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SEO Tutorial: 10 Detailed Steps to Rank #1 in Google

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You read a blog post on a new SEO strategy. You have this “ah-ha” moment. Youre super pumped so you stay up all night executing. And the result? Nothing. So are these techniques, tactics,and case studies all lies? Probably not. But there isnt a single silver bullet forhigher Google rankings. You need a process – a strategic one, consistingof multiple tactics and techniques that build on to each other. Because without a process it can be the differencebetween a number one ranking and a page nothing ranking. So in this SEO tutorial, Im going to walkyou through 10 detailed steps that will help you get more #1 Google rankings. Stay tuned. [Intro music] Whats up SEOs? Sam Oh here with Ahrefs, the SEO tool thathelps you grow your search traffic, research your competitors and dominate your niche.And the first thing I need to tell you isthat this video is not going to be full of a bunch of random tips. I have a lot of very detailed steps for you,so lets get started by drawing out a scenario for this SEO tutorial: Lets say that I have an online store thatsells pet food and accessories. A good number of people know about my store,but its because I post on Reddit under my fake account and then upvote myown answer with 247 other accounts. Yup…Not cool. But people who have purchased from my storeare always repeat customers. Now, the problem is that none of my customersare coming from organic search. For this scenario, my main goal is to rankmy product and category pages higher. And the main way Im going to achieve thisis by using a blog to fuel my rankings and revenue.With that in mind, lets jump into our 10point SEO checklist. Step one is to do topic research & a quickcompetitor analysis An easy way to find topics is to use a keywordresearch tool like Ahrefs Keywords Explorer. Ill type in a general keyword related tomy niche, so that might be pet and then Ill run the search. Next, Ill click over to the phrase match report. And you can see that there are about 1.7 millionkeyword ideas, which is way too many to manually filter through. Since well be creating helpful contentfor our blog, we want to find keywords that either have informational intent, like howto, search queries and other keywords that will likely show content based results inGoogles SERPs.So Ill click on the include box andtype in how to, tutorial, best, and ideas separated by commas. Then Ill click here and select ‘any’ fromthe dropdown menu to show the keywords that contain any of these keywords. And right away, you can see topic ideas thatmight be suitable for our blog. Before we further narrow the results set down,you need to answer 3 questions: The first question is: does the topic havebusiness value; meaning will people who are looking for information on this topic be interestedin purchasing my products or services? Looking at the keyword results, best vacuumfor pet hair might be a good one since we sell cleaning supplies and vacuums. Right below, youll see best pet insurance,which seems tempting with 14,000 monthly searches, but we dont sell insurance and there reallyisnt a way to make this work for our business, so Ill pass on the topic. You could scan through this entire list andprobably find thousands of topic ideas, but 85,000 results is still way toomuch to manually go through.A simple way to narrow down this list is touse the keyword difficulty filter here. The keyword difficulty metric estimates howhard it will be to rank in the top 10 of Googles search results. In general, the lower the score, the easierit will be to rank. So Ill set the KD to something like 20,bringing our list down to around 3,800 results.And you could probably extract at least ahundred relevant topic ideas from this list alone. On to our next question: what are my chancesof ranking for this keyword? Since I want to write about the best vacuumcleaners for pet hair, Ill click through to this keyword, which will give us deeperinsights on the keyword at hand. After it loads, Ill do a one second checkand look at the clicks data compared to the search volume.The clicks data reflects the total numberof clicks that happen on the search results when people search for this keyword. Now, if the number is abnormally lower thanthe search volume, then it might be a good indication not to target the keyword sincepeople arent really clicking through to pages from the search results. But this particular phrase has a lot moreclicks than searches each month, which means that ranking somewhere in the top 10 can stillproduce some nice traffic for us. Next, Ill scroll down to see the top 10search results. What you want to do here is look at the numberof referring domains to get an understanding of how many backlinks youll need from differentwebsites to compete against the top ranking results.And it doesnt appear to be too intimidatingsince a lot of the pages dont have many or any backlinks. This brings us to our final question: How does Google view the search intent forthis topic and can we serve their users? Just by looking at the titles of the top 10ranking pages, you can tell that theyre all blog posts, most of which are list posts. And since Google is ranking all of these listposts, then it would probably be a good idea to stick with the format so we can be sureto serve the searchers intent. Here another example of completely differenttype of search results. If we look at the top 10 rankings for thiskeyword phrase, youll see that the top ranking pages are dominated by eCommerce productpages from sites like Amazon, PetCo, Walmart, and more. Search intent should be at the forefront ofyour topic and keyword choices. So dont try to squeeze in keywords wherethey dont belong.Now, if we were to create a page around thiskeyword, it would be best to create it as a product page. Alright, onto step 2: were going to dosome deeper keyword research on this topic and turn that into a solid outline for our post. So we have our main topic or primary keywordphrase, which is best vacuum for pet hair. And as you can see, the monthly search volumefor the keyword phrase is 16,000 searches. But take a look at the traffic and the keywordscolumn in the SERP overview table. For these two pages, they all rank for thousandsof keywords and get a ton of search traffic.So from here, Ill click on the number inthe organic keywords column to see all of the keywords that this page ranks for. Next, Ill use the positions filter to onlyshow keywords that rank in the top 8 or so results. And the reason why Im doing this is becauseitll weed out a lot of irrelevant keywords that we wont want to target. And you can see that were down to around600 keywords now. Now with this list, I can manually filterthrough them and look for valuable subtopics within here.So you can see that we could also mentionsomething about cat hair, or dog hair, or upright vacuums, and more. Another cool thing you can do is click onthe content gap link in the left sidebar. And with this tool, were going to findall of the keywords that a few of the top ranking pages rank for, which will give usa nice list of very relevant keywords. So Ill go back to the top 10 Google SERPsand copy and paste a couple of the URLs here that rank for a good number of keywords andalso get decent traffic. And Ill cut this bottom part and paste it right here.Finally, Ill change this option to showkeywords that all of these pages rank for and Ill run the search. And if you scroll down, you can see that thereare almost 500 keywords where all of these pages rank and at least one of the sites ranksin the top 10, which tells us that they’re highly relevant to our topic. So I might talk about canister vacuums asone section and bagless vacuums in another. Alright! Keyword research is in the books! Its time to move onto step 3, which isto create content thats better than your competition. But first, what makes good content? #1. It must serve the searchers intent. Just ask yourself, why is someone searchingfor this term in Google and what do I need to do to solve that problem? So you need to get into that mentality tobe the absolute best helper that you can be. Now, when it comes to creating content, personally, I like to work backwards. So, since our goal is to solve problems andserve the searchers intent, I start with the conclusion.So, for your conclusion, just keep it shortand make sure that youre delivering on your result. Now that we know what we have to deliver,Ill move up to the body and ask myself, “how do I get someone to that conclusion?” Now, Im not going to write out the entirepiece on this, but I want to share a few SEO copywriting tips that should will help keepyour readers engaged. So first, you need to create content thatis scannable. The way that you and I read blog posts andeven social media posts is by scanning. We literally scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll,scroll, and if something catches your attention, then what do you do? You scroll back up. You can make your content more scannable byadding headings, sub headings, breaks within the text like using block quotes, custom boxes,images, graphs, and videos. Next, write in short sentences and short paragraphs. And this also adds to making your content scannable. On top of that, it keeps readers engaged andconstantly moving and processing. So there’s some kind of progress that’s beingmade and progress is good.On the Ahrefs blog, most of our paragraphsare between 1-3 lines long with an 18 point font. 3. Write in fifth-grader-like language. Language thats easier to understand willkeep your visitors around longer. Think about it: If this SEO tutorial was chalk full of technicalmarketing jargon or advanced SEO techniques like link sculpting, canonical issues, ordoorway pages then, you would have probably jumped out that doorway and onto another page. Theres a free tool calling Hemingway Editorthat helps improve readability and it also gives you a readability grade. Now, depending on who your audience is, Iwould aim for a 5th – 9th grader level. The last part of your content is to createan introduction. And your introduction is a super importantpart to your content. It needs to reel people in and hook them hard. In general, you want to connect with the readerfast and let them know that you understand where they are. So, give them a preview of what youre aboutto show them and then get them amped up and wanting more. Heres a great example from Joshua Hardwick whowrote about linkable assets on the Ahrefs blog.Are you struggling to get links? Then you probably dont have anything onyour website particularly deserving of links. The truth is: there are certain ‘types’ ofcontent that earn links much more easily than others. These are known as ‘linkable assets.’ Heres what the backlink profile of a verysuccessful linkable asset looks like: Pretty impressive, right? But linkable assets are not createdsolely to attract links. There are a ton of other benefits such as socialshares, brand awareness, monetization, etc. In this article, well be looking at whattypes of content work well as ‘linkable assets,’ how you can create such content yourself,and how you can earn links with them. So, try to keep your introductions short,on point, and always use words like you and I to help build that conversation with your readers. Alright, on to step #4: and thats to optimizethe content you just wrote or on-page SEO. By now, you should have a pretty good pieceof content to work with. The first thing you can do is add internaland external links in your post. And internal links will be ones that go fromthis page to another page on your domain.They help share the link equity among pageswithin your own website. So there are 3 types of internal links thatwe should discuss. The first would be to add internal links fromthe page that youre working on right now. And this is simple. As youre editing and refining your post,link out to other relevant articles on your own website. The second is to add internal links to yournew post from your existing pages. And you can find relevant pages by doing agoogle search for: site:yourdomain.com and then put in a querythat represents your post. Since I dont actually have a website aboutpets, lets say that I own the website Groom and Style, which is one of the top rankingpages for our target keyword.And you can see that there are close to 300results where the keywords pet and vacuum both appear on the page. So Ill click on this one and since themain topic seems to be on robot vacuums, Ill do a find for the word pet hair vacuumto locate a good part for the internal link. And it looks like I could add an internallink from this post and anchor it here on best pet hair vacuums. The last internal linking strategy is to addlinks to your products and services pages. And if you remember, our goal is to rank ourproduct and category pages. The thing with product, category and servicespages is that no one wants to link to them. But they do want to link to helpful contentlike the blog post that you just created. Heres an example for the highly competitiveterm, supplements. If you look at the the search results, youllsee a mix on types of pages. Some are content based and othersare eCommerce category based. And if you look at the number of referringdomains for these pages, you can see that content based pages have significantly morebacklinks than the eCommerce pages.To top it off, the backlink profiles of eCommercecategory pages here with a lot of referring domains are mostly irrelevant spam links likethis one that were built on over 21,000 random subdomains. By using internal links from your blog, youcan slowly, but surely power your revenue generating pages by leaking link equity over to them. So for our example, we could add links toour product pages on the different brand and model names as anchors. Next, add external links if you havent already. We studied 2 million random search queriesand found that pages linking to pages on DR70+ sites generally rank higher.Now, I wouldnt force external links, butdont be afraid to link out to other websites where the content on that pagecan help out your readers. Finally, look at Googles auto suggest keywordsand see if theres anything that you missed. Just go to Google and type in your keywordand youll see some suggestions below. And we can see keywords like hardwood,on carpet, and in car which would make great additions to our post. Next, Ill run the search for my query andthen scroll to the bottom of the page. You can dig through these ones and see ifthere are any related searches that could fit in your post. Now, you might be wondering if any of thesesearch queries have search volume. If I go back to the Keywords Explorer overviewpage for our primary keyword target, then I can go to the search suggestions reportto uncover a lot more suggestions that Google doesnt show.Plus you can see all of the vital keywordmetrics to make quick decisions. And look at this: the one about hardwood floors has a searchvolume of 700 monthly searches, and then we’ll see other cool keywords on stickvacuums and robot vacuums. After going through some of these and pickingand choosing the ones that would make a good fit, you should have covered your topic betterthan your competition. So lets zoom on over to step #5, and that’sto create a breathtaking title and hit that publish button. Headline is everything. Its the one thing that stands between yourvisitors and your website. On social, the headline is usually the decidingfactor before someone clicks through. And in Google Search, its the main thingthat stands out. To find good headline ideas, try something like this: Search for your target keyword in Google andlook for commonalities within posts like numbers or adjectives that you think will enhance your headline.Another cool way is to see what viral siteslike Buzzfeed do. They spend a lot of time refining and testingtheir headlines, so use their ideas as inspiration. Just Google site:buzzfeed.com and I’ll typein, “pet vacuum.” And here are a few very clickable headlines. With these things in mind, I might make my title: “15 Best Vacuums for Pet Hair That Make Cleaninga Breeze (2018 Buyers Guide).” Onto step #6: and thats to get your pagespeed under one second or fast enough that it wont make someone angry. Getting your page speed under one second is tough. You would basically have to minimize thirdparty tracking scripts, have little to no media, have stellar hosting and be a technical wizard.Now, you don’t need to get your pages to loadin under one second, but you don’t want it to be so slow, that it deters people fromgoing to your page. Google officially stated that site speed willbe included in their ranking algorithm, and more recently, they said that mobile pagespeed will be used for mobile search rankings. Whats even more important is that pagespeed impacts revenue. Hubspots infographic on page speed showsthat if your site makes $100,000 per day, a 1 second improvement in page speed couldadd an additional $7,000 per day in your pocket. And Googles study shows that as page loadtime goes from 1 to 3 seconds, the probability of bounce increases by 32%. Without getting too technical, here are a few waysyou can improve and test your page speed. First, go to Googles page speed insightsand enter in the URL of your page. Again, since I havent published this post,Ill use this post from Consumer Reports.And if you scroll down a bit, youll seea few recommendations to optimize this page for speed as well as instructions on how to do it. If you have any kind of image, javascriptor CSS suggestions, then youll likely see a download link at the bottom of the page. You can click here to download the optimizedfiles and then upload them to your server. If you’re a WordPress user, then you can usecaching plugins like W3 Total Cache and there’s also a great plugin called Short Pixel whichcompresses your images when you upload them to your server. Once youve implemented your speed optimizations,you can use a tool like Gtmetrix or Pingdom to test your page speed.Just paste in your address, choose the locationyou wish to start your test from, and start the test. From here, youll get a grade, speed, aswell as more optimization tips. Now that your page is loading lightning fast,were on to step #7 and that’s to promote the heck out of your content It goes without saying that you should promoteit to your blog subscribers, email list, social media followers, and any niche forums youre a part of. The one I want to touch on for the purposeof SEO is link building through email outreach. And this is whats going to give you thatboost you need to rank #1 on Google. So Ill quickly break down a common tacticand give you a solid email outreach example. First you’ll need to find people who have linkedto your competitors. And this is really easy to do. I recommend going to the overview page inKeywords Explorer for your primary keyword target and scroll down to the top 10 SERPs.Then from here, you can scan the backlinksand referring domains column to see which pages have a good number of backlinks. Next, click on the backlinks number to openup their backlink profile. From here, I would add some filters like the”group similar links” or “one link per domain” filter since we dont want to contact thesame website owner multiple times. Then I’ll set the link type to dofollow. From here, you can export the results, seewho would make a solid link prospect, and email each person with a benefit rich pitch. Rather than being like, Hi, I noticed youlinked to this person, can you link to mine instead? Try something helpful and speak in a morenatural language.Heres an example: Hey [name],I just saw your post on [this] and saw you mentioned the [vacuum cleaner model]. Did you hear that it got recalled? They were causing fires in peoples homes. Heres a link to an article I publishedcovering the details and some other vacuums that were just released. It might be worth updating that part on therecall or removing that part completely. Cheers,Sam So let me break this down. First, I addressed them by name. Then I tell them why Im contacting themand the context of the rest of the email. Then I gave them a fact about something theymentioned and something thats actually interesting. Then I gave them a resource on it, so yes,they are going to have to read part of my awesome post. Then, I suggested updating the part, and ifthey update it, of course theyll link to me. But Im not being pushy at all by tellingthem that they could also remove it, which they probably wont want to do because itllrequire reworking the content or cutting out a good chunk of text.Here are a few blunt outreach tips Illleave you with. 1. Keep it short. 2. Talk to them like a human being. 3. Dont be needy. 4. Have a really good reason to contact them. And the better your reason, the higher theprobability of getting the link. We have a pretty solid series on link buildingand backlink analysis, so I highly recommend watching that series a bit later, becausewe still two steps left. Alright, awesome! After going through the link building grind,Im gaining links, social shares, and getting all sorts of comments. And Ive ranked on the front page of Google,but I cant seem to crack anything beyond position 7. So whats next? Lets pair steps 8 and 9 and thats toanalyze your stats in Google Analytics and Google Search Console for underperforming content.After a few months have passed since I startedranking on the first page for my target keyword, I would login to Google Analytics and go tothe all pages report and make sure the dates are set to the past few months to get a decentsample size of data. Next, I would find that page. And since we dont have data on this post,lets assume that its this one that were analyzing. Then I would quickly benchmark the time onpage against the websites average. Now, the goal here would be to make sure thatthe time on page is higher than the websites average, which should tell us whether peopleare engaged with the content or not.And it looks like the time on page is prettysolid for this post. If youre seeing lower than average metricshere, then it may be worth looking at your post with a fresh set of eyes. Ask yourself questions like: are people leaving because Im not servingsearch intent? are they leaving because my content is objectively bad? Go back to your post, assess the situation,and make some optimizations to reach your target goals. Next, go to the Search Analytics report inSearch Console. Here, I would make sure all of these checkboxesare checked so we can see all of the data in the table. Then you can set a queries filter by clickinghere and then selecting “filter queries.” Here you can enter in a keyword, so I mighttype in vacuum or hair to help filter down our results.But again, since we dont have data on this,Ill just type in SEO audit, so you can see some examples. And you can see here, our SEO audit post hasan average ranking position of 1.7, which should result in about a 33% CTR, but werewell below the mark. If you find yourself in a similar situation,try reworking the titles and meta descriptions or go back and reassess search intent.Now, if all things check out, yet you stillcant rank higher, then chances are youll need more links. And theres one other thing that you cando, which brings us to our last and final step. Step 10 is to relaunch your content. There are very few topics that are truly evergreen. You and I live in a fast paced world witharguably the fastest technological advancements humankind has ever seen! Now, how exciting is that? So rather than letting your content rot foryears and eventually lose your top rankings, you should update your content regularly. Here on the Ahrefs blog, weve seen significantboosts in search traffic simply by updating our old content. For our vacuum cleaner post, I would definitelywant to update this in 2019, 2020, and so on. In this particular case, I would likely removeany products that I reviewed that are no longer relevant today and add new ones. After youre done updating the post, changethe publishing date to the current date and repromote your new guide.No one ever said that SEO is easy or thatit wont take time. But when you do it with this 10 step process,you can refine and scale this SEO strategy to kingdom come. And we have a lot of other helpful videosthat dig deeper into some of these specific strategies that we went through like keywordresearch and link building, and content gaps, so I’ll leave links to those in the description. And make sure to subscribe for more actionableSEO and marketing tutorials. We have a lot of good stuff coming in the pipeline. So keep grinding away, get results, and Illsee you in the next video..

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