Just a few points I want to make before I get into the nitty gritty details of how I did this and how you can mimic what I did, I want to make a few things clear:
-NO special SEO software
-NO insider SEO secrets
-NO gimmicky products or services
This DOES require:
-A desire to learn
-A desire to succeed
That's about it.
So if you have both of those requirements (and hopefully in very high amounts), read on...
The Start Of My Journey
I started my SEO journey back in late 2010 with a tiny idea that if I could just finish writing my eBook, maybe I can sell enough copies down the road to pay for life's little expenses--a random gift for my sister, that extra bag of chips, maybe even an iPod.
Little did I know it would end up paying my rent! By moving on...
I devoured every bit of SEO knowledge I could get my hands on, including this forum. I scoured this forum. Got invaluable SEO knowledge from the likes of Terry Kyle and Joseph Archibald (anyone remember that famous thread?). But even though I was receiving great knowledge, I was simultaneously receiving incorrect information from wannabe SEO experts.
Problem was, I didn't know how to tell them apart.
Then, came epiphany #1:
Fact-check the gurus.
Yes, all of them. Oh, feel free to read their material as food for thought. But never, ever take what they say as automatically true. Remember that gurus got to be gurus over months and years of reputation building--but over those months and years, SEO has changed so much that the products and services they're selling are usually OLD NEWS.
Some of the "gurus" give completely legit SEO advice. I'd venture to say that even most of them do. But regardless of what they say, you need to go out there and see for yourself.
Take a look at top-ranking websites. Look for the big money terms and see what they're doing to get ranked #1. Whatever it is, it must be working. And what you find may not be at the tip of every guru's tongue, but it's clearly working for the biggest guru of them all: GOOGLE!
Oh, and that reminds me of epiphany #2:
Some of the quietest, most unassuming members of this forum are also the ones cashing in the biggest checks.
I mean think about it: if you're really raking it in, would you be spending all your time posting on internet forums? In fact, it's when I got AWAY from the WarriorForum that I finally started making good money.
I started DOING instead of learning. And by doing, I was learning, too.
One of the most valuable lessons I learned was the value of the right tools. Now, I did mention that you don't need any special SEO software to be successful in this business, and that's true. I don't consider Open Site Explorer to be "special SEO software," so I'm going to vouch for it right here:
Open Site Explorer is the most valuable tool an SEO can have.
More than any other tool, OSE has helped me determine WHY sites are ranking where they are and also how to get my own sites to rank.
Pay extra close attention to the Page Authority and Domain Authority values listed there. Just those two stats alone will tell you most of what you need to know.
Go ahead, do the testing. Go and see which sites are ranking and which ones arent. More often than not, OSE will back you up.
Now, I know you might be curious about the eBook that has made me over $10k in just over a year. I won't go into the specific niche details here, but I can tell you a few pointers to live by:
1) Don't think you have to tackle the biggest niche out there to make money.
Take a stab at how many people search for my target keyword every month for the eBook I'm selling.
Most SEO gurus would tell you that's pathetic and a complete waste of time to go after.
Most SEO gurus don't think outside the box.
Just indulge me for a moment: if a keyword's search volume is that low, achieving a #1 ranking won't be too hard, right? And importantly, keeping that #1 ranking shouldn't be too hard either, right?
Right. I've been #1 for this keyword phrase for about a year now. The keyword also tends to be informational in nature ("how to..."), so writing an eBook about it was a natural step.
Oh yeah, here's the other little thing: I have zero competition.
That's right. I'm the only player in town and I'm right up at the top whenever anyone searches for my keyword. And as soon as they click on my listing (and oh, they will if I'm #1), my eBook is staring them right in the face.
The thing is, the conversion rate on my site is phenomenal. I invested the time to design the site professionally. I took my time while creating the content. I dotted ever I and crossed every T to make sure this site was absolutely top notch.
So more often than not, when someone checks out my site and previews my eBook, they buy.
And they have practically no choice but to buy. There's no one else offering an eBook for my niche, and I priced it at $39 to ensure that it's affordable.
So even though my keyword may not get 10,000 exact searches per month, the 400 that it does get is extremely targeted, they have no other options to choose from, and they're impressed by my site design. Let's just say that most people are pulling out their credit cards.
But as with everything else in life, I did make one big mistake that I regret. And that is:
I took my site too seriously.
Don't get me wrong, I'm proud as hell of my little site. I call it The Little eBook That Could. But I took it much too seriously.
I spent months designing the site. I should have hired someone else, or hell, even just bought a $47 template and slapped it on.
I spent months writing the eBook. I should have hired someone else to write it for me.
I spent months writing the content for the site. I should have hired a writer to spend the time to write the posts instead.
90% of my buyers are buyers because they found me through Google and had practically no choice but to buy (if they wanted to receive their information). And although Google is smart, it is an algorithm in the end.
It can't tell Stephen King from Don King. As long as the content is unique, that's good enough for them.
I could have created and ranked this site, from concept to first sale, in less than 2 months. Instead the whole process took me 6 months to complete.
It's paying major dividends today, but looking back, I could have done just about the same thing for much less time.
And oh, my last epiphany:
They got it wrong: time is NOT money. Time is much more valuable.
What's money? Just write another eBook, just post another WSO and you'll see your Paypal account fatten up a bit. Money can always be made. Time, well, can never be made back, so make sure you spend it on the things that matter most to you and outsource everything else.
If you know that paying someone $100 to develop a Wordpress plugin will save you 2 months of PHP frustration, DO IT.
If you know that spending that extra $49 on that Wordpress theme will fix all your web design problems, DO IT.
If you can pay someone on fiver $5 for a video transcription instead of transcribing it yourself, by God DO IT.
These products and services exist for a reason. The best kinds of internet marketers are those that chase after time, not money. Money is just a tool to buy you time. That's it.
Most marketers think, "If I just had more time, imagine all the money I could make." The smartest marketers realize it's the other way around altogether:
"If I just had more money, imagine all the time I could have."
Both sentences are true, but keeping your mindset on the second one will keep you grounded and ultimately, will help you make better decisions.
Now, I understand that I haven't exactly revealed every detail on how I made $12k on this eBook, but that's what this thread is for. I'm opening up this thread to any questions you may have--about internet marketing in general or on how to convert a .doc into a .pdf. Literally, anything you'd like.
Every once in a while I like to give back to the WF for helping me achieve what I've achieved. I know there are a lot of people out there who need help as I did when I first started out.
I hope this post helped improve your frame of mind and maybe even taught you a thing or two.
Best of luck!