Why, hello there reader! Hope it’s going awesome. Today, i wanted to write a little case study on how to make money online with SEO, for Free.
I’ll be going over how i made my first money with good ol’ uncle Google and SEO and the steps you’d need to take to replicate the strategy and hopefully get similar, or better results.
We’ll be taking advantage of a really cool strategy on getting in front of the right people at the right time, and getting paid because of it.
And if you don’t have a website, don’t worry, in this case-study/training, i’ll show you where you can get FREE super powerful, traffic soaking, money making websites too.
Sound good? Let’s get to it then! 😉
So, even though i generally use social media to make money online (which is how i made my first 1k online)…i was getting quite bored of having to grow accounts, getting accounts blocked, having my softwares stop working and basically having to do a ton of work all the time.
I mean, let’s face it…
If you’ve ever tried to make money on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any of the other “news feed based” social media platforms…it can REALLY be time-consuming (unless you’ve got a million fans or have some sort of influence). Plus, you also run the risk of losing everything overnight, which is “no bueno” for sure…
But search engines? Search engines…are a bit different 👇
These are the traffic stats for this exact website (more detailed info on the image below). And by “traffic”, i mean visitors.
It’s my first ever website that i’ve ever gotten “serious” about, since i started online, and as you can see it’s been getting more visitors as time has gone by. Most of it is coming from organic search…not all of it, and i’ll be showing those numbers later.
This means that when people search in Google for something in particular, my site pops up. And generally speaking, the more visitors to your site, the more money you can expect to make!
The difference here is, it’s constant, as opposed to what usually happens with social media, where for you to be getting any attention at all…you basically have to become a celebrity or spend all day posting.
Search vs Social. Intent vs…Well…The other thing.
So why is search engine traffic “constant” and “practically guaranteed”, whereas it’s not the same with social media? This is because search engines index the content on the web and show the most relevant results, each time people search for something.
And that’s the difference really… People are searching on seach engines, versus whatever it is they’re doing on social media nowadays.
So there is a sense of “stickiness”, and “longer shelf-life” to the content on search engines vs the content on social media. Evergreen content, will stick around for years in search engines, whereas a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter post from a day ago is nowhere to be seen.
Because of this, we want to take advantage of the fact, that we can rank specific content in the search engines, and “stick to the top” of search engines for specific terms. And if we do that with a handful of search terms and keywords…we can have a consistent amount of visitors coming through to our sites, which is how we’re going to be making money. 👍
For that, we’ll need to do exactly as the search engine gods request…using SEO.
So What Is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it’s essentially the act of optimizing content for the search engines.
This is so that, if someone is searching for something, and you happen to have both the best answer to their query as well as an optimized piece of content on a fast and authoritative domain (blog, website or otherwise) you’ll pop up (in the first page and first spot…preferably).
Of course, there are a few other things to keep in mind like competition, search volume and the likes…but overall the plan is: Create content for what people are searching.
This is a lot better long term play, than using “news feed” social media in my opinion. Because, if you create the content once, and you do it correctly…you (for the most part) don’t have to do the work again!
And even though there are different search engines out there like Bing and Baidu, Google owns the majority of the search traffic, so we’ll be focusing on what they want. And after the Panda and Penguin updates of February 2011, Google has made it clear that they’re looking to reward (give higher search exposure to) websites that:
✅ Have fast loading speeds.
✅ Optimized for all devices (specially mobile).
✅ Relevant content.
Amongst other things.
If you want to know more about SEO, make sure to check out this awesome video by the guys at ahrefs.
How To Make Money Online With SEO
Alright, so now that we’ve got that out of the way…the age old question becomes: How to make money online with SEO?
To make money online with SEO, we’ll be making use of the organic visitors from our google rankings (which we’ve talked about before), that we’ll be sending over to specific sites where we offer a product or a service that, once interacted with…will make us money.
That’s the plan.
To do this, we’ll need the following ingredients:
- A product or service that we want to sell. It could be your own or someone elses.
- A piece of online “real estate” that can appear in the search engines. Something like a free blog, or a website.
- Some content that is optimized for search, and that is tailored to sell your product or service.
- A little time to let the cake bake. 😊
Note: You can 100% try other strategies like creating viral sites and monetizing only with banner ads or doing “pay per call” style CPA organic positioning…but in this example i’ll be going over what i personally did, which was software affiliate marketing, which paid upon transaction (sale).
Okay…So This Is What I Did.
So, what i did, was Affiliate Marketing for a software as a service company (SAAS). Here is the step-by-step:
- I chose a new product that was recently introduced in the marketplace, which i thought had potential (it’s actually very good!).
- I saw it had a partner program, so i reached out and got a trial for the product. I tested it out, liked it, and thought i would recommend it.
- I signed up to be a partner and got my personal link.
- I made a main review of the product, and a few more smaller posts talking about different features and targeting different keywords around the same product (we’ll talk about those later).
- I made a youtube video of me using the product (which you don’t need to do).
- I posted my reviews on my website and on some free high authority websites, and waited.
After a few weeks, i started seeing some clicks coming in, and the review post ended up being the 2nd most visited post on my website.
A few days after that (the software has a free trial), i made my first sale with organic SEO, without actually doing any more work. Check out the image below.
And you might be thinking: “Pfff…Only $19.27? Hua! It’s not THAT much.”
I agree, it’s barely anything at all. But let’s think of it a bit differently:
✅ It’s a monthly subscription. This means that for however long the customer decides to continue using this service, i’ll get paid. So it’s more like $19.27/month which pays for at least the domain of this site, for 1 year, plus a few months of hosting…which allows me to keep the site up, to get more trials and commissions.
✅ I’m getting clicks regularly. Eventually…i’ll have another customer choose to use the product. Right? Unless they fire all their employees and shut down the site, or something happens to the rankings on Google…it’s likely it’ll keep working. And just 5 customers… is an extra $96.35/month. Not bad at all!
✅ My job is “done”. Not taking into consideration future updates within the software…I kinda don’t have to do much anymore. All i need to do, is find another software or product to promote, and i can let this run in the background. Alternatively, i can keep adding content around that exact product.
And by now you might be thinking:
“Yeah but your website has been around since march. I don’t have a website, and i don’t have that much time.”
I understand that completely.
Pretty much as advertised…it’ll take 5-6 months for a brand new website to start getting google traffic, as you can tell from the image (although there are quicker ways to do it).
And even though there are techniques you can use like “force indexing”, where you force the google spiders to crawl your pages and make them index faster, it might still take a lot of time!
The good news…is that you don’t really need to have a website of your own at all! 😁
You can take advantage of a very very powerful, free, authoritative website/platform that Google already trusts and that ranks very high in search, very fast: Medium.com.
Now for the fun part…
How To Do It Yourself
Okay, i know you want to know how to make money online with SEO, yourself…so, which are the steps you need to follow?
Let’s check them out.
1) First…Find Something To Sell.
We’ll be doing affiliate marketing in this example, so i recommend software or infoproducts because the commissions are better for beginners, although something like an upcoming product from Amazon could also do the trick.
I go a bit more in detail on how to do affiliate marketing here, but basically we want to have a product, in a profitable niche that we’re interested in. We want to partner up with a company in that niche and promote their products for a cut. Easy.
Let’s imagine that for this example we want to sell paintball guns, through the Amazon affiliate program.
And even though they do require a website for you to be an affiliate, let’s just for this example, imagine we are certified affiliates for them. Other marketplaces might not ask you for your own website, but you’ll have to reach out and ask.
With that said, we’d go through Amazon.com, and pick out the best paintball guns as per customer reviews. This one here has good review and is from a reputable brand, so i’ll be choosing it. The Tippmann Cronus.
2) Keyword Research.
Okay, we’ve got our product. We’ve signed up to promote it and we have our special tracking link…now it’s time to research the topics you that we will write about. And this is probably the most important part of the process, so pay close attention.
You can’t just write about “Paintball Gun”, and expect people to find it. This is because it’s too narrow of a keyword combination. There must be thousands, even hundreds of thousands of searches for that term, every month. Remember there are only 10 spots on the first page of Google!
We’ve got to be smart about this. We want to target keywords that are:
- More specific. These are less competitive, and it’ll be easier to rank.
- Are “Buyer” Keywords. Keywords that people who are looking to buy, are typing in. These could be “best x”, “x review”, “x pricing”, and so on…where “x” is our product.
- As a plus, newer keywords. If they product or service is new, even better, because there is probably less competition. This won’t be the case with our example, but there are new products coming out all the time.
To find which keywords to target, we’ll need a keyword research tool to guide us.
Open up the tool Ubersuggest This is a free keyword research tool, that you can use (i’ve been using it, and it’s awesome)
Search for the phrase “best Paintball gun”.
Now click on the section on the left that says “Keyword Ideas”.
If you did everything correctly, you’ll be able to see something similar to the following:
Here you’ll be able to see a lot of cool and valuable information. From left to right we have:
✅ Keyphrase variations (aka keyword ideas) for “best Paintball gun”. So for example “best Paintball gun 2018”, “best Paintball gun for under 700″…and so on. Keyphrases are a seed keyword, with variations, like prepositions and the likes. Basically…a phrase with our keyword inside.
✅ Search volume. How many searches for the particular phrase, are made per month, in the language and country you chose inside Ubersuggest. This metric really depends on the tool. It appears to be 0…but i cross tested with another tool that tells me it’s 9000. Just…trust it’s over 0.
✅ CPC. Average cost per click that someone is willing to spend, on that particular keyphrase. Usually the higher the better, since it means that the advertisers are making money off of those keyphrases, and so we know there are customers willing to buy.
In this case it appears to be 0, but remember that Google might have policies for ads on this type of product, i know Facebook does.
We don’t care about this because we’ll be doing this for free, but for future references, it’s best if there a CPC over $1, in words of Neil Patel, the owner of the tool.
✅ PD, meaning “Paid Difficulty”. Essentially gives you an idea on how competitive it is to advertise. Again, we don’t really care about advertizing.
✅ Finally SD, meaning “Search Difficulty”. And this is where we want to focus on. The smaller the number, the easier it is to rank for that keyphrase.
I always try to go for <30. In this case, we’ve got a 12 and a bunch of 4s. Since we want to focus on the keyphrase “best Paintball gun”, we’ll click on that one.
We’ll choose that one to continue using, as an example throughout this article because i want to show you something specific…
But there are a couple of keyphrases in that list that are GOLD, and we should probably choose over “best Paintball gun”, because they’re buyer keyphrases.
These are for example “best Paintball gun under X”.
People looking for these, are 100% looking for to buy paintball guns. And they’re looking for prices under $700, $500, $300…
Ours product costs $179.95, has free shipping from Amazon, tons of positive customer review, and happens to be a reputable brand when it comes to Paintball…It should be dead easy for us to sell this to people searching to spend up to $700. Don’t you think?
But anyways…let’s stick to the other one for now. We’ll come back to those later.
So as a result of highlighting the keyphrase “best Paintball gun”, the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) opens up on the right section. These are all the current top results on Google , for the country and language we’re searching in (USA and English, in our case…although you can change it).
Here you can see the top 10 urls for that search keyphrase.
You can see estimated visitors per months, number of backlinks (websites that have linked to that specific page), the domain score or domain authority of the page, from 1 to 100 (for reference, Wikipedia, Facebook twitter and the likes, have 100 DS, and as you see Amazon has 98) and finally social shares.
Taking a look at the data there, Amazon is on the 8th place and doesn’t need any social shares or backlinks, to pop up in the top 10. In fact, the url doesn’t even have to match what we’re searching for. It has huge authority, and plus Google knows that for our keyphrase, the user is probably looking to buy a gun, and so they recommend Amazon regardless.
Position 9 and 10, don’t necessarily have huge authority, but with some backlinks and shares, they can pop up in those positions, for the keyphrase “best Paintball gun” (underneath all those 30 and 40 DS websites) without needing to have the exact keyphrase in the title of their post. Interesting. 🤔
The first position doesn’t have that much of a DS, but it has a bunch of social shares and a few links to it. This (and probably other factors), allows its homepage to rank for the keyphrase. It isn’t necessarily going to give the user the “best Paintball gun” right off the bat, but it’s still #1.
Position 2 has the 2nd most shares, 40 DS and 2 backlinks but also has a perfect URL. “best Paintball gun”, this is exactly what i, as a user am looking for: I want to see what the best Paintball gun is.
And what’s that?
Position 3 is a Medium article.
Medium has a 98 point domain score and is ranking over Youtube, and over some really “congruent to the search” sites, like the one on the 6th position. This article is very well written (although it’s pretty outdated!) and i suspect that the backlinks and shares played a role in ranking the article…but still: Medium is FREE to use!
With Medium, you can basically get a subdomain of a high authority site, for you to write on for free. And this is where this strategy becomes interesting.
So if you create an article, that is good enough, and optimized for a low competition keyphrases, where the top 10 articles that are ranking aren’t very specific, don’t have much authority or are just outdated…you might still rank.
I have! I currently have a few spots in the top 10 for a few keyphrases, with Medium articles… so it’s doable.
There isn’t a mathematical equation to ranking with the info in Ubersuggest, and this keyphrase was chosen to show you the power of Medium as high authority property that ranks well on Google…
However i think you can agree with me that there appears to be a specific “weight” to each variable, and that the domain score happens to be one of them. So getting access to a free 98 DS subdomain with Medium, is probably worth it (my website is currently a 0 in DS, so yeah…i’d try it out 😐).
With that in mind…
3) Create A Free Medium Account
Head over to Medium.com and create your account for free.
And now, we want to start creating an article, that targets our keywords.
I won’t go too much into on page SEO on this article…but the basics, is to have the keywords in the title, and in the first paragraph. Like so:
The paragraph is basically just made up, and of course you want to do your research and create an informative helpful article…But this is generally the structure i like to follow. Three or four sentences per paragraph, and the keyword in the title and 1st sentence.
Additionally, you want to have a few media pieces, like an image or a video, or both. Nobody likes a big wall of text…which means Google doesn’t like it either. Also, remember that we’re optimizing for search engines, but writing for people. So don’t overdo it by adding the keyword too many times.
A good example of a great article, is the exact Medium article that is on the #3 spot. It has descriptions of different weapons, pros and cons, as well as images and videos. Very detailed, very rich.
TIP: Another awesome thing i like to do, is target more keyphrases throughout the article. Becauase if the other keyphrases, also have less competition, Google might also rank your post for them, without you specifically targeting them. Take result #5, for example. Their post is targeting “best Paintball gun brands“, but they still show up for “best Paintball gun”.
To make use of the tip, create a new section inside the article, and name it the same as some of the variations we found in the list inside Ubersuggest. Preferably with <30 SD and that target potential buyers. Now, we’ll use the “golden” keyphrases, i had mentioned before. Like this:
Make sure to make the subsection of your article a h3 header. The header tags will help tell Google which piece of content is more important inside the whole article. By indicating what the h3 tag is, Google might have your article rank for that keyphrase too, if it’s good enough.
This is because there is a hierarchy when it comes to headings. H1>H2>H3…and so on. H1 is the title, and it’s the most important one. The subheadings “split” the article in sections, and so Google does take them into consideration.
To create a subheader, simply highlight the sentence and click on the “T” (capital T) as shown in the image below. If you right click and inspect the element, you can also see that the sentence has a h3 tag in the form of <h3>.
Finally, another great idea that will take a bit more work, but might 100% be worth it, is to create a SEPARATE Medium article for each different keyphrase. This means, you’ll target each keyphrase with 1 individual article, as opposed to multiple keyphrases in 1 article.
So you’d have one article for “best Paintball gun“, another for “best Paintball gun for new players“, another for “best Paintball gun under $200” and so on and so forth, for each keyphrase that you think you can rank for.
Of course, you’d have to check the top 10 SERP for each variation to make sure that the spots aren’t dominated by websites that have great rankings, congruent content, shares and the likes.
🚫 Be sure to ALWAYS have unique content. Duplicating the content is a HUGE no no. Every piece of content you create should be different. It’s might get a bit repetitive…but that’s how it is.
-“What is the best Paintball gun for me?” is actually one of the question results from Ubersuggest.
-“Best Paintball gun for beginners” is another, but i added the “(under $200)” clause as an extra (could have been 3, 4, or $500)
-“Best Paintball gun under $200” is another keyphrase variation, as per the results from Ubersuggest, exactly as it is.
4) Write. Add Links. Post!
Okay so now you’ve got your articles written and you’ve added your links.
About those links…
You DO NOT want to add raw affiliate links to the articles.
At the end of the day, you don’t actually “own” your account in Medium, and you still have to abide by their rules, and for the most part: They don’t like affiliate links.
A lot of Medium accounts have been getting shut down, due to people slamming their affiliate links left and right…So what i recommend you doing one of the following options :
A) Get yourself a domain and use the plugin pretty links to mask the affiliate link. So for instance if i bought the domain “bestpaintballgun.com”, i’d create a link in pretty links that bridged my customer from my newly created link “bestpaintballgun.com/best-gun-medium”, to my amazon link. Like this:
B) Try using a free link shortner like bitly.com. Go to bitly and create a link. Post your link, click “create” and copy the new bitly link. Now add the link to your article. or articles.
C) There is a great link shortner out there called Mini.me, from MarketerMagic. You can test out the link shortner for free too, by creating an Account Here. It works same as bitly.
Option A is probably the hardest, but the best long term solution. And i think our Medium author on #3 agrees…
Because if you look closely at the links in the article, and you hover over them with your mouse, at the bottom left of the screen, you’ll see the destination url of the links. They’re pointing over to a site under the domain name “drpaintball.com”, which should be his own.
Basically. You want to keep you account safe, and do things correctly…so be sure to choose to mask that link however you choose, just in case.
Also, when you publish the post, make sure that the title of your article is the same as your keyphrase.
It should look something like:
How To Make Money Online With SEO: Recap
Alright, so that would my case-study/tutorial on how to make money online with SEO.
- Find a product or service you’d like to promote. Something that you’re knowledgable in and love talking about.
- Sign up to be an affiliate partner for a platform that sells products or services in that niche. Check out Clickbank, Amazon or any other company you like…to see if they have a partner program.
- Do keyword research using Ubersuggest. Look for potential buyer keyphrases with high search volume and low search competition, as low as possible. I’d stick to <30 DS.
- Check the SERPs on a few keyphrases, to see if the top results are on point. Basically, if they’re outdated, not relevant to the search or simply not strong websites or slow websites with bad content…you can do better!
- Sign up for Medium. Which gives you a high authority subdomain to write on for free.
- Create the content. Keywords in title and 1st sentence. Have subheadings that match other keyphrase variations. If you’re feeling cocky…go ahead and create multiple articles for the different keyphrases. Don’t duplicate content though!
- Paste your affiliate links, and publish the content!
- Rinse and repeat.
So that would be it folks. I sure hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to make money online with SEO. 😀
It’s a pretty cool and interesting strategy. I know it takes some time to do, but Medium really gives you a nice advantage and head start. If you play your cards right, you can definitely make money with this.
I’m new to SEO and this is my first go at it…but i’ll for sure be trying is some more, and i suggest you do too.
If you have any questions, make sure to leave them in the comments! And if you liked this training, feel free to share the article around!