The Poor Person’s Guide to Ranking in SEO in Three Long-Ass Steps

“This is how I got my first brand to rank in Google search for free traffic and sales.”

The Poor Person’s Guide to Ranking in SEO in Three Long-Ass Steps

  • Intro
  • 1. Find Out What People Search For When They’re Looking to Purchase What You’re Selling
  • 2. Make Your Website Act Like A Real Human Made It For Other Real Humans
  • 3. Cheat

I was talking to a friend of mine that runs a hosting company out of the UK. They compete directly with huge companies like GoDaddy. And we get to talking about all these excuses as to why they only get sales from one channel: Twitter.

They also keep telling me that running ads is not an option. Then they try and tell me they can’t compete in search because you have to be one of the big brands with their big pockets and resources to get results from SEO.

At this point, I was super riled up from having to read so many excuses back-to-back from someone I cared about. I told them I’m leaving the chat for a bit to go and write this article. Enjoy.

The Poor Person’s Guide to Ranking in SEO in Three Long-Ass Steps

Intro

Now, competing for SEO about ranking in SEO is a super competitive meta, so I’m not writing this to try and get traffic for it on a website. You’re reading this because I want one person to try this and tell me how they thought I was crazy until they spent the few hours doing it and it worked.

This is how I got my first brand to rank in Google search for free traffic and sales. I forgot that I had tried it, and since SEO can take a while to see results it took a while for me to realize I had succeeded in doing more than I had expected. It wasn’t until new customer surveys coming in started checking the “Google Search – Non-paid/Organic Search” box on the “How’d you find us?” question that I looked and saw we had conquered the beast.

1. Find Out What People Search For When They’re Looking to Purchase What You’re Selling

If you sell shoes, people aren’t usually just searching “shoes” and hitting ‘enter’ on Google. But they might be searching “cheap shoes Fort Lauderdale” or “work boots sale Fort Lauderdale.” You can look at your recent search history on Google. I think you go to Google > Account > Data & Personalization to find it. How do you search for things? What are you searching for?

Great. Now that you put your brain into thinking like an actual customer, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s a secret app out there to help with your next step.

You’ve got some ideas about what keywords and phrases you want to do SEO for. But you can only concentrate on a few, right? Maybe one main one and a few side keywords.

Now if you want to compete on the keyword “shoes” you might be up against giant companies that have way more resources than you. But maybe you can compete with all the shoe stores in Ocala if you take on the search phrase “Ocala shoe store.” And what if you have the hook-up on dad shoes? “Dad shoes deals in Ocala” Do you think there’s a lot of competition for that phrase? Can you dominate that keyword across the entire internet in the entire planet? Maybe, maybe not.

But Google’s Keyword Planner will tell you.

Google “Google keyword planner” and log in. You can put in keywords to see how much people are actually searching for them. It will also tell you similar keywords you may want to consider.

For Bandturo, we couldn’t take customers from super competitive keywords like “booking agency.” Even the phrase “tour booking,” which was our core service, wouldn’t work because people searching “tour booking” were mostly looking for tourist stuff like boat rides near the Statue of Liberty. But we did our research on Google Keyword Planner and decided that “gig booking” was a less competitive keyword/phrase for Bandturo.

Instead of 100k monthly searches or whatever “booking agency” was reported to get, “gig booking” had around 1k per month. And so we went and searched “gig booking” to see what came up. It looked like people were searching for what we offered, and that the competition was weak. So we focused on this keyword. But we also knew that we specialized in working for “independent” and “unsigned” aritsts. So we focused on “gig booking” for “independent artists.”

The content on the internet is consistently going through massive changes every split second, and Google changes the way you get ranked in SEO all the time. At one point, we realized we were ranking 1 for 5 different keywords like “booking agency for independent artists.” And not to brag, just to show you I’m for real, here’s our keyword traffic and impression history from the last ten months (I forget why the data form before that is missing, maybe when we switched to Google Tag Manager?):

SEO Performance Hack

Now, 1,000 clicks isn’t a big deal to a lot of people. But to a small business that only has a few customers and just they’re family visiting their site to say how proud they are it can be a lot. Especially when you have the resources to treat every visitor extra special and you convert every 100 visitors into a (paying) customer.

2. Make Your Website Act Like A Real Human Made It For Other Real Humans

Google some basic SEO guides and learn the basics. Takes about ten minutes. Then when you go back to reference the guides again and again you’ll remember more and more as you build/fix your site. Then do this:

Talk to your future website visitors like regular people.

If you want to rank for “dress shoes in Jacksonville FL” then you better have a lot of content about dress shoes in Jacksonville on your site. And good content, too. Think about what someone would want to see when shopping for dress shoes in Jacksonville. Do you need to educate them a bit on different toe styles? Heel styles?

I have no idea what the different dress shoes are called, but I had to buy some for my sister’s wedding last month. If you teach me a bit then I’ll feel comfortable enough to buy form you and busy enough not to want to go shop somewhere else to compare. Make sure the content is truly about what your keywords are about.

What else will people want to look for when they’re on your site? Make your site so its easy for them to find this stuff. Link to other pages on your site. Link to outside pages that are better than yours. Help the customer the best you can. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just needs to be what the customer is looking for. Plus, things like “time spent on site” have weight on how search engines will rank your pages later. So treat them good and keep them there. Give them stuff to do.

Google will think that they are putting what the customer wants in front of them in search if customers are having a good time on your site.

Use pictures, too. Don’t use any big words unless it’s super necessary. And if you’re site is on WordPress, use the Yoast SEO plugin to the fullest. Get all green lights. Yoast SEO plugin is so good it’s pretty much criminal that you don’t have to pay for it.

And now that you’ve built the home of those keywords you want to own and put up with my subpar writing for a while, you’re ready for the final step.

3. Cheat

Back when I first made the Bandturo site, I Googled it and clicked on my site. Then I poked around the site for a while and pretended to be a real human that had never seen the site before, even though I coded the entire thing myself pretty much from scratch. What I was doing was sending Google a signal that they served the right result to someone looking for what we have.

I searched “Bandturo.” I said “no, I didn’t mean bandito” (Back then it used to say “Did you mean: bandito.” Now it says Did you mean banduro .) Then I scrolled down until I found my site and clicked it. Then I clicked through the site and let it sit on some pages like I was actually looking at the content.

Then I asked all my roommates to do the same thing. And some of my friends that were on Facebook messenger and in my recent text history at the time.

After this cheat, you can do the cheat that Google actually also provides: Google Ads.

Google Ads has “quality score” for ads that companies are trying to run on their platform. If you run a good Google Ad that helps someone find the keywords you want to sell to on your site, then Google will 1) charge you less per click, and 2) use that data in their organic results later on. So, you’re paying Google to prove that you’re SEO is good. But that’s just a bonus because you’re also paying for traffic directly to your site immediately. The organic SEO result is a side effect of working with Google Ads.

I’m not sure how long it takes the average person to set up Google Ads and Google Analytics for their business. But Google will directly help you because they want your money now, and when you’re a multi-hundred dollar company. That’s why Google offers advertising that’s pretty cheap. You can spend $10,000 a month on Google Ads. But you can also spend just $1.

Now, Google search also values referrals to your site from “trusted” sources/channels. Facebook is one of the biggest sites in the world, so traffic from there will also boost your organic SEO rankings. The bad news here? You have to learn how to run Facebook Ads well. The good news? Facebook Ads are cheaper than Google Ads when it’s done well. The bonus? Once you get good at Google Search Ads and Facebook Ads then you will be able to pick up the next advertising platform very easily. They’re all different because the audiences are different. But they’re all similar because you are still branding to humans while they’re interacting with the world.

So, find some keywords with around 1k searches a month using Google Keyword planner and build/redo your website around those. Make the content good. Then use Google Search, Google Ads, and Facebook Ads to boost your organic at the beginning. Back when I got ranked right away for Bandturo, I was trash at Facebook ads. So I didn’t even use them to game the system at that time. Just some basic SEO and some reverse engineering of the game.

By the way, my hosting friend that sparked this poorly worded rant is Nodestack.net and I highly recommend them at the time of writing this.

Other Performance Marketing Hacks

How to market with little budgets. A rant or how-to from what we did that worked really well.

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