I'm happy to help anyone who is just starting out, and I feel like I'm in a great position to do that because I'm a) not a beginner, so I'm no longer utterly confused and b) I'm not a seasoned veteran, so I'm not too smart to remember what it was like to be utterly confused.
I'll be honest: SEO isn't my "one true calling." It's not what I wanted to be when I was 12, and thoughts of backlinking campaigns weren't what kept me up at night (although sometimes, now they do). But it's saving me from having to enter the corporate grind, and the more I do SEO, the more I'm beginning to actually love it.
- You grow to love what your everyday life depends upon.
But getting down to more actionable items, which is what I know anyone who took the time to read this is is looking for. I'll start with the most important one of this post:
- If you want to write an eBook and sell it on your website, don't spend 4 months making everything look perfect.
Well, it didn't.
I could have written my eBook in a few weeks, and instead it took me 3 months. I could have designed my site in a week, and instead it took me a month. The truth is, shoppers online don't need to see an incredibly beautiful site. If they're in the shopping mentality, there are really only a few triggers that will compel them to pull out their wallets, and pristine CSS isn't one of them. And that reminds me:
- Spend most of your time perfecting one single craft, and outsource 90% of the rest
Spend the bulk of your time becoming an authority in ONE thing, and once you've got that mastered, center your business around THAT. Don't try to be a jack of all trades because you'll spread yourself thin.
Once I finally got my site in order, looking exactly the way I wanted it to, I knew I needed to start building links. So I did what anyone else would do and signed up for WarriorForum, scouring the threads for as much information as I could get my hands (eyes) on. Hell, I'll even make a point out of that:
- As long as you know how to weed out the crap, the information you get from internet marketing forums is as good as you'll get from professional SEOs.
Our team of SEO Experts will position your site where it can generate the kind of traffic that will convert to paying customers. Our SEO Strategies are based on: |
Look at those topics. Any of these topics could easily be new threads that you'll see on the forums tomorrow.
Don't think you need to pay some guy in a suit $250/hour to get SEO advice. If that makes you feel more comfortable, sure, be my guest, but the information he'll tell you is the same thing you could have gotten here for free.
Speaking of people who know what they're talking about, I want to make a plug here. Not for myself, but for the guy who taught me half of what I know about doing business online (almost all the non-SEO stuff). The guy whose blog I read in its entirety, dating back to '08, before I lifted a finger promoting my site. Big ups to Pat Flynn at The Smart Passive Income Blog who is one of the few people online who is truly out there to help all his readers (up over 13,000 now) make money online. As far as I know, he still personally responds to every single email he gets, and that is a huge accomplishment as far as I'm concerned.
As far as my own site goes, although I made plenty of mistakes and took way too much time creating it, I did do one thing right, though.
- I got into a relatively easy niche to dominate, which put a magnifying glass to every single SEO technique I tried.
Yeah, tiny niche.
For a while I thought this was a huge mistake. I picked the niche without doing any keyword research at all. I just knew a lot about the topic and I was determined to write the book.
But choosing a non-competitive niche was a great idea for a few reasons. Number one, I was absolutely clueless about how to rank a site. Imagine trying to rank a site for "make money online" when you don't even know what "nofollow" means. Good luck. By trying to rank a site when you're only up against 10 or so "real" competitors, every change you make has a clear cause-and-effect result on your rankings. When you're trying to rank up against 3000 other sites, you never seem to be getting anywhere for a while no matter what you try.
Number two, this gave me a realistic chance at being #1 for my target keyword. For the first month of doing SEO, all I did was create profiles in various forums, commented on blogs, write articles, and all the other familiar techniques that we've all grown accustomed to doing. And you know, it worked. I can't say what will work for "everyone," but I know what worked for me.
- Out of all the most basic methods of linkbuilding, high PR dofollow blog commenting was the most effective.
But although I was making progress, I knew there had to be a better way than that.
- Why was I spending so much time writing article after article, signing up for forum after forum, just for one measly PR0 backlink?
At that point I decided to stop listening to everyone's Grand Theory of SEO and instead decided to find out first hand what was working. I Googled the most competitive keywords I knew and I began to reverse-engineer where those top-ranking sites were getting their links from.
- What I began to find out was that most of the top ranking sites were getting their links from the homepages of high PageRank sites.
- Don't listen to everything Matt Cutts tells you.
Reverse-engineering top-ranking sites taught me that a lot of the stuff that Cutts and Google speak out against is the same kind of stuff that brings results.
I'm currently in the middle of an SEO experiment I'm conducting, which is meant to piece together this puzzle that I've tried to make clear in my head. There is so much more to say on this topic, but this post has gone long enough for you all, I assume.
If this post gets 0 comments, that's OK because I know even this forum is competitive to compete on. But if any who is just starting off with SEO wants to start a discussion on anything I've mentioned, I'd be more than happy to go into further detail.
I feel like it's my time to give back to this forum. Although there is certainly a lot of junk on this site (sorry!), there are also a great number of people who have a goldmine of information in their heads and an even kinder heart for explaining all they know to people they've never even met. You know exactly who you are...
I could have just said "Thank you," but I figure this post may be a little more useful. Well, I hope so at least.
To borrow a phrase from Pat Flynn, who borrowed it from Gary Vaynerchuk...keep crushing it out there. You guys are awesome.