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SERP’s Up!

A little while ago, I wrote a piece here on Ditch Your Desk about the sleekest, sexiest, and most sensually seductive new SEO competitor analysis tool on the market—Page Optimizer Pro. I talked all about how awesome it was; how it was the newest tool in your arsenal to fine-tune your content's SEO, outclass the competitors, and soar in the rankings!

Amigos...

Will regretful over his recommendation of SEO competitor analysis tools

I fucked up.

...Is what I would be saying if I was some defeatist marshmallow with the courage of a cupcake! 

But that's the thing about the infinite blue that is the ocean of SEO-best practices: things are always changing. Tides of traffic ebb and flow, swells of trends build and die, and if you're not ready to ride that current of change, you'll sink right to bottom of the SERPs.

Gif of David Hasselhoff surfing representing Surfer SEO




Enter Surfer SEO.

The truth of the matter is that PoP has let itself go. Where once there was chiseled pectorals and a luscious mane of thrown-back sandy-blonde hair, now there is only cellulitis and crushing disappointment. Page Optimizer Pro simply isn't pulling its weight anymore, and there's a sleeker, sexier, and more sensual on-page SEO competitor analysis and tool that's caught my eye.

The truth of the matter, simply, is that Surfer SEO is CRUSHING IT! I'm stoked to share these insights with you and how exactly I've been nailing my ongoing content optimisation projects using Surfer! I'm going to break this new beast down—a full guide on what Surfer SEO is and how you can easily apply it to both your existing and new content to start sliding back up the rankings.


In this post, you will learn:

  • Why Surfer SEO is so EPIC and just why it outclasses both Page Optimizer Pro and other SEO competitor analysis tools on the market!
  • Why you need that in your life.
  • Tips and insider secrets on making big wins through content optimisation strategies.
  • How to use Surfer to *smash your competitors! (*It's more like a crafty duck-and-uppercut.)
  • A critical review of Surfer, its pricing model, and its applicability.


Time's a'wasting, folks—wax on! The waves are going off, and we got some rides to catch.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is Surfer.

Surfer ridinging the metaphorical wave of SEO best practices

What is Surfer SEO?

Surfer SEO is a lot of things; it’s a content optimisation tool and an SEO competitor analysis tool. It’s a SERP analyser, and it’s got some keyword generating whizz-bangery thrown in too. Ultimately though, I’ve found where Surfer excels.

Maximising the application potential Surfer SEO is a two-piece-deal:


  1. Using it to analyse a range of data points across top-ranking pages in the SERP for your chosen keyword and making optimisations to your content from that report.
  2. Using it to create a new page of similar content from the ground up MODELLED OFF the top-ranking competitors in the SERP (for your chosen keyword). 

Sounds an awful lot like Page Optimizer Pro, except it's way better!


Surfer VS. PoP: Fight!

Page Optimizer Pro is clumsy. It's janky and slow to use. The process of running and re-running reports (with added excruciating load times) to watch a seemingly arbitrary 'Optimisation Score' slowly tick up just doesn't cut. 

The goal of content optimisation is to make big wins with the most efficient usage of time. What we’re doing with Surfer SEO is optimising the process of optimising, and that’s big. Sure, we could sit around all day sticking our fingers in our nostrils, running 6 million re-reports with PoP, and eating our boogers (in that order), but that’s bloody stupid!

Instead, we jump right in with Surfer's SERP analyser (a helluva lot quicker, I may add) and get an absolute wealth of invaluable information and metrics right from the outset. The UI is infinitely more intuitive...

Surfer SEO SERP analyzer overview screenshot


Is it easy to find meaningful optimisation changes? You fucking bet it is! 

Is it easy to implement those changes? Tremendously. 

Surfer kicks POP’s ass in the Blood Dome, the Arena, the Coliseum, and then in a drunken pub brawl during kick-ons in Valhalla at the end of times! It’s no contest.



It's a...

How Surfer SEO Works

Alright, listen, first I’m going to talk about how Surfer actually pulls its magic off (and why you need that magic in your life). Maybe, though, I’ve already convinced you of its magnitudinous awesomeness? Or, maybe, you already signed up for Surfer SEO and just need to know what the caramel fudge pops you’re doing with that graph?

In that case, SKIP AHEAD TO THE GUIDE...

...Still with me? Good.

If you want to get technical, the way Surfer works is actually pretty groovy. Surfer reverse engineers SERPs. It takes a SERP, breaks down competitors’ pages, and then deduces what correlational elements (or shared data points) are likely to be contributing most to their respective rankings.

This is called correlational SEO, and it looks at EVERYTHING. It looks at what you’d expect—wordcount, structured data, images, etc— but it goes a lot deeper too.

Full and partial keyword density, text and heading elements (number of characters, paragraphs, etc.), linking metrics: it’s all there. You can dive right down into the mechanics of your content with Surfer SEO, however, there’s something very important to remember with this, any, and all SEO best practices:

Correlation does not equal causation. Apply critical thought.


Why You Need Competitor Analysis SEO Tools

SEO is a complicated affair; the truth is no one has any definite answers. While it may be fun to think of ourselves as SEO scientists, cracking algorithms and unlocking the secrets of the SERPs, the truth is that we’re really more like alchemists. We play and tinker with recipes, perfecting them as we chase elusive but defined goals.

Except, our recipes are always changing. That’s why SERPs are always shifting and why pages often slip in their rankings over time: Google is a fickle mistress. 

Sometimes she wants chocolates and at other times, she wants copious amounts of structured data. On a whim, she can send out new algorithmic updates and smack down previously well-performing content.

The rules of the SERP are always changing and so too does our content to reflect that.

However, the causal arrow runs both ways. The rules of the SERP also change to reflect the content that frequently appears there and, particularly, the content audiences are responding too...

Charlie conspiracy meme - deciphering what SEO is

Answering: "What is SEO?"

Competitor analysis and SEO optimisation tools are a cheatsheet. They look at SERP for a specific keyword and see exactly what’s going on with the top-rankers. Every keyword is a unique question, and every unique question needs a unique answer.

What you get fed back is not an impenetrable formula for pole position in the SERPs every time. Rather, you’re getting handed a guideline—an overview of the materials you’ll need and an incomplete recipe to build off.

Two SEO ninjas smashing competitors with their tools

It's clobbering time!

If you want to play in the big leagues, there really is no other option. You need to bring your best: a fiery attitude, a winning smile, and a utility belt lined with the finest SEO tools and gadgetry.

In the ocean of the SERP, you're swimming with the sharks.


Every trick counts.

And Why You Need Surfer SEO...

Man punching shark representing Surfer SEO's applicability

Think about the impact Surfer SEO can have on your contents' rankings in the SERP: the most effective way to drive traffic to your site! From the outset, you’re already at an advantage—you’ve done the pre-requisite reconnaissance.

You start out with a direct competitor analysis to create content that’s purpose-built to clobber your competitors! Next, you let the content mature and when the time is right, you return for another look below the hood of the SERP. A few more quick adjustments, a few more sneaky slides up the rank, a bit more waiting...



Lather, rinse, repeat... Always repeat.

Old content never has to become irrelevant content: it’s about the long-game. You can keep your content fresh, updated, and in-line with your competitors for a fraction of the resources of creating something new. Effective content optimisation strategies are a sure-fire method to keep both your content and site fresh and relevant in Google's forever-wandering eyes.

And Surfer SEO is simply the best at it.


Surfer SEO: The Score

Surfer SEO...

  • Provides extremely in-depth SERP analysis competitor reports.
  • HOWEVER, receiving, reading, and adjusting these reports is easy!
  • Gives simple, actionable suggestions for quick content fixes.
  • IS FAST! (After several months grinding away with PoP, I can tell you: that's huge!)
  • Makes creating new SEO-bang-on-ready content a snap.
  • Plus, the interface is damn sexy!

The verdict?

Sylvester Stallone meme thumbs-upping Surfer SEO as an SEO tool

Two thumbs up!

How to Carve the SERP with Surfer SEO

Surfer SEO is an extremely comprehensive tool for on-page SEO optimisation; you can go as deep as you’re willing to venture. BUT... I’m all about big wins! Time is money, and if you can make some quick and inexpensive changes to send your content straight to the summit of the SERP, then that’s bigger than big.

That’s epic.

In that way, it’s kinda like surfing—think about it. How do you surf?

You do the hard work upfront: you paddle your ass out the back to the optimal take-off point, and as the swell builds, you paddle your ass onto the wave. Then, it’s just a matter of enjoying the ride.

The only difference is that in surfing there are unwritten laws of courtesy between those competing for the wave. In the deepwater of Google’s ocean, however, fuck the competitors (with a respectful professional etiquette). There’s no sharing—we want to catch every peeler right to the shore. 

David Hasselhoff surfing meme summarizing the Surfer ranking capabilities

SERP Grommet to SEO Surfer

There are three components to Surfer that make it such a killer competitor analysis and SEO optimisation tool:


  1. Its capabilities as an on-page SEO checker.
  2. The in-platform content editor for creating new competitive content.
  3. That irresistible graph for us nerds. We do like our Bell Curves in all the right places.

By simmering it down to these three functions, I’ve applied Surfer across my ventures and scaled it to my team of gnarly SEO shredders. The focus, as always, has been on efficiency, and the impact has been massive!

And now, as always, you get to sample the delicious pearls of my oceanic levels of wisdom. I present thee not one, but three guides to carve through!

Summary and anchor image for the first Surfer guide
Summary and anchor image for the second Surfer guide
Summary and anchor image for the third Surfer guide

CLICK TO SKIP AHEAD ↑


Surfer SEO Application #1 - Content Facelifts

Forget the graph for a second; let’s focus on where Surfer SEO really shines: the content audit. This right here is your ultimate on-page SEO checker, and it’s where Surfer really brings the fire.

While Surfer initially functions as a SERP analyser, the content audit is going to go the extra mile and truly scrape your competitors’ content for whatever data is likely to boost your ratings. The best part is that this is a quick job. You jump in, make the most critical changes suggested for your content, and then you get out.

You’re a fucking ninja.


Step 1: Prepping the SERP Analyzer Report

Before we do anything, this right here is your starting gate. This part is pretty simple.

Surfer SEO's SERP analyzer dashboard

  1. Keyword goes here.
  2. Choose the region you’re targeting.
  3. Choose the platform you’re targeting.
  4. Turn on NLP entity metrics.
  5. Up to you.
  6. All your previous search queries are here—there’s no need to make a new one to reanalyze a keyword (suck it, PoP).
  7. These are your Surfer SEO funbucks; I’ll cover that in the Plans and Pricing section.

After that, you show that ‘Create a query’ button a little love and away we go.

Running a report for on-page SEO checking with SurferSEO

Step 2: Welcome to the House of Fun

Cool, you made it! Let’s get technical.

Watch ‘til the 6.20 mark. That’s an overview of what you’ll be tinkering with. From this dashboard, you can easily and elegantly access information on what meaningful optimisation changes you can make for your onsite SEO.

Before that, however, we need to talk about selecting competitors. If you don’t select the right competitors, all the SEO sorcery in the blogosphere can’t save your booty.


Step 3: Seeking Target “John Connor”

By default, Surfer SEO compares your content with other top 50 or so ranking pages. We’re going to have to get a whole more nuanced than that to have the kind of impact we’re seeking.

When choosing competitors, we’re looking for both similar content and killer content.

Similar content means content with a similar...
  • Format
  • Audience 
  • And/or purpose

...as to your piece of content. 

Killer content is simply content that kicks ass with reckless booty-booting abandon! If it’s at the top of the SERP, chances are that it’s already killer content. All the same, however, keep an eye out for:

  • Plenty of structured data
  • An overall intuitive format
  • Bodacious keywording
  • An engaging but succinct read

Generally speaking, if it looks, feels, and reads similarly to your content—and attacks the same topic/question—it’s probably a competitor. Let’s use my chosen SERP as an example.

My chosen competitor's to analyse with the SEO audit tool - 1

I’ve chosen this rather dry keyword as it’s a good example. This is a rather mediocrely performing post on The Broke Backpacker that was structured back in our PoP heydays. Now it’s time to give it the Surfer snazz!

My chosen competitor's to analyse with the SEO audit tool - 2

There are a couple of things to note here:

  1. Three competitors is a touch weak: aim for 4-7. It’s really going to depend on your keyword, however. In this SERP example, we have a lot of content in the top 10 rankings that are just selling a SIM card for Israel (whereas ours is more of a buyer’s guide).
  2. My case study here is ranking at 11, and thus I’ve only selected competitors above me in the rankings. If you’re shy on competitors—or even if there’s just a juicy piece of content a couple of notches below you in the SERP—you can move down the rankings. Don’t stray too far from the top 10 though.

When you’ve selected your marks, it’s time to move in for the kill. 



See that audit button?



Let's get surgical.

Step 3: More Fun Than a Tax Audit

Tl;dw? Get busy making those suggested changes. As you can see…

My SEO onsite optimization audit report

I got a bit to do.

So here’s the deal: it’s a case study!

It’s best to make updates incrementally (ideally, keeping a record of those scrumptious stats and changes), so I’m going to give myself a 30-minute chunk for SIM-themed content refresh. Let’s see what kind of dent I can make...


Please hold...

Yeah, alright, so it’s not two big fat zeros, but it’s not bad for half-an-hour of work! Regardless, it’s better not to sweep through everything at once, and it’s even more important not to force unnatural changes into your content by following Surfer’s suggestions as dogma.

Besides, if it’s looking less like a quick facelift will suffice, and more like a near-total reconstruction is necessary, then that’s where to content editor comes in.


Surfer SEO Application #2 - The Content Editor

Hold on to your mind cause I’m about to blow it out the fucking bathroom window. See this link:

Content Editor link on Surfer SEO's SERP analyzer page

Click the sexy link.

And you'll be in another funbucks menu:

The content editor search query for creating similar content with Surfer

Once you’re in, you’ll be greeted with an opportunity to customize your analysis. By default, Surfer is going to audit the top 5 pages in the SERP, but it’s up to you to get critical with your competitor choices.

Choosing my SEO analysis competitors for the content editor tool

You’ll find a bunch more customisation options in this menu too, particularly with keywords and phrases to track. You can play around with these, but the default settings are usually good—just add some secondary keywords and roll out (however, don't use Surfer as a substitute for proper keyword research). After that, creating finely honed content is almost brainless.


Using Surfer's Content Editor

Check this out:

SEO Surfer's content editor with on-page SEO checker for tracking

Babow!

If you’ve ever so much as dabbled in content creation, you’re golden. It’s a word processor—do your thang!

Whether you want to create your content inside Surfer or simply take its recommendations and run with it is up to you. However, look at what you’re getting!

This sucker is tracking your:

  • Content's structure
  • Primary and secondary keyword instances
  • Suggested topics/queries to cover
  • A metric crap-tonne of other phrases to include

I’m not sure if you’ve ever kept a manual keyword count while writing, but that shit is a snoozefest. It’s also finicky and time-consuming. So is checking and cross-referencing through multiple reports and pieces of data you uncovered to optimise your article's structure. SEO is so important to get right but doing it right takes time.

In the words of Surfer itself:

Screenshot of loading Surfer SEO's loading message for SERP analyzer reports

Too fucking right!

It’s pretty simple from here. Let your artistry flow while keeping the logistics in check. When all is said and done, copy it out to your site, and you’ve got some mighty fine SEO-ready work waiting!


HOWEVER!

I can’t stress this enough: don’t just jump in spraying your secret SEO sauce all over the place. It may look tempting to have this cheatsheet to the interior of Google’s panties, but have a closer look.

Screenshot outlining discrepancy in Surfer's direct competitor analysis for similar content

The suggestion is to have 18,259 words but only 74 paragraphs. That’s already an insane word count, but let’s math that out further.


Round it off to 18000 words—we’ll say 259 words are in the headings—and split that amongst 74 paragraphs…

18000 words ÷ 74 paragraphs = 243.24 words per paragraph.

That’s… absolutely preposterous! SEO writing 101: keep it short and sweet.

Furthermore, look at the image count. Only eight images in an 18k travel itinerary is… doable… but dry as hell for readers and also, to be totally honest, pretty fucking stupid.

When reading Surfer’s on-page SEO optimisation readouts, keep these things in mind:

  • Surfer SEO counts all words on a page including what’s not in the actual body. Comments, other copy on the page, and even scripts hidden from readers are all incorporated into the count, so aim to be shy of the total tally.
  • While excellent for creating similar and competitive content, Surfer is not the best SEO tool on the market for keyword research and backlink scraping. The added functionality in Surfer SEO is a nice bonus, but don’t rely on it over more suited tools.
  • One last time, Surfer SEO is not the holy scripture of SERP-shredding content. Being too reckless with Surfer’s recommendations can lead to keyword stuffing, unnatural writing, or other content creation no-nos.
  • Similarly, if you see an opportunity to outclass the competitors with your content—both with SEO elements or the user experience—take it. Google may just reward your ingenuity.

Surfer doesn’t tell prophecies, it makes educated guesses. Treat them as such.

Surfer SEO Application #3 - Interpreting the Graph

Alright, so how 'bout that graph?

Surfer SEO's SERP analyzer report graph

Arrgghh, take it away!

Baby steps—watch this first (until 8:12):

Now, let's try this again:

Highlighting data in the SERP analyzer graph

I've cleaned this up.

As you can see, I’ve turned averages down to chunks of five, and I’m specifically looking at metrics for...

  • Words in the body →  3739.6
  • Number of headings (H2-H6) → 31.6
  • Exact keyword instances in the body → 8

...in the top 5-rankers of the SERP. Now let’s look at ranks 6 through 10.

Highlighting different data in the SERP analyzer graph

Now it’s: 3082.8 | 22.8 | 7.2

That’s a downward trend. In fact, if you observe the graph, you’ll notice that the downward trends for the stats on these elements continue pretty steadily until some weird shit starts happening around ranks 26-30. (But who cares?)

That’s already a pretty damn sexy overview, but we can break it down a hell of a lot more. The number of different elements that you’re able to dissect in this graph is simply staggering! And already, we can see a clear correlation (not direct causation) between the prevalence of some major elements and the content's position in the SERP.

It’s also worth noting that this is the data for the entire SERP. You can also change the graph to reflect just your chosen competitors (the same way you would for the audit function).


Application of SEO Surfer’s SERP Analyzer

While the audit tool is for direct competitor analysis, the graph and SERP analyzer dashboard is a more indirect outline. You can use it as a quick peek before going in-depth with the audit, but its uses extend further than that.

Let’s say I wasn’t just trying to write a post about SIM cards in Israel but was actually trying to create a scaled series of monetized affiliate content:

New search query in Surfer SEO's graph

New SERP, new data, same analysis.

Although not nearly as defined, there still seems to be a correlation between word count and total heading elements at least for the top 10 of the SERP for this new query (although exact keyword instances are a whole lot less relevant). The total numbers between this data and the data for ‘Israel SIM card’ aren’t too far removed from each other either.

Interestingly:

SEO competitors being analysed in Surfer's SERP analyzer

...the SERP here is way more relevant for my hypothetical content—just look at all those competitors gleefully awaiting the smackdown!

This is a fantastic example of the uniqueness of every SERP and the level to which Surfer SEO deciphers that changeability. If I wanted to create a series of SIM card-themed posts, I would first collect data on various queries (X, Y, Z, etc. “SIM card”).

I’d also start examining the SERP for variations and longtails (eg. “SIM cards in X” or “best SIM card for X travel”). Pretty soon, I’d have a format banged out for a series—an entire range of relatively easy-to-produce content—sitting in the SERPs and ready for the Surfer treatment a few months down the line.

This is where Surfer SEO really shines! It’s a front door, back door, and periscope up the skirt of the SERP—all SERPs. Extensive invaluable information is only ever a few clicks away and interpreting and applying that data is an equally elegant job.

Something indescribably beautiful




Like a valiant steed.

A Final Critical Review of Surfer SEO

It's time for the final word—does Surfer SEO kick ass?

Will giving a final critical review of Surfer SEO with a magnifying glass

For breakfast, lunch, and Sunday brunch!

Truth be told, much could be said of the similarities between PoP, Surfer SEO, and other on-page SEO optimisation tools: they strive to complete the same job with varying levels of success. Direct comparative experiments between different on-page SEO optimisation tools are difficult to control given the insane number of variables affecting SERP rankings.

What is not up for debate, however, is the effectiveness of having a winning content optimisation strategy. It's a damn fine SEO tactic, and, given that insane number of variables your experimenting with, having some damn fine tools is a must!

That's where Surfer comes in. While its changes are reasonable and easy to smash out, the real win comes with the speed and intuitiveness. It feels sharp, smart, and like Page Optimizer Pro wearing a silk tuxedo with matching cummerbund and a monocle to complete the picture.


Surfer SEO is an optimisation of the optimisation tools that came before. It's just a damn better product.

It also helps that the pricing model is so damn digestible, even for the small-scale venturists and lone wolfs.


Plans, Pricing, and, Funbucks 

Surfer splits up different types of reports across different daily or monthly quotas of credits (hence, 'funbucks'). One credit = one query/report.

I've summarized the main takeaways of Surfer's pricing model below. For most of my ongoing implementations, I've been trialing Surfer SEO on the "Hobby" plan:

Plan

Price (monthly / annual)

All factors analyzed?

SERP Analyzer Queries (per day)

NLP Analysis Reports (per month)

Content Editor Queries (per month)

Backlinks and Visibility Report (per day)

Hobby

$29 / $290

5

10

5

0

Basic

$59 / $590

15

10

25

25

Pro

$99 / $990

50

50

100

100

Business

$199 / 

$1990

100

150

300

300

Business+

$650 / $6500

300

500

1000

600

The Hobby plan is the perfect sampler for those wanting to test out Surfer's impact on their own content. While you are missing out on some analyzation features—most notably page speed metrics and backlink reports—the upshot is a lot of content optimisation potential for a very digestible price. Once you're sold on Surfer's sheer radittude, you can upgrade for the rest of the package.


Surfer SEO's Pricing vs PoP's

At a pure 1:1 price comparison, Page Optimizer Pro comes out with a cheaper price tag than Surfer SEO, however, on a comparison of value, Surfer wipes the floor with PoP in every regard. Even with PoP's premium plan (at $30/month), Surfer SEO's Hobby plan gives you 125 more SERP analyzer reports per month! 

Throw in the extremely nifty Content Editor tool, a much, much more comprehensive analysis of SERP content, and just an all-round faster and more pleasant tool to us, and it's just a no brainer!

1950s Batman and Joker surfing GIF

SERP's Up!

And the swell of traffic is just waiting to be caught. Your contents' ranking in the SERP matters: it's the key driving method of traffic to your site. And (say it with me now)...

…if you haven’t got traffic, you haven’t got anything.


Will very excited to talk about SEO best practices

Damn straight!


All your content matters—even your old content. Nay, ESPECIALLY your old content. Think of all those killer old posts, soaked in the blood, sweat, and tears of humble content writers, now left to wither and drift away in the tides.

Stop missing out on easy wins: be a damn SEO surfer.


Surfer SEO Takeaway Points

  • Old and outdated content constantly slips in rankings costing your site traffic.
  • Content optimisation strategies give HUGE wins with old content.
  • Content optimisation and competitor analysis SEO tools are a necessity for impactful refreshing tactics.
  • Choosing the right competitors for direct analysis is crucial: know your targets!
  • Surfer SEO is a kickass tool for both optimising old and new content: comprehensive, fast, and intuitive!
  • And it's leagues better than Page Optimizer Pro.

Can I Crush it on Youtube…?

While I am technically an entrepreneur... my true love is marketing and creating content.

It is my professional calling.

And I'm pretty good at it. 


And as a marketer - I have an insane amount of experience with about every digital platform out there.

SEO, blogging, scaling content, CRO, branding, web design, logo design, UX, social media, email marketing, and really just about everything in between.

But a few months ago I realized something...

I have absolutely ZERO marketing experience on the world's most important marketing platform.

Which platform?

YouTube. 

And when I mean zero I mean ZERO. 

Nada. None. Zilch. 

So I made a decision.

I decided it was time to fully dive into the deep, scary world of YouTube, and start a completely new channel from scratch. 

And that's exactly why I am here sharing this with you now.

In this article, I am going to show you why I am starting a YouTube channel, and exactly what I am doing to prepare for my launch.

Let's get into it. 

Why am I even starting a YouTube channel?

YouTube is my next marketing frontier

To clarify - I am not giving up on my other businesses and dedicating my entire life to YouTube. I will still be running my other businesses and scaling content on my other websites. Traditional SEO is still my preference - the ROI is unmatched. 

I'm just looking to ALSO do YouTube. 

There are a few reasons I am excited to move forward into YouTube in 2020 and beyond. 

Let's start with the business reasons why I am starting a YouTube channel, then I'll add a few personal reasons. 

Business reason #1 for starting a YT channel - YouTube's growth and reach is staggering...

By all measurements, YouTube is a monster.

Purchased by Google in 2010 (for only 1.65 billion!) YouTube has grown to be one of the most popular websites in the world.

Currently YouTube ranks...

- 2nd largest search engine (after Google)

- 2nd most visited website in the world (after Google)

2nd most popular social media platform/app (after Facebook)

And with the exponential rise of video content worldwide, YouTube has the potential to grab the #1 spot in all of those categories. 

YouTube is where people's attention is massively transitioning to, with some countries averaging over 100 minutes of watched video time per person PER DAY!

OK, you get it. YouTube is a big deal. Let's move on.

Business reason #2 for starting a YT channel - Blogging and Google SEO is getting more difficult

Google still dominates... but SEO isn't getting any easier (photo credit Spark Toro/Jumpshot)

While I still completely believe that getting traffic through Google SEO is FAR AND AWAY the best business investment you can ever make... that doesn't change the fact that it is getting more difficult by the day.

The fact of the matter is that Google is less interested in being a search engine, and is much more interested in being an answer engine. 

How do we know this?

Because click through rates are getting obliterated - especially on mobile.

Because Google is doing stuff like this...

And especially on mobile...

Google is acting like a poor man stealing and in doing so they are sending less and less traffic to actual content creators. 

CTR's are less than 50%, making it more and more difficult for creators/businesses to get users to visit their site, which makes it more difficult to make money. 

All of this isn't bad news though. In fact - it's an extremely encouraging sign to start creating content on YouTube!

This is because (I'm sure as you know) that Google is now aggressively displaying YouTube results for search queries - in fact 6% of ALL Google clicks are going to YouTube videos! 

Youtube videos currently get 6% of overall clicks on SERP results and outrank most organic results. This trend will continue.

I strongly suspect that this number will only increase. People's thirst for video content is growing, and Google is quenching that thirst with video-rich SERP results.

Personal reason #1 for starting a YT channel - I like a good challenge

Worth noting - I LOVE me a good challenge. 

Professionally, I'm the kind of guy that once I get good at something, I want to drop it and move on to something else. 

Because of that, I'm a marketing jack of all trades. I am not the master of any single platform or medium - SEO included!. 

And I now want to add YouTube to my marketing-arsenal.

Personal reason #2 for starting a YT channel - I have some unfinished business with video content

Young Aaron with an embarrassing farmer's tan...

You see that skinny, bird-armed 19 year old holding that oversized camera.

Dats me!

Yup, back in my youth my greatest passion was to make films. I put years of hard work into it, but ultimately my desire to travel the world overtook my ambition to make films, and I abandoned my director-dreams to fulfill my nomad-dreams.

Best decision I ever made.  

But now that I have settled down, it's time for me to finish what I started, and get back into video production. While I no longer dream of being the next Nicholas Winding Refn, I still long to write, and produce video content - especially to help the growth of my businesses.

* My YouTube Hypothesis *

While I debated starting a new brand for the YT channel from scratch, I quickly decided against it. 

Here's why.

While starting a new channel/brand from the bottom would be an interesting case study, I'm more interested in seeing what happens when I start a YT channel to pair with EXISTING content that is already ranking on Google. 

I am fascinated by what will happen if I take a moderate site, with moderate traffic, and double up on my content by creating high-quality YouTube videos to compliment my high-ranking Google posts.

This is because of my current YouTube/Google/SEO hypothesis...

Aaron's

'Content Double Dip'

Theory

"My theory is that Google is rewarding brands that publish on both YouTube and Google with better SEO rankings - on BOTH platforms..."

- me

Therefore, I believe that the most valuable thing you can do for your brand is to create high-quality content, and to double dip that content (ie - every keyword you are targeting gets a video AND a blog post).

Why do I think this is true?

Because lads and lasses, the proof is in the pudding.

If you take a look at the SERPs...

All three of these results have...

YouTube videos....

... embedded in ...

... the blog posts!

If you look at the above example, you can see that 3 of the 4 top results for the HIGHLY competitive keyword 'SEO Tips' has a YouTube video embedded in the article with the same or similar keyword.

The are double dipping - and reaping the benefits!

And as you also may have guessed, they are appearing at the top of YouTube results for those keywords as well.

Let's go deeper. Check this out...

Notice here that the keyword 'olivers passage pant review' gets both video and blog results. 

And the website PackHacker.com has the number one position - FOR BOTH!

Guess why?

Because as you might expect, PackHacker has a high-quality blog post and a high-quality Youtube video that share the same keyword 'olivers passage pant review'. The YouTube video is embedded into the blog post, and they are being rewarded in both SERPs for it (they are #1 in Youtube as well). 

They are double dipping - and it's really paying off for them.

Is this causation? Impossible to determine.

But is there a correlation? 100%!

And we are seeing this across the board in SEO. Whether it's travel content, B2B content, news, product reviews - you name it! The 'Content Double Dip' is a real thing. 

And I use the specific example of 'SEO Tips' for a reason - these dudes are some of the best SEO brands on the planet (especially AHREFs and Backlinko - we'll cover them more a bit later). 

So that means if the top SEO's in the world are doing it - we should be looking to do it as well. 

So the decision for my YouTube channel was easy... get the ball rolling faster by starting a channel with one of my existing brands!

Let me run you through my step by step process...

My Master YouTube Strategy...

Step #1 - Picking my brand

I decided I didn't want to start from scratch, I looked at all of my various online businesses and projects and tried to decide which had the best opportunity to succeed. 

While I own a bunch of travel blogs, I'm not interested in creating video content for any of them as they are mostly just affiliate sites. And while I do run a Marketing Agency, I decided against that as well. 

So it came down to TWO options...

#1 - Create a Ditch Your Desk YT Channel and make videos about SEO/online entrepreneurship 

#2 - Create a Nomads Nation YT Channel and make videos about gear reviews/Digital Nomad lifestyle. 

A battle for the ages!!! (jk, it was an easy decision)

Ultimately, I went with #2 - my Digital Nomad travel blog.

Here's why...

Nomads Nation has been around since 2013, ranks well for some decent keywords, has moderate traffic, and is in a niche (Digital Nomad) that I think is growing and is super exciting to be in. 

Plus the idea of doing gear reviews and Digital Nomad country guides just seemed more interesting to me for a first project. 

I'll probably do entrepreneurial/SEO video content in the near future, but for now, I want to nerd-out on one of my other true loves - backpacks and other dope travel gear!

Step #2 - Learning YT SEO

So I decided I was going to do some next-level backpack reviews and Digital Nomad content for Nomads Nation.

I was ready to roll!

But then I realized...

Actually, I wasn't ready to roll at all.

Because while I am pretty good with traditional SEO... I had no idea how YouTube SEO worked. 

So, it was study time. And I hit the books hard.

Me searching for the secret of YouTube-SEO-success

And here's the cool part... when it comes to YT SEO... there isn't that much to it!

When compared to traditional SEO, YouTube SEO is actually fairly simple. There are a few very important things (covered in a bit) but more over less, it isn't brain surgery. 

It only took me a few weeks to feel I had a pretty good grasp on it as a whole.

*** If you are interested in learning YT SEO, I can't recommend which resources worked the best (because I haven't launched yet), but I can recommend which resources are the most respected and that I relied on for my YT-SEO-education. Here's a list of DYD-approved resources ***

• Backlinko

• AHREFs

• TubeBuddy

• Think Media

• Miles Beckler

Step #3 - Developing a Content Strategy

After a few hardcore weeks of learning YouTube SEO, I felt fairly ready to move forward and create a content strategy. 

Normally when starting a new project I would dive deep into the world of KW Research.

But remember - my experiment here is to see what happens when I publish YouTube videos that compliment existing blog posts. 

So all I had to do was find blog posts that were ranking well, and BOOM! I had a Youtube-content list 🙂

Step #4 - Creating my YouTube SOPs

Here's a harsh reality - if you aren't creating systems, then you are paralyzing the growth of your business. 

This is why you need to have an SOP for everything. 

SOP = Standard Operating Procedure. And whether it's a blog post, Keyword Research, Keyword Expansion, or anything in between - I have an SOP for everything I do in each of my businesses. 

But, while using SOP's is amazing - I will be the first to admit that creating them is a fucking headache.

And since I had no prior YouTube experience, creating my first YT SOP was fairly grueling and time-consuming. 

Here is a video of me talking about SOP's and YouTube...

Step #5 - Hiring Help 

Now while you can make a very successful YouTube channel without hiring any help (more on this in the next section) - I ultimately chose to hire a videographer and an editor. 

Why?

I had an idea for a way to do backpack reviews that required a higher production budget. To see my idea become a reality, I needed someone to hold the camera and someone to edit the footage.

So I searched online, and made a few hires. 

I hired a videographer in Ho Chi Minh (where I spent the first few months of 2020), and an editor in Hong Kong (where I live).

And the results have been AWESOME!

My camera man - Boris the Blade!

My editor/videographer Tav the Mav helps my videos look professional af

But it comes at a price...

While the results are awesome, videographers and editors are fucking expensive. 

But there are some ways around that that I've learned...

If you are interested in hiring a video-wizard, I highly recommend using Facebook to search for local talent. By searching Facebook I was able to find a bunch of videographers in Ho Chi Minh (where I was working from at the time).

Then, when you start to interview videographers, keep these two things in mind...

#1 -  Try to negotiate. Most videographers are freelancers, which means they might be willing to lower their prices depending on how much work they have at that point in time. 

#2 - Get a bulk discount. Most freelancers are willing to lower their prices in exchange for long-term consistent work. So if you are planning to shoot a ton of video content, tell the videographer. Chances are, they will lower their rates for a longer contract. 

Wait, do you need to hire help for YouTube as well?

To be very clear here - while I hired professional help to start a YouTube channel, you do NOT need to hire anyone to start your YT channel. 

While having a camera man and/or editor might sound appealing, it can be ridiculously expensive and is by no means necessary. 

Some of the world's most famous YouTuber's are a one-(wo)man-show.

They hold the camera, they write the scripts, they edit the videos - they do it all!

In fact, these sorts of videos are what makes YouTube so special. A one person show is more raw. It's more intimate. It's what gives YouTube its edge over more traditional television (which in comparison is much more polished). 

Don't believe me?

Check this out..

AHREFs is a multimillion dollar SAAS company that puts a ton of money into their videos about SEO and Digital Marketing. 

High production videos like the one above require a whole team. AHREFs likely has a cameraman, a sound man, an editor, plus another freelancer who creates all of the graphics and animations. 

And it has proven to be very effective. As of writing this article, AHREFs has over 113,000 subscribers!

But in contrast, let's look at another YouTube channel in the SEO/Digital Marketing space... Miles Beckler.

In contrast to the highly produced AHREFs videos - Miles Beckler is just a dude with an average camera talking while standing inside his own home! 

He has no studio, his videos are barely edited, his thumbnails are fairly simple, he has a basic mic - there really isn't a lot of production value in the videos. 

So which channel do you think has more subs?

Miles Beckler for the win with 126,000 subscribers!

Now to clarify - this isn't a competition for the most subscribers. And to be real, both channels have an impressive amount of subs. 

It's just an example to show you that you can grow a YT channel regardless of your niche and most importantly... regardless of your budget.

That's because...

It's all about creating quality content and focusing on SEO

Although Miles Beckler's videos are fairly... basic... his content is next fucking level.

He compensates for his lack of production value by doing two things...

#1 - Publishing next-level content that resonates with his audience, and...

#2 -  Getting his content in front of as many people by focusing on YT SEO. 

Which is why quality content + SEO is the name of the game for any content creator. 

What I hope to accomplish on YouTube

As with any business or online project that I have started - it's always the same. 

The rise to the top is slow. Steady! But slow.

I am expecting to launch this channel in May and to learn about the YouTube process, to get comfortable producing video content, and getting more confident and fluid in front of a camera. 

Aside from that... I really have no idea what will happen!

But I promise that I will teach you everything that I learn along the way  🙂

How YOU can help

What? He's calling for help?

Hells yes I am!

Will and I started Ditch Your Desk over a year and a half ago. Since then we have put out next-level content, run the facebook group, and routinely answer comments and emails.

And we have never charged a penny for any of it.

So! 

All that I ask is when this YouTube channel goes live, that you please subscribe to it!

Subscribing will accomplish two things...

1) it will give you a front row seat to the action so you can see the growth of the channel

2) it will make me very happy. 

I don't know which is more important. 

Final thoughts...

So guys, what do you think?

Is my 'Content Double Dip' a legit theory?

Do you think my channel will do well?

Will you help me when I call upon you?

​❤️

POP: The Ultimate Roadmap to get from Page 2 to Page 1 in Google

I'm truly passionate about winning.  Working hard is important if you want to win, but just as important is working smart - utilising every advantage you an to maximise your return on investment of your time spent. So today, I'm going to walk you guys through a truly tactical tool which you can use to gain a competitive edge, smash your competitors and win more often. This is because I know that a proper SEO model is the ABSOLUTE BEST WAY to drive high-intent traffic to your site. And...

…if you haven’t got traffic, you haven’t got anything.

I've experimented with a lot of SEO competitor analysis tools over the last four years. About a year ago, I landed on a particularly funky tool: Page Optimizer Pro.

Damn straight!

For 6 months now, POP has been a major part of our strategy. Almost every single post we publish eventually goes through a round of POP and I can safely say that it shreds the competition. 

So, how does Page Optimizer Pro work? What have the results been like? What the hell is an SEO competitor analysis tool?

Keep reading, amigos, because enclosed in this post you shall find the answers you seek.

 In this post, you will learn…


  • Why you should be using an SEO Tool like  Page Optimizer Pro (POP)
  • Why POP is such a kickass tool
  • A step-by-step guide to using POP effectively
  • What the results of using POP have been like for us 
  • Some extra-delicious insights my team have discovered while using POP
  • Your choices of other platforms and whether free online competitor analysis tools are a viable option


A Quick Word on SEO Competitor Analysis Tools


They're fucking important.

Why are they so important? You’re using a highly-efficient digital tool to crunch hundreds of data points and provide you with an effective roadmap for how to BEAT a competitors keywords. 

Let me break that down a notch. You own a fairly popular pizza joint (your content). You're in stiff competition with the top ten in town (the first SERP) - but you notice that the top three pizza places always just seem to be that much further ahead. So what do you do?

I’ll tell you what! You send in undercover fucking pizza ninjas (SEO tools) to see what the competition is doing better than you. The ninjas come back saying:

They’ve got half-price Tuesdays. They’ve got three types of base. They’ve got goddamn prosciutto, bocconcini, and rocket pizzas!

Pictorial representation of your pizza ninjas.

Well, now you know exactly what you need to do to up your game!

Enter Page Optimizer Pro: the best undercover pizza ninja on the market!

I’ve given it the long-haul, I’ve jigged and re-jigged, and in my opinion, POP IS the best SEO tool for direct competitor analysis that I’ve found. Why is that?


What makes Page Optimizer Pro such a useful SEO tool?

The first thing I love about POP is that it’s pretty damn simple! It’s easy to use and it’s fairly straightforward to understand the results that the tool gives you. It recommends specific, easily implemented action steps so you know exactly what you have to do. 

There's not much of a learning curve to using POP and I've been so impressed with it that I've hardcoded it into all of the content strategies we are working on at the moment. As someone that manages a big ass team of writers, virtual assistants, and all manner of background SEO wizards, it’s truly excellent to find such a powerful, EASY TO USE, tool.

Getting up to speed and maximising POP’s usage takes almost no time and energy. Hell, by the end of this post, your theory homework will already be finished!

To get started, you feed in the information that POP asks for (primary keyword, competitors, etc.), and POP gives you a report. A target word count, optimal keyword usage and - this is my favourite part - where those keywords should be going within the content layout. 

Writing content for SEO is not some spray-and-pray game. If you want to be successful, you need to be surgical. Check this out: 

POP's recommendations tab

This report show your tags are being utilised, how your keywords are spread through your page’s copy - this stuff is seriously important! When I first started attempting to finetune my content for Google’s fickle tastes, it was messy; I had no surgery. 

My pizza had too many fucking toppings.

An SEO tool like POP demonstrates exactly how your page should be structured and optimised to be in DIRECT COMPETITION with the top-ranking pages for your focus keyword. If you can’t see the benefit of that, you need to take a  refresher course on SEO.

Is there a downside to POP? Sure - it’s not a one-stop-shop for building a page’s structure. Over at The Broke Backpacker, we tend to provide meatier content than our competitors. As such, our word and keyword counts come out higher than POP’s recommendations and a level of critical thinking is still required (as it should be in any SEO practice).

That, however, is a minor detriment in an otherwise stellar platform. Page Optimizer Pro delivers highly-optimised SEO tactics in an incredibly digestible form. And guess what?

The price is right.


Why does Page Optimizer Pro work?

SEO best practices are a complicated affair. Google doen't just seek out the same cut-and-paste formats for every search query that's fed into it - it's a mutal affair. Google's algorithms are shaped as much by the SERP's content as content gets shaped by our need to please the algorithm.

Let's say you Google "timeline of Ross and Rachel" (this is an actual thing that people are apparently searching for; I checked.)  Chances are that you're not going to see many listicles in the results and there's a reason for that.

Google is smart. It's a learning machine. It knows what formats work well for answering a particular type of search query. It knows that if you're searching "timeline of Ross and Rachel", you don't want an abbreviated bulletpoint list. You want a season-by-season full breakdown of the ins-and-outs of that ten-year tumultuous trainwreck of a relationship (Rachel sucks anyway - Team Monica and Chandler for the win!).

Google calculating why Rachel is such a a bitch.

POP doesn't just take a blind shot at how your article should be structured. It looks at a range of datapoints across your article and your competitors. From this, it figures out what changes chould be made for optimization. POP also outlines sections that should be streamlined or de-chunkified. If words are your bricks, POP literally gives you a blueprint of how to build a house that Google'll love so much it'll move right on in. 

At first I followed POP's recommendations strictly (with a certain level of skepticism). Results have been pleasing: nearly every post that's been tinkered with courtesy of POP has either maintained it's SERP ranking or improved. However, over a longer period of time, I've found the sweet spot with POP to vary greatly from the type, purpose, and overall mission of the content.

Now I can say to not follow POP dogmatically. I don't follow it's suggestions 100% to the letter and neither should you. I'll repeat this point again, don't worry, but it's important that you make Page Optimizer Pro work for you, rather than feeling you have to follow the report recommendations exactly. 


The advantages of using Page Optimizer Pro

  • Easy to use and understand
  • Tons of crucial information
  • Climbing that sexy SERP
  • Highly-optimised content to drive traffic
  • Reasonable pricing model
  • That’s one fine lookin’ pizza!

Spoiler Alert

I’ll get to the scrumptious stats later but here’s a little spoiler of some of the results I’ve seen employing POP across my ventures:

How to use Page Optimizer Pro with Maximum Efficacy

Ok, now it’s time for the rundown! If you want the real results, you’re going to have to get out there and do the hard work yourself.

But that’s why I’m here. To get you set up. SEO ain’t so scary.

It’s actually god-damn-titty-fuckin' awesome!

 

Step 1 - Login to Page Optimizer Pro

Duh.

login screen for page optimizer pro

Step 2 - Create your project

Your project is your domain. Enter your domain’s URL, give it a name, and move on. Now we’re getting to the fun part!

revamped POP layout

POP in 2019: sleeker, sexier, simpler.

Step 3 - Create your page

Now we’re at the important part. Choose your project and then select 'New Page'. The video reference below was created before POP received a facelift but it’s still just as simple a process since the overhaul.

If anything, it’s only easier now!

I feel now is the time to remind you to get your keyword research right. If your focus phrase is wrong, all the page optimizers, SEO tools, and spreadsheet sorcery in the world ain’t gonna do shit. You tied your shoelaces together and then faceplanted at the first hurdle.

(The language and region settings are up to you but make sure you’re targeting the right area. Also, if you’re not optimising a page that’s already built, check the relevant box to solely get an analysis of ranking competitors.)

region and language settings
check or uncheck this box

Step 4 - Choosing your competitors

This is the other part that needs to be spot on. Choose the wrong competitors, and the whole optimization process will be for nought.

You’ll be given the option of letting POP select your competitors for you and I’m going to go right on ahead and say not to do that. Competitor research should already be a part of your SEO tactics.

Page Optimizer's Pro SERP

Browse at your leisure.

Browse through the SERP that POP gives you and start scouring for pages with good on-page SEO. I'm talking about competitors in your range - If Amazon or Reddit are on the front page, you can pretty much ignore them - they are mega sites and are likely on the front page just because of their authority rather than good on-page SEO. You want to find independent sites that are ranking, if it's a small blog and it's ranking then it's doing something right - and POP will tell you what. These sites are ranking because they’ve got killer content.

Killer content that you’re gonna disect in the analytics.

Solid formatting, structure, keywording, and a generally yummy user experience is a thing to keep an eye out for. For example, for the primary keyword 'budget backpacking':

looking at competetiors with an SEO tool

This page doesn't necessarily have poor on-page SEO per se, but it is a bad choice for a competitor to analyse. It's a roundup of budget backpacking gear as opposed to a guide to budget backpacking.

And…

looking at competetiors with an SEO tool

This is a fantastic choice. What an amazing guide to budget backpacking. Hmm...

Go get 'em, tiger.


Step 5 - Choose focus competitors

Next, you'll be presented with this choice:

This option is going to give you a second set of metrics on a smaller set of your chosen competitors. It’s not always necessary to do and whether you utilise this feature is going to be case-by-case.

When would I use a focus set?

A good example is if the top three results in the SERP (for my primary keyword) were not only sexy content, but also a similar structure and style to my own content as well as being aimed at the same audience I was targeting - i.e. if the top three results are all independent blogs rather than mega sites like Amazon / Ebay / BBC etc.

The end result? You can further optimise your page to specifically emulate your strongest competitors’ content (and then smash them through the sheer awesomeness of how goddamn epic yours is)!

 

Step 6 - Time to eat up that sweet, sweet SEO report

You’ll be given an option to use an ‘Express Report’ but fuck that - we’re SEO ninjas! Ditch Your Desk is only for the people truly committed to smashing the rankings so eat that full report up! Nom, nom, nom! 

Here are the things to initially focus on:

POP's comparison metrics

The word count is of particular importance here.

POP's variation tabs of competitor analysis

A useful bit of info on keyword variations but POP is hardly the best SEO tool for scraping out variations.

POP's structure suggestions based on competitor analysis

Useful for getting a sense of what you’re structure should look like but don’t treat it as the holy prophet of SEO… 

AND...

Page Optimizer Pro's true heart - the recommendation tab

The recommendations tab!

This is, without a doubt, the true heart of Page Optimizer Pro and why it’s such a kickass SEO competitor analysis tool.

Here you’ll find your all the recommendations on how many instances of your keywords you should have and where they should be placed. When you’re using POP, this is your home base. This is your Batcave.

How do you use it? Hold onto your bat-hat because this is where it gets really fucking cool.

Step 7 - Using POP to optimize existing pages

You see this number?

POP's optimization score

That’s your optimization score. That’s the number you want to raise. How do you do it?

With the goddamn Batcave.

After the facelift it looks a bit different but it's no less simple.

Recommendations pre-changes

This feature right here is why Page Optimizer Pro is such an elegant and simple SEO tool. It’s so damn easy!

  1. Browse the list of recommended changes.
  2. Make a few appropriate changes to your page’s copy.
  3. Re-run the test.
  4. Repeat until you have a glistening green optimization score.

Watch that number climb and watch your content climb in the SERP. It may not be instant, but you will see results.

Recommendations post-changes

A few minor adjustments...

POP score post-changes

A small change but not bad for 45 seconds of work!

It's just that easy! But I decided to make it even easier with a ridiculously easy-to-follow flowchart for you to follow in case you forget how easy it is at any point...

Easy!

Flowchart to competitor analysis with POP

Improvements I Have Found Using Page Optimizer Pro

I’ve been putting POP through its paces over at The Broke Backpacker and on our other sites, and the results are tight!

My writing team now uses POP in the preparation phase for each piece they write. Final word counts are less of a guessing game and our post structure and keywording is so much more finely-tuned - sweet, sexy, and SEO seductive. 

Gone are the spray-and-pray days!

The best results, however, have been POPing older content. The comparison and optimization capabilities of Page Optimizer Pro are legendary!

Using POP, we can analyse older, poorly performing, content to find what adjustments it needs to push it up the results page.

This is a huge win and an easy win - 80/20, amigos! Why spend huge amounts of time, money, and energy creating new content when existing content can be vastly improved in less than an hour? I'm willing to bet you have some content that isn't ranking - go POP it.

Remember: SEO is not a one-and-done affair. It’s a process. Over time, your content will need to be updated or tinkered with to keep it relevant in the eyes of our benevolent Google overlord.

Using Page Optimizer Pro to improve the rankings of existing content that isn’t performing well (or solidifying the position of content that is) is absolutely supreme!


Some delicious stats for you to nibble on.

So, the numbers have been crunched and the results are in! here's the summary:

  • For our tests, we optimised 111 posts over on The Broke Backpacker using POP's recommended adjustments.
  • Although there were some outliers, nearly every post rose in the SERP.
  • The average gain was 3 places. That's huge. That means that a post ranked at position 12 would enter the first page of the SERP and a posted ranked number 4 would take the coveted number 1 spot! And indeed - we captured several number one positions using POP. 
  • Some posts saw significant increases in the SERP ranging from 5 to 7 positions.
  • Increases in primary keyword rankings would often also be reflected in its variations.

Some insights from my team

So, after dishing out the optimization goodness to my team, they've come back with some key points to using Page Optimizer Pro to its full potential.

I run a tight ship and so do my team. These guys know their way around the minefield of Google SEO and more than that, I trust them. So you should too:


After playing around with it, choosing 5-7 competitors to analyse seems to be the sweet spot. Ten is way too many.
  • Aaron Radcliffe, Co-Founder of Ditch Your Desk and an all-round badass


Use POP's recommendations with discretion - it's not perfect. Sometimes the read-outs can be false or it can struggle with counting instances of keywords that Google wouldn't like singular vs. plural tenses. Similarly, its wordcounts aren't completely accurate as they also count other aspects of the page like comments.
  • Ralph Cope, Creative Lead at The Broke Backpacker and master of the Negroni


Don't treat POP as a scripture. It's not a one-stop-shop; it's another SEO tool in your utility belt. As always: apply critical thinking. SMASH THE COMPETITION, TAKE NO PRISONERS! 
  • Me! Just your average, everyday, extremely handsome online entrepreneur.


Dude, I love POP! It's so informative. I'd let it Google my SERP anyday...
  • Ziggy Samuels, In-House Writer at The Broke Backpacker and a 21st-century swashbuckler


Free online competitor analysis tools and other alternatives

So here’s the deal… there’s no real direct alternative to Page Optimizer Pro. There are no shortage of SEO tools for competitor analysis out there - the market is absolutely saturated - but there’s nothing necessarily offering the service that POP does.

Is that a bad thing? No, of course not! You’re looking at an innovative platform that kicks ass and chews bubblegum…

POP is for a targeted and direct method of optimizing page structure and keyword usage. Still, there are other alternatives to consider that fill a different niche:

  • Mangools - I adore Mangools. It’s an excellent starting point for people in the SEO race: versatile, newbie-friendly, and, most importantly, affordable! It’s an excellent tool for keyword finding, SERP tracking, and delving into the dark scary realm of building backlinks.
    Have a look at the review of Mangools. Spoiler warning: it's dope.
  • AHREFS - My God it’s pricey but my God does it get the job done! AHREFS gives you a sneaky-peek at the behind-the-scenes of any site: keywords, pages, value, backlinks… Make the entire internet your bitch much respected lover.

There are also a couple of other free online SEO tools floating around and I’m going to tell you right off the bat to not even bother. I’m not trying to be harsh… I’m just being real. You get what you pay for.

You’re playing with the big cats and the big cats all came armed to the teeth. If you show up with a pair of inflatable Hulk hands and a safety whistle, things aren’t going to last long.

Don’t cheap out on your SEO tools.

Bring your best.

What I’ve Learned from Using Page Optimizer Pro

Again, it’s that 80/20 thing. Sometimes, the big wins are also the easiest.

Page Optimizer Pro is an incredibly valuable tool. It’s simplicity to apply and utilise in proportion to the benefits of making the time are amazing! It didn’t take long before I had my whole team optimising our content through POP and the results have been extraordinary. 

But what’s the ultimate thing I learnt from POP?

I learnt to get my proverbial SEO shit together.

SEO is not about throwing paint at the wall and seeing if you end up with a pretty picture. There’s an art form and a science behind it. Sure, Google may still be supplying the paint, but we’re doing the painting.

We’re cooking that goddamn pizza. And it gonna taste goooood. 


Page Optimizer Pro Takeaway Points

  • Correct application of keywording and page structuring is surgical - not slapdash.
  • Page Optimizer Pro is a simple-to-use-effectively tool for analysing your competition’s content.
  • Although it can be well utilised in creating new content, it excels at the process of optimising existing content for Google's rankings.
  • SEO is an ongoing process - old content needs updates and reworking to remain relevant.
  • POP provides an easy and fast win with existing content.

11 Reasons Why Elementor is a MUST HAVE for Your Site

As I've stated many times before, we are living in what's being referred to as the age of content-saturation.

Content is everywhere! Blogs posts, ig posts, tweets, YouTube videos, a billion new podcasts popping up every day.

Content is the new air. It's literally everywhere.

So with all of this content being published, how are you supposed to cut through? How are you supposed to make a meaningful impact? How are you supposed to get recognized and create an army of lifelong fans?

One word.

Top-Quality-Next-Fucking-Level-Design.

(That's one word - right?)

Welcome to my EPIC Elementor review

'But wait Aaron! I can't do web design! I don't know any coding and I can't afford thousands of dollars on developers to take my brand's design to the next level.'

Don't worry young blogger. I know this.

Which is exactly why you need Elementor.

Elementor is a ground breaking product that is meant to do one thing - make design super simple. 

Elementor is easy to use, is affordable, and has the potential to take your brand to another stratosphere.

Let me show you exactly why....

What is Elementor?

What in God's name are you Elementor?

Simply put, Elementor is a drag and drop content builder.  

Elementor is a website builder specifically for WordPress websites (aka - no Wix, no Squarespace!). It concentrates on front-end technology such as web pages, forms, and pop-ups. It is meant to give you full control over the creation process and allow you to build websites in a FRACTION of the time it would normally take.

Check out this video - I'll show you exactly what I mean. 

How cool is that?

You don't need a background in coding. All you need is Elementor!

You can use the drag and drop interface to create a gorgeous website/landing page/blog post in practically no time at all. 

The need for a tool such as Elementor arose from the shortfalls of WordPress. While WordPress is a great CMS platform, it is not the easiest to use for web development. Especially if you have no coding background. 

If you have a WordPress site, you may know exactly what I'm talking about. 

Which is why Elementor rocks. 

You can use Elementor even if you have no web development knowledge. It essentially simplifies the website building process without compromising quality or functionality.  

Want some Elementor fun facts? Let's do it! Elementor has...

  • 2 million+ active downloads and installations of the tool
  • 3,000+ five star reviews on the web
  • A CULT like following of bloggers, writers, developers, marketers and more

Elementor and Thrive Architect are basically the same thing - drag and drop content builders.

For years I was a Thrive Architect guy... I loved it!

But then Elementor came in my life... And turned my world upside down. 

Am I still a Thrive guy?

Or did Elementor steal my heart?

Watch the video below to find out....

11 Reasons why you should use Elementor as your WordPress Content Builder

Don't have an ugly website

Despite only being released in 2016, Elementor is already one of the most popular plugins on the WordPress. 

Why?

Because they have hired some of the best coders in the game, and have been aggressively marketing the product - and it's really paying off.

Here are the 11 reasons why your website will benefit from Elementor

  • It's affordable (or 100% FREE!)
  • Drag and drop functionality
  • Customizable widgets
  • Pre-made templates
  • All websites are mobile responsive
  • Easy-to-use theme builder
  • Pop-up builder
  • Integrations with other third-party tools
  • Full editing history to prevent errors
  • Landing page builder
  • Clean and compliant web code
  • Excellent support and learning resources

Let's run through these one by one...

#1 - It's cheap (or 100% FREE)

Do not listen to this advice Elementor

This is far and away Elementor's largest selling point.

Elementor is what's known as a 'Free-mium' product.

This means that you can use Elementor without paying a dime. You can literally go on to your site, not pay a penny, upload the plugin and start using it in 2 minutes!

But you will be using the limited, free version.

But here's the deal.

The 'limited, free' version is still better than 99% of what's currently out there. 

How do I know this? Because I've personally built entire sites using the free version!

The #1 reason you need Elementor is just how freaking affordable it is

Here's a site I helped one friend build. And here's another

These sites were build using the 100% FREE version of Elementor.

But! As great as the free version is, the paid version is something from another galaxy. You get access to 10x's as much cool shit (mostly jaw dropping templates - but we'll cover those later) and it's only $49 a year. 

That's a little over 4$ a month.

4 f-ing dollars a month to have your hands on one of the best design tools ever made.

That's the definition of a 'no-brainer'.

#2 - Easy to use drag and drop functions

When it comes to ease of use, the developers at Elementor clearly 'get it'. They have created a platform that utilizes drag and drop mechanics so seamlessly that it's literally a joy to use. 

This is one of the simplest mechanics available for web development. There's no code - all you have to do is drag different items and drop wherever you want them!

The basic editor works on the premise of elements – there are different elements available that you can add to your website pages. Examples of elements include:

- Columns

- Headings

- Images

- Video

- Buttons

- Text boxes

To add an element all you have to do is click on the item and drag it into place on your web page layout. It's so simple – you can create pages or blog posts in literally no time at all.

Aside from this, the drag and drop editor has a ton of unreal templates - we'll cover those soon. 

#3 - 50+ Customizable widgets to use when building pages

Elementor has so many damn (cough; AWESOME) widgets

As I've previously covered, WordPress has unlimited amount of plugins and widgets available.

But not all of them are easy to use and not all of them work with Elementor. So to make it easier on you, the savvy team at Elementor made their own plugins and widgets!

These widgets provide additional functionality to your website and can really take your design to another level. They will give your users an overall greater (daresay unforgettable) experience.

Examples of some of Elementor's badass widgets are...

  • Google Maps
  • Social Icons
  • Soundcloud
  • Image Carousel
  • Image Gallery
  • Star Rating
  • Testimonial
  • Progress Bar

Let's dig a bit deeper on a few of these...

Social Icons

The social icons widget is really useful as it allows your pages to be shared via social media. You can set up different icons such as Facebook, Twitter, IG, and LinkedIn.

These can be paired with your own social media accounts. Users can then share your posts or gain access to your social media accounts. Score!

Image Gallery

Adding an image gallery to your site can help with items such as product promotion or marketing.

You can create a cool gallery to display product images for example. The image thumbnails can be clicked on to show a larger version of the image.

Google Maps

Showcasing a map is a great way to give customers the location of your business or store.

Google Maps widgets allow you to do this. You can include a fully interactive map complete with zoom and scrolling functionality.

SoundCloud

This is a widget that allows you to insert media clips into your website. You can include sound bites from SoundCloud tracks, or even upload your totally sick new rap-track.

#4 - 250+ Stunning pre-made templates created by professional designers

Listen to me now - the templates are probably the most important feature that Elementor offers.

Why?

Because these templates a) make your life so much easier and b) look so SEXY. 

Instead of creating a site or post or page from scratch, you can use one of the 250+ pre-made templates and just run with it baby! These templates have been created by professional developers – and they look (and feel!) incredible.

You can browse through the different templates on the Elementor website. Some of the templates are full websites, others are a single page or marketing element. Examples of templates available include:

  • Landing pages
  • Homepages
  • Blog posts
  • Contact forms
  • FAQs
  • Charts
  • Testimonials
  • And so much more..

Each template is responsive and can be fully customized to suit your own business needs. The designs are modern, minimal, clean and look fantastic.

The good thing about the templates is that you can either use them for everything (aka create your entire site using them), or just use them selectively (just using them where needed). The choice is yours!  

For more ideas and template designs, the Elementor community is the gift that keeps on giving.

#5 - Fully mobile responsive and suitable for use on smartphones

Welcome to the revolution! Mobile traffic is overtaking desktop traffic - and Elementor ensures you are sitting pretty for that entire transition!

In today's world of internet browsing, your site has to, has to, HAS TO be mobile-responsive.

By responsive, I mean it must adapt to various different screen resolution and device types - aka desktop, tablet, and mobile. 

Thankfully, with Elementor - you don't need to do a thing. The program creates fully responsive WordPress websites that are suitable for use on handheld devices. They look great on any and every device. 

And to help, you can preview your websites in both mobile and desktop browsers. The site navigation will automatically alter to fit on a smartphone screen. Moreover, you can edit the mobile site design in any way you see fit.

As an extra bonus - loading times of the mobile site versions are also fantastic - which is super important for quality SEO. 

#6 - Theme-builder to create stunning website templates

Whilst using the pre-built templates can speed up the process, you might be interested in creating your website from scratch.

If this is the case, Elementor has an awesome theme-builder that lets you create website themes that can be re-used for future projects or pages. 

The theme-builder uses Elementor's fantastic drag and drop mechanics meaning that the creation process is simple. Moreover, you can break a template down into separate UNIVERSAL website parts including....

  • Header
  • Footer
  • Product page
  • Landing page 

What does this mean? It means you have even MORE control over the way your site looks.

Watch this, I'll explain it further in detail.

VIDEO - show using NN templates

#7 - 'Pop-up' builder to improve engagement and CTR

I put 'pop up' in quotations because although they call it a popup builder, it's not really a pop up. 

Quick lesson - a popup is something that opens (or pops up) in a new window. Very intrusive. Like this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iGPcNMs8bo

What Elementor offers is an 'overlay' or builder. This is an overlay.

Much less intrusive. 

Whether you want to call them a pop-up or an overlay or a pop-erlay or whatever - they are incredibly efficient at generating leads (aka - email addresses). The key is to use them in the correct manner and ensure they are beneficial to your users. 

Elementor has a pop-up builder that you can use to create a multitude of different features for your website. It integrates fully with WordPress, and Elementor Pro actually gives you unlimited pop-up usage without restrictions. The following are examples of pop-ups you can create:

  • Email subscriptions
  • Exit intent pop-ups
  • Login forms
  • Announcements
  • Related products
  • Welcome pop-ups
  • Sale Banners

The above are just a few examples – you can literally create 'pop-ups' for whatever purpose you wish.

The pop-up designer has a drag and drop interface much like the standard website editor. Moreover, any content such as WooCommerce products and dynamic material can be integrated into your pop-ups from other sources.

#8 - Can integrate with a multitude of third-party applications such as Slack and Yoast

Do you use any of these programs?

  • Mail Chimp
  • HubSpot
  • MailerLite
  • WooCommerce
  • Yoast
  • PODS
  • Slack
  • Discord
  • SoundCloud 

If so they literally integrate right into Elementor. I have my Elementor integrated into Mail Chimp on Nomads Nation to easily organize my email leads. 

Two of my favorites are...

Yoast

This is an epic SEO plugin that can help improve the basic SEO of your website content.

Yoast provides improvement suggestions for your content such as the use of keywords and META data. Furthermore, it can also be used to improve the grammar and format of your text.

Slack

Slack is a team messaging system. Millions of businesses use Slack to communicate and manage their workflow.

Using Slack as part of your Elementor project can greatly improve productivity. 

Productivity is tight. 

#9 - It's easy to fix mistakes

We've all been there. You spent the last 45 minutes cranking out an EPIC blog post. You can't be bothered to hit the 'save' button - you are in the fucking zone!

Then all of a sudden... something happens. In that moment WordPress became a conscious being, wanted to fuck with you, and reloaded the page.

Work. Gone.

Don't worry about that with Elementor. 

Elementor provides a full editing history. You can easily revert back to previous design versions. Moreover, you can easily undo the previous creation steps you have taken. This gives you a fail-safe.

If you are not 100% confident in your editing abilities, you can always make changes and undo any mistakes you happen to make.

Aside from this feature, Elementor also keeps your live website and draft versions separate. This means that you can make website changes offline and then upload them only when you are 100% happy with the changes made. 

#10 - Excellent landing page builder to improve conversions

Landing pages are crucial for your site. Whether you are selling an eBook, promoting a new course, or showcasing a product - you need a landing page. 

And Elementor makes it easy!

The page can be tailored for different purposes such as product sales, special offers, or even timed events. You can add and edit features in the same way that you would create your standard web pages.

As a sweet bonus, Elementor includes interactive elements such as countdowns and user forms - both of which can be very effective for increasing conersion rates. 

#11 - Outstanding help center and knowledge base for learning

Even though Elementor is ready to use out of the box - there's a TON of extra cool stuff you can learn to take your design to another level. 

If you want to understand the editor further or include advanced features, you can search through their dedicated help center. The help center includes the following sections:

- “Getting started” tutorials

- Video tutorials

- Knowledge base

- A pretty good FAQ

Cool bonus - If you want more advanced video tutorials Elementor actually has a YouTube channel too. 

Final Thoughts on Elementor

As you can see, when it comes to Elementor I am kind of a big fan.

But this is because I've tried all of the other drag and drop builder out there, and this one blows them all away. 

If you can afford the $4 a month, I don't think there is a better investment you can make right now. 

What do you think? Have you used Elementor before? Do you like it? Let me know below dudes!

And remember to be one with the hustle...


15 Tools That Will Change Your Business Forever

Alright gang, today I’m going to share with you some powerful shit… You probably are already using some tools to streamline your business, maximise your efficiency and spy on your competitors but there may well be one or two tools listed here that you’re not familiar with and if that’s the case then you are in for a treat!

Running your own business, especially in the early stages, forces you to wear many hats and to be directly responsible for all kinds of different tasks, it can in all honesty be pretty god damn overwhelming but by streamlining your workflow and utilising tools to ensure that you can get tasks done quickly and properly you will set yourself up for success.

It’s not all about how hard you work… It is largely about how efficiently you work. Think about it… You have entrepreneur A, let’s call her Annie, and entrepreneur B, let’s call him Boris.

Annie works hard for four hours a day, balancing her entrepreneurial side hustle with her job in advanced robotics. She uses a range of tools to keep herself focussed, on target and to help her tick through tasks quickly and efficiently. She uses the best SEO tools she can afford to give her insights into what her competitors her doing and what people are searching for on Google.

Then you have Boris….

Boris considers himself to be a genius, and a hard working one at that! Every day, he works for ten hours – stopping briefly to tell passersby how hard working and awesome he is.

A task that takes Annie one hour, takes Boris three. Boris may argue that he’s done a better job and maybe he has. But that doesn’t matter – what matters is that Annie is now two hours ahead of Boris.

You see, your work doesn’t have to be PERFECT but it does have to be fast… you need to move quickly or you will be overtaken. Online, it’s the fastest workers with the best strategies who win.

Boris doesn’t realise that and so he doesn’t use any tools. He keeps all of his plans in an overflowing folder. He doesn’t use voice messages; he only makes direct calls. Rather than using email, Boris uses carrier pigeon – it may not be the most efficient way to share data, but hell – Boris is a traditionalist!

I am a traditionalist!

I am often asked what the number one tipping point has been for me – what is it that has allowed me to live the lifestyle that I am currently living?

One of the reasons that I have crushed it on the online world is that I am extremely well organised. I make decisions quickly, usually going with my gut. Even if they are wrong, I don’t waste time stressing about the decision making process.

My quest has always been to accomplish more whilst putting in LESS hours… This year, I am on a journey to get myself down to fifteen hours work a week. The rest of the time I’ll be educating myself on the environment, working on passion projects and getting fit – sounds pretty good right? To get to my goal of fifteen hours, I will need to be extremely well organised.

Luckily, I ain’t worried, because I know about these 15 bad ass tools I am about to share with you!

Using these tools I can quickly and effectively…

1. Organise my workflow

2. Coordinate and communicate with my team

3. Analyse data

4. Discover new keyword opportunities

5. Keep an eye on my competitors

6. Plan my month goals

 

Organisation and communication

Effective communication is the key to success! I have nearly twenty people working full time with me now plus several dozen freelancers (I’ve organised the freelancers so that I only have two points of contact).

I need to be able to quickly and effectively get in touch with individual members of my team, the whole team or a sub-team. Traditionally, I’ve leaned heavily on Whatsapp voice messages for this but there are better options out there – like Slack – and if I was to start again, I would probably rely mostly on Slack – more on Slack in a bit!

Let’s dive into my top fifteen tools for 2019!

Here’s my key to the tool shed.

 

1. Trello – Workflow management

You guys already know I’m a Trello fanatic. Trello is the best workflow management tool I have ever used. I check it daily along with my inbox and use it to arrange everything in a logical and simple way. Best of all – it’s free.

Trello is awesome for organising your content team and allows you to tag team members so everybody knows what they are working on and where.

Trello is how you get your team from taco stand to burrito palace!

Trello works on a board system – within each board, you can create lists and tasks. These tasks can then be assigned to group members. You can further customise it with checklists, colour labels, due dates for task completion etc. The design is simple and intuitive – cards can be dragged and dropped across lists so you can easily see where a task is in the production line. For organising a team or optimising your own workflow, Trello is incredible.

 

2. One Drive – File sharing and management

Whilst Trello is fantastic for workflow management, One Drive is a great tool for file sharing. I have found that having a cloud storage space for files is important, both for the shareability and because every coffee you drink is potentially the one that wrecks your laptop, desktop, external hard drive or whatever keeps your files safe.

One Drive is a product from Microsoft that allows you to store and share files such as these. The basic One Drive account gives you limited storage – you can upgrade and purchase additional space if required.

One Drive is epic for file sharing with your team and to keep those files out of harm’s way. If my laptop kicked it today, I would lose virtually nothing.

 

3. Slack – Team messaging platform

Communication with your internal team, partners or clients is a pivotal part of digital business. Let’s say you have a marketing team, a content creator, and a web developer. How can you effectively communicate with them? How can you convey important information and talk to them about upcoming tasks? Messaging apps like Whatsapp or Facebook message can work – however, they don’t give you great traceability or control and the file upload options could be better.

Slack is significantly better organised, which is why it’s invaluable for teams. My teams are spread out over the globe, so it’s necessary to have different project-specific chat channels and groups where collaborators can share files and other media. The chats even have an integrated tagging feature, similar to users on Instagram. You can tag users in messages and they will receive an email alert. For developers and digital teams, Slack is an excellent way to maintain communication.

 

4. Zoho – Personalized email system

Having a mixed personal/business account.

There has been a ton of tests done by online marketers that show that personalised email address – e.g. [email protected] – lead to great open rates than none-personalised email addresses e.g. [email protected]

Zoho allows you to set up a personalised email address, for free. This is a quick win – use Zoho to appear more professional and to generate higher open rates of your emails.

 

5. Loom – Video recording tool

Sometimes a voice message or email simply doesn’t cut it. Speaking and showing is 20 times faster than typing and explaining. When giving instructions (especially complicated ones), there is no substitute to face to face communication. This is why I use Loom. Unlike videoconferencing tools, Loom isn’t meant for live interaction, instead it allows you to save and upload a video accessible via a link to watch whenever and however many times you want. You can then build a library of training videos for your team or simply share one off tasks quickly and efficiently.

Loom lets you record in three different ways:

  • Screen only – I use this to show glitches to my developers and send out instructions to the whole team.
  • Camera only – I haven’t found a whole lot of use for this feature, but hey! It’s there!
  • Camera & Screen combination – This is the best option for making educational vids.

There are tons of ways to apply this tool. It’s just freaking efficient to instantly share videos – it’s a simple process and Loom is even integrated with Slack for getting those videos shared quickly.

 

Research and Analysis

Maybe you’ve heard about my obsession with keyword research and my conviction that the answers are always in the data.

To really dominate your niche online, you need to own your relevant keywords, and frankly, it’s tough. Keyword research has been crucial to my success – it’s the foundation of everything I do on my monetised sites.

Below, I have listed three fantastic tools that will help you improve your keyword usage and general data analysis:

A keyword investigator is never without his tools!

 

6. Google Analytics – Detailed analytical tools

I’ve got to include Google Analytics on this list even though it isn’t a keyword research tool. It is the most popular analysis tool available and for good reason, this is the tool that can tell you WHERE your traffic is coming from, which posts it is landing on and how traffic is flowing internally around your site. You can find further information such as active users, volume by country and even the most popular time of day visitors use your website. There is a wealth of information that you can put to good use, and while other SEO tools provide estimates and imprecise guesses about traffic, Google Analytics uses real numbers.

We only deal in ups here!

Analytics caters to both the casual and expert user. Use the basic dashboard if you want a simplified analysis. You’ll really have some firepower when you build in-depth reports with detailed figures and graphs. Basically, the tool is what you make of it. Importantly, Google Analytics makes sure your analytical scope can grow as your business increases in size.

 

7. SERPWatcher by Mangools – Keyword research and rank tracker

Listen up, Hustlers! Your keyword wrangling isn’t done once you’ve identified your primaries and secondaries. It isn’t even done once you’re ranking #1 for those terms on Google. No, not even then. As soon as you get lazy, your competition is going to swipe that coveted position from you.

The SERPWatcher tool from Mangools is the best rank tracker I’ve come across, and I use it to keep an eye on my precious keywords. I get a report every Monday with movements up and down the SERPS for all of my tracked keywords.

It’s okay, lovely KWs. I’ll take care of you.

You can subscribe to daily updates on the performance that can help you make business improvements, or leave it, let it run, and go check back to see how your KWs are performing over time.

SERPWatcher is easy to set up. Enter the website URL, the location of your target audience and paste in those precious keywords you’re going to win. The tool will keep track of those KWs, analysing their position every day. SERPWatcher is invaluable for me because it lets my team keep an eye on rank changes for all our primary keywords. When we see something moving south, we go in and fix it.

 

8. Keywords Everywhere – Keyword and CPC data

I appreciate the name of this tool – it’s to the point and effective. The tool itself is also magnificent, and it’s free! Keywords Everywhere is a browser plugin, compatible with Google Chrome and Firefox that gives you the power to monitor keywords, CPC (cost per click) and competition data from a myriad of websites including:

  • Google Search
  • YouTube
  • Bing
  • Amazon
  • Etsy
 

KE gives you a feel for relevant SERPs in your niche. It provides information like search volume and relevant KWs with every search you do, meaning you’re passively researching and learning about your niche. It’s easy to chance upon a little nugget of opportunity from the SEO gods while browsing around the SERPs. Personally, I always have it turned on and it’s often my first port of call for KW research. I sometimes DO find cool KW opportunities simply by browsing around with Keywords Everywhere turned on.

Some casual research to dominate the nunchuck niche.

Keywords Everywhere lets you tick off features if you don’t like how cluttered it makes your SERP (and cluttered it will be if you’re using other SERP-analysing plugins). When you find interesting results, export them in a CSV to really crunch that data.

There are loads of KWs I’ve gone after because I happened on them with Keywords Everywhere.

 

Competitor Research

You’re not the only smart gal or guy in your niche. You’re also not likely to be the only one who’s crushing it. Competition is tough and it’s soul-rending to put so much love into my content to see it fall flat in the SERPs because deskditchers.fu has somehow stroked Google’s algorithm in just the right way.

When choosing what content to go after next, analyse what your competitors are doing so that you can find Google’s sweet spot. You can gain valuable insight and figures by looking into what’s making the top players successful in the niche. Their success needs to inform your action.

Get hooked on the good shit.

9. AHREFS – Competitor Reports

If you use one tool for competitor research, AHREFS is the one worth your time and money! It’s expensive but holy shit, there’s so much valuable info that AHREFS has… AHREFS gives a peek into the keywords, pages, value and backlinks of any site. Yes, that’s right – like a Google Analytics Lite for the entire fucking internet!

The organic search report is massively helpful in getting an understanding of your competition. Using this tool, you can look at the exact keywords competitors are using. Moreover, you can look at how they rank, and the traffic that is generated as a result. This can help shape your own keyword strategy.

We use AHREFS for some of our site management. It’s the perfect tool to track links coming into and leaving the site.

AHREFS isn’t without limitations. All of the traffic and values are calculations (or guesses, as we often call them) of ballpark numbers. Also, in most reports, traffic is given by country, which isn’t the most helpful when we want an idea of global traffic available for a search term. On the flip side of that, you can see what KWs a page is ranking for in each country.

 

10. Feedly – News Aggregator

Here’s how this works. Get a list of your top competitors together. These are the guys you see ranking alongside you for your favorite KWs and have similar content to you. Throw all those domains into Feedly and check back every once in a while. It’s not very intuitive to use, but the struggle will be repaid with value.

Originally meant to be a library of your favorite publications online, Feedly is now rerouted to be useful to all you empire builders out there as a way to keep tabs on the competition and the kind of content they are pushing out. Whenever you check back, you get a shortlist of every new post since the last time you logged in. Are these guys putting out content in areas that you dominate? Is their new content improving in quality? What can you learn from your competitors content strategy?

Feedly can draw information from sources including blogs, YouTube videos, Twitter and even RSS Feeds. You can also use it as another way to keep an eye on specific keywords so you catch any newcomers creeping into the field.

 

More of the Best SEO Tools

11. Screaming Frog – Website crawler for SEO audits

Auditing your web content is part of continually assessing and improving your site. It’s important to keep on top of the SEO you’ve already put into old content, and there’s nothing an auditing tool to give you access to broad information about your site quickly.

Screaming Frog is an exceptional crawling tool. The crawling spider trawls your web content or specific URLs and provides an SEO audit. Screaming Frog looks for issues like:

  • Broken links
  • Duplicate content
  • Poorly formatted metadata
  • URL redirections
  • Web page errors

All of the above are difficult to keep track of without the tool. Without an audit, you’d have to happen upon faulty links and page errors, and you’d never find out whether your metadata is properly formatted.

Here’s your sexy spread of quick wins.

Just feed the tool whatever URL you want it to crawl and Screaming Frog will generate a detailed report. There’s also a paid version (of course) that has an impressive list of features. When used in conjunction with Geni.us and Google Analytics, I’ve found that you can quickly improve the basic SEO of your web content.

 

12. Geni.us – Link management

If you’re running any sort of affiliate site, you’ve likely interacted with Geni.us. Boasting big names like Amazon, Microsoft Store, iTunes and Walmart, this link manager lets you customise your affiliate links so that you can direct traffic from different countries to the correct location – e.g. I can direct my French traffic to Amazon.FR

You want your links to be able to cater to U.S. customers, U.K. customers, Indian customers and hey, maybe even Kyrgyz customers too if they’re on your site clicking your links.

Rather than losing conversions from other countries or rerouting traffic manually, use Geni.us to get your traffic to the right destination for optimum converting.

Geni.us even keeps track of those links for you. If an Amazon product is discontinued or out of stock, you can see that notification and recommendations for how to switch it out.

 

13. Yoast SEO – SEO improvements and management

No matter how fast we are, how smart we are or how efficient we are, there’s no way in heck to into the nitty-gritty SEO details without a real-time analysis tool. These little power-players are essential for getting your content to top form before it’s published.

Yoast SEO is a superb plugin for WordPress. If you use WordPress as your content management platform or to build your website, this plugin is SUPER helpful. Using Yoast, you can quickly eyeball the on-page SEO of the content you’re about to publish. Yoast analyses KW density in headers and body, wordcount and character count, SEO title and meta format, all in real time. It goes a step further to recommend ways to make your article more readable – breaking up long blocks of text, using fewer passive-tense sentences.

Thanks Yoast, you’ve always got my back.

 

 

14. SEMRush TEXTension – SEO Writing assistant

SEMRush is to Google Docs as Yoast is to WordPress. Once you enable the plugin, any document you create using Google Docs is analyzed. The extension will offer you improvements to your keywording, title, text length and formatting.

You can tailor the analysis parameters for your business and the type of content you’re producing. You can insert keywords to be tracked and change the suggested text length among other things. If you’re trying to keep a consistent voice and style across your content (and especially from multiple writers), SEMRush provides a baseline to work from. Detailed and super easy to use (actually, you it’ll do its thing without you interacting with it at all), SEMRush can seriously up the effectiveness of your written text.

 

15. Copywritely – Plagiarism detector

Copywritely does way more than just check for work copied from other sources online, but most of those features are already covered by other tools on this list.

Friendly tip: Don’t fuck with plagiarism. It’s a huge no-no when creating content for your business. Firstly, it is unethical – I can’t think of anything worse than taking credit for someone else’s hard work! Secondly, it can damage your organic SEO ranking and business reputation. Thirdly, your mom will be ashamed. Creating fresh, interesting content is vital. Ensuring that content is 100% unique (okay, I’ll give you 95%) is just as important.

There are loads of plagiarism checkers you can try. I have always used Copywritely. This is an accurate plagiarism checker that draws from millions of sources on the web. All you have to do, is upload your document, or paste a section of text. Copywriteley does its thing and you get a uniqueness score. Moreover, you can see sources on the web that contain plagiarised text.

Using this tool, you can easily correct your content and ensure it is unique. It also works as a spelling and grammar checker too which I find useful! You could use a separate grammar checker such as Grammarly for this, but Copywritely effectively eliminates all of your potential content errors. You can make edits to spelling and grammar mistakes within the checker, and re-download the file on completion.

You’ll absolutely smash it with all these tools!

 

Start using these tools today and skyrocket your online business to the next level

And so there you have it my friends, be more like Annie and less like Boris!

The tools in this roundup will provide you with the necessary building blocks to grow your business efficiently and effectively. Anything you can do to maximise the return for your time spent working, do it! 

Becoming a skilled user of these tools is a quick way to boost your efficiency and productivity. Start using these tools today, and push your business to the next level. Be less like Boris (Please for the love of God)…

We don’t need more Boris.

 

 

DYD’s 7 Rules for NEXT LEVEL Copy [With Checklist!]

If you are starting your own online business, I have to admit... Choosing what to focus on can seem overwhelming. 

Where should you focus your attention? SEO? Social Media? Email Marketing? Improving your funnel?

Yes, these are all super important aspects of owning an online business.

But amidst all this fun, new, shiny-tech-stuff, there is something that often gets forgotten - something that gets glossed over time and time again.

And that one thing?

Great fucking copy.

No matter if you are a blogger, a YouTuber, a podcaster, or anything in between, quality copy should be the cornerstone of your content. 

Why is this?

Because we are currently living in an age of content-saturation. Every day there are 4 million blog posts published and 95 million new posts on instagram. Hell, every minute there are 300 HOURS of new videos published on YouTube.

Content is everywhere. We are drowning in it.

So to truly make it, you have to cut through.

To truly succeed, you have to make an impact that is felt.

And that is done with quality copy.

Aaron's Like-Totally-Super-Deep 

Thought of the Day


"Copy is timeless. Copy is utterly human. The words we hear/read affect the way we think/react. Instagram will come and go, but quality copy will live eternally (or at least until the robots take over)"

Wait, what the hell is 'copy'?

Learning how to write great copy doesn't take years

Copy is defined as a ‘text within a publication or composition’.

I like to simplify the definition of copy even more.

To me, copy is words that are written to sell something.

Whether you are selling a smart phone, an eBook, an affiliate link on a blog post, a car or ANYTHING in between - copy is the words written to persuade the reader to become a buyer.  

Not everyone will agree with this definition, but I find it to be a good rule of thumb.

  • The caption on an instagram ad? Copy.
  • The slogan on a billboard? Copy.
  • Shakespeare’s plays? Not copy.
  • A tech company’s slogan? Copy.
  • This blog post you are reading right now? Copy.
  • The script for the new Quentin Tarantino film? Not copy.
  • A YouTuber's introduction speech in their videos? Copy. 

Copy exists to connect a customer to a product. 

But not all copy is created equal. There is good copy, and there is shit copy. 

What makes good copy?

If you want to become a world class copywriter, it won't happen overnight. Some of the world's highest paid writers are copywriters, and most of them have taken years to perfect their craft. 

But don't worry, getting you to improve your copy won't take years, in fact all you need to do is read this blog post! 

And to make things even simpler, I've made a quick cheat sheet. With the help of this post and the cheat sheet, you'll be able to improve your copy in a matter of minutes. 

These are Ditch Your Desk's 7 Rules for Next Level Copy. 


This^ is the formula for good copy. Add in these 7 steps , and you'll be writing next level copy in no time. 

‘But Aaron, I’m a blogger! I don’t sell any REAL products, I just do affiliate marketing! I don't need to learn good copy’

Then in this case you have to understand that your ENTIRE BUSINESS needs to be built upon good copy. Your business strategy is to accumulate traffic and to convince that traffic to purchase a product (aka - affiliate links!). Literally your entire game is copy - and if you didn't realize that then you definitely need to improve it.

So let's do that right now.

Rule #1 - Put yourself in the shoes of the audience

You need to put yourself in the shoes (PF Flyers in this case) of your audience

This rule could literally be rules 1-7 in itself and is without a doubt the single most important aspect of writing good copy. 

Here's the deal.

You need to understand that you are just one person, and while you might be in the same niche as your audience - it doesn't mean that you naturally going to be able to write for them. 

It takes conscious effort to get into the shoes of your audience. Every blog post I write, every SEO Title I craft, every landing page headline I conjure up all starts the same way - with me asking 'what does my audience want from this particular product?'.

This question is the alpha and omega of writing good copy. 

You need to understand that everyone is different. Everyone has their unique perspective and experience! Couple that together with their own unique fears, joys, dreams and desires, and things can get super complicated!

That's why it's freaking crucial for you to constantly remind yourself to put yourself into your audiences shoes. 

Let's dive a bit deeper...

But what DOES your audience want?

Figuring out what your audience wants shouldn't be frustrating - it's vital to the success of your business

Sometimes we work in niches that we know and understand. I own a handful of travel websites that cater to backpackers and budget travelers. I was a  backpacker for years (hell - I still am!) - figuring out the copy for those sites is a simpler process.

Sometimes we work in niches that are beyond us. A few years ago I bought a website in the female health niche. Umm, I'm a dude - figuring out the copy for that site was a nightmare!

BUT, no matter the product, and no matter whether you know or use that product or can relate to the audience, always remember this (one of my favorite quotes of all time)...

'The buyer is not buying your product... They are buying an improved version of themselves...'

DAMN!

That is some powerful shit. I adore this quote because it perfectly embodies the psychology of why we buy things. 

Having this bit of knowledge was a game changer for me. I became less concerned with trying to figure out how to figure out what my customers wanted from the product. Instead I learned to focus on what they wanted to improve in their own lives. 

That's what good products do.

And that's exactly where the best copy comes from.

If you are looking to up get inside the head of your audience, there is no better book than 'Influence' written by Robert Cialdini. I've read it twice. Highly recommended. 

Rule #2 - Keep your sentences short and your words shorter

Keep it short!

In a nutshell the ultimate goal of copy is to provide clarity

Whatever your product is, you want to be able to be able to describe it in the simplest, most effective manner possible. 

Simple. Clean. Direct. Clear. 

This means a few things...

Small, simple words

Believe me, as someone who has an advanced grasp of the English vernacular, I can completely empathize with the desire... nay... your relentless yearning to articulate your words in the grandest and most sophisticated fashion possible...

Stop.

I can't do it anymore, I almost threw up while writing that.

Yes, in my day to day life, I enjoy throwing out large words. You might too!

But listen to me and listen to me good - keep your impressive vocabulary away from your copy. That is a direct order.

Remember, good copy is about clarity. And short words provide clarity. Short words get the job done. Never use a long word where a short word could suffice. Let's look at an ad from Apple. 

Apple's copy is obviously going to be amazing - but seriously look at the simplicity!

This Mac ad could say something more complex. Imagine if it said...

'Remarkable power.

Sensational performance.

Tremendously Pro.'

Ugh. Laissez-fuck that bourgeoisie crap. Copy is written for the common man. 

Copy is written for the common man!


In this Apple ad 'More' wins in the battle, and simplicity always wins in the battle for good copy. 

Here's a good way to help remember to keep your copy short and clear. It's called the 4 A's.

Avoid Adjectives and Adverbs.

Not always! But often. Simplicity is key. Copy is about clarity. 

Short, simple sentences

In essence - avoid walls of text like the plague!

This is something that is NOT given enough attention - especially in the blogging world.

If copy is about clarity, then you need to think outside of just your words, and think about how you are presenting your words. 

Let me ask you, what would you rather read?

This...

Or this...

Nobody chooses the first one. 

This is simple. No walls of text. Give your words space to breathe and your reader the space to read. 

Rule #3 - Inspire Emotion

The DENNIS System. Inspire Emotion

Ultimately copy is about selling shit, and we are selling shit to human beings, and human beings are emotional creatures. 

There's no way around it. We are not rational creatures. We are emotional creatures. We feel and experience sensations, and those sensations are what drives our decision-making.

Which is why the best copy, is copy that speaks directly to our feelz-spots. 

But remember, do not inspire emotion at the risk of sacrificing simplicity. The real magic is when the two come together to make an emotional/simple-copy-baby. 

How to inspire emotion in your copy

Remember how we talked about getting into the shoes of your audience? Well you're never going to want to stop doing that, because right now is a great time to slip into their shoes. 

Using emotional words is important, but using the RIGHT emotional words is a whole other universe. 

For instance, look at the copy on the About page for the world famous NYC Club House of Yes.

Notice the use of high-emotion words and terms that will resonate with their audience

While possibly a bit too wordy, the copy is very good because it conveys a message that resonates with their audience. 

'Connection', 'creativity', 'inspire', 'heal', 'energy'... these are all HIGH emotion words that probably speak to the core of their niche.

But not all clubs are the same! Let's look at fabric - one of London's top clubs. 

Notice that while both of these are premiere clubs - their copy and approach to emotion on their 'about' pages differs greatly!

Again, while a bit wordy, there's some good damn copy there! 

As opposed to House of Yes, fabric focuses less on what their audience identifies as, and more on the product they offer and the effects it will have on them.

fabric is pitching the experience of their product - that it has 'vibrating floors', 'bass frequencies and transducers' (whatever the hell that is) and ending on a STRONG note claiming if you go there you will 'feel the music.... into your skeleton through your feet.'

DAMN! That's some electric copy. It speaks to their bass of people (see what I did there?) and uses emotional language that will resonate with them. 

Emotions are what define and drive us, and great copy knows how to influence those emotions. 

My favorite resource for 'emotion' words

When writing, this is one of my go-to resources. Check it out here. I use it nearly every day, it's amazing. 

Rule #4 - You You You You You

This isn't a 'Marsha, Marsha, Marsha' type thing (Brady Bunch reference for those of you unaware), but what this is is probably the simplest rule on the list. 

Simply put - use the word 'you' as often as possible. 

This is one of the most basic (yet overlooked!) rule of copy writing. The use of the word 'you' makes the reader feel like the copy was written specifically for them. The use of this word enables the copy to come alive and for the reader to feel like they are experiencing the product.

It doesn't matter if it's copy for WordPress software...

For backpacks...

Or for women's sex toys...

The product doesn't matter. Use the word 'you'. It's stupid powerful. 

Rule #5 - Avoid Being TOO Salesy

We live in a world of oversaturated content and basically anyone can sniff out when the copy is trying too hard. 

You know the words and the phrases.

"Guaranteed!"

"It's the most incredible X ever!"

"Once in a lifetime opportunity!"

"A cutting edge product"

"X is fantastic!"

"Low risk and high reward"

The same bullshit you hear over and over again.

Avoid it. 

Good copy is subtle.

Good copy doesn't brag.

Good copy is like Fonzie...

Cool. Cool as a cucumber. 

Don't underestimate the intelligence of your audience. Good copy makes you come to it. Don't underestimate the intelligence of your audience. Over-salesy copy is a swift death. 

Rule #6 - Be Genuine. Be Positive.

Even though I have a social media manager who handles my IG content, I handle ALL of the copy - it's that important (follow me @aaron_radcliffe!)

Want to know a little secret?

Sincerity and positivity sell. 

And while this rule could technically be coupled with Rule #6, I prefer for it to exist as its own rule. 

As I've mentioned many times, we live in a world where we are over literally drowning in content. There is so much noise that it almost feels like the entire infrastructure is going to inevitably collapse. 

So, how do you cut through that noise?

By being genuine and positive as fuck. 

The more honest, raw, vulnerable and optimistic you are - the more likely people are going to empathize with you and connect with you. 

Look at Gary Vee's instagram feed.

Gary Vee's 5.8 million followers didn't happen for no reason

Look at Sam Adams' website.

I love this copy


Dove does it. 

Geniune and positive

Genuiness and positivity in our current culture

It should be noted that this sort of positivity and sincerity has been somewhat of a recent phenomenon - but a great one!

If you look at the way current culture is gravitating - it's toward genuine content creators who are promoting positivity.

And this is consistent across the board!

A great example is the current state of rap. I love rap, but in the past its most popular artists would have a tendency to write about violence and invincibility.

But now things have changed, as arguably the three biggest rappers in the game (Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole and Drake) have all taken a more vulnerable approach to their music, and are clearly more interested in promoting a more positive, genuine message. 

What does this mean for you?

We are lucky to be building businesses in a time where real, raw, genuine words are appreciated. Use it to your advantage. Allow your copy to be a raw reflection of yourself/your product, and promote whatever you are promoting with relentless optimism. 

Rule #7 - Don't publish crap content

This isn't an original rule - I've seen tons of other 'copy rules' lists have the same thing.

But that's because it's super important. Don't publish crap.

The way to avoid crap content?

Revision.

Write. Then revise and revise and revise and revise and then take a nap and then revise and revise again. 

Revisions are what transforms bad copy to great copy. 

Take your time. Craft your words. Provide clarity. 

Seriously. Don't publish crap.

Final Thoughts on Writing Next Level Copy

Let's admit it - we aren't all expert copywriters (God knows I'm not!)

But if you implement my '7 Steps to Next Level Copy' I can confidently say that your copy will improve ten fold. Good copy is not something to sweep under the rug. Take a few days to consciously improve your copy. Your ROI will be immeasurable. 

Thanks for reading, and remember...

Be one with the hustle.

*Disclosure - Some of the links on this site are affiliate links. This means if the product is right for you and you purchase it, we get a small commission - at no extra cost to you! Your support keeps us caffeinated so we can pump out more content*

Keyword Expansion

When it comes to growing your online project through SEO - you've probably heard it all before.

Do keyword research!

Make sure your on-page SEO is on point!

Build backlinks! 

Yea... we get it. 

Truth be told, there aren't very many unknown SEO tactics out there that actually work. 

But there are a few. And this one is possibly my favorite. 

Will and I utilized this tactic for the first time last April - and the results were AWESOME.

As you can see, Keyword Expansion enabled us to go from #3 to #1 for a juicy keyword

Keyword Expansion enabled us to get some HUGE SEO wins

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you...

Keyword Expansion.

What the hell is Keyword Expansion?

Keyword Expansion is term that Will and I coined for a concept that has been gaining more steam in the SEO-community, and is an extremely powerful way to explode your website's growth. 

Keyword Expansion is one of the most powerful tactics we have in our SEO-arsenal, and is something we try and incorporate as often as possible.

Keyword Expansion refers to the process of adding content to your existing blog posts via secondary keyword research.

Wondering what Keyword Expansion is?

If it sounds complicated - don't worry, it's not. It's super simple to understand and implement, and I'm going to explain it all right now!

This is how you do Keyword Expansion in 4 simple steps.

  • 1
    Find an existing blog post of yours that is ranking. It doesn't matter if it's ranking on page #5 or page #1 - it just needs to be ranking (and preferably it will have been ranking for at least six months)
  • 2
    Use Google Search Console or AHREFs to see the secondary keywords your blog post is ranking for 
  • 3
    Cross reference those keywords with the copy in your blog post
  • 4
    If Google is ranking your blog post for keywords that AREN'T in your article - add them to the article!

This is the basic jist of Keyword Expansion. You simply updating your blog posts by adding content that Google deems relevant to that post. It's a risk-free way to improve in the eyes of Google, and to possibly reap some huge traffic benefits in the process. 

It's very simple, but very effective.

Let's run through these steps one by one to see how they work, so you can explode your blog's growth through this little-known tactic. 

Step One - Find content that is ranking

If you are completely new to blogging - Keyword Expansion isn't for you just yet.

Keyword Expansion is a tactic that best serves blog posts that have been ranking for a while and that are actually getting some traffic.

In fact - I wouldn't recommend doing Keyword Expansion on any blog posts that have been live for less than six months. 

Wait at least six months, and make sure it's a blog post that is actually ranking and preferably has some traffic. 

A great way identify which of your blog posts are ranking and getting traffic is by creating a list of your best SEO-performing blog posts. 

How to find which blog posts to select for Keyword Expansion

Rather than spending weeks improving every blog post you've ever published - let's go 80/20 and focus on your quickest wins.

You can always go back and expand on your other posts later. 

For a quick win, Keyword Expansion best serves two types of blog posts...

1. Blog posts that are ranking #1 and you want to solidify their position like a Spartan warrior

2. Blog posts that are in the 3-10 range and you want to catapult them to the top of the SERPs

If you need help identifying which blog posts are these^ kinds of blog posts, you can easily do so through Google Search Console.

Let me show you exactly how. 

If you don't have Google Search Console, you need to set it up now. This is because Google Search Console is the best FREE way to see how your website is performing in the SERPs. 

GSC gives you a ton of powerful data which can then be turned into actionable strategies. 

To set up GSC, this is a good video to get you started. Or if you don't want to learn how to do it yourself, we paid this dude on Fiverr $22 to set up Google Search Console and Google Analytics for DYD and he did a fine job - just get it done.

Once you are on Google Search Console, click 'Performance' on the left hand side, then 'Pages' at the bottom center, then the little arrow and download it as a CSV or Google Sheets.

If you upload it to Google Sheets, it will look like this (excluding the orange color at the top - I added that).

For this particular spreadsheet, delete the 'Position' row - it's fucking stupid.

And now you will look something like this...

BOOM! She's a beauty

This is a beautiful Google-Search-Console-spreadsheet. This spreadsheet will show you your best performing blog posts based on organic traffic. The metrics displayed are clicks (the amount of clicks on your article in the SERPs), impressions (the amount of people that scroll past your article in the SERPs), and CTR (click through rate).

Based on this list you can see which blog posts are receiving the most organic traffic. These posts fall into category #1 - your SEO-darlings that need love to solidify their position in the SERPs like a Spartan warrior. 

But let's take it a step further. 

If you want to find blog posts you are ranking in the #3-10 range, you can do it by hand or you're going to need a premium SEO tool. The best is AHREF's, but one of our more affordable favorites is Mangools.

If you are using Mangools, you can use SERPWatcher to help cherry pick which of your posts in the #3 - #10 spots could benefit from Keyword Expansion.

Simply go to SERPWatcher, use a timeframe of the last 90 days, and sort by search volume. 

This will then show you which high-volume keywords you are ranking for, and the average position you are in for that particular keyword.

By doing this you will be able to easily identify which of your blog posts are sooo close to being at the top for a juicy keyword! 

As you can see in the screenshot above, this example site is in 5th position for two EXTREMELY high volume keywords (27k monthly volume and 12k monthly volume). 

A bit of expansion could go a long way for blog posts like that!

Which brings us to step two. 

Step Two - Find the EXACT keywords your blog posts are ranking for

Once you have identified blog post(s) that you'd like to perform Keyword Expansion on, you need to see if there is actually room for us to do Keyword Expansion in the first place.

Sometimes there isn't, but most of the time there is always room for some sort of improvement. 

To do this is super simple - we need to see the actual secondary keywords the blog post is ranking for. 

Must... find... keywords

Remember - a blog post will rank for hundreds of keywords. If you write a blog post about 'How to improve your jump shot', you might show up on page one for the primary keyword 'how to improve your jump shot', but then it might also show up on page three for the secondary keyword 'jump shot tips', and page seven for the secondary keyword 'Michael Jordan'

This is because Google is taking the keywords from your blog post, and is ranking your blog post where it believes the post is relevant. 

So let's see what Google is ranking us for!

Pick a blog post to investigate. For me, I'll use the example of The Broke Backpacker's 'Backpacking India' guide. 

Go to Search Console, click on 'Performance' then 'Pages' again...

Once you see all of your pages, scroll down until you find the one you want to investigate and click on it.

This will put the page at the top (top arrow) and then you will click on 'Queries' (bottom arrow).

Scroll down an vuala - we have our ranking primary and secondary keywords!

These are all of the keywords The Broke Backpacker's 'Backpacking India' ranks for (from highest to lowest)

As you can see, the keyword it gets the most clicks for is 'Backpacking India'. This is great because it's the post's primary keyword, so it's what we were aiming for.

But notice when you go further down, it then becomes clear which secondary keywords Google is ranking this post for. 

'backpacking in India'

'backpacking through India'

'India on a budget'

'backpacking Northern India'

'india travel route'

The list goes on and on...

Let's click the arrow that says 'export data' so we can look at all of our beautiful data in a beautiful spreadsheet

(I'm a spreadsheet-whore in case it wasn't obvious before).

Me love spreadsheets

So now we are looking at the keywords ('Query' in the spreadsheet) that a SINGLE blog post is ranking for ('Backpacking India Guide' on The Broke Backpacker). 

Also - do not delete the 'Position' column this time! Unlike the last time, the 'Position' column is extremely important for this spreadsheet. You are going to use it right now to help trim some of the fat for your Keyword Expansion.

And by some of the fat, I mean a lot of the fat. Look at how many keywords this post is ranking for...

633 keywords! This is way too many keywords to sort through...

This Broke Backpacker guide for 'Backpacking India' is ranking for over 600 keywords. 

The post that you are auditing will likely have less, but anything over 100 keywords is way too much information to sort through.

We have to trim the fat. 

To do this, do a two-finger-click on the 'Position' tab, and click 'Sort Z -> A'.

Once you do that, your spreadsheet will organize itself by the position keywords are ranking for. 

This is an important step for two reasons.

1. We can't spend hours upon hours analyzing 600 keywords - it's way too much time. Keyword Expansion is meant to take a bit of time, but overall it's meant to be a quick win...

2. It will show you what keywords you realistically can rank for, and what keywords you should probably not waste your time on. If your blog post has been published for 9 months and it's ranking #72 for a keyword... it's not a keyword you should put anytime into adding. 

So to save ourselves time, let's keep the top 50-75 keywords the post is ranking for, and delete the rest.

If you have less than 50 - that's not a  problem! It's still powerful information you can use to help grow your SEO-presence. 

And on the flip side, you can absolutely keep more keywords in the spreadsheet if you want, but for the sake of not getting too overwhelmed, I recommend keeping it to less than 100 keywords. 

Now comes step three... aka the tedious part (or is it?)...

Step Three - Cross reference the Search Console keywords with the copy in the actual blog post

The jist is simple. We are trying to find keywords on the Google Search Console spreadsheet that are NOT actually in the copy of the article enough times (or at all!)...  

To do this, you simply cross reference the spreadsheet with the copy in the blog post and record the data. 

Simply go through the list one by one, copy the keyword, go to your blog post, and hit command or control + F to search for it in the post.

If it's not in the post, type 'no' and move on.

If it is in the post, type 'yes' and record the exact number of times it is located in the copy. 

DYD Pro Tip


Don't do Step Three yourself. Outsource it to a VA. 

If you have been thinking about trying a VA, this is a perfect first task. Find 10-20 posts you want to record data for, whip up an SOP, and see what they're made of!

If you use VA's then you will immediately understand why this is a perfect VA-task. 

If you don't, then you need to understand that (as long as you can afford it) you need to start outsourcing the tedious tasks as often as you can. Doing so will enable you to spend more time on what you rock at. 

Plus once you start outsourcing this task, your VA will learn how to do it - and hopefully quickly! This means that the next time you do a next round of Keyword Expansion - they will be ready to go. 

Step Four - Add missing keywords to your article!

Once you have had a VA go through all of your spreadsheets and record the information, it's up to you to make the real magic happen. 

Let me show you how.

Part 1 - Keywords that are NOT in the blog post

The easiest wins are finding secondary keywords your post is ranking for that aren't in the actual copy.

Simply find the good/relevant one's (more on this in a sec) and add them in your blog post!

Be sure to add the really good one's as an H2 or H3 AND in the copy.

Next up, let's analyze the KW's that ARE in the copy of the blog post. 

Try and find some great keywords that are only in the copy once or twice, and add them a few more times.

Please for the love of Buddha do NOT keyword stuff. Keyword stuffing is a terrible idea.

But if you see an opportunity to add a powerful and relevant keyword a few more times - do it dude!

A VERY important caveat!

Not all keywords are created equal, and just because you are ranking for it does NOT mean you want to add it in your post.

There are 4 types of keywords to avoid, let's look at some from the 'Backpacking India' post for some specific examples.

1. Speed-search-terms

A Speed-search-term is a query that someone types into Google when they don't feel like constructing an entire sentence or grammatically correct query.

Some examples from the India post are...

'travel blog India backpacker'

This is not grammatically correct so do NOT try and put it in your blog post as is. 

'solo backpacking india'

'daily budget india'

These two are the same - don't try and squeeze in these keywords!

Imagine a sentence that said 'in this blog post you will learn about solo backpacking India and the best daily budget India'.

You will sound like an idiot 😹

When you are looking for keywords to put into your posts, make sure they make sense in English.

Pro Tip - Feel free to add little words to make it work. If you want to add this KW, just add a simple 'in' where it belongs. Google will understand what you are trying to do and you won't come across like English is your 3rd language. 

2. Unrelated search terms

The 'Backpacking India' guide is showing up on page 8 for the keyword 'travel backpacks india'.

While I can see how Google made the mistake - this article is not about travel backpacks in India.

Only add keywords that are relevant to your article. 

3. Outdated search terms

Anything with previous years (2017, 2016, etc) in it - leave it out. 

4. Branded search terms

A lot of people were searching 'The Broke Backpacker India Guide', but this doesn't mean we should add these keywords in the copy. 

Some FAQ's -Why does Keyword Expansion work

Google has stated many times on record that they want fresh and updated content. 

Updating your content is a SUPER powerful way to improve your sites rankings.

But if you think about it, Keyword Expansion takes updating content to the NEXT LEVEL. 

Keyword Expansion allows you to update your article (which Google loves) with new content that Google already wanted you to rank for. This helps your content stay fresh AND increase in topical relevance in the eyes of Google. 

How long should Keyword Expansion take?

Keyword Expansion can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 30 hours - it just depends on what it is you are trying to accomplish.

For example, let's say you have a blog post that you are DYING to rank higher. Maybe you are in positions 3-10 and it's a money keyword that you really want to dominate in the SERPs.

In that case, I would put a solid few hours into that post. At the end of the day, the more TLC you give it, the better chance you'll have of it performing better in the SERPs.

But let's say you were just looking to give your blog posts a bit of life and make sure Google knows that your site is a rocking site that will always stay fresh and updated?

In that case, 60 minutes for a post should be sufficient. Find your missing KW's, put them in and H2 or H3 with a few paragraphs of (awesome) copy and BOOM -on to the next. 

How often should I do Keyword Expansion?

One big mistake I see with bloggers is forgetting their currently ranking content for their soon-to-be-published content.

This is a terrible error. 

You need to treat your ranking articles like gold, and one of the best ways to do this is by sprucing it up with a bit of Keyword Expansion. 

I say give your ranking articles some Keyword-Expansion-love once a year. Schedule a week in your calendar. Make it happen. You won't regret it. 

Final Thoughts on Keyword Expansion

At the end of the day, Keyword Expansion is not a guarantee for higher rankings. Will and I expanded a few posts that never moved from the position they were in.

But plenty of them did. 

And that's EXACTLY why I love Keyword Expansion.

This is one of the lowest risk SEO-moves you can make. You aren't removing anything from your articles - you are enhancing them. If done as I have outlined, there is basically a zero chance for you to lose your rankings, and an enormous chance to improve your rankings.

Ultimately you have nothing to lose, and so much to potentially gain.

And at the end of the day, even if you expand a bunch of articles and none of them improve in rankings, you've still gone through your best performing articles and given them a content-facelift, which Google will adore you for. 

Which is why it's my one of my all time favorite SEO-tactics.

What are your thoughts on Keyword Expansion? Are you going to try it? Let me know in the comments below!

Drop shipping with FBA: Lessons learnt from 2000 sales

Over the last year, I’ve experimented with many different online business models on my quest to become truly free and earn a passive income whilst I travel the world.

Today, I’m going to introduce you to my first Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) experiment!

In this post, you will learn…

 

  • How much I have made so far with FBA
  • What is Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA)
  • Pros of FBA
  • Cons of FBA
  • My tips for success with FBA
  • FBA vs Drop shipping

 

My first experience with FBA

In early 2017, I noticed that I was repeatedly selling the SAME items through my Amazon affiliate account… I knew that I would continue to sell large amounts of these particular items as I was already ranking on the front page of Google for content about these products.

I figured that this was an exciting opportunity – If I could design and manufacture my own version of these products and get them on Amazon, I could redirect the traffic from my blog to MY products and make some real money rather than just 4% on an affiliate sale.

FBA is a GREAT way to make more money out of your existing amazon affiliate sales – assuming you are selling a decent quantity of the same products month after month.

I teamed up for a joint venture with my friend DJ and together we designed and launched Active Roots.

Active Roots is a travel gear company built on a drop shipping model – we sell hammocks, towels, security belts and other products popular with backpackers and hikers. 10% of all sales goes towards the Elephant Conservation Centre in Laos – something we’re stoked to be a part of.

Work hard and not only can you cash in – you can make a Relephant difference to the world

Active Roots products are manufactured in China and shipped in bulk to an Amazon warehouse where they are stored, packaged and shipped to customers (Amazon charge for these services) – this is known as Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA).

As well as this, we also sell Active Roots products directly through our Shopify store – I’ll talk more about this later.

It took us a while to figure out the Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) model as there are lots of moving parts when you’re setting up but once you have it down – it requires very little work to keep sales rolling.

Right now, Active Roots brings in a passive income of between $4000 and $7000 a month. Of this, about 35% is profit. Our profit margins vary as we sell several different products but on average we make $7.50 profit per sale.

So far this year, we’ve sold over 2000 items for a total of just over $40,000. This made us a profit of around $15,000.

The screenshot below shows our total sales of Active Roots products on Amazon for the year to date.

It took time to get this venture off the ground and to really get sales cranking but we’re now close to selling 300+ items a month and sales continue to grow.

When me and DJ first started looking into drop shipping, we immediately came across a pretty large challenge – would we sell our items on Amazon and let Amazon handle all the logistics, customer support and warehousing or would we ship items directly from suppliers to our customers?

Since neither DJ nor myself wanted to be customer support, we opted to follow the Fulfilled by Amazon model. We didn’t want our customers to have to deal with long delivery times or shoddy packaging so Amazon was the obvious choice.

 

What is fulfilled by Amazon (FBA)

Fulfilled by Amazon is when you ship your products to an Amazon warehouse. You then list your products on Amazon itself and as your products are sold, Amazon handles packaging and shipping to your customers. If there are returns, Amazon handles those too.

Once you have your products actually on Amazon, you really don’t have to do anything apart from try to drive traffic to your product listings.

 

↑ Pros of FBA

  • Fast and reliable – Amazon process and ship orders at lightning speed
  • You don’t have to deal with customers, shipping or warehousing
  • Amazon converts well (traffic to sales = conversion) as it’s a platform everybody knows and trusts

 

↓ Cons of FBA

  • You pay for storage of your products – if they don’t sell, this gets very expensive
  • If you don’t sell your items within 6 months, Amazon charges a higher per-month storage rate
  • The backend of Amazon provides really limited data on where traffic and sales are coming from
  • There is a lot of competition

 

Always weigh up the pros and cons relevant to your own own product/site/circumstances. Careful not to get your soul devoured…

 

What I learnt from my first FBA venture

→It’s expensive: Amazon charges HEFTY fees and competition amongst retailers is fierce – if you are trying to rank on Amazon itself, you will face a steep and expensive uphill battle.

→ Competing in Amazon search results is all about price: Unless you are selling a truly special product, price is the only thing to set you apart from hundreds of other retailers selling identical items – price wars are common.

→ Avoid price wars: I advise not trying to compete in Amazon search results – instead focus on driving traffic to your landing pages through SEO or Facebook ads.

→ Targeted traffic converts: If you can drive traffic through SEO or Facebook ads to your product listings, it WILL work – even if you are not the cheapest or even the best product available on Amazon. Buyers searching for your product keywords are READY to buy, if you can capture them and throw them at your product landing page, you have a good chance of seeing a conversion.

→ If you have small margins, you have to shift a lot of product: I fucked up in this venture. I chose items that were cheap to make and cheap to sell. The problem is, I just can’t make enough on a sale of these kinds of items to make it worth my time. If you only have a margin of 35% on a product, you need to sell literally thousands and thousands of them to make it work. Instead, I should have chosen much more expensive items – where I can make $100 + per sale – and settled on higher margins, lower sales. It’s easier to sell twenty high value items a month than it is to sell two hundred low value items – there is also usually MUCH more competition with low value items because the barrier to entry is low.

→ To get the best prices, you have to actually GO to China: I know for a fact that some of our competitors are producing identical products to us and are sourcing them for less. This is because we did not actually go to China – we instead sourced our suppliers through Alibaba, and trust me; that leaves you wide open to getting fucked. If you’re serious about setting up an FBA venture, you should go to China to forge proper relationships with your suppliers.

Ok, ok so going to China might not be the worst thing you could have to do in the name of business.

→ Some products are seasonal: Just because you had a great month in July, that doesn’t mean you can expect to see the same numbers in August – Did you know that there is a hammocking season? I didn’t until recently but it turns out there totally is and there are peak times of the year when people are searching for certain products – this can make it difficult to estimate how much inventory you need.

→ Running out of inventory is a crime: This happened to us twice. When you run out of inventory, it can take as long as a month to restock from China – every day that you are out of stock, you are leaving money on the table. We probably lost out on at least $8000 of sales this year when we were out of stock. However, you have to be careful – if you have TOO MUCH stock this will eat into your margins as Amazon will charge you for every day they are warehousing your products.

→ Amazon are out to crush the little guy: Amazon has access to INSANE amounts of data and they use that data to work out what product to release next in their ‘Amazon Basics’ range – as soon as Amazon releases it’s own version of a product, all other retailers trying to sell that product are doomed – they cannot compete on price or brand trust and recognition. Even worse, Amazon manipulates search results so that the Amazon Basics version of the product always appears at the top.

→ Amazon FBA is hard: If I didn’t have a secret weapon – the ability to drive traffic through SEO – we would not have been successful in this venture.

 

How I used SEO to sell my products on Amazon

Luckily, we had a secret weapon when it came to driving traffic… The Broke Backpacker and my network of travel blogging allies.

Competing in Amazon search results against other retailers was never part of our plan.

Instead, we focussed on identifying every other outdoor or travel blog who had content that could feature our products. We then reached out to all of these people and bribed them to link directly to our listings on Amazon – this meant that we had a steady flow of reliable traffic to our product listings.

Because we were able to capture relevant Google traffic across multiple sites ranking for keywords related to our products, and then throw that traffic at our product landing pages, we have had some success.

If we had been unable to do that, I honestly do not know how the hell we would have shifted these products… We DID experiment with Facebook ads, Amazon ads and with paying influencers to promote our products on Instagram but we saw marginal results.

Over 95% of our sales come through SEO… We rank in first or second position for all major keywords related to our products and have recruited many of the other sites also ranking for these keywords to help drive traffic to our landing pages on Amazon.

 

The case for other drop shipping models

OK, this is a massive topic and I’m just going to scratch the surface right now. I am however working on a huge drop shipping guide which will explore all of this in greater detail so stay tuned for that.

The main advantage of using FBA to get your products to your customers is that Amazon is a huge platform that everybody trusts and Amazon can handle all of the logistics and packaging for you. Amazon delivers your products quickly and efficiently to your customers.

The main disadvantage of using FBA is that Amazon take a percentage of the sale, charges for warehousing, charges for packaging and charges for delivery… This quickly adds up and squeezes profit margins.

But what if you were to sell your products on a different platform?

 

Selling products on your own website

Whilst FBA is an exciting and profitable business, you can make significantly more if you handle warehousing and logistics yourself – this does of course mean you have to sell on a platform other than Amazon. We are currently experimenting with this by selling items directly through our Shopify store.

Let’s break it down.

The advantage of selling on your own website is that your expenses will be significantly less – you don’t have to pay Amazon anything.

The disadvantage of selling on your own website is that it is unlikely to convert as well as Amazon – people are used to Amazon and don’t think twice about purchasing something on there.

The biggest difference between using FBA and selling products on your own website is that you will now have to figure out how to get your products to your customers.

 

There are three ways to get products to your customers…

1. Have stock in place at a local distribution centre who will handle warehousing, packaging and delivery

2. Have stock in place at your house and handle everything yourself or with the help of an employee

3. Have the supplier in China ship the product directly to the customer  – this is complex and has many moving parts but is the way to make the most money.

I am currently working on a mammoth guide to drop shipping which will arm you with the info you need to understand the pros and cons of each of these methods and plan out your own drop shipping venture.

It’s going to be a game changer!

 

FBA take-away points

  • FBA is a logical choice if you are already selling lots of the same item on Amazon every month.
  • If you’re serious about launching an FBA venture, go to China to get the best prices.
  • Don’t run out of stock, but don’t overstock – it’ll eat into your margins
  • FBA squeezes profit margins.
  • Think about how you will drive traffic to your products on Amazon – this is your biggest challenge.
  • You have to EITHER sell a TON of cheap items or make decent margin on fewer sales – don’t be in the middle making low margin on low sales volume.
  • Selling on your own website offers lower conversion rates but healthier profit margins
  • Amazon are out to crush the little guy – beware!

The Ultimate All-in-One SEO Tool for Beginners for 2019

Have you ever heard the saying that 'a carpenter is only as good as his tools?'

This quote perfectly exemplifies one of my biggest passions - tools.

Not those kind of tools.

I'm talking awesome tools that help your business gain an edge against your competitors and allow you to explode your website's traffic and growth - SEO tools.

SEO tools are one of the things I nerd out on the most - and for good reason... Discovering and properly using the right tools has helped me master SEO and generate massive amounts of traffic to all of my sites.

And when it comes to a website... traffic is everything.

So if you are looking to generate massive amounts of traffic - mastering SEO with premium tools is definitely the most effective and quickest way. 

Why you Need Tools for SEO

Here's the deal.

Technically speaking -  SEO can be done tool-free.

Technically speaking - you do not need any SEO-software.

But let me tell you...If you have just started your first website and getting traffic on Google is your main priority (and it should be) doing it without tools is basically impossible.

Why?

Because at the end of the day, SEO-tools and software give you an insight into SEO that you never would have otherwise had, which then gives you an edge over your competitors. 

And that insight is CRUCIAL...

To become one with SEO, you must use SEO tools

Want to take your business to the next level?

Ditch Your Desk subscribers get access to our best content. Period.

Why you Need PAID Tools for SEO

Are there free SEO tools?

Hell yes! And plenty of them are awesome. 

My personal favorite SEO tool (Keywords Everywhere) is 100% free. Add that in with the Moz bar, Keyword Keg, Ubersuggest and a few more and you'll realize that there are TONS of free SEO tools that can help you explode your growth.

But remember that at the end of the day, while these tools are awesome... they are free-awesome... not premium-awesome.

Ultimately - you get what you pay for.

And while these free tools are 100% mandatory in your arsenal... they are best utilized as complementary tools. Not primary tools.

If this were an ancient battlefield, the free tools would be our archers.

But the paid SEO-tools? That's the freaking cavalry.

Paid SEO tools give you access to data and insights that can only be described in one word - powerful.

Paid (or otherwise known as 'premium') SEO tools take the three aspects of SEO (Keyword Research, On Page SEO, Off Page SEO) and give you an edge that beforehand you probably didn't even know existed.

Coming Soon - The 17 Best Free SEO Tools for SEO-Domination

The Best Paid Tools for SEO

I recommend different tools for different people in the SEO-quest.

Simply put, if you are a bit more advanced and have some money to spend - nothing beats AHREFs.

Case closed. 

AHREFs is hands down my favorite software and acts as an all-in-one SEO-tool. AHREF's is the most sophisticated SEO software on the market, and will literally blow your mind with its capacity.

But as mentioned, AHREFs is a super-premium product, and a super-premium product comes at a super-premium price.

You gotta dish out a MINIMUM of $99 a month (and even then, I'd recommend starting out at the $179/m pricing to really get bang for your buck).

For most newbies and even the more moderate/advanced - this is simply too much money.

With so many SEO tools on the market, it's hard to pick which ones to choose

I know this because it used to be way too expensive for me. A few years ago I knew that I needed SEO tools to help explode my traffic - but there was NO WAY I could afford $179 a month.

If this sounds like you, then don't worry - I have the perfect tool for you.

Ladies and gentlemen - meet Mangools.

What is Mangools?

I don't get this worked up over SEO-tools very often, but Mangools is without a doubt one of the coolest SEO tools on the market for beginners.

This is for three distinct reasons.

  • 1
    Mangools is affordable
  • 2
    Mangools is extremely easy to use
  • 3
    Mangools is a versatile and accurate tool

These three reasons are why I think Mangools is the best SEO tool anyone with a beginner to moderate understanding of SEO. 

Let's analyze these aspects one by one so you can assess whether Mangools is the right premium tool for you.

Reason #1 - Mangools is Affordable

Let's go ahead and get the pricing out of the way.

Mangools costs anywhere from $29-$79 a month. 

If you are here considering Mangools, I wouldn't worry about the $79 option. I would recommend you using either the $29/m or $39/m option.

This pricing is truly a godsend for beginners. Super-premium SEO tools like Moz, SEMRush and AHREFs all start at $99 a month - and that's for their basic accounts with limited features!

Being able to have premium SEO tools at your fingertips for less than $30 a month is easily one of the biggest selling points of Mangools, and why we at DYD recommend it so highly. 

Mangools gives you the opportunity to dip your toes into the world of SEO, with a fantastic product, and a really affordable price. 

If you are intimidated by $30 a month then you need to reconsider what it is that you are trying to accomplish with your business.

If you want a small hobby-blog that generates a bit of traffic,  I can understand being hesitant to invest money. 

But if you are trying to carve a life of freedom and generate a ton of money online, you have to look at your blog as a business. 

And businesses require investments.

Looking for an affordable SEO tool?

Just keep that in mind. Even if you don't want this particular Mangools product, you need to be ready to invest money into something, or you'll continually be watching your competitors steal all of your traffic and potential income. 

Reason #2 - Mangools is extremely easy to use

Ease of use is crucial - especially if you are new to this kind of stuff.

And that's one thing that Mangools nails.

The Mangools interface is simple and well designed.

To see just how great the interface is, definitely check out the screencasts below. 

Reason #3 - Mangools is a Versatile Tool

So you can agree that $29 is a good price, but you might be asking yourself...

'Wait... what do I get for my $29 a month?'

This is the best part. 

When you buy a subscription to Mangools, you get access to their 5 SEO tools. Those tools are...

  • 1
    KWFinder
  • 2
    SERPChecker
  • 3
    SERPWatcher
  • 4
    LinkMiner
  • 5
    SiteProfiler

A lot of SEO tools in this price range can be one dimensional. 

But not Mangools. 

With a Mangools subscription you get a ton of bang for your buck. ​

Let's take a closer look at the 5 SEO tools you get with your Mangools subscription. 

SEO Tool #1 - KWFinder

  • Great for beginner keyword research
  • Accurate keyword-difficulty scores
  • check
    Great for keyword recommendations
  • No advanced features
  • Some caching problems

KWFinder was the first tool of Mangools that I used.

I'm kind of a keyword research addict, so I'm always looking for new tools that can give me a competitive edge with this part of SEO.

And KWFiner does a really, really great job at this. 

This tool will help you take your keyword research to the next level.

Watch the screencast to see me use KWFinder to find awesome keyword-gems.

SEO Tool #2 - SERPChecker

  • Helps you understand SERPs
  • Accurate LPS-scores
  • check
    Great for keyword research
  • Not my favorite interface for this kind of SEO tool

Another CRUCIAL aspect of keyword research is SERP analysis.

SERP = Search Engine Results Page, and analyzing the SERPs is crucial for SEO success.

And the Mangools SERPChecker can really help you in your SERP analysis

Watch the screencast to get a better idea of SERPs and why this tool will help you take your SEO to a new level.

SEO Tool #3 - SERPWatcher

  • Best interface for SERP-recording software I've used
  • Simple to use
  • check
    You can track over 200 keywords on the $29 a month option
  • It counts as two keywords to track on mobile AND desktop
  • Times
    'Dominance Index' is dumb to me

Here's the deal - you absolutely need some sort of SERP-watching software.

SERP-watching software allows you to enter your keywords into their program, then every day it will give you a SERP-report where you can see how your blog posts have done in the past 24 hours.

The good news is there are tons of SERP-report software options out there. I am currently using a cheap product for a few of my sites called SERPRecorder for less than $15 a month. 

But the better news? If you buy Mangools, you don't need to buy SERP-report software - it's all included baby!

This helps rationalize and negate the price of Mangools, plus not to mention the interface is far and away the best SERP-reporting software I've tried. 

Check out the screencast to get a complete understanding of how this software helps your SEO-organization.

SEO Tool #4 - LinkMiner

  • Great way to see competitor link profiles
  • Jump straight to anchor text (super awesome)
  • check
    Helps you strategize where to try and get links from
  • A bit complicated of an interface (it just takes some getting used to)

Diving into the world of backlinks can seem scary and dark - so let LinkMiner be the light!

LinkMiner does a good job of making backlinks less intimidating. This will help you accomplish two very important things.

1. LinkMiner will help you see your competitor's backlink profile

2. It will also help give you an idea of where to start out reaching for backlinks on your own site. 

The screencast will answer all of your questions about this underrated and powerful tool. 

SEO Tool #5 - SiteProfiler

  • Super awesome way to get competitor insights
  • Helps you evaluate websites (good for building backlinks!)
  • check
    Data is accurate
  • Doesn't give traffic for low to mid-sized websites

The newest addition to the Mangools family - I introduce you to SiteProfiler!

SiteProfiler is a powerful SEO tool that will enable you to do in-depth competitor research. This tool will allow you to see competitor's SEO metrics, estimated traffic, their top content and a bunch more. 

This is a watered down version of AHREF's 'Site Explorer' but does a good job of giving accurate data and making it simple to use. 

You gotta watch the screencast below to see how I use SiteProfiler to (ethically) spy on competitors to know which content I should create.  

Final Thoughts on Mangools

The verdict is pretty simple - if you are looking to dip your toes into the world of SEO, want to get ahead of your competitors but aren't ready to invest a ton of money... Mangools is as good as it gets. 

Have you tried Mangools? Do you think there is a better all-in-one SEO tool for beginners? Let me know in the comments below dudes!

*Disclosure - Some of the links on this site are affiliate links. This means if the product is right for you and you purchase it, we get a small commission - at no extra cost to you! Your support keeps us caffeinated so we can pump out more content*

What is SEO?

SEO is probably one of the most misunderstood parts of blogging.

I’ve been silently observing a lot of the chatter in blogger groups on Facebook for some time now and the general lack of understanding, as well as the use of strategies that are extremely outdated, is shocking.

And it isn’t just new bloggers struggling to get to grips with how SEO works. There are bloggers out there with established and profitable websites who only have a very basic understanding of what they should and shouldn’t be doing to help their content rank in Google search results.

There are many digital entrepreneurs out there who could triple their traffic, and revenue, if they invested in understanding SEO properly.

To many, SEO might seem intimidating. Or perhaps unimportant.

But let me tell you – it’s neither.

Learning SEO is the best investment you can make with your time if you want to succeed online. And, amigos, I’m here to make it as accessible as possible.

This is my mantra for the online world and it’s one that everybody should learn…

If you haven’t got traffic, you haven’t got anything.

Without traffic, you might as well smash your laptop.

When I first started blogging as The Broke Backpacker, I assumed that writing great content would be enough to build me an audience and make some money online.

How wrong I was.

Truth be told, if you want to dive into any online venture, you need to devote some serious time to researching, understanding and implementing SEO.

No matter what online business you are launching, whether you are building an e-commerce site, an Amazon niche site or even a personal blog; it doesn’t matter.

SEO = traffic. If you don’t have traffic, you don’t have anything.

I know how intimidating SEO can seem, which is exactly why I created this truly ultimate guide to help you get to grips with properly understanding SEO.

Don’t skip it, don’t scan it.

Make yourself your favourite hot beverage of choice, settle down with a pen and paper and get ready for some knowledge bombs to be dropped…

In this ultimate guide I simplify SEO and break down implementing SEO into four easy to understand, actionable steps, so you can easily replicate my own SEO strategy on your site.

 

So, what exactly is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. The search engine (SE of SEO) in this case is the almighty Google. And optimisation (The O of SEO) means all of the strategies and hacks to get you on the front page of Google search results.

Google has one goal. To provide the best answers to people with questions. Google does this by connecting their searches to the highest quality piece of content available, and to do that, Google uses complex algorithms which have established rules and preferences.

If you follow these rules and meet Google’s preferences, Google will reward you with a slot on their front page. A slot on Google’s front page = lots and lots of free traffic! A slot on Google’s front page for a valuable keyword is the holy grail!

So your mission is to optimise your site, so you can get lots of traffic to your site because at the end of the day, when you are trying to make money online…

 

Traffic is everything!

It’s fairly simple…

  • The more traffic you have, the bigger an audience you have.
  • The larger your audience, the more money you can make
  • More traffic = more money = more scaling

You are probably aware that a lot of people (AKA traffic) use Google. Google is the largest driver of traffic for most websites and if you nail your SEO you can look forward to plenty of free traffic.

 

Organic traffic makes up 87% of my readers on TBB

Organic traffic makes up 87% of my traffic.

 

The shot above shows that over a four month period, a shocking 87% of my one million unique visitors came to the site through Google – all thanks to the power of SEO.

Whilst social media can be a large driver of traffic, it only accounts for about 2% of my total visitors to The Broke Backpacker (even though I have over 200,000 social media followers).

There are some entrepreneurs who swear that Facebook is the best way to drive traffic but this involves an up-front investment as you will need to design and pay for adverts… Unless you have a background in Facebook marketing, this is usually a waste of money as the learning curve is fairly steep and constructing good Facebook ads which bring in lots of traffic at a reasonable price is an art-form in itself.

And in contrast, where Facebook costs money – SEO can be free.

I’m a big fan of SEO. And, I fucking hate social media.

I don’t believe in social media as a way to drive traffic, the game has changed and now that a pay to play model has been introduced by Facebook, it is becoming increasingly difficult to drive free traffic through social media.

Youtube and Pinterest can still be powerful traffic drivers but in my opinion, it’s only a matter of time before they too start prioritising paying advertisers over us humble content creators.

Google isn’t going anywhere and I believe that learning about and investing in SEO is one of the smartest decisions that any online entrepreneur can make.

Let’s dive into the exciting world (no, really, this shit is awesome) of SEO!

Compared to conquering mountains, learning how to conquer SEO is easy

 

Why SEO is awesome

Never before have business owners had access to customers at such a low cost.

The more you learn, the more you earn. You don’t need to learn EVERYTHING but you do need to have a solid understanding of both on-site and off-site SEO (more on what those are in a moment).

The internet is the future, and by learning how to optimise your site, you will be giving yourself tools and knowledge that will give you a competitive edge.

I won’t lie to you, it may be challenging to get your head around SEO at first but it’ll be so worth it.

Consider the learning curve a high-quality investment, because once you properly ‘get’ how SEO works, a whole bunch of new doors will swing open to you and you’ll start to come up with new and imaginative ways to drive traffic and make money out of your online ventures.

Best of all, learning about SEO is free. Improving your SEO can cost nothing – but you do have to be willing to invest a ton of time.

You don’t need to spend money on a fancy course, you can start learning the basics right here, right now, and it won’t cost you anything.

Learning about SEO is a free high-quality investment that will also translate into an immense amount of traffic to your project of choice.

So please, don’t dread SEO. Be stoked that it’s a thing.

It will help you take your business to the next level, and once you start to wrap your head around it, you’ll probably find it fascinating and exciting.

 

If you still refuse to learn SEO …

It’s time to get real. If you can’t be bothered to learn about SEO, I can’t help you.

We don’t pamper at Ditch your Desk. We give you real, accurate information and show you the proven ways to unlock your potential and create a life of freedom. We deal with people who are 100% action driven because we at Ditch your Desk are 100% results driven.

And in all of our experiments, in everything that we have tried and done, SEO has been key.

If you want to play in the online game, you have to either learn SEO, figure out Youtube rankings or become a Facebook advertising God. You NEED a way to drive traffic. I firmly believe that SEO is the smarter choice out of these three options and I have no help or guidance to offer you on Facebook or Youtube. For me, it’s SEO all the way…

 

How SEO transformed my website

Here’s a true story – when I first started my travel blog, The Broke Backpacker, I knew nothing about SEO. I didn’t even know what SEO stood for, and so I assumed SEO was not important.

Fast forward two years and I was getting smashed by my competition despite having one of the best engaged social media followings in my niche AND over two hundred and fifty posts of quality content.

Newer sites with significantly less content were bringing in more traffic than my site, which allowed them to make more money than me.

Sites with just ten posts were ranking in Google and bringing in a reliable passive income through affiliate marketing… I was jealous, I wanted that traffic, I wanted that success, I wanted a reliable passive income.

But, due to zero SEO on my site, I was nowhere to be found in the search results. I wasn’t getting much traffic and I was making very little money.

The Broke Backpacker was not performing to even 10% of it’s potential and I knew the reason why: I had hardly any traffic.

I made the decision to totally revamp all of my content. This was a huge game changer but not a decision I could make lightly – it was going to take months and cost thousands. But it needed to happen, and so…

I spent a month learning about the best SEO practices and then hired a team of kick ass VAs who I armed with Standard Operating Procedures (SOP – basically a set of instructions) to help me go through the website and re-write over three hundred pieces of content

That is not a typo.

It took nearly six months but the end result is even better content that is properly optimised.

Did it make much difference?

See for yourself.

If you notice, a few months after I started taking SEO seriously I began experiencing a steady uptick in traffic. Week after week, I was hitting new all time highs on both traffic and income.

Invest time into SEO, and good things happen.

By following my four-step strategy below, I was able to improve my traffic by a staggering 400% from December 2017 to May 2018.

But it gets better…

More recently, I finished up another huge SEO and content push on The Broke Backpacker. We have been pumping out high quality content all year and focussing on cutting edge SEO techniques to continue to grow our traffic.

Has it been working? Hell yes.

The screenshot below shows our weekly traffic over the last six months. We are now hitting 100,000 users a week on The Broke Backpacker – that’s a ton of traffic.

Let me break this down…

Over the last 12 months, we have gone from less than 40,000 users a month to 400,000 users a month – that’s an increase of 1000%.

This type of increase in traffic is not exclusive to The Broke Backpacker. This is how the internet works. To make money, you need traffic, to get traffic you need to utilise SEO on your content.

Easy as that.

You can do the exact same with your site by following my simple blueprint for success. This is exactly what I did… 

 

The Four Steps For Smashing SEO

 

With these four easy to understand steps, I was able to shoot my blog traffic through the roof.

This four-step process helps break down SEO so that you can properly understand what you need to do to get your content ranking…

 

Step 1: Kick Ass Keyword Research

Keyword research refers to finding the keywords you wish to target in your content. 

Keyword research is one of the fundamental parts of SEO and if you screw this up it can be tough to get any meaningful traffic. Luckily, it’s getting easier and easier to find kick ass keywords due to increasing search volume and an ever-evolving set of keyword research tools.

There are a TON of keyword research products available – some are free and others cost hundreds of dollars for a subscription.

Let’s start at the beginning…

 

“I’m completely new to SEO”

If you are completely new to the SEO world and want to get a feel for keywords, I recommend starting with a free chrome extension – Keywords Everywhere.

Keywords Everywhere allows you to see search volume, plus the search volume of related keywords, whilst casually Googling.

It’s super insightful and a great place to start tinkering and establishing patterns of what type of keywords have recurring volume.

If you use Keywords Everywhere alongside Moz’s DA checker (which is helpful for gaining a snapshot of the ranking power of competitors) you can quickly figure out if a keyword is going to be worth trying to rank.

Keywords Everywhere is BASIC but it’s still awesome and I keep it turned on at all times. I’ll be publishing a 101 guide to Keywords Everywhere soon 🙂

Another powerful free tool is Google Keyword Planner.

Keyword Planner is a great way for newbies to sink their teeth into keyword research, but the data is pretty limited and it won’t get you very far.

We currently don’t have a guide on Ditch Your Desk, but Brain Dean from Backlinko put together a great piece on doing effective keyword research with Google Keyword Planner. 

 

“I’m willing to invest in a decent keyword research tool”

There are a lot of different keyword research tools out there and over the last twelve months, I’ve experimented with Keyword Tool, Keysearch, Semrush, Ahrefs and Mangools.

These tools are all good at different things and in the travel blogging community, you will see a lot of people talking about Keysearch.

This is fantastic – because Keysearch if fairly basic. The more of my competitors are using Keysearch for their keyword research, the better.

But you guys ain’t my competitors, you’re DYD family, so I’m going to let you guys in on a secret and introduce you to my TWO favourite tools for keyword research.

KWFinder (by Mangools) is by far the best value keyword research tool out there and is very powerful when it comes to longtail keyword research.

KWFinder allows you to check KW volumes and difficulties, see related keywords and view keyword trends.

Best of all, if you buy KWFinder, you get three other quality tools thrown in.

Mangools make some great SEO tools and with packages starting from $30 a month, you get access to four great tools – KWFinder, SERPChecker, SERPWatcher and LinkMiner.

All of these tools are great and together they offer the perfect introduction for newbie bloggers to the awesome world of SEO. Out of the two, we mostly use KWFinder and SERPWatcher.

SERPWatcher is fucking awesome and is the best position tracking program I have found. Check out the video below for a quick introduction to SERPWatcher…

If you are a beginner, check out why we think Mangools is the best all-in-one SEO tool for you

 

“Just tell me what the best keyword research tool is already!”

OK, so I mentioned that I use two main tools for keyword research. The most powerful SEO tool out there, and my personal favourite is AHREFS.

The problem with AHREFS is that the AHREFS team KNOW they are the best in the business and the standard subscription will set you back a minimum of $99 a month.

That’s a lot of dough.

But, you get what you pay for. AHREFS is simply the best keyword research tool in terms of index size, staying ahead of the curve and usability.

For my own keyword research and competitor analysis, I use AHREFS.

However, I have a large team – three full time editors and up to a dozen writers depending on projects – and I’ve built a system that means writers take full responsibility for keyword research on their projects.

We’ve trained up my whole team on how to do their research using Mangools KWFinder as AHREFS only allows one login per subscription and Mangools is more than adequate for KW research.

So why do I use AHREFS?

Instead of just seeing the data behind keywords, AHREFS allows you to see behind the scenes of your competitors… You can scrape data on which keywords your competitors are ranking for, which posts are their most valuable posts and where their traffic is coming from.

You can see their link index and, if you know how to dissect this information, you can also break down your competitors’ link building strategies.

A lot of the time, it’s easier to see what is already working for your competitors and then to simply do it better than them than it is to do keyword research yourself.

Now the above might sound like next level shit. It might be the case that you’re not even thinking about what your competitors are up to but trust me… As you learn more about SEO, you are going to want to know how your competitors are ahead of you in the SERPS (search engine result pages) and what you can do to sprint past them into that coveted first place.

 

Keyword Research Conclusion

Keyword research is the foundation of content creation, and skimping on it will only result in failure. Take your hustle seriously and invest some time into understanding your audience and what they are searching for.

Remember, for every article you publish, you will want to find a primary keyword and a whole bunch of secondary keywords. We cover this in-depth in the Mangools Keyword Research Guide (coming soon!)

If you want to dive in deeper… Check out the best fucking beginners guide to keyword research ever written. 

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Step 2: Writing for Google (On-site SEO)

On-site SEO refers to laying out your content, and site-map, in a way that Google favours, thus increasing your chances of ranking in the SERPS…

Writing for SEO has evolved dramatically over the years.

Back in the day, you could write 500-word blog posts, stuff in your keywords as many times as possible and build a bunch of links with exact keyword anchor text.

If you do that today, Google will blow you out of the water.

Google’s Hummingbird (2013) and Panda (2011) updates changed the way content is ranked, and have ensured that legitimate sources of high-quality content are rewarded with high rankings.

Google’s bots and algorithms have become increasingly intelligent in their ability to filter spam, and reward valuable content with higher positions in the SERPS.

Google values content based on a variety of different things, but most importantly you should make sure that your content…

  • Answers questions
  • Provides value (check out our guide to writing AMAZING copy)
  • Has high engagement
  • Is shared
  • Loads quickly
  • Keeps your reader on the page
  • Links out to other authority resources

These algorithms and updates are Google’s way of organising and arranging what was once a lawless web.

On page SEO is about communication and order, ensuring that people searching for information get the highest quality information on the web, laid out in a logical and easy to read format.

 

Yoast

First thing’s first – you absolutely, 100%, MUST install the SEO by Yoast plugin. This WordPress plugin (which is free) is universally acknowledged as a must have and for good reason…

SEO by Yoast Box in action

Yoast will give you insights into your on-page SEO. It’s very thorough and easy to use. If you use Yoast in unison with my on page SEO checklist below, you’ll be just fine.

 

The Exact On-Page SEO Checklist my Team Uses

So to play in this game, you have to produce content that is laid out in ways which Google favours. Over the past few months, I’ve put together a detailed SEO training guide for my writing team over at The Broke Backpacker.

Here are some of the key points…

  • In general, the longer the article the better – 2,000 minimum word minimum. 4,000 plus is gold. We often aim for 10,000 plus.
  • 0.2 – 0.5% keyword density.
  • Keywords in the H2 and H3 subheadings  (at least once per article, more is better).
  • Keywords in the post title, URL, very first paragraph (as early as possible) and meta description.
  • Primary keyword in ALL photo alt tags and image attribute field. Keywords in photo captions.
  • Readability! Short paragraphs = good. Long paragraphs = bad.
  • Internal links to and from other relevant posts on your site.
  • Photos help Google rank your content, be sure to put the keyword in alt tags, image attribute fields.
  • External links to high domain authority sites that are NOT chasing the same keyword as you – The SEO by Yoast Box will highlight it if you do make this error.
  • List posts – easy to write, popular with google browsing audiences.

 

For some more of my top tips for on-page SEO, check out this graphic which I spent far too fucking long making…

I didn’t want to dive in TOO deep with on-site SEO today as I’m sure a lot of you guys are relatively new to the concept, the above steps are a good blueprint for your initial steps into on-page SEO.

I’ll be covering the more complex topic of on-site SEO (how to lay out your sitemap) in another blog post.

 

Step 3: Building Backlinks

A crucial part of any SEO plan is building backlinks to your content. Backlinks act as a vote of confidence resulting in improved prioritisation of your content by Google in the SERPS. 

 

What are backlinks?

Quite simply a backlink is when one website links to another website.

Remember earlier in this article in the keyword section when I linked out to Brian Dean’s Google Keyword Planner article?

That’s a backlink! I backlinked to Backlinko.com.

I did this for two reasons.

  1. It’s necessary for great on-page SEO (external links to authority sources)
  2. Backlinko is a phenomenal resource that you should check out.

And this is how the basics of backlinking work. Brian Dean wrote a high-quality piece of content. I want to share that content with you. I do so via a backlink.

So why does this matter?

 

How backlinks work

Google ranks pages based on two main factors.

  1. The quality of the content and how good a job that content does at answering the search query (on-page SEO)
  2. How many links are pointing towards your site (off-site SEO)

You can write the greatest 20,000 word guide ever known to man. It could be tricked out with everything and SEO’d to perfection.

But without backlinks… your content may never make it onto the front page.

This is because of the weight Google puts on backlinks.

Think of backlinks like votes. Let’s say we have two websites.

We have website A that has 1,000 backlinks (1,000 votes).

And we have website B that has 10 backlinks (10 votes).

Which website do you think is going to have more credibility?

Let’s get more specific. Let’s take a look at my travel blog, The Broke Backpacker.

This is via Mangools. 

Notice in the top left-hand corner is the total number of backlinks The Broke Backpacker has.

Over 15,000!

15k+ backlinks is a healthy amount of votes and these links have contributed to an enormous amount of my success with The Broke Backpacker.  

Backlinks are Google’s system of reliability. The more backlinks a website gets, the more trustworthy Google will find that website, the more likely that website is to rank in Google’s search results. At Ditch Your Desk, we call this The Circle of Links.

It’s a beautiful cycle. And as you become an authority on a topic, a lot of backlinks will naturally take care of themselves. Look at this.

Circled is the amount of backlinks that NomadicMatt has.

37,000 backlinks is a shit-ton of links.

When you get quality content onto the front page, you will start to organically build backlinks. NomadicMatt has established himself as an authority, and websites naturally want to link out to authority websites.

I know this because as my authority grows, I’m seeing more and more people linking to The Broke Backpacker naturally. Whilst I still actively build links for my other online ventures, I now let The Broke Backpacker links build organically – the site is massive and receives plenty of organic links from sources quoting us.

So this is cool because as your authority grows, your backlinks become evergreen. Links will start to accumulate and grow naturally because peers will want to share your content with their audience providing that you continue to put out high-quality content that answers questions, solves problems and provides value.

 

But not all backlinks are created equal…

So if backlinks are a voting system, you’d think that every vote would have the same value, correct?

Wrong. The backlink voting system is not evenly valued – it’s weighted and heavily weighted.

Websites are ranked based on a number of factors – the main three factors that impact a website’s value in Google’s eyes are age, the number of referring domains (how many other websites are linking to you) and the number of backlinks pointing to the website.

There are many different ranking systems out there which take into account these factors and give websites a score. The most popular ranking system right now is Domain Authority, invented by Moz. Find out more about domain authority in my post: Does DA even matter?

Do yourself a favour and download MozBar. It’s a free extension from Moz which will show you the DA of whichever site you are on when you’re browsing the internet. 

Every website has a Domain Authority, which is measured on a scale of 1-100. The higher the number -> the higher the authority -> the more likely that website is to rank in the SERPS.

This is a screenshot from The Broke Backpacker. Notice the number at the top circled in red. That’s the free MozBar extension.

 

DA 43

That means that at the time of this screenshot, The Broke Backpackers’ Domain Authority was 43.

Domain Authority is based on a scale of 1-100.

  • 0-19 DA – New site.
  • 20-29 DA – Site gaining traction, probably at least a year old.
  • 30 – 39 DA – Becoming an authority in respective niche.
  • 40 – 49 DA – An authority site.
  • 50 – 59 DA – Upper-tier authority site
  • 60+ DA – Google loves you (congrats, you’re probably rich)

So, when getting backlinks, Google places much more emphasis on links from high authority sites.

Business Insider (left DA 93) Random WordPress Blog (Right DA 1)

On the left is Business Insider which has an absolutely insane DA 0f 93, and on the right is a random WordPress blog with a dismal DA of 1.

At this point, it should be pretty obvious. A backlink from a site with a DA 93 is significantly more valuable than a backlink from a site with a DA of 1.

Again, this goes back to Google wanting to prioritise high authority content.

Think of high quality backlinks as a vote of confidence from a mutual friend.

Let’s say you’re trying to convince Google to rank your page for a competitive keyword…

Google “I don’t know you dude, why would I put you on the front page?”

You, trembling “Come on man, I did everything you wanted! I SEO’ed the whole page, it’s perfect! I even compressed all of my images, it took forever!”

Google, sternly “Yea, but I don’t even kno-“

Google cut off by Business Insider

Business Insider “Hey Google, whats up!” 

Google surprised “Oh Business Insider, my amigo! How are you buddy?!”

Business Insider “I’m great man. How are you”

Google “I’m great, just trying to talk to this guy whom I’ve NEVER MET.”

Business Insider “This guy?”

Business insider points to you, Google nods.

Google“Yea, him”

Business Insider turns to you and winks “Don’t worry Google, I know this guy, he’s cool”

Google pointing at you “This guy? You know this guy?”

Business Insider turns to Google “Yea, he’s cool.”

Google ponders for a moment “OK! Let’s grab beers!”

Think of Google as somebody with serious trust issues who is totally willing to give you a shot if their friends back you up. Ya feel?

That’s why backlinks are so important.

The more authoritative the link, the greater the link juice (and yes, link juice is the official term). The more link juice you have, the higher Google will rank your site.

The Broke Backpacker has been featured in The BBC, Business Insider, Forbes Magazine, The Daily Mail and dozens of other publications and this has made a massive difference to the site’s metrics, authority, and rank-ability.

As I continue to rack up powerful backlinks to my well optimised content, Google prioritises my content in search results. Link building is an art form and there’s a huge amount to cover, we’re just going to scrape the surface today…

 

How to Get Backlinks

This is one of the biggest challenges for new bloggers. You need backlinks, but no one even knows you exist.

Unfortunately, unless you are going down the travel blogger route you are pretty unlikely to be able to land a backlink from the likes of Business Insider or other websites with great metrics.

Do not despair though, I’ve written a whole post about the best ways to build backlinks right now. 

Something you need to understand is that there are many approaches to link building…

 

Black hat vs White hat vs Grey hat

  • “White hat” – Anything that is white hat SEO means you are playing 100% by the rules of Google.
  • “Grey hat” – Grey hat is a middle zone. Doing grey hat might be frowned upon by Google, and you still stand to get penalized, but the chances of getting caught are lower.
  • “Black hat” – Anything that is black hat SEO is explicitly stated as a no-go with Google, and if you are caught doing black hat SEO your site is likely to be penalised. Black hat techniques used to be all the rage but it’s getting tougher to game Google and many SEOs are increasingly moving to grey and white hat strategies.

Black and grey hat tactics can be very effective when it comes to building links (off-page-SEO). Google is working on ways to eradicate these tactics, but as of right now you have some options…

Which hat will you choose?!

 

1. Guest Posts (“White hat” link building)

A crucial first-step for many entrepreneurs wanting to build some links and get the word out about their content. I have probably done over two hundred guest posts to build links and awareness of The Broke Backpacker. The travel blogging world is a relatively friendly place and there are quite a few Facebook groups where you can arrange guest posts with other bloggers.

A backlink from Business Insider was well worth doing an interview!

Even better though; send a personal email to a blogger with a high DA who you think might be interested in your content. This is very much a numbers game and there are various ways you can automate a lot of this.

While guest posts are great, but they can be VERY time-consuming. I no longer take part in guest posts unless I am going to build a really sensationally powerful link to my site.

Although the link juice is pretty much guaranteed you rarely see any traffic through the guest post. That’s not a problem, it’s just important to manage your expectations.

I have recently been working on a system to automate guest posting which I’ll be blogging about later in the year…

 

2. Link Swaps (“Black hat” link building)

Once you start guest posting, you’ll hopefully make some allies in your niche and chances are that some of your new found amigos will be keen to build links of their own.

You will, of course, need to have a domain authority of at least twenty, (use the Moz bar), before anybody takes you seriously and is interested in building links from your site.

Link swaps are 100% against the rules. But there are many ways around this. Avoid direct link swaps and try to arrange three-way-swaps where possible – this drastically reduces the chance of Google catching on and penalising your site for breaking the rules.

      

 

3. Buying Links (Black hat)

If you want to see quick results, one of the more popular options is to buy links from a reputed source. Note that you get what you pay for and spammy links are worse than no links at all. It’s pretty tough to find high quality links for sale at a reasonable price.

I spent $5000 over the last few months, testing out different link buying services. I was unable to find anything that offered the same kind of results as my guest posting hustle.

 

4. Build a PBN (Black hat)

If you’re serious about getting to the front page of Google quickly, a viable move is to build your own PBN (private blog network). Building a PBN requires some financial investment but it’s possible to do it cheaply if you do most of the work yourself – this involves finding expired domains, web design, content creation and, of course, building links to your PBN sites as well!

Building a PBN is far and away the most effective way to have full control over your link juice but if you get it wrong, Google can discover your entire PBN and take it out in one coordinated ban-hammer attack. I have built my own PBNs in the past but I’ve moved away from this now as I’ve had greater success with guest posting and creating quality content that people naturally want to link to.

 

My take on linkbuilding

I really recommend reading my more detailed post here on how to build links. 

The first thing I want to say is – diversification is key.

Make friends with people in your niche, arrange for some tactical three way link swaps.

Work on an outreach system for guest posts and churn, churn, churn those bad boys out.

Work on your pitching… Become a pitching ninja and convert more and more link building prospects into tasty link juice.

I pitch and get pitched, a LOT. I’ll be covering what makes a great guest post pitch soon so stay tuned for that.

If you are keen to smash out a dozen affiliate sites and you don’t care if you lose a couple to Google snipers along the way, Black Hat link building will offer the fastest, and riskiest, results.

There is something to be said for starting with black hat, to get a site ranking fast, and then over time replacing those black hat links with white hat link juice…

So far, we have learned what SEO is and why it’s important. We have learnt the difference between on-site SEO and off-site SEO.

We’ve learnt about our audience and how important it is to enter the mind of the Googler.

We’ve learnt about different keyword research tools and touched on how to do effective keyword research.

We’ve covered how to build links.

In short, we’ve covered a fuck ton and you’re a trooper! Give yourself a self five!

 

So, what is the next step on your SEO journey?

 

Step 4: Hustle, Grow, Repeat

Getting your website onto the front page of Google is no mean feat but rest assured; it is possible. However, you can’t just give it your all for one page and be like ‘Awesome, I’m done!

The people who are successful with their online ventures are the ones who put the time and effort into implementing proper SEO strategies over their entire site.

You have to understand that SEO is constantly evolving. This is Google’s game to call, and anytime they make an update to their algorithms, you have to be ready to adapt.

Remember; it’s impossible to fully outsource SEO… You are, after all, probably going to produce some or most of the content for your website so if you don’t know how to write good SEO-worthy content, you are constantly going to be playing catch-up.

Anybody who is really good at SEO won’t be available at affordable freelancer rates anyway. Lots of people call themselves SEOs and haven’t got a clue what they are doing.

You can learn how to find quality keywords on Mangools with just a couple of hours playing around if you follow our keyword research guide. Proper keyword research is the foundation for any SEO strategy. 

SEO really is a crucial part of the game and to ignore it completely is akin to shooting yourself in the foot.

It doesn’t matter how great your content is, how awesome your website looks or how enticing your product may be; if you haven’t got traffic, you haven’t got anything.

Everybody starts somewhere and, if you follow the steps above, you can build up your traffic month after month… It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

This site is packed with resources expanding on each of the three main parts of the site, and we have plenty of really in-depth guides and videos planned, so now that you’re finished with this post and understand what SEO is… do yourself a favour, scan the site and learn as much as you can about how to implement advanced SEO techniques on your site and explode your traffic and income.

Be one with the hustle…