’ phrases – those with at least 3 or 4 words.

So instead of targeting “leather shoes”, try for “leather shoes for casual wear”, or “formal leather shoes for men”.

Pro tip: Long Tail Pro is an excellent tool I use all the time to identify low competition keywords I can rank for. If you can’t afford it, sign up to their email list as they frequently run offers and discounts. But, you WILL make your money back either way, if you execute!

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Think “Long Tail” to Start

If your keywords and topics have commercial intent, they will generally be competitive to rank for, and the same is very often the case even for less commercial, or non-commercial ones.

Either way, expect to only rank in the early stage for longer tail keywords.

That’s ok though! Lots of long tail rankings add up to traffic that will build steadily over time.

What kind of content do you develop?

This where you have fun! You can write blog posts (or have someone write them for you), create videos, infographics, eBooks, do interviews with experts or influential people in your niche, podcasts…whatever you enjoy doing!

Just make sure the content is valuable, relevant, and likely to resonate with your target audience.

That brings us on to step 3 – getting links to your content. After all, you don’t want it to just sit there on your website, not getting discovered and not delivering a ranking benefit that is going to drive your search traffic and sales over time.

Step 3: Get Links to Your Content

If content is indeed king (which it is), then links are queen! Links are one of the top 3 factors in terms of SEO and how Google ranks webpages. Here’s what to remember when it comes to links to your site:

Links from quality and relevant websites are what you need!

What does this mean? Let’s keep this simple!

It means that you don’t want a link from poor quality sites, just to get a link. They won’t help you and may in fact harm your site, especially if there are lots of them.

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A link from a high quality but irrelevant site won’t do much either! Why would a fashion blog link to the website of an accountancy firm?

Google won’t give this link any credibility and it may harm your site because it could be viewed as unnatural and manipulative.

A link from a high quality AND relevant site is gold! A fashion blog linking to a shoe store – great!

The next step in this process is to both build and attract links to your content, so that your pages can start to climb the Google rankings.

How quickly this will happen depends on a multitude of factors – it’s largely relative to your investment into content and link-building (both in terms of time and monetarily), and the competition levels for your niche.

You need to be realistic in terms of what you can achieve but also willing to take on the challenge of ranking!

To start growing my traffic and rankings, I started by identifying sites that fitted the criteria above – high quality AND relevant.

There are some clever techniques you can use here, which I will share with you now.

Link Outreach – Step by Step

Step 1: Go to a link research tool like Ahrefs, Majestic or SEMrush

Step 2: Enter the domain (URL) of one of your competitors into the search box

Step 3: Review the ‘referring domains’ and ‘backlinks’ sections to analyse where your competition is getting their links from!

You can repeat step 2 for other competitors to get to a real treasure trove of data!

Step 4: Here’s where it gets interesting, because this is where you go to the sites you found in step 3 to view the content that these sites are linking to.

Step 5: Ask yourself – why are these sites linking to my competitor’s content, and why would they also link to mine?

Step 6: Grab the contact details for the website owners, and get in touch with them. Explain who you are, what you do, and why they might consider linking to you. Pro tip: to find contact details more easily, try using a tool called Buzzstream!

Read on for a sample script you can send.

Sample Outreach Script

Hi {Name},

{Your name} here from {your website / business}, hope you’re doing well! I am getting in touch because I spotted some useful links on your {X page} (hyperlink the page where you’d like your link to appear), and I thought you might find an article I’ve written on X helpful.

Let me know if you’d like me to send over the link to my article.

All the best,

{Your name}

Although the success of an outreach email is going to depend on a huge variety of factors, let’s examine a couple of reasons why this outreach script could work very well.

It includes the word ‘because’, which has been shown to increase the likelihood that someone will do what you are asking them to do.

You aren’t dropping a link to your article which can look a bit upfront or forward. Instead, you are breezily asking them if they would be interested to see your content. No sales pitch, no link, not being forward.

Does this mean they will reply? Not necessarily, but you are giving them an option instead of making them think “This person is just looking for something”.

Chances are if they are interested, they will shoot back a “Sure, send it on”. And if they aren’t, then maybe you can try again another time.

Conclusion

So, there you have it! You now have a three-step process to researching your keywords and topics, mapping them to content, and building links.

Implement this process and you should start to see results (in terms of your first few articles, links and some initial rankings) within your first 3-6 months, depending on your niche. Results will vary of course.

Got questions? Post them in the comments below.

And best of luck!

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