Ok, get ready...in this article I’m gonna drop some knowledge bombs on you, and give you the low down on how to make money with SEO.
These days I'm lucky enough to be making $50K+ a month in passive income, and I can tell you that the majority of my income is from the SEO skills I’ve picked up in the last 5 years.
Not only have these skills allowed me to build a solid lead generation business, but they have also allowed me to quit my 9-5 job, and live life on my own terms.
I pretty much go where I want, when I want, and with whoever I wan
Heck, I could sit on a beach in Hawaii for 3 months, and still make bank because of the systems I’ve put in place with my SEO skills.
For me, this is what living is all about.
The good news is that there’s no reason why you can't have the same.
To help you on the road to freedom, I’ve put together some killer tips you can start using right away to get SEO working in your favor.
Now before we start, I wanna be clear...
I don’t use all of these methods for making money with SEO, and I don’t advise that you do either.
Instead, I’ve drilled down and got laser focused on one or two of these strategies, allowing me to hone my skills in these areas.
I'm gonna cover all of them with you, and I'll also recommend my #1 recommendation for making money with SEO, so you can hopefully copy me and make money yourself!
Ok, let’s go…
The Sweet Science of SEO
If you’re gonna make money with SEO, then you’re gonna need to be able to rank websites.
So to start off, I’m gonna give you a 6 figure marketers crash course into what you need to focus on to make sure your SEO is on point.
You might be disappointed to find that the SEO factors I’m gonna outline are not heavily detailed or complicated.
But guess what?...
They don’t need to be.
Here’s the really cool thing about SEO…
It’s 100% objective!
That means it's determined by factual information, based on observations and measurements.
Search Engines doesn’t care who you are, or what your background is.
They don't have personal opinions, feelings or points of view.
They are completely neutral, and if you follow the basic principles I’ll outline below, you will eventually win the SEO war.
RELEVANCY: The Foundation of SEO
My “Ah ha” moment with SEO came when I asked myself a simple question.
“What does a Search Engine like Google really want?”
Well of course they want to make as much money as possible, but how is that achieved?
By being the number one Search Engine on the planet.
Ok, so how do they achieve that?
By serving up their users exactly what they are searching for!
In other words, RELEVANCY!
Google’s biggest goal is, and always will be, to return relevant content to its users.
They want their users to think “Yes, this is exactly what I’m looking for!”
If they failed to return information that was relevant to what their users were searching for, their users would eventually start using another Search Engine.
When there are Billions in revenue at stake, highly relevant search results are a must!
This means that if a user searches for “carpet cleaning in Boston”, returning websites about general carpet cleaning, or websites about carpet cleaning products is not good enough.
They need to return exactly what the user is searching for...a website which will provide the user with a carpet cleaning company based in Boston.
Makes sense right?
So now that we know relevancy is the lifeblood of Google’s success, how do we send relevancy indicators to Google about our website?
I find it helps to put yourself in the website visitors shoes and imagine what they would want to see?
KEYWORD RESEARCH: Buyer Intent and Volume
Before you even start focusing on the SEO factors that will drive your web page to the top of Google, you’re gonna want to make sure you’re ranking for the right keywords.
There are 2 key factors to focus on when doing keyword research.
Before you put time and effort into ranking for a particular keyword phrase, you’ll want to make sure it's what is called a Transactional keyword phrase, with buyer intent behind it.
Let me ask you this....
If you were selling sports shoes that deal with heel pain, which keywords would you rather rank for?
“Heel pain when running” or “running shoes for heel pain”
The first phrase is classed as Informational, while the second is Transactional.
With Transactional phrases there is always clear buyer intent behind it, whereas the with Informational phrases such as the first phrase, the user is merely reading up on the subject in an attempt to acquire more information.
Finding buyer keywords comes down to a combination of using a keyword tool to reverse engineer your competitors to determine which keywords they are ranking for, as well as applying your own common sense.
Remember, always put yourself in the shoes of the internet searcher.
Ask yourself what keywords would you use if you were looking to perform a buying action on the web page you are ranking?
Along with Buyer Intent, you also want to make sure that a keyword phrase gets enough search volume and is actually worth ranking for.
Again, there are various keyword research tools on the market that will give you some insight into this, but I take these metrics with a pinch of sale.
There’s probably no point ranking for “carpet cleaning” in a town that only has 10,000 people right?
My common sense would tell me that if there are only 10,000 people in a town, there are probably only 3,000 households.
How many households get their carpets cleaned every year?
Maybe 1 in 10?
So at most I’m looking at 300 searches a year, or 30 searches a month.
Remember though, not every person that searches in Google will click on your site.
According to the heat map above, even the top ranked site in Google will usually be lucky to get 30% of the traffic.
So now in this example you’re down to 10 visitors a month to your site looking for carpet cleaning.
Factor in that maybe only 30% of visitors will pick up the phone to request a quote, and that only 50% of them will book a job, suddenly you’re looking at 1 or 2 carpet cleaning clients a month.
...in this case the juice is not worth the squeeze!
So be sure to carry out your due diligence when it comes to keyword research.
Failing to do so could find you ranking #1 for keywords that don’t get you any meaningful traffic.
ON PAGE SEO: Signalling Your Intent to Google
While a deep dive into On Page SEO is beyond the scope of this article, there are a few critical factors you can focus on, to ensure that you’re sending the right relevance indicators to Google’s algorithm.
As I've said already, SEO doesn't need to be complicated.
Take it from someone that makes a living doing it.
Once you’ve carried out your keyword due diligence, make sure you use your main keywords in the following elements on your site:
It's not rocket science, but doing this will send strong signals to Google about the subject of your web page.
You’re also gonna want to focus on rich content, ideally 2,000+ words, depending on what your competition is doing.
Having your keyword in your domain name, or at least URL doesn’t hurt either.
Think about it this way...if I have the term “sports shoes” in my domain name, then you'd say there’s a pretty good chance my website is about sports shoes right?
If you can find related, authoritative websites to link out to from your site, I’ve found this helps too.
Again, it’s all about sending relevance indicators to Google.
If your site is about sports shoes, and you link out to another authoritative site about sports shoes, you’re reconfirming to Google that your site is highly likely to be related to....sports shoes.
OFF PAGE SEO: Further Relevance Indicators
In most cases, when we’re talking about Off Page SEO, we’re talking about backlinks coming in to your site.
While I could probably write a 100,000 word article about the art of backlinking, you just need to know one thing...
Google places a high importance on the quality of other websites that link back to yours.
These are known in SEO terms as "backlinks", and they're kind of a big deal!
Quality is important, but remember so is relevance.
You’re far better off getting one backlink from a single high quality site than you are getting 100 backlinks from 100 spammy, low quality sites.
But in addition to that, if two sites are equal in quality, you’re then better off getting a backlink from the most relevant site.
Remember Google loves relevance!
If your website is about carpet cleaning, getting a backlink from another high quality carpet cleaning site sends strong relevance indicators to the Google algorithm.
After all, why would another carpet cleaning site link to you, if your site wasn’t relative to carpet cleaning?
So my advice is to use a tool like Majestic or Mangools to reverse engineer competitors and then focus on two factors.
Firstly, focus on getting backlinks from high quality sites that have strong metrics.
Secondly, focus on getting backlinks from relative sites that may have your main keywords in their domains or URLs, titles, and content.
Just doing this will put you ahead of 99% of SEO experts out there because you’ll be clearly indicating to the Search Engines that your site is worth linking to, and it is related to the high quality sites that are linking to it.
Making Money with SEO
Ok, so now that you’ve had a crash course in SEO, here are some killer ways you can monetize your skills.
Some work better than others, so read to the end to find out which one is making me $50K a month...
1. OLD SCHOOL SEO: Help Other Websites Rank
Charging webmasters for improving their search ability within Search Engines is one of the most common methods for making money with SEO.
You might not run an eCommerce store selling sports shoes, but the business owner that does will always be looking for highly targeted traffic, that is ready to spend money on their site.
As an SEO expert, you are well positioned to charge for your skills to help improve their site's ranking, and get more eyeballs on their products.
It’s not uncommon for SEO consultants to charge $2,000 + a month as a retainer for managing a website's SEO tasks, including optimizing the site and obtaining relevant high quality backlinks on a regular basis.
As the needle moves up on the website's overall ranking, so should the site's visitor traffic.
Once that happens, sales should start to increase (if you’ve done your keyword research correctly) making you the business owner's new best friend!
2. E-Commerce: Driving Traffic to Your Product or Service
One of the most legit ways to make money with SEO, is to rank an e-commerce type website for a particular keyword phrase.
Provided you’ve followed the keyword research tips above, and you’re ranking for keywords that have buyers intent and volume, this should be a great way to drive traffic to your offer, be it a physical product or a service.
The challenge with this method could be competition.
There’s a pretty good chance that if the keyword you’re going after has a decent amount of search volume, and is of a commerce nature, then it could be pretty competitive to rank for.
This may not always be the case, but in my experience I’ve found this happens a lot.
That doesn't mean you can't win the SEO war though.
It may just take more time!
3. ADVERTISING: Rank and Rent to Advertisers
Another way to make money using SEO is to rank a webpage or blog and then rent it out to advertisers.
There are a couple of different advertising models you can apply to your site.
You could choose to work with private advertisers who will pay you a fixed fee to display a banner or link that drives traffic to their site.
Or you could make use of a 3rd party advertising platform such as Google AdSense.
This will automatically display relevant 3rd party text or image adverts on your webpage that match its content.
When your site visitors click the advert, you get paid!
4. SEO CONSULTANT: Be an Adviser
You may find that you don’t enjoy the day to day mundane tasks that come with SEO, such as On-Page optimization or backlink building.
The good news is that doesn’t mean you can’t make money with the skill set you have.
Playing the role of an SEO consultant or advisor allows you to monetize your skills by recommending how business owners, digital marketers and anyone else for that matter can improve the SEO score of their websites.
Without rolling your sleeves up and getting dirty, you’ll be able to charge for your time and expertise by offering insight into how they can improve both their On-Page and Off-Page SEO.
5. AFFILIATE PROGRAMS: Drive Traffic to an Offer
Another popular method of making money with SEO is to rank websites that then drive traffic to an affiliate offer through an affiliate program.
In a nutshell, an affiliate program is a partnership in which the seller of a product will pay their affiliate for any traffic they refer to them that results in a sale.
This can usually range from anywhere between 10%-75%, but in some cases even more.
There are endless affiliate offers available, with some popular programs being Clickbank digital products and even promoting Amazon physical products through their Amazon Associates program.
Here’s an example of a review site that reviews physical products and then links to the product on Amazon.
Now while the site home page may be too generic to rank for any meaningful keywords, the webmaster breaks down the site into various categories.
In this case, they have ranked this inner web page for the term “best food processors”.
Now that’s a buying keyword if ever I saw one!
There’s no doubt that the user searching for that phrase is looking to make a purchase.
When they click the link they’ll land on a page like the one below, which will give them a range of food processors to view and compare.
Clicking further will drive them straight to Amazon, where the product is being sold.
This happens through an affiliate link, so when the site visitor makes a purchase, Amazon will pay the website owner a commission on the sale of anywhere up to 8%, depending on the category.
Affiliate marketing has been around for many years, but is still one of the most popular methods for making money online, and a great way to make money with SEO.
6. EMAIL LISTS: Build Your Own Value Ladder
If you’re even half serious out making money online, then you’ll know that true internet marketers focus on building an email list of raving fans.
The idea is that by feeding your subscribers a mixture of high quality free content, combined with products that they want and need, you can market to them over and over again.
Russell Brunson covers this concept perfectly in his book DotCom Secrets, in which he discusses the power of The Value Ladder.
In this process he details how by “baiting” you customer with a free product or service, you can then ascend them up your Value Ladder, by offering them your more expensive products and offerings over time.
In his book, he uses the example of a dentist offering a free teeth cleaning to bait his customers.
From there he can upsell them to pay for teeth whitening, followed by a retainer, and even cosmetic work, all while signing up for regular 6 month checkups.
You can apply this to any product or service though and use your SEO skills to drive traffic to a free offer.
Once your visitors submit their email address and join your mailing list to get the free offer, you can later upsell them on other products and services over time (either your own or ones you’re affiliated with), and there is no limit to how many times you can do this.
7. SEO COPYWRITING: Creating Content that Ranks
Another way of leveraging your SEO skills is through copywriting.
I’ve already highlighted the importance of On Page SEO, and while you may have no interest in helping companies with their Off Page SEO, that doesn't mean you can't monetize your other search skills.
With the average business knowing little to nothing about SEO, the ability to create content that ranks is a sought after skill that you can charge highly for.
Here are some simple guidelines that I follow to achieve this.
SEO Copywriting Tips
- Match keyword intention.
- Write in a style that speaks to your readers.
- Optimize your page meta tags for your keywords.
- Make sure you don’t overuse keywords.
- Use long tail keywords for additional ranking.
- Make your content rich and relevant.
Creating content that ranks doesn’t have to be difficult, but you’ll need to follow the above guidelines if you’re going to get results.
8. LEAD GENERATION: My #1 Pick
My all time favorite way to make money with SEO is through lead generation.
In fact, in the last few years, I've managed to build a lead generation business that now makes me $50K+ a month.
In a nutshell, lead generation is the process of generating leads for businesses, and charging them for doing so.
Breaking down lead generation even further, I’ve had the most success focusing on local lead generation.
With this process I’ll build and rank a website for a local service like carpet cleaning in a particular town or city.
Once it ranks on the first page in Google, I’ll add my own phone number to the site and then find a hungry local business owner that offers carpet cleaning in the town or city I am targeting.
Remember, every business owner needs more leads.
This makes it easy for me to partner up with them and agree to send them leads in exchange for either a commission on every job they close from my leads, or for a flat fee per month.
I’ll redirect the phone number on my site to them, and just like that I’m making money.
When someone searches for "carpet cleaning" in the town I'm ranking for, and they call the number on my site, the business owner will take the call.
They then pay me for the leads I'm sending them, over and over again!
I’ve got a Tree Service site that ranks #1 in Google, and gets a ton of calls each month.
Each one of those calls gets redirected to a local tree service business in the city, and they pay me a flat fee of $750 a month for sending them those leads!
Each site I build only costs me $30-$50 a month to host and maintain, and I can rent them out for anywhere from $750+.
I've got well over 60 of these sites now, all making me money every month an autopilot!
I like to think of it as digital real estate!
You're basically a landlord, renting out websites.
Lead Generation v Other SEO Models
Other SEO Models
BONUS: Ranking Google My Business (GMB) Listings
Off the back of making money from SEO by using the local lead generation business model, I thought I’d share a killer bonus tip for you to make easy money.
This is the process of helping local business owners improve the rankings of their Google My Business (GMB) listings through basic SEO skills and optimization techniques that the average business owner doesn't know exist.
This is a whole untapped area of SEO that has a ton of low hanging fruit, that is just ripe for the picking.
Here’s my technique for turning my GMB SEO skills into money.
This is a perfect blend of local lead generation, mixed with old school SEO ranking, as you charge them a fee to get their listing ranked in the top 3 of Google’s Map Pack.
They win because they get more leads for their business, and you win because you get paid!
While the first 7 ideas in this article for making money with SEO are cool, they all have their downsides.
SEO can be hard, and it can take a long time to rank your website.
That's why I spend almost all of my time focusing on local lead generation, which is super easy, and now makes me $30K+ a month...
Local Lead Generation
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