That’s 20 lakh 10 thousand rupees.
Stephanie, Yash, Alex and 636 other people said that they’ll pay this amount collectively if I created a simple course and gave it to them.
I haven’t given them the course and they haven’t given me the money.. yet.
But I can take some time off from my work and give them what they want.
To be practical not everyone will buy – but chances are that enough people will buy to give me enough money to buy a round the world trip ticket from Star Alliance or Oneworld – without digging into my savings.
How did it happen?
How did these 639 people find me?
Which course they want to buy?
How it is linked to search engine optimization?
I’ll tell you all this and more.
Stay with me and read.
These 639 people found me through search. Almost all of them came from Google.
They did not know me. They were not planning to give me money.
They were searching for business ideas.
They were searching on Google for ideas about “start business without money in India” and “what business to start in india without money” – and landed on this blogpost. For both terms my personal blog (mohitpawar.com) ranks at number at #1 position in India.
It also ranks for a large number of other terms like “Business ideas in Delhi”.
This is for a blog post that I did not optimize. On a site where I do not focus on making money. I took no more than 40 minutes to write that blog post.
People searched (and continue to do it) for these terms and landed on my website.
When they land on that post they see the post and more than 200 comments with my replies; and get motivated to take action. They also see the form that you see below. I added it as an experiment after noticing the number of daily visitors coming on that post.
I invested less than 1 hour in creating that post and 5-10 hours in writing detailed replies to the comments there. I can now get a team member to take content which is already here or outsource the course setup for INR 50,000.
In any case whatever revenues come will be result of an investment of 10-20 hours (10 Hours Content + 10 Hours Launch and Promotion). 20 hours for revenues of 2-5 lakhs. How is that for RoI? Not too shabby, right?
You can do even better.
Imagine having 20, 200 or 2000 such pages on your website and each page having potential to give you 5 lakh rupees in revenues (or leads that can convert into revenues).
Now you know why to care for SEO. Having the top rank for right keywords in search engines can make you rich.
It does not happen overnight.
It takes time and effort to write and optimize your pages so that they can appear in top position in search engines. This optimization that helps your pages appear on top in search engines is known as search engine optimization (SEO).
In this SEO Guide you’re learning about SEO. You’ll also learn about the building blocks of SEO and how you can do it for your own websites or for the brand you work for.
The phrases like “start business without money in India” and “what business to start in india without money” – and “business ideas in Delhi” that people use to come to a blog post on my website are known as keywords.
When a user enters keywords in search engine (like Google) they see search results on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
SEO is both a Noun and a Verb.
SEO (the person) = Search Engine Optimizer or SEO Professional
SEO (action) = Search Engine Optimization
Your goal as a Search Engine Optimizer (SEO) is to make sure that your site appears on top of search results.
You should aim to rank your site at number #1 for the search terms that you future buyers are entering in search engines.
Why? (I have shared this in the 1st lesson on digital marketing overview.)
Because the results that appear at number 1, 2 and 3 get majority of the clicks. Multiple studies over the years confirm this. Here are the click through rates based on the position – as per a study conducted by Moz, a leading search and inbound marketing software company.
To put it simply – if you manage to get your site to appear at number #1, 2 or 3 in search engine results – you will get a major chunk of organic search traffic and a tons of visits to your website.
If you are just starting with SEO then your site will not appear at 1st page or position magically you will have to take action to make it work.
To see what pages from your site are already indexed (are appearing) in Google. Enter – site:domain.com – in Google (after replacing domain.com with your own website domain)
Once a page is indexed in Google and if you are doing SEO right – it will move to page 3, 2 and eventually to page 1.
If you have an old established site then your website may directly appear on page 1 or 2 for a particular keyword. For a new site, you’ll need to put more efforts to optimize it for search engines.
Before we dig deeper into the efforts you need to make. Let’s understand the basics of SEO.
In SEO there are 3 important parties involved.
- You (the user) or a user like You.
- Search Engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo and others)
- You (the SEO Professional)
You (or a user) and User Behaviour
Let’s take this scenario:
You are planning a road trip. You head to Google and enter “best road trips from Delhi” in the search bar.
You see following search results.
Here you see that two websites – TravelTriangle and Holidify (both of these are funded startups – come up ahead of MakeMyTrip, the biggie in online travel space.
Google is showing these results because it (it’s algorithm) thinks that these websites offer better content for “Best road trips from Delhi”.
Chances are that these websites are coming up on top because a SEO (search engine optimizer) made efforts to optimize these pages for search engines.
SEO’s success depends on making sure that their websites rank high when their potential customers search for terms related to their brand.
How Search Engines Work and Make Money
Search engines want to show right results so that more people come back to them to find more results. Once they have more people coming to them they can show more ads to those who come there.
By showing ads to people on their search engine Google made 66 billion dollars in 2014. Most of this revenue came from people clicking on ads that you see above the organic search results and on right hand side on the search engine results page.
How SEO Helps You
If you are a digital marketing professional or planning to become one you need to understand how SEO works; because as a digital marketing pro you will be assigned a brand’s digital property.
As an effective professional and SEO – you’ll need to grow these properties. SEO helps you do that.
As a startup owner you need efficient ways to grow your web presence and SEO helps you do that.
Which Search Engines Rule Where?
In India, Google is the biggest search engine with 88.40% market share.
Yandex is the biggest in Russia; Baidu rules in China; and Naver is the top search engine in Korea.
Now you know why search engines show certain pages on top and why it matters for them.
You don’t want to appear in search results when someone searches for “home delivery of fresh vegetables” if you run a startup like Zappfresh that offers “fresh meat delivery”.
That’s why you need to optimize your website for right keywords.
Keywords are words what people enter into search engines when they want to find an answer or a website or web app that offers what they are looking for.
To make sure that you appear in results for all right keywords – you need to know what all keywords (your prospective) customers use.
This process of finding which keywords your customers use is known as Keyword Research.
Keyword Research starts with Keywords.
Keywords are the words that searchers enter in Google or other search engines to find related pages and sites on the web.
Usually these keywords are questions that users are looking the answers for.
For example someone entering – Flipkart Coupons – wants search engines to take her to sites that offer Flipkart Coupon.
So “Flipkart Coupons” is one keyword.
Another person enters – “Best thai restaurant in Andheri”.
So “Best thai restaurant in Andheri” is the keyword and the person entering this search query usually wants the search engine to show her the websites or a page on a site (like Zomato) that will help her choose – The Best Thai restaurant in Andheri.
To make sure that you site appears on top of results – you need to optimize your site for a particular keyword. You can’t optimize unless you know the what search terms (keywords) users are entering in Google.
Keyword Research helps us by making sure that our keywords are right and backed by data.
Based on your understanding of your business and experience, you may already know about some keywords that users are entering in search engines.
For efficient keyword research, you move beyond gut feeling and guesses. They are ok to help you get started – but that’s not where it should end.
To do it right, you take time to understand your customer and then you create a buyer persona.
While defining the buyer persona include following:
- What they want to accomplish (both personal and professional)
- Things that they struggle with
- Hobbies and interests
For example if you run a startup in the healthy food delivery space – your buyer persona may look like this.
- Gender: Male or Female (Single)
- Age: 25-35 Years
- Approximate Income: 8 – 15 lakhs per year
- Hobbies and Interests: Gyming, Adventure Travel, Yoga, Going out with friends
- Things they struggle with: Keeping Budgets, Spending too much of fun activities and not having enough money in bank towards the end of month, Low Fitness Levels, Overweight, Can’t (or doesn’t want) to cook at home,
- What they want to accomplish: Look better, to have time for self, savings
Once you create this persona, try to imagine the questions in this person’s mind.
- Health food delivery in location name,
- How to lose weight by eating right
- How to spend less on food
- Eating out options for 2 for 2000 rupees
- Cooking tips for singles
- Quick healthy bites
- How not to overeat when partying with friends
- Monthly healthy food delivery service
You do not stop here.
You keep your eyes and ears open when you meet people and surf online. You see the problems people similar to your buyer persona – are posting and discussing online.
To take it a notch above – you go to Amazon and pick the product category similar to your own and check out the product reviews to find problems people are facing with existing products.
Amazon is a goldmine of info for any smart marketer and you should leverage it in the best way possible. Go to Amazon.com because on Amazon.in you may not find enough reviews and feedback for a product. People are same everywhere in the world so you’ll get broad ideas about your customer’s challenges and desires. That’s what you need.
Do not ignore Flipkart and Snapdeal.Use the reviews there to round off your research.
After you get a list of 100-200 keywords, move to the next step.
Next step is to use a tool to find out the most useful keywords.
We’ll use Google Keyword Planner for this.
Before I take you on a tour of Google Keyword Planner – I wanted to discuss two important terms with you.
- Keyword Type and,
- Buyer Persona
There are three types of keywords.
Head, Body and Long Tail Keywords.
Let’s get better idea with this example:
If you run an ecommerce stores where one of your product categories is shoes – then in your case,
- Head Keyword – Shoes (usually 1 word)
- Body (or Mid Tail Keyword) – Formal Shoes or Black Formal Shoes or Geox Formal Shoes (2-3 words)
- Long Tail Keyword – Where can I buy luxury shoes or where can I buy Testoni Dress shoes in location name (city or country)? (4+ words)
Invest most of your time, attention and resources in going after Body and to some extent long tail keywords.
Read further to know Why.
Search Engine Watch did one study in 2012 where they analyzed Head vs. Long Tail Keywords and measured their impact on Impressions, Clicks, Conversions & Profitability.
In this study they analyzed approximately 1.5 million keywords over a six month period across multiple industry verticals. They found out that keywords with 11-25 characters produce maximum searches, clicks and conversions.
I am sharing the results of the study below.
This study also concluded that – you should probably not spend time generating / managing keywords with greater than 40 characters.
This is because Head Terms or Head Keywords don’t convert well. People searching for these terms do not have “buyer’s intent”.
What is Buyer’s Intent?
Buyer intent means someone searching the web with an intent (or desire) to buy something.
When a user is searching for a head term like shoes – she is likely still in the research phase and far from buying. She may just be exploring shoes in general and see what kind are options are there.
Buyer or commercial intent = the likelihood that someone will buy something (after landing on a website or app through a particular search).
When a person has buyer or commercial intent chances of them buying something is way higher than someone just browsing to find more info.
If a user is searching for a phrase like “Geox Formal Shoes” – she has already done research and knows what she wants to buy.
So as a ecommerce store owner or digital marketing / category manager who is into selling shoes – you should prefer traffic coming from body or mid tail keywords (2-3 terms) and long tail keywords (4+ words) as compared to head keywords (1 keywords). When you get these type of visitors to your website (people with buyer’s intent) they will you give revenues and not only page views.
Another reason to not to go after Head Keywords.
They are ultra competitive to rank for and usually 1st position in search results for these keywords is owned by Wikipedia or another old established website which is really difficult to outrank.
You’d do better by investing your resources in 10 mid tail keywords than 1 head keywords.
Now you have your list of buyer persona based keywords (100-200) based on your understanding of customers, your observations, customer interviews and what you saw on Amazon, Flipkart, and Snapdeal.
And you also know about keyword type and buyer’s intent.
Now is time to stack these keywords against data and also to get more keyword ideas to finalize the list of keywords – you will be doing your SEO with.
We do this using Google Keyword Planner, a superb free tool.
Google Keyword Planner
It is simple to use.
You can access it by going to this URL
If you are not an Google Adwords user – you’ll be promoted to sign up for Adwords.
Once you sign up for an account (which is simple) – you will be taken to the screen below.
If you do not see this screen after logging in as an Adwords user – you’ll have to click “Keyword Planner” sub menu under “Tools”. Here you click on “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category”.
You then go to the next screen where you enter a keyword (I am using “weight loss” for this example.)
Also add a keyword filter to show keywords with average monthly searches as > 2000 and competition high and medium and save.
You targeting should be set to India if you are targeting users within India.
Once you click on blue “Get Ideas” button above – you will be taken to the Keyword Results Page – here you’ll see two tabs – Keyword Ideas and Ad Group Ideas.
Pick keywords from both Keyword Ideas and Ad Group Ideas.
High and medium competition means advertisers are bidding high amount for these keywords.
People are paying money to be shown next to search results when these terms are searched for. This means that advertisers hope to make money even after paying for ads. So if you can get organic traffic for these keywords it will definitely be profitable.
How do you decide which keyword to choose?
Search Volume: On the face of it – higher volume looks better. I’d suggest experimentation.
So the search volume for “how to lose weight” above is around 200,000 whereas search volume for “how to lose weight fast” is 27,000. Now, enter the keyword that you want to go after – like “how to lose weight” or “how to lose weight fast” and see the sites appearing in top 10 results.
When I did that I noticed that results are dominated by established websites like Reader’s Digest, WebMD, AuthorityNutrition and Prevention. These websites are very tough to compete with because they invest a lot of resources in SEO.
So I’ll continue my search for a keyword which has good search volume and where results on 1st page are not dominated by established websites.
Build a long list and then work on finding keywords where the 1st page results are not on established websites, are low quality (poor website design or no depth in content( and where you are sure of creating better quality content.
Competition: Go for High and Medium Competition Keywords. We have already chosen this in filter so you will not see Low competition keywords.
SEO Optimized Content (On-Page Optimization)
SEOs do two things at the core to make sure that their site ranks high in search engines.
On-Page Optimization: All action taken on website and a web page to make sure that a page is optimized for ranking high in search engines. In this lesson we’ll be focusing on this aspect of SEO.
Off-Page Optimization: In off-page optimization SEOs invest time in efforts like link building (which is the most important part of off-page SEO) and increasing brand mentions (which overlaps with PR). Next lesson is about blogging, there I’ll share more about Guest Blogging which helps in link building.
After you finish identifying the keywords – you move to SEO optimized content creation or you work on optimizing existing content on your site. (In the next lesson on blogging, I’ll also be focusing on efficient content creation. So, don’t miss that.)
To do this well – you need to know what an optimized page looks like.
Structure of an SEO Optimized Page
Here it is:
A SEO Optimized Page has,
- One page – one keyword policy
- An Optimized URL
- An Optimized Title Tag with Keyword in the beginning
- At least one image in the post
- Keyword in the beginning of the content
- Good content length preferably 1800-2000 words
- Use phrases related to keyword in the content
- Interlinked and engaging content – to ensure that bounce rate is low
- Outbound links to other credible resources
- Follow one page – one keyword policy.
This policy is for homepage also. Your homepage should be optimized for one keyword only.
In case you are using WordPress – use Yoast’s SEO plugin to set up focus keyword for your page. You can also use this plugin to set up right Title Tag and Meta Description.
In case you are running an ecommerce store using Magento or Shopify, you can use an SEO extension for Magento or SEO Tag Manager for Shopify stores.
- Optimized URL
If you keyword is weight loss then your URL should be domain.com/weight-loss/ or domain.com/weight-loss-guide/ instead of domain.com/blogpost?=1234 or domain.com/05/15/top-10-mega-weight-loss-examples-in-India/
- Optimized Title Tag with Keyword in the beginning
“Weight Loss: The Ultimate Guide” is better than “The Ultimate Weight Loss Guide” which is better than “If You are not Happy Being OverWeight You must Read this Weight Loss Guide”.
- At Least One Image in The Post.
Use this image on top of blogpost or article (width – half of the width of the page where it is added) so that the rest of the width is taken by text.
- Keyword in the Beginning of the Content.
If you are optimising for weight loss,
Here is how to do it:
This is my weight loss story.
I am sharing this today so that you get inspired to eat healthy and feel better.
- Good Content Length Preferably 1800-2000 Words.
When you write long form content you tend to include keywords and related words naturally which is what Google wants. Google wants users who enter their search queries to send to websites that offer in-depth topical content.
Long content pieces are also usually shared more online so it helps with visibility of your brand which is another ranking factor and helps in getting more visitors to your website.
- Use Phrases Related to Keyword in the Content
This helps in bringing those users to your website who enter long tail keywords to search and also keeps your content natural without too much focus on a single keyword.
How to find these keyword – enter your keyword and go to the end of search results page (you should be using regular search and not advanced search).
If you enter weight loss as a search term – you will see following search terms towards the end of the page.
Searches related to weight loss
how to lose weight fast
weight loss tips
weight loss exercise
weight loss programs
weight loss pills
weight loss diet
weight loss supplements
weight loss foods
Example of content using these terms:
While trying to lose weight, I tried all techniques in the book.
I tried every weight loss diet available.
I asked for weight loss tips from those who had succeeded in losing the weight. It worked for them but somehow it didn’t work for me.
after I had been at it for 6 months, and i was not seeing any results … my gym trainer recommended weight loss supplements. I was scared of the side effects and ended up not taking them. Now, I am happy that I didn’t take them.
- Reduce Bounce Rate by Writing Engaging Content and Interlinking Pages.
For example in content sample that I shared above:
You can create an article about weight loss diet and link it that keyword.
This way a user will stay on your site longer.
You should also focus on making sure that the load time of your website is low because users tend to leave sites that take a lot of time to load. Use Google Pagespeed Tool and GTMetrix to see the load speed of your site and find pointers on how to improve it.
- Add links (outbound) to other credible resources on the topic.
Google tends to rank the web pages that reference research and other sources more than the ones without it. So link to authority websites like Wikipedia, other popular resources in your industry, and scientific journals if it is relevant.
By doing this, Google will see your content as trustworthy.
Don’t over do it – if you are writing a 2000 words content piece then it is ok to link to 2-4 resources.
Today, you have learned that SEO starts with keyword research and finding the right keywords.
To do it right, you focus on mid and long tail keywords where a lot of established websites are not ranking on first page of search engine results. Then, you create SEO optimized content or optimize existing pages.
IMPORTANT: You focus on one keyword for every page on your website.
Assignment: Identify 20 keywords, write topics around these keywords; and create your first SEO optimized page.
I’ll be the first to tell you that this is just the beginning of SEO and there is a lot more to learn and apply.
But I want you to create a solid foundation first and then you can move to advanced topics like how to compete with established sites, how to build quality backlinks and also topics like increasing domain authority and page authority, and schema etc.
If you are curious about these – reply to this email and let me know what more you want to learn.
I’ll be reading all emails.
Also, comment below – with your other SEO related questions, share if you are just starting with SEO or have you already been working at it.
I’m looking forward to your comments 🙂
It’ll be interesting to see everyone’s responses! So comment below.
Mohit – A Digital Marketer who loves to share what he knows.
P.S. Remember to comment with your answer below. By commenting you show that you are committed for your growth. So write your answer below now.