As you can tell from the title, this is part 3 of a series I’m calling “Commission Junction Profit Plan,” I grabbed the name from my favorite ebook, Amazonian Profit Plan. If you want the back story why I’m all about Commission Junction, it can mostly be found in the first installment.
Read those first two parts if you want a coherent plan of attack – and yeah: this is not my blueprint per se, but you can follow along and should make some money along the way.
This should have been an ebook, and be forewarned: these ain’t short posts. This one is at 3,368 words. If you want to make a cup of coffee or a sandwich, now’s the time.
What you should have so far…
- By now, you have your product(s) – and you really ought to have a few that are related, about 3-5 works for me, because I don’t buy into the one product per website model…BUT I do one thing at a time to be focused on what I’m doing. Picking more than one to work at a time is suicide unless you have a VA or you just normally work that way (more power to you).
Just pick a few related products you can sell, preferably around a theme that makes sense. At the end of your content publishing, you should wind up with a themed website of sorts – even if it’s a gift website or coupon site – there should be some theme for a visitor to latch onto.
- You have been accepted to some affiliate partners in the CJ marketplace…
- You’ve done your market research – usually for me that means I have a few tabs open in NotePad++ with my notes. I make a number of notes regarding customer reviews, quotes, keyword data (I use Market Samurai, Scrapebox and Google for most of this)…
Step 3: Plan Your Content
If you haven’t noticed, I’m thorough – as time goes on and you get more involved, you can spend less time on these things since you’ll develop a rhythm of sorts.
I really recommend that you develop a plan – even if it’s not this one, there’s more ways to skin a cat. Whatever your plan, stick to it – and it helps if you stick to ONE plan at a time, not 4…
It helps to have a time management system – and I’m finding the Action Enforcer is the way to go for me. It’s simple, I get lots of work done, and it’s only $27.
I have a system I use to get a bird’s eye view of what I want to do for content. My methods may not work for everyone, but (to quote another hip hop reference): This how I do.
On-Page and Off-Page Content
The two facets that I look at are on-site and off-site, they relate to and involve on-page and off-page SEO.
“On-page SEO” is simply how you use your keywords, your robots.txt file, your navigation – how you layer your keywords and theme your site, do you silo your content or not…It can get pretty technical. I keep things simple as I can.
When I plan my on-page SEO, I make things easier with the use of these tools:
- Market Samurai: helps me find the keywords in the first place, and I use low or moderate-compete terms, anything I think I can rank for by checking their competition module.
- Clickbump SEO and SEOPressor: these plugins both do a lot of the same thing, they have an on-page SEO checklist to check your use of keywords. SEOPressor will automatically decorate your text and insert your ALT tags for your images so your keywords appear there.
Clickbump SEO will not auto-decorate text, but it will tell you the LSI terms you should use, it scans the top 10 in Google and sees what terms they use in their web pages – and I use both.
I’d pick either one if I were you, you don’t need both, but I use one to check one keyword, and the other to check another keyword to save me time since I optimize my pages for several keywords.
[Clickbump SEO is MUCH cheaper last I checked - and they have the same SEO checklist.]
I consider these plugins indispensible to my on-page SEO, since they’re quick, accurate and from using them, I’ve been able to rank some older posts much easier simply by implementing their recommendations.
The free download is packed with information of on-page elements I need to check, and I use it for competitive analysis as well as a final step to make sure my published website is properly SEO’d.
If you want to use these tools or not, here’s how I plan my on-site content (you can do it without any premium tools, I’ve invested since this is my living, not a hobby):
My On-Site Content Plan
1. Find keywords to use. Either use keyword tools (and use more than one) like Google Insights, Google Keyword Tool, Wordtracker, Rank Tracker (another from SEO Powersuite – it gives me a lot more than just Google keywords), or your own proven methods.
I use Google’s Keyword Tool (the AdWords tool), and LSI terms from their Wonder Wheel (I use Scrapebox for this, and it’s not recommended by Google’s best practices, but neither is link building for ranking).
Other LSI terms I’ll grab from Clickbump SEO in my admin panel before I hit “publish.”
2. I want to make sure my posts have 5,000 or more in monthly searches. Some go higher, like 30,000 total monthly searches total per post. I’ve found that roughly 5k a month of targeted traffic is sufficient to make a lot of money from one page (but why stop at one?).
Anyway, if you have Google AdWords Keyword tool open, hit the “Exact” button in the sidebar to filter your results – this gives a more realistic picture, and NO you won’t ever get all the traffic.
You will get around 30-40% of that traffic for a #1 spot in Google – and that assumes Google doesn’t do funny business.
Sometimes Google Products, Images, Videos, News or Places will show up ahead of your site – ain’t that nice of them? Just know you will never get 100% of that traffic, even at #1, keep it realistic in your mind.
When I make a review post, I aim for at least 5,000 monthly searches according to Google’s tool – and I’m consistently using their traffic estimates.
I don’t mix my figures of traffic estimates – I want a consistent “baseline” to work with, a steady benchmark. I take it all with a grain of salt – remember, it’s an estimate, Google can’t tell you the future actions of human beings for a keyword…
So at this step, I’m making a list of keywords to use in my post/review that adds up to at least 5,000 monthly EXACT searches. Usually, that means I use more than one keyword, however many I need to hit this minimum.
I like to have as FEW keywords as possible per page, but I naturally vary them as I write anyway, so I pick up longtail traffic and track all that with analytics programs – that way I use these other longtail keywords in future posts, tweaking current content, or future backlinking campaigns.
3. Keep a main keyword the main keyword in a post. I still optimize my Permalinks and my Titles for one main keyword, and not always the one with the most traffic: I sometimes go for the one with the most traffic AND the lowest competition.
There should be one main keyword you optimize a page for, the one you really want to rank for – that should be used in the Permalink structure (post slug / URL) and the Title of the post.
I also use it in the first sentence, first “ALT” image tag, first call to action link on my post.
I make sure that Clickbump SEO tells me I have a score of 80% or more for that keyword before hitting “Publish” (same with SEOPressor). For my other keywords, I get above 60% scores at least.
4. Use keywords for categories, tags, navigation. This goes without saying almost, but I use my keywords for all these things. If you don’t, you really should – and check how your top competitors are doing the same.
This is also why you need to know which keywords are your most important – which keywords do you ultimately want to rank for, all said and done? These are your categories, tags, navigation links.
5. Meta-descriptions, and get SEO Ultimate. SEO Ultimate is one of my favorite WordPress plugins, it’s entirely free and released by an SEO company with a killer blog, SEO Design Solutions.
I use it rather than All In One SEO, which is only good for meta descriptions and titles last I used it – I prefer the total control of the SEO of my websites using SEO Ultimate (goes to my review here of the plugin).
One of the things I do is make sure all my posts have a meta description, titles, and are crawlable by Googlebot. Rather than mess with the robot.txt file, there’s a simple checkbox with SEO Ultimate.
It also allows you to check competition on keywords using the traditional methods, and a host of other things – priceless (literally, it’s free).
6. Use keywords to inter-link posts. I’d recommend you inner-link your keywords to your review posts, and vary your keywords now and again. I try for 70% “ultimate keyword” links, and the rest are secondary keywords.
This will theme your pages, make Google realize which posts are important, and directs traffic to your important reviews. So the benefits are: better rankings, and more people to buy your stuff.
You can make it easier by using a link cloaker, like Eclipse Cloaker, for that. Otherwise, SEO Ultimate auto-links posts to each other really easily.
That, in essence, is my on-site content planning – an overview. The moral of the story at this juncture is to plan your overall site build as soon as you have your keywords.
From the number of products to start with, when you’re testing the waters in the niche or theme to see what sells, to the overall use of keywords and your strategy in how you’ll approach your on-site SEO – you have to have some sort of plan.
Otherwise, you’ll end up over-spending on backlinks and wondering why you can’t break into the top ranks – because it takes more than a count of links. You can rank with fewer links, if you’re smart about your on-page SEO.
There’s a bit of a technical issue I want to spell out, many of my experienced readers are already doing this, but maybe you’re not already thinking about these things…
It’s a mistake I’ve made and paid for, and don’t want you to repeat it.
My Off-Site Content Planning
I write off-site content like I would my site, but the advantage is that I’m pretty familiar with my subject matter at this point.
I can write like an animal.
Personally, I have no trouble coming up with stuff. Still, the tools are there for those having issues in this area – and there’s no excuse: just different solutions.
Before backlinking, I have a plan I’m going to follow.
First: I plan to primarily use articles, press releases, guest posts on other blogs, and web 2.0 sites like Squidoo, HubPages and Blogger, etc. If you missed my link wheels post, I use those properties and then some.
In other words, I first and foremost use content to get a visitor to my site.
This is how I generate an interest in low-volume keywords to begin with: it’s marketing 101.
This is also why I don’t care too much if a traffic estimate is low – you can generate an interest in your products if your company is a nobody.
It’s my job as an affiliate to generate traffic and an interest anyway, it’s what I’m paid for.
The types of links I use vary – I never rely on just ONE method, if you do: don’t expect to hit #1 easily. Vary your link types and link IP addresses…
Here’s a hodge podge mix of links I’ve used and use:
Article resource box links
Document sharing sites
Other websites you own
Social media at large
The BEST Link
The Worst Link
The Ambivalent Link
The Missing Link
The Found Link…etc.
[The "best link" is when someone links to you on their own - I've had people use my sites for answers in Yahoo! Answers without me asking...because I write my heart out.]
This is basically what I do, if it’s “too much work,” that’s what my competition thinks, too – and why I out-rank them:
1. SEO everything – use LSI keywords for off-site linking. This is really important, it means you have relevant links (I’m assuming at this point you’ll do articles and the like for links).
I use the LSI terms from Google’s Wonder Wheel to find related terms to my main keywords, and I don’t do this manually…(Scrapebox, anyone?)
Clickbump SEO will also give me some ideas in this arena as I publish my posts. Why I do this is for two important reasons:
A) Relevance: I want to keep my content relevant to my link anchor text, and when a visitor visits my site through one of my articles, I want them to find a relevant landing page / review.
I keep my links as relevant as possible.
B) SEO: I don’t want to compete against my own website. If I want to rank for “Magic Submitter,” then I’ll go to the Wonder Wheel or other LSI term provider and grab something else to write articles about, with the anchor text of my links being “Magic Submitter” and variants of it.
In other words, the anchors are always relevant to the article – but the article itself is SEO’d for another (related) keyword. Sometimes I just grab these ideas from Google’s SERPs, at the top or bottom there are suggested keywords of related searches.
At this point, I’m suggesting you get your keywords for your off-site content in order – use your primary keywords for your anchor text, with your LSI terms for your content and SEO for your off-site articles.
2. Use “Question/Answer” Template: Earlier I mentioned Answer Analyst, there are other solutions like what Tara suggested in another comment from WordTracker. A free tool to use, it finds relevant questions relating to keywords.
If you did your market research, the topic of the last post in this series, you should know your audience somewhat, and your product, and the questions to ask. In other words, who wants the product? Why?
Where I’m going with this is simple (to me, anyway):
If I’m reading an article, and it brings up some questions and hints at answers for me – then I’ll click the link to get the answers or the product that is a solution to my problem. This works like you wouldn’t believe for traffic.
I suggest you make a list of questions you can ask in your off-site articles – and answer on your website.
3. Use “Problem – Solution” Template: This is a lot like the former, but instead of using a question/answer, you stir up the problems and lead to a solution. The solution is revealed at your website, the problem is identified and even stirred up a bit with the articles.
Again: it works like crazy, it’s nothing new – but most great ideas aren’t unique, just proven.
Make a list of the benefits of your product(s), if you didn’t already in the last step – which is all part of market research and finding a unique selling position.
4. Rank the articles with their own backlinks. Especially after the recent Google Panda / Farmer Update – I’ve noticed like others that backlinked articles and web 2.0 properties are still in place.
Stuff that wasn’t linked isn’t doing too hot. Take this step if you want more traffic and sales. Ignore it if you’re happy making less money.
5. Make sure you have a list of places to get links from. :) Where are you linking from? EzineArticles? That’s still a good place – but you’ll need to know where you plan on publishing if you want to actually get your articles published.
A lot of my friends are using BuildMyRank and loving their results. Everyone I know of is loving it.
Wrapping It Up
By now, you should really know your products. Know their features, and next time I’ll get into the actual copywriting: writing the reviews on your site.
The point of all this is to out-do your competition easily. Do your homework, most people you compete against won’t.
Ranking isn’t enough.
If you get to page one, in spot one, in Google – and your reviews read like a blurb off the back of a postcard or don’t provide anything of value for your readers…
Well, prepare to rank in the top spot with no sales, scratching your head and wondering why Google’s broken and internet marketing sucks.
People visit websites looking for solutions, to be entertained, to socialize, to find answers to questions, and actual product reviews.
They can’t visit your site if they don’t find you.
The WILL find you if you article market – because your articles will get some click throughs if you SEO them and build links to them in time (to get them ranking)…
Once you do have rankings and that free traffic from on and off-page SEO, do you have a sale? Will you optimize your sales and make more money with a few tweaks?
The next post is all about copywriting. Conversion optimization will be another thing I’m keeping for my list. Did you subscribe yet? :)
Free SEO Resources
If you want more SEO tips, I can’t recommend this resource highly enough:
I’ve learned a lot by subscribing to the following for keyword tips and SEO strategies (I am an affiliate for SEOBook but here I’m just talking their FREE 7 day autoresponder tips):
For more about link-building methods, in addition to my link wheel post, I’d recommend you read:
Crass, I know – but it hopefully shows you the mindset of who you might be up against. I’m not alone in the field – and I’m not the most competitive guy out there. It’s time to step up the game if you want to really make a living at this.
Free On-Page SEO Audit Resources
I know not everyone can go out and get Clickbump SEO, I understand that – so what do you do? Try these free resources – I still use them time to time, especially during competitive analysis:
> WebSite Auditor from SEO PowerSuite (the free download still helps a ton)
> WebSEOAnalytics.com (free reports, they’re really helpful)
> Vaughn’s Google Ranking Factors (solid theories, not espoused by Google, but I agree with a lot of it – the checklists are really on-target I think)
Stay tuned for my next post, and if you’re on my list and wondering why I haven’t written anything yet, I’ve been taking my own advice and writing like a fiend on my other sites. I have a number of ideas laid out, though, just for my list folks.
Thanks for joining, and I won’t keep you waiting too long. See you for part 4: Copywriting.
If you enjoyed this part of the series, feel free to buy me a Frap at Starbuck’s. Or a box of green tea, preferably with Mate and Matcha if you have any. :)
Donations are much appreciated.
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