Over the years, I’ve read a lot of stuff about SEO (‘search engine optimisation’).
Including a plethora of SEO guides.
Each explaining how to get your website ranked on the first page of Google.
Some of it was good.
But most of it was overly-complex, impractical, and difficult to implement.
Usually, because it was crafted by some scammy SEO company looking to scare me into purchasing an SEO ‘audit’.
(Warning: ‘bucket shop’ SEO agencies may actually end up destroying your rankings through their short-sighted ‘spammy’ tactics).
Getting your blog posts, articles, and landing pages to rank well in the search engines isn’t rocket science.
And that’s exactly what I’ll be showing you how to do in this ultimate SEO guide.
For example, I’ll be sharing with you the precise set of steps that I use to get my posts to rank on page 1 position 1 in Google in LESS than ONE HOUR:
(Yes I used private browsing for the search results).
Here’s another example where I managed to outrank a bunch of established YouTube videos in 19 minutes.
All I did was follow the steps below.
What the hell do I know about SEO?
Well, up until around 2015.
But by following some high-quality advice, I was able to take a 6-month old domain.
And drive 11,503 organic clicks and get 360,988 impressions to it in 90-days:
I didn’t apply any ‘secret’ SEO techniques.
Nor did I try to fool Google’s algorithms.
- No crazy-ass content spinning strategies;
- No penalty-inducing link-building techniques;
- No out of date keyword-density protocols;
- No content ‘zagging’ bullshit.
Do you want better rankings and more traffic?
Because you can.
And you don’t need to be an SEO ‘expert’.
Or waste your money hiring an agency.
Because my results are physical proof that ANYONE can get their website(s) ranking well in the search engines.
Even if you’re an SEO novice.
All you’ll need is this free SEO guide and a bit of time to implement it.
Step 1: Search for a Primary Keyword
Your ‘primary keyword‘ is critical because it:
- Defines what your content is going to be about;
- Embodies user intent;
- Implies a logical call to action.
1.1: Keyword Checklist
You should focus your attention on identifying a primary keyword that:
- Is relevant to your niche;
- Is going to get traffic to your website;
- Is highly likely to result in a page 1 ranking with Google, Bing and Yahoo.
1.2: How to Find Your Perfect Primary Keyword
The secret to getting your website ranked on the first page of Google is to create content based on ‘low hanging fruit’ keywords.
These ‘long-tailed’ keywords are super specific.
Meaning that you’ll be going up against fewer websites that have already created content around that exact search term.
Thus making it easier to rank on the first page of Google for that keyword.
But how do you find the best higher-traffic, lower-competition, long-tailed keywords?
Answer: by using a high-quality keyword research tool. 🙂
1.2.1: Use a High-Quality Keyword Research Tool
I stopped using Google’s Keyword Planner.
Yeah, it’s free.
But the metrics that it produces aren’t specific enough for me.
And ever since switching to Jaaxy to do my keyword research.
The number of blog posts that I’m ranking for on page one has gone up.
I personally believe that this is down to the more detailed search metrics that Jaaxy is able to provide.
Thus allowing me to create content around keywords that have a better chance of ranking.
I’ll be using Jaaxy in the example below.
And if you’d like to get 30 super-targeted keyword searches for FREE.
1.2.2: The Keyword Must Get at Least 50 Searches Per Month
Specificity is the key to beating your competition.
Because it allows you to create a swarm of hyper-focused marketing angles around your niche.
But if the search term is too focused.
Then it’s likely that no one is going to be typing that query into Google.
Yes, you may end up ranking for other elements in the phrase (more on ranking for LSI keywords later).
But you want to make sure that your primary keyword is getting at least 50 searches per month.
To do this, go to the ‘Keywords’ tab inside Jaaxy.
Then type your primary keyword into the search bar and hit ‘Find Keywords’ to get the key metrics.
For example, the keyword ‘how to find keywords for an article’ gets 112 average searches per month:
1.2.3: The Keyword Must Have Fewer than 100 Competing Websites
If your website is less than a year old.
Then it’s going to be harder to rank for more competitive search terms because you lack domain authority.
As a rule of thumb, I tend to only write content for keywords that have a QSR of less than 100.
This means that I’m going head-to-head with fewer than 100 other websites for the same keyword phrase.
As your domain authority improves, you can start to go after terms with a QSR of 300 or more.
1.2.4: The Keyword Must Have a ‘Great’ KQI
I know what you’re thinking.
Some of the websites that you’re up against are going to have more ‘clout’ in the search engines than others.
For example, if I see Moz, Quicksprout, and Search Engine Land dominating the first page of the SERPs (‘search engine results page’) that’s three websites that I’m seriously going to struggle competing with.
That’s where Jaaxy’s KQI rating comes in.
It takes into consideration the relative authority of the other websites that you’re up against.
Factors in other SEO metrics.
And expresses the ‘quality’ of that keyword as ‘great’, ‘normal’ or ‘poor’.
Only go after ‘great’ keywords to get the fastest ranking results.
1.2.5: The Keyword Must Make Sense
It’s definitely true that a lot of peoples’ search queries are not grammatically correct.
But you should still ensure that your primary keyword makes sense.
I can’t imagine that Google’s algorithms are going to look upon your content favourably if it’s based around fragmented search terms.
Simply because it’s not going to leave your website visitors with a positive impression either.
Don’t get hung up on trying to avoid ‘stop words’ like ‘the’, ‘in’ and ‘so’.
Google’s 2013 Hummingbird update accounts for this semantic bridge between the user’s intent.
And the exact search term they typed into the query box.
Plus, with voice search on the rise, Google is getting better at understanding full sentences in queries.
The golden rule?
Make your keywords and content sound NATURAL.
Bonus: Use LSI Keywords to Add Depth to Your Content
When you type your primary keyword into Jaaxy.
It will also generate other keyword ideas that you can use.
For example, my original search term also produced the keywords ‘how to write keywords in an article’ and ‘how to find keywords for your website’:
(BONUS TIP: you can also use Jaaxy’s Alphabet Soup tool to generate stacks of related keyword ideas instantly).
How to Use LSI’s the RIGHT Way
These keywords fall short of the ’50 searches per month’ rule.
So, rather than creating new blog posts around these low traffic search terms.
I might use them as LSI (‘latent semantic index’) keywords.
But I don’t mean that you should go ahead and ‘stuff’ LSI keywords into your post.
And nor should you include them if they don’t naturally fit into the flow of your main content.
Instead, you should use LSI keywords to help you add depth to your primary topic.
But only if contextually appropriate.
Simply ask yourself:
‘If I’m writing about [primary keyword], would including information about [LSI keyword] in the same post help my reader fulfil their primary search intent?’
If the answer is ‘yes’.
Then this will provide more value to your readers.
And thus help your rankings.
Step 2: Perform a SERP Analysis
Before you write a single word.
You need to research your topic to see what else is already out there.
Type your primary keyword into Google.
Take a look at the domain names that populate the SERPs (‘search engine results page’).
Are they all high authority domains?
If they are.
2.1: Look for Chinks in Their Armour
Jaaxy has already done most of the legwork to ensure that you have a good chance of ranking for your primary keyword.
So, you might find that a lot of the top results aren’t using your exact primary keyword.
For example, when I did a SERP analysis for the primary keyword for this post.
I found that Neil Patel’s Ultimate Guide to Writing Blog Posts That Rank in Google’s Top 10 had claimed the number one spot:
Neil is well known in the SEO and blogging world for writing super-in-depth authority posts that rank for well for multiple LSI search terms.
But because his article doesn’t use my exact primary keyword.
It gives me an opportunity to address my topic with a greater specificity.
Which may work in my favour in time.
And even if it doesn’t.
By virtue of the very same logic that’s gotten Neil to the number one sport for my chosen term.
My post could rank in the same position for multiple LSI’s that I’ve not even thought of.
It’s all about angles. 🙂
Step 3: Pinpoint User Intent
Now put yourself in the shoes of the person who’s typing your primary keyword into Google.
- What do they REALLY want?
- What problem are they trying to solve?
- How do they FEEL?
3.1: Look for Opportunity
Now go back and read through the first 10 results of the SERPs for your primary keyword.
- Do you think the user will have found what they wanted?
- Is any of the information outdated, incorrect, or lacking depth?
- Can you add more insight and value?
3.2: Add Real Value
If you can fulfil user intent better than what’s already out there.
Then you’re in with a real shout of outranking your competition.
I used to think that simply writing a longer and more detailed article would do the trick (and it can).
But I’ve outranked my competition with shorter content too.
Add depth and quality.
Not merely empty words.
Step 4: Define a Logical Call to Action (CTA)
Ok, this is more to do with ‘conversions’.
But why do you want your website to rank well in the search engines?
To get traffic.
And why do you want to get traffic?
Because you want these people to take action once on your website.
- Buying something from your eCommerce store;
- Subscribing to your mailing list;
- Making a purchase through your affiliate link;
- Leaving a comment on your post;
- Sharing your content;
- Contacting you to book an appointment;
- Registering for an event such as a webinar.
4.1: Align Action With User Intent
In section three.
I asked you to think about user intent based on your primary keyword.
Now you need to tie a logical CTA to that intent.
One that benefits both your user.
And your business. 🙂
Let’s say your reader has landed on your ‘how to solve [your reader’s problem] in 7 steps’ guide.
And you show them how to fix their problem using Product X.
A logical CTA would be to link off to your Product X Review.
So they can find out more about it.
And then buy it via your affiliate link.
Conversely, embedding affiliate links directly into the guide probably wouldn’t work as well.
Because the reader would probably end up leaving your site to look for a Product X review.
4.2: Use Both Implicit and Explicit Calls to Action
An implicit call to action would be linking to your product review using anchor text in a ‘by-the-way’ fashion.
For example, if you mention a specific feature of Product X to solve Problem Y in your ‘How to…’ guide.
You might deep link to that feature in your Product X Review.
Think of these implicit calls to action as ways for your reader to find additional information that can help them as they read through your guide.
By contrast, explicit calls to action tell the reader to ‘do A to get B because of reason C’.
‘Click the button below to get instant access to my course – giving you more targeted traffic to your website TODAY.’
Explicit calls to action work best when your reader has full possession of all the information required to take action.
Usually at the end of the article.
But above the fold can work too in some cases.
Step 5: Make Your Headline Captivating and Unique
Your primary keyword is super-targeted and specific.
Which is good because it tells Google and your readers what your content is about.
And that’s why I usually start my headline with the primary keyword verbatim.
But I like to add a bit more information to the end of my headline to make it both captivating and unique.
5.1: Create Context to Add Depth
Not only does adding such elements make my content more shareable and engaging.
It allows me to add a sub-context to my article.
This gives further opportunity to add depth.
Thus improving my chances of that post ranking well in the search engines.
Examples of Context-Driven Headlines
In my reviews, I might answer a burning question such as:
‘[Product X Review – Is it a Scam?]
‘[Product X Review – Can it Really Help You Make More Money in Less Time?]
Sometimes, I might even add in LSI keywords if they make sense.
If you need help improving the ‘shareability’ of your headlines.
Try typing your primary keyword into the ShareThrough Analyzer Tool.
But don’t become obsessed with the ‘Headline Quality Score’.
Just use it as a guide.
Important: headlines that are ONLY clickbait do NOT work well when it comes to ranking well in the search engines.
Google likes specificity.
Step 6: Follow Google’s SEO Guidelines
Now it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of implementing SEO.
Staying up to speed with Google’s algorithmic changes can seem like a never-ending battle.
But in reality, if your content is primarily geared towards helping people.
Rather than trying to ‘game’ the system.
You’ll go a long way to ‘future-proofing’ your content.
And thus avoid having your content deindexed after a new algorithm update.
Make Google Your Friend!
I like to think of Google as a ‘mystery shopper’ to my website.
Meaning that if I can provide a super-positive user experience.
Then Google will help me out by ‘vouching’ for my content and ‘recommending’ it to others.
6.1: Good SEO Practices
To help Google find my content and ‘impress’ them.
I simply go ahead and follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
I suggest that you give them a read for yourself.
But here’s a summary of the key points:
- Put your primary keyword in the URL, meta title, meta description, inside the H1 heading, and in the ALT text of a relevant image (use a plugin like Yoast to help you do this);
- Use a logical [H1, H2, H3 … H6] heading structure;
- Include a sitemap that points to all your important pages;
- Use internal links with relevant anchor text to link related pages and help web crawlers find your content;
- Use a robots.txt file to prevent crawling of ‘infinite spaces’;
- Create a ‘useful, information-rich site’;
- Have words on your page that users would type into search to find it [read: primary keyword + LSIs + context-driven content];
- Make your important HTML content visible – content inside tabs and ‘expandable’ elements can be crawled but are viewed as ‘less accessible’ to users;
- Use the “nofollow” attribute for affiliate links and links to advertisements;
- Use text instead of images to display important names, content, and links;
- Make your pages quick to load on all devices;
- Make sure that your website is ‘mobile friendly’;
- Ensure that your website is compatible with all major browsers;
- Encrypt your site’s connections using HTTPS and make sure your SSL certificate is valid;
- Make sure that your web pages are suitable for use with a screen reader;
- Create your pages for users – not search engines;
- Don’t try to trick people;
- Ask yourself – ‘does this help my reader?’
- Monitor your site for malicious content injected by hackers;
- Remove spammy content generated by users;
- Don’t allow low quality, spammy comments on your site (make sure you check for unrelated backlinks that the user has left in the ‘website’ field before approving the comment);
- Try to be as unique, helpful, and as outstanding in your niche as possible.
6.2: Bad SEO Practices
Stick to the above list.
And you’ll avoid most of the things that can lead to a Google Penalty.
However, if you’re new to SEO – here are a couple of things to watch out for.
As you might end up doing them simply due to a lack of experience:
- Don’t overdo it with the rich-snippets mark-up schema – just use it for your review pages;
- Don’t add affiliate links to every page;
- Don’t try to artificially manufacture low-quality, unrelated backlinks;
- Don’t create ‘thin’ pages that contain little or no value;
- Don’t scrape or ‘spin’ content;
- Don’t ‘stuff’ your primary keyword into your post;
- Don’t include irrelevant LSIs;
- Don’t overdo it with the internal and external links.
6.3: More SEO Tips
Here are a few more ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’ SEO tips that I personally adhere to:
- Publish high-quality content at least 3 times per week – Google loves sites that are relevant;
- Create your own unique videos and embed them into your site to increase the time people spend on your website;
- Include relevant internal links to reduce bounce rate;
- Keep your anchor text concise, varied, and relevant to the target page;
- Fix broken links and 404 pages with redirection plugins;
- Avoid using page builders to needlessly style blog posts – this can slow down your site;
- Use a site like Compressor to reduce the size of your images before uploading them;
- Use .JPG images – reserve .PNG file types for logos;
- Use the All In One SEO or the Yoast plugin to simplify the SEO process;
- Make sure that your images are redirecting to their parent page – otherwise, you’ll be generating a new page for every image that you upload;
- Keep plugins to a minimum – delete the ones that you aren’t using;
- Keep your themes, plugins and WordPress version up to date;
- Use a high-quality host like SiteGround to keep your website fast;
- Minimise ‘boilerplate’ content as much as possible (sidebars and junk in the footer for example);
- Use a ‘clean’ and consistent URL structure such as ‘post name’ (under ‘permalinks’);
- Make sure that any external links that you use go to high authority websites;
- Use a table of contents to help people navigate long content and get Google to display ‘jump to’ links in the SERPS;
- Use rich-snippets for your reviews;
Everything we have covered so far leads up to this point:
Creating unique and super-helpful content that fulfils the user’s intent.
That’s what’s going to get your content ranking on the first page of Google.
7.1: Your Awesome Content Creation Checklist
Here’s how to create amazing content that will rank in the search engines:
- Make sure that your content reflects the primary keyword (no clickbait!);
- Put the primary keyword in the first paragraph – (make sure it sounds natural!);
- Make sure that sub-contextual and LSI keywords are also addressed with sufficient depth;
- Be as specific, unique, and as helpful as possible;
- Include relevant videos, infographics, and custom images – IF they will help your reader;
- Be concise – avoid needless waffle;
- Don’t obsess over the content length – make it as long as it needs to be to fulfil user intent;
- Make your content easier to read – use shorter paragraphs and break up big blocks of text with pictures and videos;
- Use crisp and engaging web copy – a long-winded academic writing style is huge bore-off (unless you are writing for academics!);
- Summarise key points in the headings – so that skim readers can get the gist and still take action;
- Use logical nesting of heading tags, for example: [H2 > H3 > H4];
- NEVER use more than one H1 tag per page (which is usually generated automatically by WordPress in the title);
- Use logical calls-to-action;
- Write naturally.
7.2 Use the AIDA and PAS Formulas to Invoke Action
These two formulas are my secret weapons.
I use them to increase engagement.
And drive conversions.
7.2.1: AIDA = Attention, Interest, Desire, Action
The AIDA formula generally encapsulates the entirety of my post.
Inside which I’ll nest multiple PAS formulas (see the next section) to mix up the tone.
The first paragraph is crucial.
Use a short sentence, provocative statement, or shocking statistic to get your reader to pay attention.
‘SEO agencies are LYING to you about keyword research’.
Now that you’ve got your reader’s attention.
You need to keep them interested!
Do this by saying something that expands on the original statement in a way that relates to them.
(This is where I like to introduce a ‘problem’ using the PAS formula below).
Your reader needs to feel emotionally compelled to WANT your solution.
(Think about the call to action that you came up with in Section 4).
I’ll do this by ‘agitating’ the problem that I’ve introduced (see PAS below).
And allude to the fact that I solved the problem using my primary CTA.
People take action when it’s the next logical step to solve their problem.
Ultimately, I’m building up to one actionable point at the end of my article.
But even with the finest copywriting skills on the planet.
Most people won’t read all of your content.
(Apparently, only 20% – 28% of the words on the average web page get read).
That’s why I like to nest the ‘implied’ calls to actions throughout my copy to allow logical exit points.
You can sometimes get away with writing a summary close to the fold of the page.
And including a strong call to action there.
This works really well with review posts.
7.2.2: PAS = Problem, Agitate, Solution
The PAS formula is my bread and butter for creating compelling content.
And I’ll nest it inside the AIDA formula multiple times to break up my fact-based content.
Because when you introduce a problem that your reader can identify with.
It immediately gets their attention.
Mirror Your Reader’s Pain-Points Through Your Own Experiences
Reflect your reader’s pain-points back to them via your own stories.
Imply the solution (CTA).
And they will start to trust you very quickly.
This is key.
Because people take action when they ‘know, like and trust’ the person they’re dealing with.
And when you hit them with the solution.
Make sure that you back it up with tangible proof.
Statistics, screenshots, and testimonials work well.
‘But Dan… how the hell do I get backlinks?!’
I can almost hear you shouting it at me through the internet.
Well, if you create super-helpful content that people like.
Then they’ll probably share it on social media, on forums, and maybe even on their own blogs.
And what does that create?
Organic backlinks. 🙂
7.4: Other Legit Link-Building Strategies
I can sense that you’re craving a more specific and ‘instant results’ orientated ‘white-hat’ backlinking strategy.
Here’s one that might fit the bill.
7.4.1: The Skyscraper Technique*
Write a super-awesome and unique post about a hot topic in your niche.
A good place to start is by improving upon topics that have been heavily linked to in the past.
But are now a bit out of date.
Then take that ‘dusty’ content and make it EYE-WATERINGLY awesome!
Include references to authority sites that may find the content genuinely helpful.
(Try to find sources who have linked to similar content in the past to improve your ‘hit rate’).
Promote your amazing content to your existing audience to generate social-proof.
With said proof in hand, reach out to those authority sites to see if they would be interested in linking to your content.
You’ll get a lot of tumbleweed and rejections.
So, create a relevant email template and tweak it slightly for each person to save time.
*(I think this is called the Skyscraper Technique and I believe the term was coined by Brian Dean from Backlinko – so all credit goes to him).
Conclusion: Don’t Try to Trick Google – Write For Real People
The ‘secret’ to getting your website ranking well in the search engines can be summed up as follows:
Create highly specific, helpful, and unique content that exceeds the user’s primary intent.
And make sure you do it CONSISTENTLY.
Because Google prioritises sites that are relevant and up to date with the latest trends in your niche.
So, to really start seeing improvements in your rankings.
You’ll need to be creating high-quality content at least 3 – 5 times per week.
Get the Rankings and Traffic that You Deserve
Follow my seven-steps for getting your website to rank on the first page of Google.
And let me know how much extra traffic and conversions you get in the comments section below. 🙂
Did I Miss Something?
Have I missed out a glaringly-obvious, slam-dunk, SEO strategy?
What’s the one thing that you rely on time and time again to get your posts ranking on the first page of Google?
Have you ever watched in horror as your hard-earned rankings tanked overnight – due to the spammy actions of some ‘bucket-shop’ SEO agency?
Let me know of your biggest SEO ‘wins’ and ‘losses’ in the comments section below.
P.S: How to Find Hidden Keywords (Almost Instantly)
Do you want to get instant access to REAMS of keywords that your competitors are sleeping on?
Then you’ll want to check out Jaaxy’s Alphabet Soup tool.
Simply type in your primary keyword and hit ‘Find Keywords’.
And stacks of untapped keywords will be revealed before your very eyes:
Plus, you can also use Jaaxy’s SERP Analysis Tool to pull apart your competition’s web pages.
Helping you gain an even greater edge:
Click the button below to read my Jaaxy Review and you’ll also discover how to get 30 high-quality keyword searches for FREE: