Before I start, I need to say that “I’m not selling anything in this guide series, no sale, no click here buttons, no affiliate links, nada!” The purpose of this post is to share as much information as I can and hopefully invite other IMers to contribute in bettering the process of link building. Hopefully this can help many new comers and that we can all learn some new tricks along the way.
I’m a new member here on WF, but I have been making money online since 2006. I’m not going to bore you guys with my life story and how I spent my last 8 years online. Let’s cut to the chase and let me break down how I do my link building post Panda/Penguin/Hummingbird. They may not be the best way to do things, but it’s how I do it and I try to do things systematically. It’s pretty technical, let’s see ‘em yeah?
Most of the tools I use are free, if not, then they are somewhat must have tools.
Post Web 2.0 Properties with links (Social Network, PDF sites, Wiki Sites, Article Directories, Social Bookmarks, Web Profile, and Forums)
Ping and Index Web 2.0 Properties
Social Buzz (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, etc)
There are a lot of free/paid keyword research tools and services out there that promise to do keyword research quickly and precisely. Here, I’m going to show you how I do it RAW and the mechanic behind each step.
I always start off my keyword research with Google Keyword Planner. I use it for two obvious reasons. One is because is free! Two is because it has the largest keyword database. If your niche is “very niche,” other tools will not give you any related keywords at all. Some may claim that everyone uses Google, those keywords recommended are saturated. Well, if your niche is saturated, your high traffic keywords will be saturated, it comes as a package. If you want to avoid competition, you can choose less competitive keywords Google gives you.
Google Keyword Planner is free, so you just need an account with Google Adwords.
1. Log in to Google Adwords
2. Go to Tools >> Keyword Planner
3. Type in one or more keywords in “your product or service” (all other options are self-explanatory), then click “Get ideas”
4. You’ll see a small list of keywords, click Download and save as excel to get the full keyword list.
5. You only have to worry about 3 fields Google gives you: Keyword, Avg. monthly searches and Competition..
a) Keyword: Your related keywords based on what you had from step 3
b) Avg. monthly searches: the average number of times people search this exact keyword in a month
c) Competition: How much competitors are bidding on the keyword in Adwords from 0 to 1. “1” being a lot, and “0” being close to none.
d) ROI Index: Add a new column and name it “ROI Index.” This index is Avg. monthly searches / [10^(competition * 10)] Basically, the higher the value, the higher the ROI you will get for your keyword because it means that it has high searches and low competition.
Excel formula to calculate this index: C2/POWER(10,F2*10)
C2 is the cell with the Avg. monthly searches
F2 is the cell with the Competition
Here comes my SPECIAL RECIPE
6. Keywords Group: Categorize these keywords to 4 different groups (main keywords, secondary keywords, diversify keywords, and no competition keywords). You should market these keywords differently.
a) Main keywords: your main focus, your money keywords. These are doable keywords where you might be able to rank for and if you do, they will bring you the most traffic. One of your main keywords ranking high up in the SERP (search engine results page) will be better than ranking 100 long tail keywords with little to no traffic.
b) Secondary keywords: your 2nd tier keywords. These are keywords that are either very competitive with high traffic or possible to rank with medium traffic.
c) Diversify keywords: these are the filler keywords, since Panda and Penguin; we know that we have to diversify our keywords instead of just pushing just the high traffic keywords. We need a bunch of other random and weird keywords to point to our money site.
d) No competition keywords: these are keywords that have no competition, easy to rank for. Each keyword won’t bring in much traffic, but ranking for a lot of these will add up. And since the competition is so little, little effort can bring in a little traffic, why not right?
Of course, when we link build, we’ll also add in some percentage of backlinks using the URL and generic words such as: click here, more info, check this out, etc. We’ll get into the detail of how much to post to which type of keywords in the “Post Web 2.0 Properties” section.
Ok, now we’ll go through how to categorize Google Adwords list of keywords into these 4 groups.
7. Filter out all of the keywords that are less than 7 characters; these are usually keywords that are TOO broad and have lots of searches, they will skew the result and mess up everything. If your brand is less than 7 characters and it’s in the list, then keep it.
Excel formula to calculate string length: strlen(B1)
B1 is the cell with your keyword
8. Mean and Standard Deviation
Your keyword with “lots of searches” could be 1 million searches or 1000 searches. For example, if one of your keywords has 1000 searches while all of other keywords in your list have 10 searches, then the keyword with 1000 searches could be considered as “lots of searches”. So having lots of searches is relative to your unique list and niche.
Here, we’ll do some math to compare each keyword against each other to get the mean and standard deviation of the “Avg. monthly searches”. We’ll use these results to help categorize which keywords have lots of searches and which have little. This section could be a bit confusing for people with a little math background. But I recommend doing it this way because it is “systematic” so no guessing is needed.
Calculate the average value (mean) of the “Avg. monthly searches” column.
Excel formula to calculate mean: =AVERAGE(C2:C801)
C2 is the first cell under the column Avg. monthly searches and C801 is the last cell. This formular will get all of the values from C2 to C801 and return the average (mean).
Calculate the standard deviation of the “Avg. monthly searches” column.
Excel formula: =STDEV(C2:C801)
9. Label keywords as “High Searches” for all keywords with Avg. monthly searches 3 standard deviation above the mean.
10. Move High Searches keywords aside. Repeat step 8 to calculate the mean and standard deviation again but this time without the high searches keywords.
11. Label keywords as “Mid Searches” for all keywords with Avg. monthly searches 1 standard deviation above the mean. And label everything else as “Low searches.”
12. Label “diversify” to all keywords with “Low Searches”
13. Label “diversify” to all keywords with repeated words. For example, a keyword in my list is “dog training dog training,” a repeated words keyword. Don’t know why Google would recommend this word, but I’m going to classify it as a diversify keyword.
14. Label “diversify” to all keywords that is a domain name and it’s not your domain name. Domain names being suggested as related keywords will show up sometimes because people search domain names quite often.
15. Label all keywords to “no competition” where their competition is less than 0.1.
16. Label “potential main” to all keywords with “High or Mid searches” where the keywords repeat in the URL more than 50% of the time. The URL is your money site URL, the page you plan to back link to. For example, if your keyword is “dog training expert,” and your URL is dogtrainingonline.com, both the word dog and the word training appear in the URL. So 2/3 words of this keyword is in your URL, more than 50% of the time. This is the exact match domain (EMD) concept; the theory is that having your keywords in your URL will help you in the SERP but many Gurus now claim that EMD doesn’t help with your keyword ranking. I think say that it doesn’t hurt to focus your backlinks in keywords that have high or mid searches and it’s in your URL.
17. Label “potential main” to all keywords with “High searches, ROI Index greater than 100 and has a high keyword density on your URL page.” There are a lot of free tools out there that will scan your page and give you the keyword density, but a lot of those tools will consider image alt tags, link alt tags, image name and other junks as keywords. If anyone know of a good free tool, please share!
The way I do my keyword density is different. I have a php script that strips out all the junk and anything that repeats on the page like a list because a list usually have some words in there that repeat over and over. So whatever that’s left is mainly, the title, description, and maybe 100 words or so all together that best describe what the page is about. I match each keyword against this leftover content, and if it matches 2 times or higher, I’ll say it’s high keyword density. So, it’s best you find a free tool to classify which keyword is high density for this step.
18. Label “potential secondary” to all keywords with “ROI Index greater than 100 and has a high keyword density on your URL page.” This step, I consider my high keyword density when there the keyword matches 1 time or higher against the leftover content mentioned in step 17.
19. Qualify each of the potential main and potential secondary keywords by looking at the search results and check what URLs are ranking in the top 20. I use semrush.com API to get the top 20 URLs and then use seomoz.com API to get the DomainAuthority, PageAuthority for each of the 20 URLs I get from Semrush. You can search on Google to get the top 20 results and use opensiteexplorer.org to get the DA and PA. For URL with both DA and PA less than 50, I consider them as no authority page, meaning that if they can rank, I can rank.
I will go through each of their competitor’s URLs from the top 20 results and for each no authority URL that rank in the top 10, I give two points and for those in SERP 11-20, I give one point. The more points means the easier I can rank for those keywords.
For each potential main keywords with 3 points or higher, I will qualify them as main keywords else I’ll drop them to secondary keywords. For each potential secondary keywords with 8 points or higher, I will qualify bump them to main keywords. If they are 3 points or higher, I’ll qualify them as secondary keywords else I’ll drop them to diversify keywords.
After all these steps you now have what you need!
Main keywords are really relevant to your URL and/or content on the page with high monthly searches and could be possible to rank for since other small sites/urls are already ranking.
Secondary keywords are related keywords where they have decent monthly searches and could be possible to rank for.
Diversify keywords with little search traffic but they are related to your niche and could be used to diversify your backlink anchors.
No competition keywords where you could blast some back linking campaigns and maybe get some free traffic and at the same time diversify your backlink anchors.
Wow, this post took longer than I expected! It’s like a mini eBook!
I bet it took you guys a long time to read this.
Hope you guys found something useful.