Step 1: Get Started

Think about it: if you have any content on your website, you could be missing out on a huge chunk of search engine traffic if Google doesn't index you for the keywords that people actually search for, and which are the perfect balance of relevant, popular and uncompetitive. Google can do a lot of things, but it can't read your mind and automatically rank you for the exact keywords and search terms you want, and those that will bring you the most value. Even if you have the most amazing piece of content that people love to read, not having the right keywords means you are not using it to it's full potential and maximizing it's search engine value.

The crazy thing? This process of finding the 'money' keywords only takes a minute if you use this method. Some webmasters skip this step because they feel intimidated by having to do keyword research and find high value keywords, and would rather just hope Google figures out what they want on it's own. Well, they have a point, keyword research can be tough and time-consuming, but what they don't know is that SEMRush practically does all the work for you.

If you can spend just one minute before you create your content or have your content written, you'll already be ahead of the curve, and ready to beat thousands of competitors at the search engine game.

This is your quick, handy guide to doing just that. First you'll need to sign up for your free SEMRush account. We are assuming that you have also already signed up with SEOMoz to track your website's keywords and performance, and have read their tutorials on proper formatting of your webpage to get the maximum results for your article. Both SEMRush and SEOMoz are tools thousands of SEO and SEM professionals use to scout Google, Bing and Yahoo and beat the competition:

Get your free SEMRush account

Note: If you want to really get the most out of your SEMRush account, we highly recommend signing up for their PRO package. Among other benefits, you will get more results per search, search quicker, and be able to track your website's progress.

Step 2: Choose the keywords to structure your article around

Got your account? Great. Now let's go through the process of choosing keywords related to your topic.

For this example, we'll pretend to be someone structuring an article for a website that wants to tell people where to buy a car, and has come up with the preliminary title of "How to buy a vehicle". It could be an informational site or a site like eBay motors or auto trader where people buy cars. Let's pretend they just want to create an article to rank for people looking for information on the process.

With a little bit of brainstorming, we'll find 4 terms we think will be the most related to what we want our article to be about. We'll choose ""buying a car", "where to buy a car", "cars for sale", and "buying a vehicle".

To begin, we'll login to SEMRush and search for the keyword "buying a car". We see the results in the screenshot below:

We can see from this data that the exact term "buying a car" gets about 5,400 searches per month, has a competitive rating of .93, and has a CPC (cost-per-click) of $2.90 (if you are trying to buy the equivalent PPC traffic).

Next, we'll note the relevant terms from the phrase match report. We'll cross off the 'used' car terms since we are after new cars for now. From this list, we will note down "buy a car", "buy cars", and "how to buy a car", which are the terms most related to our topic. We will note their search volumes down as well, and see that "buy a car" seems to be most valuable in terms of searches per month.

Our next step will be to repeat the same process for the next 3 initial terms we brainstormed, and compile a list of the terms and their search volumes and competitive ratings.

Where to buy a car

Cars for sale

Buying a vehicle

One of the things we've learned right off the bat is that our main article article should be "buying a car" instead of "buying a vehicle". Although the competitive level for "buying a vehicle" is much smaller, it also only gets 91 searches a month, hardly enough to put the effort into ranking for.

Compiling all of this data, we also note that although the terms "cars for sale", "buy cars", "buy a car" are searched for quite a bit, they are not necessarily on the same topic of an informative "buying a car" article. They would also likely be extremely difficult to rank and get traffic for given the high competitive level which includes many 'buy' intent ecommerce sites. We want people with the specific intent of looking for information, which "buying a car" signifies. While we can include these phrases when we write the article, we are not going to put them in the title or make them the main focus because they signify different intent to our core article topic and also may a bit too difficult for us to compete with for now.

After we narrow down the data further, we've come up with the 5 words and phrases that give us the best chance of both ranking, and generating traffic once we do rank:

1) buying a car 2) buy a car 3) how to buy a car 4) buying a vehicle 5) where to buy a car

The words and phrases we omitted were too unrelated to our topic, and the phrases we chose are terms which, along with proper article writing and link building, we can actually rank for and dominate.

To recap:

  1. Brainstorm 4 topically related terms
  2. Search for each and note their statistics
  3. Narrow down only to relevant terms
  4. Eliminate terms that are only tangentially related and which are too competitive for our tastes
  5. End up with a maximum of 5 keywords or phrases that you can now structure your article around

One thing to keep in mind is that you should really narrow your focus to five or less keywords or keyword phrases per article. Any more and you're just getting too broad. The first three should be your highest value words, and if you only want to focus on those that's fine too.

We're almost there, now we can get going with the content!

Step 3: Write your article!

This is either the easiest or most difficult part of the process, depending on what you enjoy doing. It's not always so simple to create catchy, informative pieces of content that haven't been written before, so spend some time brainstorming.

One thing we love to do is search for news about any particular piece of content we want to write about, so it's both temporally relevant and something people might be more interested in. It can also help build links if it's something that people are paying attention to online at the time.

Now, write your article. There aren't any secrets here, it's all about your writing skill. If it's something you struggle with, let us write your articles, and order them here on WriterStream. After that shameless plug for our service, you now have your content and are ready to go.

Step 4: Get traffic

Now that you have your article done, it's time to place it on your website and start getting traffic. This can be quite a difficult task for novices.

We've listed some of the tools we recommend when it comes to getting your site traffic on the web. You can find a complete listing of the tools we use on our main resources page.

These are sites and services that will help get you get search engine traffic by giving your site external links

Some people don't have the time, energy or money to take on the task of SEO themselves. The good news is that you don't have to with RankPay. As their slogan goes, "If you don't rank, you don't pay!". It's purely performance based pricing, as in, you don't pay unless they improve your SEO results. Just tell them what keywords you would like to rank highly for (SEMRush is a great tool for finding those keywords), and they will tell you how much it will cost if they manage to rank you at those levels. It could not be simpler. Not the solution for everyone, but an interesting service nonetheless. Visit this site

The #1 best way to get instant traffic to your site is to have bloggers post about it and provide links back. Not only do you get instant web cred if the blog is related to you, but you also get targeted visitors and a bunch of natural backlinks. ReviewMe is a service that has signed up tons of bloggers who are willing to write reviews or advertorials about other websites for a price. You can pick and choose the blogs and bloggers that best match what you are after, and submit your site up for them to review. Keep in mind that they have the right to turn down your offer, but it couldn't hurt to try. Some really high-powered bloggers are signed up. One of the best return-on-investment services on this entire page. Visit this site


In addition to being a great way to monetize your site, Text-link-ads is a great way to build traffic. Although the value of 'buying' high value text links isn't what it used to be, Text-link-ads provides many other methods of link building and content marketing that produce impactful results. We recommend infographics and their presell pages. Visit this site

These are sites that will help you create profitable advertising campaigns

If you are running any sort of advertising campaign, and you are not using tools such as SEMRush above, KeywordSpy, SpyFu or iSpionage to cut out the guesswork and jump straight into the profitable stuff, you're wasting time and money. If you really want to get visitors and make money from your advertising efforts, why waste your energy trying to identify keywords and ads yourself when your competitors have done most of the leg work for you? These tools crawl the web and analyze the ad campaigns your competition is already running, and then determine what is working for them. You can then view that information yourself and structure your efforts around what works. KeywordSpy is a great solution, and we encourage serious marketers to try it out. Visit this site

It's almost cheating...Almost. SpyFu allows you to gather intelligence on what the competitors in your space are doing from both an SEO and PPC (SEM) standpoint. It is powerful, and like most of the tools on this page, if you take the time to figure out how to use it correctly, you will have a competitive advantage over your competitors that will instantly put your website on the fast track to success. Again, this isn't something you just install and let it do the work, it's something you have to take advantage of. But, if you are willing to put in the time, the sky is the limit. Visit this site

Just like it's competitors above, iSpionage provides detailed competitive analysis of what your competitors are successfully advertising. They also provide a handy PPC campaign builder that let's you get out of the gate quickly in your advertising efforts. If we had to choose between all of these services, we'd have a tough time, but our recommendation is to take the time to evaluate each one and either choose your favorite or use them all and really get the most intelligence you can. No matter what, if you take the time to learn about the tool and what it can do, you'll have a huge leg up. Visit this site

For a full list of resources, including email marketing tools, a great web hosting deal, and site monetization opportunities, please visit our resources section.

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