Note: This process is a combination of information from other traffic generation experts and what I've learned through applying that info. I've taken this info, applied it to mine/my client's sites, and used this process to get repeated results. I hope it can do the same for you.
Here's a breakdown of each step:
You should base every piece of content (that you're trying to rank) around one keyword. Here are the guidelines I typically follow:
My absolute favorite free tool is the Google Keyword Planner from Google Adwords. Simply sign up and access the planner. Then, choose the "Search for new keyword and ad group ideas" option.
It will bring you to this page:
Enter your keyword in the "Your product or service" section and click "Get Ideas."
Head over to the "Keyword ideas" tab, scroll down to the second section, and find a keyword that fits the criteria above.
In this step, you're going to analyze the content already ranking for that keyword. This will help you determine whether you can outrank what's there or whether that keyword is too competitive.
You want to look at:
If you think you can create better content than what's ranking and it isn't too competitive, move on to Step 4.
Now it's time to figure out how to make your content better than what's ranking - and create it.
To make your content better, focus on these metrics:
The more value you provide with your content, the easier it will be to get social shares and backlinks.
On-page SEO tells Google what your content is about. This is how you let search engines know which keyword you want to rank for.
Many people make the mistake of over-optimizing their content. This actually hurts your chances of ranking.
Don't stuff your keyword everywhere. Just make sure it's in your title, URL, the first 100 words, and one sub-heading. Then sprinkle it a few times in your content.
Now it's time to promote your content and drive traffic. This step is first and foremost about getting eyeballs on your content and social shares.
Reach out to influencers to share your content. Post it in online communities like Reddit. Leverage LinkedIn groups and Google+ communities.
Promote your content like your website depends on it (because it does).
You've driven traffic, but most of this traffic comes in a short burst and then dies off.
This step is all about ranking your content in search engines to reap long-term, sustainable traffic that you don't have to maintain anymore.
For this, you need to build a solid backlink profile.
Link building has changed a lot over the years. Spammy, low-quality links don't cut it anymore.
Top-notch links will rank your content and help you drive traffic. Luckily for you, you already created a piece of content that's:
This makes link building much easier for you than it is for your competitors. The name of the game is finding link prospects where your content adds value to the page. In other words, it makes the page better.
I like to use a resource called Drop My Link to help me find these premium link building opportunities.
To recap, here is the content marketing process that takes you from content creation, to driving traffic, to ranking in search engines:
After you've gone through this process, simply rinse and repeat for your next piece of content. This will grow your traffic exponentially as you continue to create content that gets shared on social media and ranks in search engines.
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Thanks for reading, and let me know if you need anything.