At some point you’ll want to be ranking on Google or Bing’s first page. And I imagine you’ll want to be there sooner rather than later. Just imagine all that free internet traffic working its way to your site on a daily basis. Sounds great doesn’t it? The trouble is your site is not getting on the first page for anything. Your Google and Bing analytics are looking a bit bare. And you’ve decided it’s high time to focus on grabbing that number one spot. So what are you going to do about it? Your choices basically come down to doing your own SEO, hiring an SEO service or paying for ads that will drive traffic for a fee. So for now we’ll forget about paid ad traffic and focus instead on getting nice free traffic through organic methods.
But where do you start? How do you start?
Do you hire some SEO professional or do you decide that you’re able to do a spot of self seo service? The decision to manage your seo or to hire a third party seo service is something that you will need to weigh up carefully, especially for startups or people on limited budgets who are trying to generate revenue from a site but who need to watch every penny. An SEO service can be expensive. But luckily for you I’m going to show you how you can manage your own SEO and give yourself a better chance of driving free traffic to your site from search engines, instead of paying money to someone who may or may not be what they say on their ads.
Don’t hire this guy.
The decision to focus on your SEO is an easy one to make but a lot of people find it difficult to nail down the right keywords to use or don’t know how to make the most of the keywords that they are using. To make good decisions in this regard and really give yourself a fighting chance of getting onto the first page of Google search you really need to do these things.
- Choose keywords to target that have low competition and a high volume of searches.
- Understand what Google, Bing and the other big search engines want from your site.
- Optimize your page/site around those exact keywords.
Sounds easy when you put it like that. But is it really? Well yes it is. But it can take some time. So let’s get started by looking at the two things you need to do in a lot more detail.
Self SEO Service – Choosing the Best Keywords
When trying to get ranked on the first page of Google or Bing you’ll need to know a couple of things about the keywords that you’re going to use. You’ll need to know:
- The search volume that exists for that keyword.
- The competition that already exists for that keyword.
Finding the search volume for a keyword is easy. Google or Bing will provide that information to you free of charge. Go to Google Adwords and click on Tools at the top of the page and select keyword planner. From here you can find out everything you want to about the keywords that you want to target. So for example if I want to find out about the keyword “Used cars” I would go to Google Adwords, click on tools – Keyword planner and then click on Get Search Volume Data and Trends. Enter the keyword “Used Cars” and then I would select the location under targeting that best suits my needs. There is no point in me looking at search data from Canada when I want to know how many searches are performed for that keyword in Ireland. So I select Ireland from the list and click Get search Volume.
And these are the results that I get back from Google.
You can see if the search volume for that keyword is attractive enough for you to want to target it. If it is then great. If not you can use Google’s Search for new keywords tool to give you more keywords that may be better for you based on your original seed key word, in this example “used cars”.
It is a great tool to use to generate even more keywords that you may not have thought to target. As you can see from the image below, the keyword “used cars Ireland” has more than twice the number of searches than the keyword “used cars” and is a more focused and more relevant keyword. Bam! Result.
But hold on a second. Finding good keywords with high traffic is only half the battle. Now you need to see if you have any chance of getting onto the first page of a search engine with that keyword. And to find that out we need to put on our business cap and start analyzing the competition. The competition are the websites that are in the top 10 spots in Google (or whatever search engine you’re focusing on) for that keyword. We need to find out as much information as we can about those sites and evaluate whether or not our website is able to beat them to a spot. This is where things get tricky. You should be prepared for the fact that ranking for some keywords is not going to be possible, that the competition is just too strong. So let’s have a look at the competition for the keywords that we have identified so far. Namely “used cars” and “used cars Ireland”
FYI some of the links below are affiliate links. These are products I use daily and are awesome. If you decide to use these products through these links then I will earn a small commission. Just so you know.
I use two programs to identify keywords and assess the competition. Market Samurai and Long Tail Pro and I’ll cover this strategy in a lot more detail in my next post but for now let’s just look at the results from Long Tail Pro. Below is the screen grab for the keyword “used cars Ireland”. Remember this keyword had more than twice the search volume of the first keyword, “used cars”, that we looked at earlier.
Looking at the data that Long Tail Pro returns I can see straight away that this will be a difficult keyword to rank for. I’ll talk you through why. This is just a quick explanation. I’ll be going into far more detail in my next post when I show you an SEO strategy that will give you a great chance of ranking on page 1. More on that later.
Domain Authority Average Score = 38.8.
I like to target keywords where my competition is averaging below 30. Even at 30 it’s going to be difficult.
Juice Links = 12800.
Juice links are links that appear on other websites that are considered an authority on a subject. The higher this number to more difficult it will be to generate back links that will beat that competition.
Domain Authority = 37.9
The higher the domain authority the more likely it is for content to rank in Google. This is a score out of 100. Again you would ideally want this as low as possible which would indicate weaker competition.
These are three things that I look at when considering if I should target a keyword or not. Now let’s do a quick comparison with the keyword “used cars” that we looked at earlier. It only has a search volume of 3600 but the numbers that show up in Long Tail Pro are a bit more enticing.
Domain Authority Average Score = 30.3
Juice Links = 7831.
Domain Authority = 36.8
You can see that there is a better opportunity to rank on the first page of Google for the keyword “used cars” versus the keyword “used cars Ireland”. The competition is weaker for “used cars” and that gives you an opportunity to rank for that keyword. So you need to ask yourself a question when you’re choosing keywords to target.
Is it better to rank better for a lower volume keyword than not ranking for a higher volume keyword?
Yes. All day every day the answer is yes!
You need to get on that first page and you ideally need to get in a top 3 spot. Why a top 3 spot? Well I’ll tell you. The link in position 1 gets far more clicks than the link in position 2. And position 2 gets far more than position 3 and so on. There are varying stats around the web but trust me when I say that being in the top 3 is where you want to be. Having said that. Getting on Page one is the goal.
So the example above with the used cars in Ireland should highlight the need to target keywords appropriately. FYI feel free to target the used car market in Ireland. I picked that niche at random as an example and found what looks like a good opportunity for someone who’s interested in this.
What you need to do is find the keywords that are not dominated by the big sites and target them properly. What this means is using the keyword in your URL, use the keyword in the first paragraph of your post, use the key word in a headings in your post such as a H1, H2 headings, and use your keyword in the meta description on your page. These are the basics and if you’re not sure how to go about doing all of this then I’d recommend installing the Yoast SEO and the All in One SEO Pack plugins if you’re using WordPress. These will give you fantastic advice on your posts as you are writing them. You just can’t beat the guidance that you’ll get from these plugins. Here’s a visual on the Yoast Plugin which updates its advice as you write your post.
These are amazing plugins that will keep your SEO service requirements to a minimum if you follow their advice.
So let me wrap up this post by telling you that your SEO service needs can be eliminate as you write your posts by following those basic step. Install the Yoast SEO and All in One SEO plugins, target your keywords properly with Long Tail Pro or Market Samurai. For some more advanced step to take in getting your posts ranked keep an eye out for my next post which is a step by step guide to writing an SEO optimised post with focused and targeted keywords as well as advice on beating your competitors back linking strategy.