If you’ve spent any time researching content affiliate websites, then you know how important it is to get your content ranked on the first page of Google. This post is going to go into depth on the five steps that I use to rank my websites and content on the first page.
Let’s get started on how you can get your content ranking right away!
Why Should You Listen To Me?
Ahrefs did a large study examining how long it takes for websites to rank in Google. They found that only 5.7% of newly published pages will rank in the Google Top 10 within a year. They also found that it takes almost 950 days, on average, to get the number 1 position, and 650 days to get to the 10th search result.
I’ve been able to see success much quicker than that. The below screenshot shows a website that I started in January 1st of 2019. As you can see, within just a couple of months it started to rank organically and now has over 67,000 page views. I haven’t touched the site since about March 2019 and never did any paid traffic campaigns. All of the website traffic came from the steps explained below. (More screenshots of other websites I own at the end). I’ve also bought and sold content websites, and have done over six figures in website deals.
This content assumes that you already have a website. If you don’t yet have a website, here is a video I made showing you how to create a website and here is a blog post showing exactly how to create a website. I also have a course that gets even more detailed.
Proper Keyword Research
The first step in getting content ranked on the first page of Google is to do proper keyword research. I use Ahrefs for all of my SEO needs. It’s not a free tool, but it’s the best tool that I have used. Ahrefs is very accurate and I attribute much of my SEO success to the tool. Neil Patel offers a free keyword research tool if you don’t want to spend the money on Ahrefs, but for this article I’m using Ahrefs.
If you’re creating content based on keywords that no one is searching for, or targeting keywords that are super competitive, it’ll be hard for you to rank, especially if you have a small or new website. I suggest finding keywords that are easy to rank for, but that also have search traffic which will get organic visitors flowing in a shorter amount of time. Once a website starts growing, then targeting more competitive keywords becomes lucrative.
For example, say you have a review website in the home niche and want to create a mattress review. (Note, keywords relating to mattress reviews are typically highly competitive as mattress companies offer good affiliate programs.) In your research, you might find the term ‘purple mattress review’ while using Ahrefs. As we can see, this keyword phrase has a difficulty score of 28 and a review would need roughly 33 backlinks in order to rank. Ahrefs also shows us that there’s a search volume of 28,000, meaning this keyword phrase is searched often.
Let’s compare the ‘purple mattress review’ keyword phrase to the ‘purple pillow review’ keyword phrase. It’s the same manufacturer just producing a different product, but as we can see the keyword difficulty score goes down to 7 for the pillow review. Yes, the search volume does go down, but you would have a much better and easier chance to rank for ‘purple pillow review’ than you would if you are to go after ‘purple mattress review.’
What I would do, is create a review for the purple pillow targeting the ‘purple pillow review’ keyword phrase. Once this article starts to rank, then create a review about the purple mattress and link to it within the pillow review. If someone’s looking at the pillow, there is a good chance that they may be interested in a mattress as well. Then your pillow review article is passing “link juice” to the mattress review, helping it rank better.
This is a way you can get traffic with much less work since you’re going after a more niche and less competitive keyword phrase. What similar keyword research can you do in your niche?
When working on a new website or a small website, I look to target keyword phrases that have a keyword difficulty (KD) score of 10 or less, which I found in our keyword research example above. Once you have a keyword phrase that you want to target, it’s all about creating quality content.
When creating content for a review website, I have a target article length of at least 1,600 words while incorporating photos and videos, if possible. Quality text and photos are a must! If you’re targeting U.S. based keywords, having your content written in very good English is highly recommended. You can either write the content yourself or you can hire writers on Upwork to do the writing. If you choose to outsource your content, make sure the writer has good control of the English language. Losing visitors because of poor grammar or spelling would be a shame.
The article should be easy to read and answers the searchers’ questions. Don’t add fluff to your article in order to reach the 1,600 word mark as the Google algorithm can differentiate between fluff and content delivering value.
Content formatting is the next crucial step in order to rank on the first page of the search engines. You will want to use a mix of H2 tags and H3 tags. Personally, I hardly ever use H1 tags, and if I do it’s only for the title. I use H2 and H3 tags to break up different sections of text and also use bullet points when able to create an easy to read list. All of the text that falls under the H2 and H3 header tags is set to paragraph styling.
As mentioned earlier, adding high-quality photos to the article is very important. Photos help break up the content so your reader is not staring at a wall of text, plus search engines favor content with photos. When embedding these photos into your content, make sure to add alt text for each one. This is a great place to mention your keyword while giving a brief description of the photo. Alt-text is for the visually impaired that use screen readers, or used if a web page isn’t loading properly. Google has stated that alt text is considered as a ranking factor.
As you can see from this example, the text is broken up well with headers, photos, videos and bullet points. Use bold or italics text to make the article more visually appealing.
Yoast SEO Plugin
The main plugin that I use to help rank my content is the Yoast SEO plugin. There are a few other SEO plugins that I’ve been hearing about recently, however, I have yet to switch from Yoast as it’s done just fine for me so far. Using the screenshot below as an example, Yoast allows you to set your focus keyword phrase which will help the plugin analyze your content and offer optimization tips.
The plugin also allows for snippet editing. The snippet is what appears on the search engine results page, as know as the SERP.
At the end of the day, Google decides what text to show for the snippet, but by setting your snippet you can nudge Google what to show. Make sure to work your keyword or keyword phrase into the SEO title. I also put the keyword into my slug and try to make reference to it through my meta-description as well. When someone searches this phrase, the phrase gets highlighted in the snippet so the searcher knows which article may answer their question best.
Once your piece of quality content has been created, formatted, and SEO optimized, it will be time to publish. Once an article is published, it will most likely need backlinks from other websites in order to start ranking well. Google has specifically said that backlinks are a factor of their ranking algorithm.
If we go back to our purple pillow review, Ahrefs estimates that we need 8 backlinks in order to rank on the first page of Google for this keyword phrase. This means that 8 websites need to link to the article to get on the first page. Keep in mind, this is just an estimate. It may only take 2 backlinks or it may take 15. I’ve found that if the content is SEO friendly, it requires fewer backlinks.
You can do manual guest post outreach to acquire backlinks, which is what I recommend. Reach out to other website owners that offer content on a related or complementary niche, and offer to create content for their website with a link pointing back to your article. There are many other ways to do link building, here are a few helpful resources:
- Guest Post Link Building
- Broken Link Building
- Resource Page Link Building
- Stealing Your Competitors Backlinks
Below are a few more screenshots of articles that I’ve written using this same 5-step formula. These articles reached the first page of Google in 60 to 90 days, and have continued to rise in the search engine results. If you follow these 5 steps and create intentional quality content, you will see organic search traffic success.
If you have any questions, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’d be happy to give my two cents on what you should be doing or what keywords your article should be targeting. If you already have a piece of content that’s not ranking, do some keyword research and make sure the keywords you’re targeting are getting search traffic and are not too competitive. Don’t forget, building links to your articles will have tremendous longterm success.