ADMIN EDIT 2016: This post is from my original blog (Make Money Online with Seo .com) from way back in 2008 when I first learned internet marketing. Things have radically changed since then with how to make money online, what to do, SEO, marketing, and such. But I’ve imported all the old posts for archival sake. Some of the information is still relevant, but many of the specific SEO strategies and quick make money online ideas I had back then have changed. SO please keep this in mind when reading.
A Beginner’s Guide to Making Money Online through Niche Marketing
So you want to make money online. So does everyone else. The brutal facts are the 90% of people that try to make money online won’t make a cent and the other 7% won’t make enough to quite their job. There is so much crap advice out there that leads people astray. All the famous “make money” gurus toss out worthless advice while hawking affiliate products to desperate people. The famous make money bloggers are almost all scammers; their so called expertise is rubbish. In fact, the advice they offer is downright harmful because it’s bad advice that leads people in circles. There are only 3 make money guys who know their stuff: Grizzly, Court, and Vic. (note 2016, these IM figures no longer do Internet Marketing and their methods and ideas are now outdated).
So, can you actually earn cash online? Yes you can, but it requires proper SEO to do so and an understanding of both marketing and search engines. It also takes lots of hard work and sweat and a plain out stubbornness and refusal to give up.
Nothing in life worth getting is easy. In real life, getting a high paying job takes real work. You just don’t walk into a six figure job with no education or experience. It takes either (or a combination) of years of work at school and the gaining real world job experience before you can command that type of wage. If you are thinking you can make a couple websites, work for a couple hours a week to make serious cash online, you are deluding yourself. Making money online is a job – and you will have to treat it like one. That means doing actual work (sometimes mind numbingly boring).
Now, the point of this blog is to offer proven advice that actually works. I won’t be selling anything to you, hawking affiliate products (except the couple tools that I use and are pretty much required), or in general, trying to take your money. There are several honest guys out there that make an insane amount of money.
Ways to Make Money Online
There are several strategies you can follow to make money on the internet. In future posts I’ll discuss them in more detail, but for now, I want to give you a general overview and outline all the fundamental steps to make money on the web.
There are a lot of different ways to earn online cash. However, they all fall into 4 general categories. Making money through affiliate sales, making money through click-based advertizing, making money through paid advertising, and making money by domain flipping.
Now with the exception of the last, all these methods require one thing: traffic. The focus of this website will be to teach you how to do the first three methods; I’ll touch on domain flipping and some strategies in some posts, but I am not an expert in this field.
Now, regarding making money online through affiliate sales or advertizing: if you don’t have traffic, you don’t get money, period. Depending on what type of revenue-making system you are targeting, that traffic could be as low as 5 people a day, and as high as thousands of people a day – each revenue model is different and there are no clear cut rules. Some people can make money with 30 people a month visiting a site; some people need thousands of people a month to make money. The amount of traffic needed to make money varies from niche to niche and the type of money making scheme you use.
Make Money with Proper Internet Traffic
Now we need to talk a bit about internet traffic. Not all web traffic is equal. Grizzly (the best internet marketer on the web) spends a lot of time talking about this on his How to Make Money for Beginners blog. In my personal experience (and the experience of practically everyone else who tries to make money online by blogging), the type of traffic your website gets will make the difference between making money and not making money.
The prevailing thought (a thought that’s tossed around by all the “A-list make money online” gurus) is to use the social power of the whole web 2.0 scheme to get traffic. So let’s say we have blogger John has a website about “cool cars.” Blogger John hears that JohnChow.com is the number one how to make money online website in the word. So he starts to read Chow. The advice given is to use the power of social networks such as digg, reddit, stumbleupon, etc. to gain traffic. He then reads a bit of ProBlogger advice. Mr. ProBlogger states that if you have superb content on your website, then people will come in heaps and droves. Tell that to the millions of very talented but very poor bloggers, Mr. Problogger.
So Blogger John signed up for every social network service he can think of (facebook, myspace, digg, twitter, reddit, stumbleupon, etc) and spends most of his time online leaving comments on other people’s pages, participating in the digg community, stumbling other peoples pages, etc. What little time Blogger John has left over, he writes incredibly well-crafted posts for his website, laboring over each and every word. The so called world experts on earning cash on the internet say that you have to write incredible content to get traffic. So let’s say Blogger John manages to get a lot of traffic. Those hours of leaving comments on other people’s forums, sending his well crafted articles to reddit and digg, etc are paying off. Blogger John’s cool car blog (let’s say it’s called www.johnnyworld.com) suddenly gets 2 thousand people a day. “Wow,” he thinks. “I’m now going to make a lot of money online!” Blogger Johnny put ups Adsense and waits to rake in that cash. A few days rolls by. Johnny finds that after a couple days. His traffic falls back to normal levels and those thousands of visitors have barely clicked on an ad. In fact, in two days, the 10 or so thousand visitors, only 5 people clicked on ads. In fact, each click only gave Johnny .05 cents and he made a total of .25 cents.
Johnny decides to try again. His traffic, after a couple days fell exactly to what it was before he started using all the social networks to gain traffic. So Johnny spends another couple days using the social networks to get traffic. This time, he finds himself with 1000 people a day. However, after a couple days, the traffic falls back to his normal 20 people a day and this time, only 1 ad was clicked, again giving Johnny .05 cents.
Does this sound like you? Most bloggers attempt to do what Johnny does. They try to convert their blog (which usually is about a hobby or topic of interest) into a money machine, and they use the power of social networks to get web traffic. And nearly every single one of them fails to make any significant money. Most will never even make enough money to buy a single cup of coffee.
But this doesn’t have to be you. You can make a lot of money online if you do the right things. And folks, trying to convert your pet blog into a money making machine, writing time consuming, high quality articles about topics you love (that don’t have a money-making target market), and spending vast amounts of time using social networks to get traffic is not a way to make money – it’s a way to not make money online and waste your time.
Make Money Online with Search Engine Traffic
The way to make money is to get the right type of web traffic – organic search engine traffic. Not that rubbish social traffic. Social traffic is always people looking to be entertained. They have short attention spans and want to quickly consume your information then return to what they were doing. They are not at your website to buy products or click on ads that interest them. Social traffic equates with people who are not looking to solve a problem. And folks, to make money on the internet, you need people coming to your website looking to find a solution to some problem, whether that problem is more information about a topic, or some sort of solution.
You need to get out of the “blogger mindset” if you want to make money online. Bloggers write for an audience (usually) not for a market. Bloggers don’t make money, they entertain. Internet marketers, however, do make money because they write articles for a market – a market that consists of people looking to solve a problem. And folks, if you want to make money, you need to drop your blogging pretentions right away and learn how to be an internet marketer. Internet marketers make money because they target the right type of traffic: search engine traffic.
Let me underline why the type of traffic makes all the difference in the world. Why do you type something into Google? You are trying to find something. You have a problem and you want a solution. Now that problem can be anything: the need to find information about a topic, the desire to find solution to a problem you are having, etc. But before you type something into the Google search box, you have a clear intention. Social traffic always comes to your site via a click on a link. Social traffic does not have a need or intent. Google traffic is usually always looking for something. Think of a search engine as a vast series of nets in an ocean of different creatures. Say you want to catch lobsters. You don’t throw up a fishing rod to catch a lobster…you use a special trap or cage. The same goes with shrimp – you don’t throw out a fishing net intended for fish and expect to capture shrimp – you need a special, finely tuned net to get those shrimp.
The internet is the same way. Google (and I say goggle because they have almost 80% of all search traffic) is the ocean, the people looking for things are the different type of sea creatures, and your website is the type of specific net/trap trying to capture a type of sea creature. You need to make sure you are setting the right trap. And you need to make sure that trap is in the right place.
Someone typing “how to make money online” is looking for a specific solution to the problem of “how to make money online.” If your website ranks #1 in the search engine for this term, you will get about 40-50% of the people typing this term in going to your website. Most of the people coming to your website come for a reason: they want to know how to make money online. They are not there because they clicked on Bumble Jim’s link to your website via some forum, or because they clicked the “stumble upon” button and ended up at your website. If you offer products that will help people make money online, or you show ads that offer people a solution to making money online, there is a MUCH higher chance of them buying something or clicking on an ad.
Traffic matters folks. If you’ve been trying to make money online but you haven’t had any success, it’s probably because you’ve been targeting the wrong traffic. To make money you need to do the following things:
1. Write about topics you don’t care about
2. Create highly targeted websites about niche topics
3. Spend vast amounts of time getting links to your website to get your website ranked #1 for a search term
4. Make many many small websites and blogs
5. Use proper SEO techniques on each and every website
6. Work your ass off for months, even years, with almost no income.
Folks, if you are willing to follow the six steps outlined above, you can make money online – in fact, and you can make a loads and loads of money. You may not be filthy rich, but it’s possible to make more in a month then many people make in a year. Making money online is the ultimate passive income, because each and every day you get money whether you go to work or not. One of the most effective ways to earn money online is through niche marketing. I’m going to highlight the exact steps to do so.
How to Make Money Online though Niche Marketing
1. Pick a specific, highly targeted niche topic that your website will be about
What’s a niche topic? It’s a specific topic. A general topic would be “health.” A more focused general topic would be “diseases.” A general niche topic would be “cancer.” A more specific niche topic would be “cancer cures.” And an even more targeted niche topic/phrase would be “how to cure cancer.” Anything you type into the Google search engine is called a keyword. The longer the phrase, the more specific the information. We call a series of keywords that people are likely to type in Google (“how to cure cancer” or “ways to cure cancer” etc) a longtail keyword phrase, or just “long tail”. A short tail would be something like “cure cancer.” Long tails always get less traffic than short tails. Short tails always get less traffic then one work generic words (like ‘cancer’). Say “cancer” gets 10 million searches on Google a month (people type “cancer” 10 million times a month in Google), and “cancer cures” gets typed in 500k a month, and “how to cure cancer” gets typed in 80k times a month. So you might say, let’s go after the short tail or generic keyword because that term get’s a lot of traffic. Yes, the short the keyword, the more traffic – but also the less focused the problem.
Think about it for a second. If 10 people search for “cancer”, maybe 3 of them are looking for some product or treatment for curing cancer, maybe 7 of them are just looking for general research on cancer cures for a school assignment. The people who will likely buy something or click on an ad are the 3 of the 10 people NOT all 10 people. If you get 10 people typing in “how to cure cancer”, you can bet that the majority of the people are looking to find a solution. This is targeted web traffic folks – the kind of web traffic you need coming to your “how to cure cancer” website if you want to make money.
2. Do research on the keyword’s traffic and CPC (cost per ad click) and the number of advertisers, and your competition.
You want to make sure a niche you are focusing on actually gets some decent traffic. No traffic means no money. You might have niche “pink coloring books” but you need to ask yourself (and verify) that this niche actually gets traffic and there are advertisers adverting in this niche. The niche may get 50k people a month, but if there are no advertisers, and/or the CPC is very low, the niche will probably be a waste of your time. Not, if you are considering other money making models besides Adsense, you can still make money off low traffic, low CPC, and low number of advertisers, but in general, you want to make sure you have either enough traffic to get sales.
How to do CPC, traffic, and advertiser research? You can use goggles “Keyword Tool” to do most of your research about CPC and keyword traffic. To find out if there are advertisers, you can simply type your keyword phrase into Google and observe how many paid advertisements come up in the right hand site. If only a couple advertisement come up, or none, then there may not be any money in this niche, even if there is traffic.
The next thing to do, provided you the other factors line up, is actually to look at the competition in this niche. I recommend you get SEO Firefox plug in for Firefox – this tool will display an extra menu under each Google search; you can use this to find out the number of backlinks and page rank. Now, Page Rank is a number between 0-10 that Google assigns to each website according to how important it is. The higher the page rank, the more powerful (and numerous) the backlinks the website may have pointing to it. Now, page rank and search engine rankings (SERPs) are not mutually exclusive. You can have a PR 0 site #1 in a competitive niche. And a the quality of the backlinks and the anchor text used in each link make a big difference. PR is a nice “quick” way to check how strong your competition is. I suggest looking at the top 5 websites that come up in the search for your keyword and do a quick check of each sites’ PR. If the PR is 3 or less, then you stand a good chance of getting to the top of the search results. PR 0-2 sites are *usually* pretty weak. PR 3 sites have some authority with goggle and may take a strong backlink campaign to overcome. PR 4+ can be a challenge. You can certainly beat PR 4,5,6,7 but you need to know what you are doing and have a network of supporting sites to help you beat them. When you start out, I suggest tackling sites that are 0,1,2 PR – you should be able to beat them fairly easily – if you put the backlink work in.
One thing you might see is a general site (say about health) that has high PR on the main domain. One of the pages or posts show up as #1-5 spot on Google for the keyword. However, only the page itself is relevant to the topic. The site as a whole, is not. You can knock this type of site off the spot with some back link work.
Again, I don’t want to suggest the PR is the end and be all. What I do is check the PR. If the PR is 3+, I do a close look at how strong the sites linking to their site are. I ask myself the following questions about my competitions’ backlinks:
1. What is the PR of sites linking to the target website?
2. How relevant (content wise) are the sites that link to the website?
2. What is the anchor text used in each link?
3. Is the site that comes up in Google targeted?
These two questions are crucial. If the sites that link to my competition are high PR, use the proper anchor text in the links and are related, then it’s going to be very tough to knock the sites out of their places. If you see all #1-3 all true, then chances are you are fighting against a fellow internet marketer who know what they are doing.
3. Register a Domain with the Keyword in the URL.
It’s important to make sure the domain of your website is as close to your keyword phrase as possible. For example, if you are targeting the “how to cure cancer” keyword phrase, try to register www.howtocurecancer.com or use register a blogger.com blog with “howtocurecancer” in the address. If the exact domain is taken, don’t sweat, but try to at least include the “guts” of the keyword you are targeting.
The reason why you want to do this is because you get a bit of a boost in the search engine results. Now, note that having the exact domain will not mean you get #1. In a niche with little to no combination, having a properly SEO’ed website that targets the keyword and having the keyword in the domain may be enough to get you on the front page, or even near the top with no backlinks, given time. But if there is competition in the niche, it’s not enough. Everything else being equal, the domain in the name may bump you over a competitor.
However, there are some other reasons why. If the top 5 search results all have website domains that don’t relate to that keyword, then having your domain name as the keyword may mean someone is more likely to click on your website. If you type in “how to cure cancer” and the top 4 websites are all “John’s cancer help” and “healthwatch”, and your website is “howtocurecancer.com”, people may thing your website is more targeted and click on this.
Having your keyword in the domain can also make a big difference when getting backlinks. If your website is called “John’s Cancer Blog”, people who naturally link to you will use your website domain name or title (“John’s Cancer Blog”) as the anchor text for the link. However, if you have “howtogetridofcancer.com/.net/.ca/.org/.something, then people will naturally use your domain name as the link anchor text. Google ranks your site depending on how many anchors you have with that specific word. If all your backlinks contain “John’s Cancer Blog”, you will rank high for “John’s Cancer Blog” on Google search – but so what, no one types that. You won’t rank high for “how to get rid of cancer.” So you will sort of organically get properly anchored links by just having the correct keyword as the domain name.
4. Write Long Rambling Posts full of Rich Keywords
Write long (at least 500 words) rambling post on your website. The longer the posts, the more long tails Google will rank you for and the more traffic you can get from these long tails.
5. Use Proper SEO in Your Posts and on your Websites/Blogs
It’s crucial that your blogs titles (h1/h2 tags) and subtitles contain your keyword phrase or some variation of your phrase. For example, if your site is called “How to Cure Cancer”, make sure the title of the post is “How to Cure Cancer for Good” or something of that nature. You don’t want to use some witty title or description that the search engines can’t use to bring people to you site. It has to be something that someone might type into Google. “John’s Secret Cancer Tips” is not a good title. “How to Cure Your Cancer Permanently” is.
You also want to make sure you use your keyword about 5 times or so in your article. Don’t go overboard though; you don’t want to keyboard stuff as you might get penalized. Also try and throw in variation of your keyword and related terms. For ad sense, you need to write your posts/website pages in such a way as to NOT answer the question. You want people to click on the ads, not read find a solution in your writing. Yea, it’s kind of dirty to do this, but if you give such a good answer – the reader has no need to click on your answer. You may feel like a saint for helping out people by providing answers, but you’ll be a poor saint.
If you are using blogger software such as a self hosted wordpress blog or a free host blog like blogger.com, you should write new posts that each target another aspect of the niche. For example, the first post might be “how to cure cancer” and the second post might be titled “Best Cancer Treatments” and the third post title might be “Cancer Remedies that Work”, and the fourth post might be “How to Get Rid of Cancer”. See what I’m doing? I am targeting the same keyword phrase, just using different words. I’m also targeting other keywords in the “cure cancer niche”.
6. Target Various Longtail Keywords That Bring In Search Engine Traffic
You need to target longtail keywords. If you write big, rambling posts, your post will naturally contain targeted longtail keywords that will bring in Google traffic. However, you should actively hunt down as many long tails as possible to maximize your traffic. Here is how to maximize your web traffic through long tails.
1. Use Google Keyword Tool to Find Related Keyword Phrases
For each of these posts, make sure you content of the post ties in to what the post title is talking about. You should also try and use post titles that people will naturally type into Google. “How to Wipe Away Cancer” is not a good title because no one will type “how to wipe away cancer” into Google. You can find out some good post titles by using the Google keyword tool and typing in the main keyword your website is targeting. Sort the results by traffic and pick out phrases in the niche that are bringing in traffic. Use the phrase as the post title and then write post about that phrase. Also try and tie in the article with your overall keyword though. For example, If I am targeting “how to get rid of cancer” and I write a new post with the title “How to Treat Cancer”, I would mention “how to get rid of cancer” one time in the article – even if I am gearing the post to the “how to treat cancer” keyword.
2. Use Google Analytics to find keywords that bring traffic to your website.
You can take a look in Google analytics (or other website stat programs) and see what long tails people are actually reaching your site by. Now, if you have a new site or a site that is not ranked high in the SERP’s, people will only reach your site via long tails. Some long tails bring in more traffic then others. If, let’s say in a day, you get 20 people finding your site via Google, you may notice that one particular longtail seems to be bringing in more traffic then a lot of the others. How much depends on your SERP rankings. If you are getting 20 visitors a day on your www.howtocurecancer.com website, and 6 of the people find your site through “how to cure your cancer for good”, 2 find your site through “best cancer treatments that work” and the other 12 people find your site through different keywords, you would want to target the longtails that brings in 6. Check to see if you can find your site typing in the longtail in Google. If your site comes up as #1-3 in the SERP’s for that long tail, you’ve already maxed your traffic for that keyword. But if you find that your website is not in the top 5 search results (maybe not in the top 3 pages), you can gain a lot more traffic from this longtail if you target it and start to try and rank for it.
So to target this long tail, create a new blog post (or if you have a static website – a webpage) using this longtail keyword as the title and focus of the article. Make sure the article is long and rambles on and on. Use the keyword in the body several times. You will invariably end up adding other long tails to this post (you’ll do it naturally in the process of writing) – other tails that Google will use to send additional traffic. You then get backlinks to that specific post using the longtail keyword as the anchor links for those backlinks. This will help your site rank higher for that keyword long tail, bringing you more traffic from it. The keyword longtail will probably also contain some of your “main” keywords in it as well. In this example, we are targeting “how to get rid of cancer for good”, and each backlink you get to the post that targets “how to get rid of cancer for good” also will help ranks you for “how to get rid of cancer” | “get rid of cancer” | “cancer”.
7. Increase your Search Engine Rankings by Getting Backlinks
This is 90% of your work, and will yield 95% of the results…everything else is just icing on the cake. Getting your website #1 is all about backlinks. Make sure that 50% of the backlinks you get are to your actual home page and the other 50% deep link to individual blog posts or webpages. Deep link means that instead of a getting a link to your www.howtogetridofcancer.com, you would link to www.howtogetridofcancer.com/howtogetridofcancerforgood.html.
If you decided to get 10 backlinks today for you cancer website, you would use 5 of those backlinks with anchor text “how to get rid of cancer” to the homepage, and another 5 backlinks with “how to get rid of cancer for good” as the anchor text and point to the “How to Get Rid of Cancer for Good” post.
Each new post, you anchor with some backlinks. If you get backlinks to every one of your posts, and you constantly sniff out new long tails (via Google analytics) that are bringing in traffic and target them with the method above, you will begin to rank for a lot of related (but different) long tails keywords in that niche. Each of these long tails may only bring in a couple people, but when you have a couple hundred of them, or maybe a thousand of them, that adds up to a lot of traffic. On one of my niche websites, I get about 700 people a day. My actual targeted keyword brings in a 120 people a day, but all my long tails bring in an additional 400 people!
Dominating lots of long tails in a niche well cause Google to give your site authority status for those longtail keywords. Once you get this status, your site will be crawled often by Google and anything you post will be indexed within a day or even hours. You can also pass a lot of link juice with your links. When you have authority status, you can then start to target a shorter keyword. For example, if you want to create a website that targets “how to cure cancer” keyword phrase, you start to get a lot of backlinks with the anchor text “how to make money online”, you write posts with this keyword in it and generally follow the steps above. Eventually, you will be #1 for “how to cure cancer”…you then target “cure cancer” and follow the same process. When you are #1 for “cure cancer”, you then go after “cancer”, rinse and repeat.
This is how you dominate the search ranking for every major term in the niche. Does this take a long time? Yes, but this is how you dominate the search engines from long tails working your way up to the generic keyword. I suppose you could just target “cancer” straight from the get go, but it’s going to be a hell of a difficult process and you won’t see any tangible results for years and years (if ever), and you certainly won’t make any money until you reach the top page. Going after the long tails in niche is a far better strategy because long tails are much easier to rank for, meaning you can get targeted traffic in a shorter time period. And then when you start going after the shorter term that bring in much more traffic, you are all the while getting targeted traffic (and making money) of the long tails.
8. Making Money Online Takes Time
Be patient. Making money online is not an instant process. Creating your websites and writing the content is not an instant process. Getting your new website indexed by Google takes time. Increasing your search engine position takes time. Dominating the longtail keywords in your niche takes time. Ranking number 1 for your keyword takes time and a lot of work (depending on how competitive your niche is).
Get it now? This process will not yield instant results. You have to be prepared for a lot of elbow grease and frustration. If you look at making money online as a long term prospect — not a short term money making scheme — you can make money. Each new website you make, each post your write, each longtail you dominate is all a step towards making money online. The process might take many months (even a year or two) before you start to see tangible monetary results, but stick with it, put the work in, and you’ll find you start to slowly make money. That trickle of money will gather force and eventually become a river.
Summary of How to Generate Money Online
This was a very long post detailing the ins and outs of making money online through SEO and niche marketing. You can earn a passive income online, but you need to go about it the right way. The right way is to target Google search engine traffic for money-making niches and get your website ranked to the top position. Repeat this process over and over till you have dozens, hundreds of websites. That my friends, is how to make money online with SEO.