Exp 5 - So You Want to Rank for a Specific Keyword? (Putting It All Together)


Sep 3, 2014

Earlier in the Crash Course we covered a lot of SEO topics. We've talked about the basics like choosing your niche, building your site and designing it, all the way to making your site fast.

Then we got into the meat of doing keyword research, planning out your content, on-page SEO, and off-page SEO. It's these last four items that I want to cover again today, but in more depth. Everything till this point has been a high flying, bird's eye view look at these topics. The idea has always been "we'll show you how to think, but not what to do."

All of that changes with the Expansion Packs, where we'll still cover topics at breadth, but we'll also explore some of them in depth where needed and desired by the readers. And that's my goal here.

What you'll get here is a framework that, over time, will strengthen your site and turn it into a powerhouse, letting you tackle more and more competitive, high volume, and high value keywords. All it takes is time and scale. This method gets you to the SEO cash the fastest, and when funneled back in, the method and cash flow both will scale in a feedback loop.​

Let's embark on a tutorial, showing you how I approach this game of SEO for the most part. Consider this an intermediate-level look at ranking for a keyword for newcomers looking to take their game up a notch. Some topics we'll cover deeper than others which will heavily stack the deck in your favor, while others I'll only drop some ideas, since entire novels can and have been written about them.

Finding the Right Keyword

One of the worst mistakes a newcomer with a new site can make is targeting the wrong keywords. What are the "wrong keywords," and why are they wrong? The problem is the "pie in the sky" thinking and "if you build it they will come" attitude. On the internet, which is growing at exponential rates, that's as far from the truth as it gets. When it comes to SEO, if you can't rank in the top 10, you get zero traffic, period. If you can't rank in the top 3, you're not going to get any substantial traffic or earn any serious money.

Let's come up with an example topic we can use throughout this entire tutorial. Let's go with... *looks around the office*... let's go with "computer printers." So let's assume you're building a typical affiliate website couched inside of an informational site for a United States audience.

Here's some examples of bad keywords to start off with, just off the top of my head:
  • printer - 112k volume
  • brother printers - 55k volume
  • laser printers - 8.5k volume
  • inkjet printers - 15k volume
So why are these bad? Let's use "inkjet printers" as the example. Ahrefs thinks it's only a keyword difficulty of 17. They think you only need links from 19 websites to enter the top 10. This metric is a catastrophe. That's heavily based on the number of links to the pages themselves. Sure, the top 4 pages at the moment have profiles like:
  1. 39 backlinks from 28 domains
  2. 24 backlinks from 9 domains
  3. 6 backlinks from 5 domains
  4. 28 backlinks from 8 domains
"Yeah, that's doable!" says the newbie. Let me tell you two reasons this is wrong. The first is that this is an e-commerce SERP (search engine results page) with a transactional intent. Your informational / review content isn't going to have much a chance of ranking at all if the intent is mismatched. Some big sites can brute force it for a period of time (it never lasts). I see PCMag bruteforcing it with a page itself with 349 backlinks from 66 domains. But guess what else PCMag has, as well as these top 4 above, that you don't? Age, Domain Authority, and Trust.

The domain authority on the top 4 is actually:
  1. BestBuy - 20.9 million backlinks from 96.3k domains - 24 years old
  2. Amazon - 5.63 billion backlinks from 3.36 million domains - 24 years old
  3. Office Depot - 7.39 million backlinks from 34k domains - 23 years old
  4. Staples - 15.6 million backlinks from 42.6k domains - 23 years old
Good luck, my friend. Even if you have an e-commerce site, best of luck.

Now obviously we want to make money here, and not just on the off-chance that some knucklehead clicks an Adsense ad and we get 25¢ and they end up at BestBuy and spend $200. That means there's a whole slew of information-based keywords we'll avoid for now as our primary targets (and you'll see why, you'll tackle them regardless and still milk those sweet quarter clicks).

We want to target a term that has users built in with hotter buying intent. The hottest you can go is for "coupon" terms because it means they're about to buy as it is with no coercing. Most networks don't allow this kind of traffic anyways. Your best bet is "blank reviews" or "best blank." There are others like "blank printer vs blank printer" too. Lot's of buying intent variations on keywords out there.

In our tutorial here, those are your holy grail keywords. Others won't be ignored, but they'll be used to support these money maker posts targeted at the holy grail keywords. What this will do is keep your site at a reasonable ratio of money articles versus educational articles. Google doesn't like a high ratio of this on new sites or low authority and trust sites. There's been an algorithm change targeting these kind of sites and they used to target them with manual penalties. They might still, but I haven't repeated that mistake.

So How Do We Mine the Right Type of Keywords?

You've seen the methods shared by other Crash Course authors that I agree with in terms of gathering up tons of keywords and filtering them down. Here's my method, because I don't really have the time or energy to create a master list and keep chugging away at it over time. I also like to erode the traffic and wealth of my competitors and redirect it to myself since this is a zero sum game, and the more cashflow I have, the faster I can do this.

Your first goal, and you should have already done this, is to find your direct competitors that are on the same playing field as you are in terms of age, search exposure, ranking ability, backlink power, etc. This will be even easier if you can find some that are a bit weaker than you.

Because the goal here is to find out what weaker or equal but lazier competitors already rank for, and target those terms.​

What is the reasoning for this? We can assume they did some level of keyword research, and you can usurp that because they can't hide it all from the various crawlers. We know the SERP is attainable because their weak sites already rank for it. That means you're qualified and rankable.

No, you won't end up with a 200 MB spreadsheet of keywords. You'll discard most of that anyways, or bundle it up under parent keywords. We're just trying to get straight to the cash flow here.

What this looks like is:
  1. Finding competitors on your level or below
  2. Mining their keywords for buying intent & related information queries
  3. Writing the buying intent post
  4. Take their cash flow through siege warfare
Now, how you find these keywords is up to you, but you'll need the help of an SEO Tool like SEMRush or Ahrefs, for example. Let me try to find some weak "computer printers" affiliate site real quick so we can have real examples... *wow, this is much stiffer competition than I thought.*

Found one! So, for instance, I have Ahrefs open so I'm going to use them. I'm popping this competitor's domain in just to affirm they're weak. Yep. Now I'm looking at all of their organic keywords that they rank for. There's too many so I need to filter this down with the understanding that my site is also kind of weak. I also understand that buying intent keywords don't have insane amounts of volume either. That leaves me with the following filters (tweak to your preference):

Again, tweak this depending on how many keywords you have to wade through. I'm doing this fast since it's not real research, just explanatory research. Use a thought process like mine.

"This site is too weak to rank for things above (keyword difficulty) KD 20, so it's just showing me crap they're in the top 50-100 for for anything KD 20+, so I can axe most of that. Buying intent keywords don't often have volume higher than 10k for a niche like this. I figure they're a tad weaker than me, so I only want to see terms they rank in the top 5 for. I can probably beat them on any of those and hit the top 3 at least. And screw it, just show me keywords with the word 'best' in them, I'm in a rush here. And now let me sort by volume."​

Well lookie what I found here:

Now, this isn't the best result, but I'm not going to find another competitor so let's rock with it. It's not an amazing keyword because the volume is so low. Even if you rank #1, you'll see 30-40 visits a month from it, and have to convert people from there. And then you have to wonder how much these little printing label printers cost at the typical 2% commission on computer tech. But it works for this tutorial. Don't forget that you'll get some related searches too so the true volume is a bit higher.

Next, we need to look at how exactly we should format our content, mainly based around search intent.


Sep 3, 2014

Let's do a little recap. You found a competitor on your level that's lazy and not actively working to dominate, or you found a weaker competitor and then found all the keywords they currently rank for using a tool like Ahrefs or SEMRush. You filtered them down by ranking position, volume, and difficulty. Remember this process because it will continue to be of use to you, especially when we start to try to rank this page (and start this whole method over again).

Search Intent - The SERP Shows It's Cards

Okay, at this point, before you type a single word for the content itself, you need to make sure you're typing the right kind of content. Google classifies each search based on its query as well as classifying content into intent types. @CCarter broke that down in the Keyword Research day. Let's look at the competition first.

At the rate Google has been updating these past two months, I won't be surprised if all the rankings for this keyword changes by the time this tutorial is published. SERPWoo could tell us if I had had the foresight to set up tracking for the keyword. That might look something like this:

But here's the Ahrefs data, since the above is just an example. They're calling this KD 0 with the top 4 looking like this:
  1. 0 backlinks from 0 domains - an educational post
  2. 0 backlinks from 0 domains - an amazon sub-domain user forum
  3. 1 backlink from 1 domain - an amazon custom category style page with no content
  4. 0 backlinks from 0 domains - a review post
This is beautiful. If you see forums ranking in the top 5, it's a walk in the park. What you're seeing here is that Google is starving for content for this term. Anyone with a respectable site with a little bit of juice is going to be able to rank for this term if they optimize for it. The first result doesn't even have any images in it. The 4th one is optimized for a semi-related term and still ranks.

This is a winner. Let's continue to pretend it has a little competition though, for the sake of the rest of the tutorial.

Now, if we were to look at the term itself, "best printer for shipping labels," it's obviously a Desire / Commercial query. The user is trying to inform themselves on which printer is the best for their needs. Then they'd move on to an Action / Transactional query (or hopefully click your affiliate link and skip going back to Google). If this was transactional, Google would be showing e-commerce style results for a product based search, like we saw with "inkjet printers." But it's not, it's definitely an informational, educational, desire based search.

You'll find lots of sub-categories of intent, especially when you're at the top of the funnel with Awareness / Informational queries and Interest / Navigation queries. Sometimes you see SERPs stuffed to the gills with Q&A sites. Other times Google does choose to rank forums. Most of the time it's editorial posts on established websites. But even those have "micro intents" you need to figure out and make sure to push all those buttons for the search bots. That's a discussion in itself that we can explore later if someone asks.

If Google wasn't starving for content to rank for our term, you'd see a ton of posts that listed, perhaps, the top 10 printers that spit out printing labels. This is validated by the fact that the #4 ranking is one of these posts. Google just don't have enough of this content in their index. #4 was on a tangentially related website optimized for a different term too (one you may decide to take down later!). The forum thread had the phrase as the title of the thread, which got used as the title tag, so it managed to rank thanks to the optimization. But all-in-all, none of them are doing everything right, or even a half of it right.

You're going to nail every aspect of the search intent and take the number 1 or number 2 spot, guaranteed.

The main point of this section is to ALWAYS check the SERPs for intent. Because sometimes what you think the intent is, is not what Google decided. And unfortunately at times it changes and screws you over, but that's extremely rare on terms like this.

I once joined an affiliate program and managed to rank on the first page (and climbing) for a ~15k volume generic term like "inkjet printers" with a review post, which is what was being shown in the SERPs. I went through a lot of crap to make it happen and happen fast. Days later, Google decided the user really wanted to see results with shareware style software downloads, and I got completely screwed. Two years later and it's flipped back and the affiliate program is no longer in business. Sometimes you get the hose.

In this case, we know what the search intent is and are very certain it won't change. It's time to write the post itself.

Write Your Content with Intent in Mind

We've kind of "hacked" our way through keyword research, taking a shortcut and forcing our competitor to do all the work. Then we determined the intent (according to Google) of the search query. Now we need to write content shaped around that intent.

Basic On-Page SEO

But writing around the intent is not enough. If you don't do that, you won't rank. But there's other things that you have to do too or you still won't rank, like basic on-page SEO. But we want to take it to the next level, because we want to assure our victory. Everyone can do the most basic on-page SEO, because it looks like this:
  • Use the exact match phrase in your Title Tag
  • Use it in your single H1 tag, usually just the Title Tag again
  • Use it in an H2 tag
  • Use a variation in an H3 like "Which shipping label printer is the best?"
  • Use the exact match phrase in an alt tag on an image
  • Use the phrase a couple times in the content, very close to the start and end
If you can do those basic things, you're now on the same playing field as others who are writing with the correct intent in mind. That may be enough to win in some SERPs. But there's a lot of stuff we left out. What do we do with the rest of the H2 and H3 header tags? What should we do with the other alt tags? All of that will become obvious as we explore some more methodology.

Your goal here is two fold, you want to show Google that your content covers the topic of this query in: 1) DEPTH and 2) BREADTH. Anything else would be... uncivilized. In the process, we guarantee ourselves that we'll rank for associated long-tails, variations on the search term, and other "gimme terms" as I call them.

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)

Don't let the name scare you. All this means is that Google has an index of words and phrases and has mapped them together to show their relationships to one another. It's part of how they understand relevance. I said somewhere else here on BuSo that without additional context, Google won't know what I mean when I type "horse." Am I talking about the animal, the wood working tool, illicit substances, one of the many songs with that word in the title? It's everything else that you type that will build the context around the keyword optimization, not only in this post itself but in others you'll write for your site and for guest posts (and that includes anchor texts you get linking back to your pages).

There's no good way to find a list of these LSI keywords to include in your post. You can see what Google's auto-suggest has, the related searches shown at the bottom of the SERP, use their keyword planner in Adwords, but all of this really just shows keyword variations and long-tails.

This is why you need to know what the heck you're talking about when you write content. Because not only will your readers realize you're full of it but so will Google. The best way to add LSI content to your post is to use your noggin.

In our case of "label printers", you might think of things like:
  • thermal printing versus inkjet printing
  • laser printing
  • how many labels come on a roll of stickers
  • how long does an ink cartridge last on these
As you begin to review products, you'll touch on brands and product names that further dial you in. You'll talk about terms related to printers like "printing calibration." The best thing you can do is read about the topic you're writing about and use lots of phrases and words related to the product.

@stackcash recommends AnswerThePublic.com for this kind of thing to help you supplement your thought process. You give them the base topic, like "shipping label printers" and get back a graph like this:

I kept the picture tiny, so let me tell you what you get back. They basically find search terms that are in the form of questions by tacking on words like "what, when, where, why, how, without, with, can, to, near, for, is" and more. I'm looking at the full sized graph and seeing words like "iPad, Mac, Shopify, Etsy, eBay, small business, amazon, USPS, UPS." This will help you understand what people in general need to know about the products. Not only can you use this to reassure them in your copy, but it'll strengthen your LSI.

Term Frequency - Inverse Document Frequency (TF*IDF)

This is why you don't want to do keyword stuffing any more or even worry about keyword density. Google has moved beyond that, and if you look at the word "Inverse" there you'll understand why.

If you look at this entire thread, you'll see words that get typed a ton. Like "you'll, I, at, the, and." These words are used so frequently that they're likely inversely related to the topic at hand. And that's what happens if you use your own keywords too much. They become incidental and not important. That's why we use them sparingly in the correct on-page spots and then move on to variations and LSI terms.

There is no correct TF*IDF score for any word, bigram, trigram, and so forth. There is only a measure of what the top pages on Google are currently doing, with the idea that this exposes the balance of TF*IDF scores that Google currently finds appropriate.

What it DOES show you is two things:
  • LSI phrases you probably missed
  • Phrases you've used too little or too much (compared to the top 10)
For the reasons above, where there's no objective measure except hoping this is what Google likes, some people pooh-pooh TF*IDF. A lot of that boils down to it being too much work for their tastes. I'm here to tell you that when you dial it in and at least get all of the same phrases represented in your content, it's like crack for your rankings. This can be the difference between position #4 and position #1. I've seen it too many times. To prove it, I actually just ran an analysis in another tab. Here's a screen cap:

I've chopped off my terms and blurred one, but this is a real world analysis. I'm using Ryte.com and their old tool (the new one sucks, sadly, and this one is going to be deprecated). Another option is Ranks.nl but you can't compare your own post to the others like you can on Ryte. Both have their issues.

What you're seeing above is that for this post I have on the front page (but not high enough to be making gobs of money any more), my TF*IDF scores for a lot of bigrams (two word phrases) are non-existent. This means that I'm missing a ton of relevancy opportunities that others have, while I likely have a ton they don't. If I can tweak the content to match what they're doing, I'll exceed them in my own way and likely gain some positions. The orange is the accepted range, with higher the better, but if you exceed the orange you've gone too far. All you really want to do is make sure your post (the green dots) are in the orange range for each phrase and doesn't exceed it for the important main keywords and tightly related variants.

"Gimme Terms" for Free Rankings

If you've spent any amount of time doing keyword research with any of Google's methods like the Keyword Planner, Auto-Suggest, and Related Searches for example, then you've realized that Google clusters search terms in baskets, with a parent term at the top (most generalized and highest volume).

The thing is, all search terms are parents, even if they're children of bigger parents. What this means is that, for every term you choose to write about, there's a basket of child terms that likely don't have enough optimized content for them in the SERPs and are extremely tightly related.

That's what it means, but with the right data you get a huge revelation, and I know only one place to get this data and get it fast. The revelation is that you can look at what the top positions are ranking for, those exact URLs, and find the crossover. It looks like this, to explain in plainer terms:

"I want to take my main search term and get the top 3 results, then I want to see every single term that those 3 URLs are ranking for. Then I only want to keep the keywords that all 3 are ranking for, discarding the rest."​
What you're left with is this basket of child "gimme terms" as I call them. This begs the question of how do we do this quickly, because not only is finding that data a nightmare, but then there's a lot of spreadsheet work. The answer is SERPWoo's Keyword Finder. It gets this data together in seconds. Let me run it for our search term.

Now, even though our search term is already a five-word long-tail with low volume, there were still some longer ones in its basket:

On a bigger term like you would use later, you'd get a lot more results that you could then trim down by volume, competition, etc. But for now, that was the useful terms we got for our janky keyword.

How hard would it be to designate one of your products as "the best thermal printer for shipping labels" or have a Q&A section at the bottom that answers each of those questions? "What is the best thermal printer for ebay shipping labels?" as an H3 header. Badabing Badaboom. Free rankings, boosting your overall search volume and getting even hotter leads in. These people know exactly what they need, they just want you to tell them what it is and where to buy it.

Named Entity Recognition and Disambiguation (NERD)

Here's something newer for you that you don't find on the SEO blogs (you will after this goes live). This is an aspect of natural language processing (NLP) and the seeds of how truly artificial intelligence will begin to understand the nuances of human language. Language is language and all of the various ways of achieving NERD come to similar results, and we can safely assume Google is either doing their own work or is using someone else's. Guess who has the easiest data to get ahold of? Wikimedia, the owners of Wikipedia.

This is kind of like LSI but instead word mapping it's more about entity mapping, related more to nouns specifically. Let me use Wikipedia's own page on this concept to explain it.

"Paris is the capital of France." How does a computer know we mean Paris the city and not Paris Hilton the celebrity? Because two other entities are mentioned in the same sentence: capital and France. How does it know "capital" is referring to a city of a nation and not a capital letter? Same way.

Okay, but how do we put this to use? Wikipedia also shows how they do it. Take a look at the opening sentences of any Wikipedia article:

Right at the start they establish the relationship between various entities, in this case being synonyms. They even bold it for the search engines. Now scroll to the bottom:

Now they're creating the relationships between entities. There are NLP databases chock full of entities and relationships. I'm not going to tell you how to get ahold of them, but many are free and constantly updated thanks to being publicly funded.

This is leading us into our off-page SEO discussion. Not only does this help search engines understand what's happening on the page itself with on-page SEO, but it can extend off-page. This is why outbound links matter as much as inbound links. You're performing entity linking, essentially. This is why anchor text matters. This is why the content of the page you're getting a link from matters.

Have you ever had a link from a page on another domain that had the title tag as your exact match phrase and was optimized for the term and then got an exact match anchor off that page that linked to the page you optimized in for the term too? Hot damn, my dude. There are still "tricks" out there, but I'm reluctant to share too many. There's one for you though, hidden away in this long thread for anyone paying attention.

Now back to the "Basic On-Page" part of this post. Now you know what to do with those leftover H2's, H3's, alt tags, etc. Put these gimme terms, entities, LSI terms, and TF*IDF terms in them. Dial in your breadth, depth, and relevancy where it matters. This stops you from pushing your main keyword too many times and tripping the density filter.

Let's move on to the off-page side of things now.


Sep 3, 2014

If you took the time to do everything above, you have the most dialed in, optimized post possible, written with the correct intent. Of course, you need to do other things I've written about in the on-page SEO day of the Crash Course, like:
  • Get the average Grade Level Reading Score of the top 5
  • Optimize your site's speed and the page's speed specifically
  • Make sure you're writing at the content length that Google prefers in the top 5
  • Add images, videos, lists, tables, quotes, resource sections, whatever you can for user metrics
Take the time to look at your content after you finish (heck, you have to publish it first before you can run a TF*IDF analysis on it anyways). Revisit it and make sure it's good for people as much as it is for the robots. If you have crap user metrics then you won't rank. If you have users pogo-sticking back to the SERPs from your page, it'll decrease in rank. You have to satisfy the user. Keep them around for as long as possible and try to get them to move on to another page on your site.

Off-Page Actions to Climb Up The Ranks

This is the tricky part. If you don't rank, you don't make money (on an entirely SEO-based play, please do other types of marketing for your site, like CCarter's Traffic Leaks). This is exactly why I proposed doing our keyword research the way we did. You snipe out SERPs you know you qualify for based on weaker competitors. Then you test harder and harder keywords till you find your new level.

But off-page SEO is really a bitch. It's expensive in time, effort, and money. Lots of opportunity cost goes into an off-page campaign. And you'll be tempted to just move on to the next cycle of this method and scale content instead to find easier terms to rank for so you can do less off-page. Well don't. This off-page process does that for you.

The first thing you're going to do is let your page sit. Let it get indexed. Let it land somewhere in the SERPs (you are tracking your rankings right? The cheapest way to do this is through SERPWoo, who constantly give out easter egg codes to boost the number of terms you can track, and have the highest numbers anyways for the best prices).

Expect to see one of two things BEFORE your ranking settles into something consistent, if you followed everything we said above:
  • You'll index pretty high on the first page and then slide backwards a bit
  • You'll index further back around #30 to #60 and then slide forwards a good bit after they split test your ranking to get some user metrics for your page
It's randomized at this point. But expect one of those. Let it stabilze.

Now, you're not just sitting on your hands while this happens. There's more work to be done, for your site and for this specific ranking.

Mini-Nets - Build Your On-Site Silo

I've said it before and will say it again. It's starting to stick. I'm seeing more blogs from big agencies pick up this concept and calling it something else. You want to build a "virtual silo." What I mean by virtual is that it's not a strict physical silo like we used in the late 90's and early 2000's. The net doesn't work like that any more and neither does Google. That's why I've taken to calling it a Mini-Net instead, especially when done on your own site.

A mini-net is a small batch of articles on your same site targeting some of the LSI and longer-tails of your main keyword. I recommend starting with 5 articles. You'll go through the entire on-page process above again for each one of these, but it'll be much easier rankings so you don't have to be as thorough.

We're doing this for two reasons:
  • You're creating massive relevancy and NERD linking while flowing page rank where you want it to go
  • You're getting traffic to pages that link to the page you want to rank
That 2nd point is huge. Nobody talks about it, probably because 99.9% of the internet gets zero traffic. @eliquid once pointed out that Google validates pages and your site as a whole based on the traffic it gets (and they know, they have everyone cookied to the gills and analytics everywhere). One way to validate your page to Google and tell them that it's worth ranking is to show it receives traffic. This is another reason you'll fail to rank for more competitive terms and why we start by sniping out weak competitor rankings.

Start by looking at your site's architecture and figuring out where you can add these articles. It doesn't matter where, because physical silos don't matter any more. Do you have the main post in a Reviews category but also have an Education category, a Q&A category, a Blog, etc.? This will help you generate ideas for these 5 posts you need to write. Think about stuff like:
  • Should I Use Thermal Printers or Laser Printers for Shipping Labels?
  • What Makes a Shipping Label Printer Different Than a Normal Printer?
  • Everything to Know About Shipping Label Printers
  • Why Shipping Labels Are Formatted The Way They Are
Remember, every single post should be tightly optimized for a search term, or you're leaving traffic on the table. Always take the time for it, no matter what the term is (I didn't do that in the 4 bullet points above, but do it!). Just make sure it's attainable (in this case that is built into the process since these are longer-tails and just as weak).

You'll want to write, optimize, and publish these posts. I recommend writing them all at once as drafts and waiting to publish until your main post settles in the rankings, just so you can see how it reacts.

The entire point of this is to interlink these mini-net posts back to the main money maker. When you choose your anchor text, use an exact match anchor at least once. You can do it all five times if you want, it's safe. Or you can dial in relevancy by using synonym entities and variants on the main key phrase. This is your safer bet and gives you more leeway with your off-site anchors. Don't forget to interlink the Mini-Net posts with each other too.

Drip these posts out, one per day or every other day. As they drip out, push each one (and your money post) through your social media channels. Start to get them crawled more frequently, get some traffic if possible, and get them tied into hashtags and other relevancy drivers.

Then you can see where all of this lands. The new posts will begin to rank and you should see the original post move in the rankings as well.

Virtual Silo - Build Your Off-Site Relevancy

This is what I call a "virtual silo." Not only is it not a physical silo but it extends off of your website and into others. Generally, you want this done with editorial posts that have enough length to be semi-optimized for your main term. You don't want to optimize too hard or you'll outrank your own page, so be careful. One thing worth doing is to optimize around more Gimme Terms and LSI terms, because getting traffic to these pages is good too. It validates your main page.

This is where open registration sites come into play, like your big Web 2.0 sites like Medium. That'll give you a nofollow link but will still drive relevancy. But your best move is to find some dofollow links so you get some page rank flowing to your page. That's where guest posts come into play. Get ready to put in some footwork or spend some money. (If you're black hat and don't mind the risk, then go for some PBN links but realize they will be found eventually and the punishment can cascade down to your site beyond just having your rankings slip).

Aim these links at your money page if you can. If you can choose the anchors, get ONE exact match anchor from an editorial post and no more until you have plenty more links coming in. You want to keep that ratio of exact match to non-exact anchors low. It's fine at first to have even 100% because there's no statistical confidence that you're a spammer (and you're not). But bring that percentage on down as you keep getting links. Don't waste the exact match anchor on a blog comment link, keep it editorial.

If you can snag 5 to 10 links this way, you'll be watching your rankings do fluctuate randomly. It may drop drastically for a while (do not react, it's part of the "rank transition" algorithm to spot spammers who react and spam more or remove links).

If you're in talks about a guest post and the other site doesn't want to link to your money page, then simply change the link to one of your 5 Mini-Net posts on your site. It'll still boost your main page.

Of course, you can get all kinds of links to your main page and the 5 supporting posts. Do it, but keep it classy. I talked about a lot of types of links you can go for in the Off-Page SEO day of the Crash Course.

What If It Didn't Seal the Deal?

Now let me say flat out that there's nothing sexy about this off-page "link getting" work. It's a grind. It will wear at your soul if you can't afford to outsource it. Most of us went through these trenches to get cash flowing and you can do it too. It'll arm you with the knowledge you need to make sure your outsourcers are doing a good job and not shafting you.

What happens if you trudge through the muck and come out without a top 3 ranking? You have several choices. You can:
  • Create more Mini-Net pages with better link bait and get more links to them
  • Split test your money page for user engagement and make it "sticker"
  • Get more links to your money page and Mini-Net pages
If you push too long and nothing happens, start this entire process over with a new search term to target. Your site will become stronger and stronger as you continue to iterate through this process. You'll have a lot of supporting content to interlink from and be adding more. More and more pages will receive links, strengthening your entire domain. And you'll still have a focus group of money pages to keep tweaking and driving forward.

Don't lose site of them and get lost in the hundreds of supporting posts you'll add. Keep your eye on the prize with a tight focus so you don't lose your mind. Your entire site will begin to receive more and more traffic and become increasingly validated. Sometimes a site simply must age longer, even if newer and weaker competitors managed to rank. After a while (up to a year) that throttle will be released and you'll see your traffic slowly increase with no extra work from you. Sometimes an algorithm update occurs and assigns your site some trust score, and boom you popped over some threshold and start ranking.

There's a ton of variables and the algorithm is a black box. But the above method will give you the highest chance of ranking NOW and in the FUTURE, as well as ensure you're publishing tons of high quality, relevant content. It keeps you focused on the relatively fewer posts that matter on your site while keeping you moving on continually publishing and getting links. And most importantly it stops you from bogging down with paralysis analysis. If one round of this doesn't work the way you wanted, you forget it and move on. It'll pop eventually or you can circle back around and try your luck again later when your site is stronger.

And that's all that will happen. Your site will become a behemoth. And with this superior on-page methodology mixed with the pre-validated keyword research, your chances of failing are very slim, as long as you're finding the right competitors to investigate.

Go forth and rank, my friends.