Hey guys… Well I thought I’d do something a little different today. I just had an email exchange with a good friend about how to create websites and optimize them for SEO. Of course, since I’m so passionate about what I do for a living, my email response was very thorough and detailed. Instead of only allowing one person (my friend) to see what I had to say, I thought it would be nice to share it with everyone else.
So here’s some quick background. My friend knows someone by the name of Dan who owns a carpentry business. He just started a free Wix website, but they were wondering how to optimize it for SEO. So, first, here is my friends email to me…
—– Email From A Friend —–
Long time no talk. I follow all of the work that you’re doing, and it’s really amazing. I hope you’re proud of yourself, because you’re doing a great job.
Question for you (and potential business proposition, because you do this for a living) – I put together a website for Dan, but I’m lost when it comes to SEO. Would you have a few minutes to either a) walk me through it or b) take a look at it yourself and make it searchable? I’m happy to pay you for your time and expertise.
The website is: removed for privacy
Let me know if you’re willing to help, and feel free to call, text, or email.
And here is my response below, unedited. This is exactly what I write to my friends. I had no intention of posting this on my site when I wrote the email. Posting it here was an after thought. So here you go! The unedited me! The only edits I made was adding sub-titles to make it more reader friendly.
Well hey there Katie! Thanks a lot for your kind words! The past several years has been pretty incredible, that’s for sure. It certainly hasn’t come without hard work and a many sleepless nights.
For starters, is Dan listed on Google Maps yet? If not, he should get his business listed there ASAP. It’s the first thing that should be done: http://www.google.com/business/
I checked out that site when you posted it on Facebook a few days ago and it looks really great! Unfortunately, performing SEO on the site isn’t going to be as quick and easy, but if you are willing to spend the time or money optimizing the site, the payoff is well worth it. So, in a nutshell, there are two different types of SEO you can perform. Keep in mind that Google ranks websites based on a computer algorithm with hundreds of ingredients that change hundreds of times per year. So, with that in mind, there are two main types of SEO….
Explaining The Different Types Of SEO
The first is called black hat SEO. Basically, this just means that some people attempt to “trick” the search algorithm into ranking their site higher than anyone else. The advantage to this method is when it works, it WORKS and it works fast. The downside is, Google does not like you to fool them and if they find you out, they will stop showing your site in the search engine forever. It’s also getting much more difficult to rank with black hat methods, Google is getting better at finding people using black hat methods, and it now requires quite a bit of technical knowledge to get away with it.
The other method that can be used, and the one I prefer to use, is called white hat SEO. This is basically where you do everything the way Google wants you to do it. The downside to this method is it takes a LOT of time and effort. The upside is, you’ll become a friend of Google and your site will generally do better and better over time.
How To Optimize A Website For SEO
Now, if you want to do things the white hat way, you’ll need to start a blog or find some way to add a new page of content at least a few times per week (the more content you have the higher you will rank – in general). It would also help to develop videos that you can post both on YouTube and on your site. Google owns YouTube and it’s pretty easy to rank YouTube videos highly for local search terms.
The articles you write also need to be very specific. You need to perform what is called “keyword research” so you can figure out what exactly your target audience is searching for in Google. There are all sorts of videos and tutorials online for how to perform keyword research and there are many keyword research services that are available as well, the main one being Wordtracker: http://www.wordtracker.com/
You can also do some keyword research using the free Google Keyword Planner. You have to sign up for a Google Advertising account, but you don’t actually have to pay for the tool or anything else if you don’t want to: https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner
Again, there are TONS of tutorials out there on how to properly use the Google Keyword Planner. Once you have a list of a couple hundred keywords, it’s time to start writing articles based around those keywords. So, if you see that “Kenosha Plumber” is a hot search phrase, you can create an article on “The Top 5 Kenosha Plumbers” or “How To Find The Best Kenosha Plumber” or “5 Things You Need To Know Before You Hire A Kenosha Plumber”. Basically, you need “Kenosha Plumber” (your targeted keyword) to be in these areas on the page that you are creating…
– The “meta title tag” of the page you are creating needs to include your keyword. Here’s more about the meta title tag: http://moz.com/learn/seo/title-tag
– The “meta description tag” also needs to have your keyword. Here’s more info about the meta description tag: http://moz.com/learn/seo/meta-description
– The main header of the page should include the keyword
– At least one sub-heading in the article on the page should include the keyword
– The body of the article should also include the keyword at least once or twice with some variations mixed in as well (plumbers in Kenosha, Kenosha plumbing service, etc.).
You should have a list of at least 100 keywords if not more, and just start going down the list and creating articles based around those keywords.
Explaining The Importance Of Choosing A Niche
By looking at the website, it appears Dan can pretty much do it all as far as carpentry goes (insert jealousy here). What I would suggest, however, is for Dan to pick just one main niche that he enjoys most (or one that is very profitable) and become THE authority in the area on just that one specific thing. At least as far as your online SEO tactics go. What I’d suggest is to keep the current Wix site you have as his main site to put on business cards, etc., but then also create another site that focuses specifically on just one niche. A great platform for a blog is WordPress. There are all sorts of free tutorials on YouTube and elsewhere on how to setup and use WordPress. Just go to YouTube and type in “how to install a WordPress website from scratch” or something like that. You’ll have dozens of free tutorials to choose from and WordPress pretty much does all the SEO work for you.
For example, you could create a website / blog that focuses very specifically on how to retrofit a home for people with disabilities. That can be the entire basis of the site. You could have tutorials on how to install hand rails in showers, how to design kitchens so people in wheelchairs can access everything, how to make homes safer and more secure for kids with autism, how to build proper wheelchair ramps and entryways, etc. The way to really grab ahold of people and build trust is to speak directly to them and their very specific needs. Of course, in each article / tutorial you would say something like, “if you want me to do all of this for you, just give me a call for a free quote!” If some people call from too far away, you can simply find a more local contractor in the area and ask them for a small finders fee in exchange for sending them the business. The local leads, well, you keep those all for yourself.
You can create as many of these niche sites as you want. Once you have a niche site ranking highly, you just create another one around a different niche and keep expanding.
Explaining How Long It Takes To Rank A Website Well In Search Engines
The real question is, how long does it take to rank these sites? About 6 to 12 months. It could possibly happen sooner, especially for local search terms, but that’s just how long it takes these days unfortunately (a LOT has changed over the past few years in regards to this – it used to be much faster). From there, however, it’s all gravy. You have a lead generating machine running 24/7/365 and it never calls in sick.
Also keep in mind this can ALL be outsourced. I outsource most of my sites now, from content creation to developing the site, etc.
Explaining The Costs Of Outsourcing
And finally, if you DO have the funds to do it the white hat way, I can help you with that as well. I wouldn’t be doing anything myself, but I have a kick-ass team that would handle everything form start to finish. The startup costs would be at least a few thousand dollars. If you want others to write content for the site, it would cost at least another couple hundred dollars per month after that. If you write the content yourself after development, it would be about $30 per month for maintenance only.
I’ll make one final suggestion to you and then I’ll shut up, because I know I’ve probably written more than you bargained for already. As you can see, there is a lot that goes into this. Developing a money making website is not the easiest of feats. It’s not extraordinarily difficult, but you have to know all the right steps and how to piece everything together.
There’s a service called MySiteSell.com. I found that service when I was still a truck driver and they are the entire reason I’m where I’m at today. They don’t just teach you how to develop a website and how to perform SEO, but they take you from start to finish on how to create a money-making website with all the tools you need. Full training, market research, planning, a drag / drop website builder and all the tools & services you will ever need is in one place… everything. If you want to do this yourself, I very, very, very highly recommend you sign up with them. As long as you follow their “action plan” to the T, in about 6 to 12 months you’ll have a powerhouse of a website. That service was developed with the total newbie in mind and I’m telling you… if it wasn’t for that service I’d never be where I am now. I owe just about everything to their training.
Ok, I know this email was WAY overboard, but I hope this helps and if you have any specific questions, I promise to make my response a bit more concise next time. LOL! As you can probably tell, I’m pretty passionate about this stuff.
I do hope this gives you a good starting point and sorry I don’t have any easier or simpler solutions for you. But after you get started, spending just 1hr per day writing a new “keyword focused” article on the site is all it takes. From there, it’s a game of patience and persistence. That patience will pay off in the form of more business Dan could ever handle himself.
I hope everything is going awesome for ya!